Rowland Hazard III (October 29, 1881- December 20, 1945 )was an American businessman and member of a prominent Rhode Island family involved in the foundation and executive leadership of a number of well-known companies. He is also known as the “Rowland H.” who figured in the events leading to the formation of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Some of Rowland Hazard III’s family and friends from his early years may have been influential in his famous encounter with the pioneering psychiatrist Carl Jung, in order to deal with his on going battle with alcoholism.
Though Rowland is not named, his experience with Jung is described in the book Alcoholics Anonymous ( p-26). According to this account, Jung pronounced Rowland a chronic alcoholic and therefore hopeless and beyond the reach of medicine as it was at the time (a credible opinion, considering Jung’s unique role in the development of psychoanalysis). The only hope Jung could offer was for a life-changing “vital spiritual experience” — an experience which Jung regarded as a phenomenon. Jung further advised that Rowland’s affiliation with a church did not spell the necessary “vital” experience.
This prognosis so shook Rowland that he sought out the Oxford Group, an evangelical Christian movement prominent in the first half of the twentieth century. (More to come on The Oxford group at a later time).
Rowland was aware of the Oxford Group emphasis on personal evangelism through the example of personal change when he came in contact with an alcoholic named Ebby Thacher.
Upon learning that Ebby was on the verge of commitment to an asylum on account of his drinking, Rowland and fellow Oxford Group members sought out Ebby and shared with him their Oxford Group recovery experiences.
The Oxford Groupers were able to arrange for Ebby’s release into their care.
This led to Ebby’s acceptance of the principles of the Oxford Group and his own sobriety. Encouraged in the example of personal evangelism, Ebby later sought out an acquaintance of his own. A childhood friend known as Bill W.