HISTORY OF ADDICTION
The use of mind altering drugs is as old as human civilization:
Neolithic peoples used hallucinogens from cacti 8,600 BC, alcohol 10,000 BC, and opium 6,000 BC.
Bulgarians used hallucinogenic black henbane 5,900 BC.
Peruvians have chewed coca leaves since 5,000 BC for the alkaloids that improve digestion, stimulate the mind, and reduce hunger. The leaves also are said to help reduce the effects on people living in a high altitude/low oxygen environment.
Chinese alcohol 7,000BC (and around 650 BC someone warned that the people “will not do without beer. To prohibit it and secure total abstinence from it is beyond the power even of sages.” The Chinese are known for opium but that was the result of the British forcing it upon the culture twice, when the British won two opium wars in the 19th century.
Armenians area alcohol (grains, fruit juice, honey) 6000BC
Egyptians wine 4,000 BC and of course anthropologists have found the expected warnings against excessive drinking
Sumerian opium, wine, and beer 2,000 BC
Greek mead, fermented honey water, in 2,000BC
Revolutionary War opium use
Civil War morphine use
German heroin, late 1800s.
People will find a way to change their brain’s consciousness one way or another, with trends through the decades of certain substances popularized by availability, songs, and use by celebrities of those eras:
The 1920s-1940s: Alcohol
The 1950s: inhalants
The 1960s: LSD/PCP/Ecstasy/marijuana
The 1970s: methamphetamine
The 80s: cocaine
The 90s, methamphetamine and marijuana
2000s: prescription drugs
History of treatment of addiction
Alcoholism has been part of human history since the beginning of human history and is the most devastating legal drug abused so we are going to go into some detail about the history of drinking and the response to it in the United States. One reason is that the response that one man had to his own uncontrolled drinking became the model for many millions of people to control their own drinking and overeating and overspending and excessive sexual behavior and so many other behaviors they needed a group process to help them control.
In the Bible it says wine “gladdens the heart of man” (Psalm 104:14) but “woe to those who rise early in the morning to run after their drinks…” (Isaiah 5:11). To the ancients drinking is a happy experience. Jews still say a prayer every Friday night with a small amount of sweet wine in a special wine cup thanking God for the fruit of the vine.
By the time of the Bible fermented beverages were already ancient history. Beer had been a staple since the late Stone Age over 11,000 years ago. Wine has been with us for at least half that time. And though no prohibitions against drunkenness existed in the ancient world, drinking to excess was considered an inexcusable moral failing except for the cult of Dionysus, which reveled in revelry and the Macedonians who followed their leader Alexander the Great in considering it a sign of masculinity.
Whatever the social custom around alcohol consumption that existed during ancient days drunkenness was considered a choice and in most cultures measured drinking was the expected norm.
Here and there wise leaders counseled total abstinence for those who could not control their drinking.
The Colonial physician Benjamin Rush (1745-1813), in An Inquiry into the Effects of Ardent Spirits Upon the Human Body and Mind which he wrote in 1784, was one of very few who suggested excessive alcohol consumption was actually a disease. However few people believed him. Most followed the precepts of the Church as distilled by Puritan preacher Increase Mather (1639-1723). He had maintained, “the wine is from God but the Drunkard is from the Devil.”
It was inevitable that those in the majority who published and preached against drinking triggered public discourse on the harm of alcohol, leading to temperance societies in various Eastern states. The movement coincided with greater political and social power of ministers and other people motivated by religious views. Whatever gains were made temporarily dissolved with the need for taxes on alcohol to fund the Civil War. And yet Maine in 1846 outlawed alcohol. And by the turn of the century women were organizing due to the connection between drinking and domestic violence, sexual violence, spouse and child abuse, and neglect.
During the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries wealthy donors constructed drinking fountains in major population centers thinking safe drinking water would help discourage men from entering bars for beverages. You can find a few of these public fountains remaining today, those that weren’t violently torn down by angry crowds. This is a picture of one of the two still in New York, this one is in Union Square and was dedicated October 25, 1881. It used to have tin cups attached, to help thirsty citizens choose cool water over alcohol as they passed by. The other is in Tompkins Square Park.
It should be noted that in New York City citizens had polluted well water until the Croton Aqueduct was completed in 1842, bringing fresh clean water into the city for the first time. So many fountains were established not only to replace alcohol but for general animal and human health.
