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The video above captures an interview with Janet Surrey and Stephen Bergman, authors of the play Bill W. and Dr. Bob. (link: play’s homepage) Though the play ended its Off-Broadway run just over year ago, it remains an important contribution to public awareness of the history of AA and the 12-step fellowships.
For Begrman and Surrey, the story of the founding of AA is a story about “the power of relationships to heal.” Not surprisingly, Bergman and Surrey come from a clinical background (one is a psychologist, the other a psychiatrist). Their book We Have to Talk: Healing Dialogues Between Men and Women describes a series of healing interactions for couples. (link: amazon)
It seems that the authors view the AA story through the lens of their professional experience and training.
Says Surrey: “[Bill and Bob] did create an incredible healing energy that’s way bigger than each of them as individuals. And that’s what its really about. It’s letting go of the ego, its letting go of personality, and finding something between people that is bigger than who they are.”
Adds Bergman: “It’s about the healing power of good connections.”
It is interesting that the author’s credit the human connection between these two men for the origin and healing power of AA. Their view is, apparently, strongly oriented toward the “Resocialization” camp (see three views), but remains informed by psychological theory and practice.
Having not yet seen the play, I can’t comment on how the author’s views of recovery affected their retelling of the story of AA’s co-founders. One would think that a clinical background would lead the authors to de-emphasize the spirituality of the program—the “God stuff”—in order to focus on the “power of relationships.”
I’d be interested to hear from anyone who’s seen the play and can comment.
For more from the authors, here’s an interview they did with nytheatre.com. (link)
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