DON LATTIN / Distilled Spirits: Getting High, Then Sober, with a Famous Writer, a Forgotten Philosopher, and a Hopeless Drunk
A famous writer, a forgotten philosopher, and a hopeless drunk walk into the life of a riding high newspaper man who writes about religion. So begins author Don Lattin’s Distilled Spirits, the prequel to his bestselling The Harvard Psychedelic Club: How Timothy Leary, Ram Dass, Huston Smith and Andrew Weil Killed the Fifties and Ushered in a New Age for America. Searching through skepticism, self-help, altered states of consciousness, and all anonymous forms of spiritualism in between, Lattin serves an intoxicating concoction of how the work and friendship of three wildly different men -- Aldous Huxley, Gerald Heard, and Bill Wilson -- transformed the landscape of Western religion and spirituality in the twentieth century.
In Distilled Spirits, the stories of the prophetic author of Brave New World and The Doors of Perception, the philosophizing Anglo-Irish mystic who laid the foundations for New Age, and the LSD-wielding founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, are brought together by veteran journalist Lattin, who reveals his own sometimes painful, sometimes hilarious misadventures as a religion writer "worshiping at the altar of drugs and alcohol." Lattin recounts his rocky personal journey from 1960s and 1970s counter-culture, through the fast-living, cocaine-fueled 1980s and 1990s, to his long struggle to get sober and find a faith that works for him. By weaving an intimate account of his own recovery with the lives of the book's three central characters, Lattin shows us the redemptive power of story telling, the strength of fellowship, and the power of living more compassionately, one day at a time.