(Slide 169) Prohibition: January 29, 1919 the 18th amendment to the Constitution was ratified and went into effect January 16, 1920 due to pressure from the AntiSaloon League (founded 1893)(politicians didn’t have to stop drinking they said, just vote for prohibition), Women’s Christian Temperance Union (founded 1874), factory owners, Protestant religionists, and pressure from federal government to preserve grain for food during the First World War. The Volstead Act from Congress created guidelines for enforcement but it was bad for the economy: $11 billion lost in revenue and $300 million spent enforcing it. The 18th amendment banned production, sale, and distribution but not consumption. Crime rose. At last the 21st amendment repealed the 18th in 1933. A few states held out but by 1966 all states conceded to the end of prohibition. And drinking continued.
(Slide 170) In 1921 an American Lutheran missionary in England named Frank Buchman experienced a spiritual awakening that inspired him to create a movement he called A First Century Christian Fellowship. He believed the way to instill Christian values of honesty, purity, unselfishness, and love in everyday activities was by consciously surrendering one’s life to God, taking time each day to listen for God’s directions, confessing aloud one’s sins in the presence of others, and making amends to those one had wronged.
There were no membership dues, in fact, there was no formal organization to join. The movement was described by one magazine writer as “a determination not a denomination.” (Pass It On, p. 170, Alcoholics World Service Inc. 1984, as described in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxford_Group) Yet in spite of being merely a volunteer fellowship of souls it caught on like a positive contagion and spread in the US, Europe, and beyond. There was an especially active group from Oxford University, England.
In 1929 a group of Bachman’s followers from Oxford were travelling by train in South Africa on a proselytizing mission. A porter identified their compartments as reserved for “The Oxford Group” and the name stuck.
As war broke out in Europe the Oxford Group shifted its emphasis from individual salvation to conflict resolution by, as then-Senator Harry Truman explained, focusing on not who’s right but what’s right. However, for our purposes, we are focusing on the Group’s influence on alcoholism and from there its influence on cravings and behaviors of all kinds. The Oxford Group was the rich loamy ground from which the wide spectrum of 12 Step programs germinated and grew.
Though the Oxford Group still saw drunkenness as a sin, its precepts of making amends, self-reporting, and group process appealed to one former alcoholic who had found freedom from drink through an herbal hallucinogenic experience. His name was Bill Wilson. Bill Wilson, a former stockbroker, believed in the each-one-tell-one approach and dedicated himself to saving others from alcoholism. He told those others that they weren’t degenerates suffering from moral collapse. Instead, they were suffering from a disease. This appealed to one of the men Bill Wilson was recruiting to his sober bandwagon, a man he met in a bar, physician Bob Smith of Akron, Ohio.
Bill helped Bob and Bob helped Bill and both stayed sober.
In 1935 Bill and Bob created an organization they called Alcoholics Anonymous, holding meetings in Bob Smith’s home in Akron. And they initiated the production of a book that laid out for everyone their philosophy and experience. But they didn’t create it alone. At least 32 different men and women wrote the chapters that became the Big Book, the bible of AA. This book is one of the best selling books of all time with over 30 million copies sold.
Here are the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous:
- We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
- Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
- Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Copyright ã1952, 1953, 1981 by Alcoholics Anonymous Publishing (now known as Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.)
All rights reserved.
Alcoholics Anonymous is the go-to default recommendation for any client with a drinking problem, but it doesn’t fit the personality and needs of some people. They don’t like the helplessness built into the steps, or the God reference, for just two of the complaints. So over time other groups developed. In Oakland a group started called LifeRing. Others are called SMART Recovery, SOS (which either stands for Secular Organization for Sobriety or Save Our Selves, depending on who you ask), Women for Sobriety is the name of a group, and Moderation Management is yet another. I will ask you for the name of at least one alternative to AA on your final exam so choose one of them whose name you like and remember it.
Why would one of your clients go to one of these non-AA groups? They are secular, they don’t talk about a power greater than themselves, instead they focus on what they can do to empower themselves to overcome their addiction. They believe the group will change over time and that changing with the times is a good thing. They are willing to add techniques and theories as they develop through research rather than be tied to the protocols of their association’s founders. And they reject having to assign themselves the definition of addict for the rest of their lives. As you will experience when you go to an AA and Narcotics Anonymous meeting each person will introduce him or herself as an addict.
There is a second kind of non-AA group that is similar to AA but serves an even more spiritually focused group. JACS stands for Jewish Alcoholics, Chemically Dependent Persons, and Significant Others. Calix Society is for Catholics in recovery. You can use one of these in your exam question too. At the bottom of the slide is a link to an excellent description of each of these different alternative groups.