Thursday, January 28, 2010

1954 Letter to Michigan Groups on Dr. Low's Death

You might well imagine how difficult it was for Recovery members when Dr. Low died. I was very young but remember my mother crying into a wet face cloth. She sent me over to a neighbors shortly thereafter. I'm sure she was working on herself both with grieving and using her Recovery to deal with all that was ahead of her. What was going to happen to Recovery? People wanted to know! The following letter was to be read by Michigan group leaders at their meetings. I want to mention that this was 1954 and State Hospitals and the profession for the most part, have since changed quite a bit. I know there is always room for improvement but I think it is important to note the progress that has been made. We can especially look at Oregon State Hospital and what they have recently achieved there! You can see more about this on by clicking on "For Professionals" . Also, for newcomers, you may notice our old name was "Recovery, Inc." and that has changed since then. Our new name, Recovery International, reflects our presence in several countries. Wouldn't the good doctor be pleased!

Here is what went our to group leaders:

Brighton, Michigan
November 29, 1954

(Group Leaders: Please read the following letter -- or have it read -- at your next meeting; read it slowly, please. I can't tell you how much all of your wonderful letters have meant to me at this time. I'll thank you personally at our next leaders' meeting which will be held at St. Matthew's Methodist Church, Evergreen at W. Seven Mile Rd., Detroit, next Saturday, December 4 at 10 A.M.)

Dear Members: I wish I could visit each group personally to say what I have to say. Since this is impossible, I want to chat with you for a few minutes via this letter: The death of our beloved Dr. Low has been a real loss which defies description. However, I feel somehow that soul reaches out to soul at this time, and that we share a common grief.

Dr. Low was a medical genius who devised a system of psychotherapy that restores nervous and former mental patients to normal, healthy living. It is common knowledge that few great men live to see their works accepted by the world. We must accept the fact that this is average.

My message to you at this time is one of reassurance. Recovery, Inc., will continue to function just as it has in the past; we hope with an increasing amount of efficiency. Trained leaders both here and in Chicago have become experts in the practice of Recovery's methods. These people have the desire and the spirit to help others and because of this, there will be no slack in the training program. Phil Crane, our Executive Secretary, assures me that there are adequate funds in the treasury to carry on for a good long time. Should the need arise, I feel certain we can find a way to finance Recovery. Why Dr. Low took it upon himself to see that you and I should receive psychotherapy practically without cost is more than I can say, but it is a fact that he was our benefactor even in this matter. The sale of the literature which he toiled to produce helps to keep Recovery alive--but he also actually made up any deficit out of his own pocket . . . many years to the tune of thousands of dollars. This further attests to the man's greatness--whose love and concern for us transcended any earthly standards.
I would like you to consider the fact that we have never really had Dr. Low with us in Michigan except through his books and his records. We still have these. In Chicago they have carried on most successfully without his personal leadership since last July. So let me repeat: we who are now in Recovery are safe. Furthermore, anyone who finds his way to us through publicity or referral from a doctor will receive the full benefits of Recovery and will have the opportunity to get well. It will be simple for us to carry out this program, and let me assure you that I, for one, find it a most enjoyable and gratifying task.

I sincerely wish that this were our only concern. However, one thing preys upon my conscience. The system of psychotherapy now being used in our hospitals and by the profession in general is futile. It's approach is irrational and cannot possibly work except for a meager handful of patients. Therefore, thousands of people--yes, tens of thousands--are doomed to suffer and rot away. Surely, you and I, who know so well the agony of such suffering, cannot look away from this issue. We must take up the fight for professional acceptance of Recovery's methods and system of psychotherapy. Dr. Low carried on this fight for seventeen years--and failed. Now I feel dedicated to this purpose, and I hope that all of you will join forces with me here in Michigan. Shortly, I will get word to you how we will go about accomplishing this job. In the meantime, rest assured that you are safe in Recovery's hands. Dr. Low says there is only ONE nervous case and Recovery's methods can restore all to good mental health on a permanent basis. I genuinely feel that the bond between all of us is stronger still with the death of our founder. I send you my love and pledge my support to all of you.
Treasure Rice--Michigan Leader


  1. Thank you again Treasure for sharing this..I feel when I read your blog that I'm there and can connect with that time...You r so group minded to share this Blog..I look forward to more....Love Jaylene Finlayson (St George UT)

  2. Dr. Low and his system of peer recovery and spots has literally changed my life from a mess to an organized life of gratitude. I have told my Psychiatrist about him as well as Social Workers I know, and say that this system WORKS because it focuses on getting well and not just talking about staying sick. Thank you, my dear one, Dr. Low. God Bless!