From the May 1946 magazine.

Re-creation of Personality Possible Through Training

No vocalism is more loosely used or so frequently corrupted and debased as the symbol which stands as one of the key words in the glossary of Alcoholics Anonymous. Like most intangibles, personality precludes precise definition, although it is variously interpreted to mean that which constitutes a person or that which distinguishes and characterizes a person; and sometimes it indicates an individual, especially one of exceptional (excellent or, at least, attractive) qualities.

But, if the word defies enclosure in the straitjacket of definition, we are, nevertheless, bound to learn something of what it implies and involves. For are we not told by medicine that "the alcoholic needs a personality change," and by religion that "the alcoholic needs a change of heart"? Has not Dr. Harry M. Tiebout, distinguished psychiatrist, reported that the influence of the program is not lasting unless it "effects a change in the deeper personality components"? Was not William James, in his most significant and influential work Varieties of Religious Experience, chiefly concerned with the problem of personality change, which, he held could be accomplished through the "educational variety of spiritual experience or conversion"? And have we not, by our acceptance of the 6th Step, declared our readiness to have removed our defects of character, which are reflected in deficiencies of personality?

-- R. F. S.

Montclair, New Jersey

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