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Bill W, Guided Imagery & 12-Step Programs

02 Apr

Hello, everyone!

Coincidentally with Alcohol Awareness Month, I just saw an excellent documentary at the Cleveland International Film Festival, called Bill W., describing the life and work of Bill Wilson, the founder of AA.  (You probably already know our company is based in Akron, the cradle of AA, right?)

For some reason, I hadn’t fully realized the organizational genius and diehard commitment it took to create and maintain the 12-step, recovery juggernaut of leaderless groups of struggling volunteers, trying to stay sober, by helping other alcoholics, and by following some basic but brilliant guidelines.  Amazingly, they didn’t take money to keep things going (just sold the big AA book).  And these groups ultimately sprang up all over the place like mushrooms after a spring rain. There’s nothing quite like it, far as I can tell. And now it’s world-wide and targets scores of other struggles besides alcoholism.

This first film, by Kevin Hanlon and Dan Carracino, really spells out Bill W.’s (and Dr. Bob’s) astonishing, unlikely, stunning achievement which we all take for granted now, because 12 step groups are so ubiquitous. (Sidebar: when I counted last summer, the tiny island of Martha’s Vineyard had nearly 30 of them meeting each week.) The film was a real eye-opener, as well as a fascinating bio of a flawed but amazingly dedicated guy.

And while I’m on the subject of AA, I want to thank the spate of recovery bloggers who started posting shout-outs about us.  We didn’t realize it right away, but we started to notice a spike in orders for both our imagery for Alchohol & Other Drugs and for Chuck & Patti Leviton’s ingenious 12-step guided imagery, Inner Peace, Outward Power.  We want to thank bloggers like Rosemary Wentworth at Austin Recovery for giving guided imagery a thumbs up as a resource for chemical dependency.  We’re also grateful to the message boards at the popular Addiction Recovery Guide website at

Thanks also to Susan Ezra RN at Imagery International for her podcast interview on my work with combat stress in the military.  It’s posted here at

And finally, I want to give you a heads up:  a little pop-up thingie is soon going to be showing up to ask for your email address when you first get onto the site – just once!  Barring acts of God or random techno-glitches, you won’t be seeing it again.  We’ve been slow to institute this practice, in spite of insistent recommendations from our advisors, because we don’t like pop-up thingies any more than you do.  But we’ve been persuaded that we need to get serious about collecting email addresses if we’re to stay strong and well.  We will not sell them to anyone. That’s a promise.  We just need them for our own efforts and special projects.  Please bear with us!

All best,

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award