We all know about the term Prohibition and the government’s attempt to legalize the sale and production of alcohol. I’ve contemplated the success of this quite often throughout my recovery journey, so I decided to do some research.
Now, I’m not advocating we start prohibiting the sale of alcohol entirely, because that would be the most selfish and possibly the most alcoholic thing I could suggest.
-it’s not a successful recovery if everyone else has to stop in order to maintain YOUR sobriety.
However, it seemed to be a pretty big deal for the history of this country, so I wanted to know, is there a history to the prohibition that might shed light on the issues of today? Where these prohibitionists onto something?
I was pretty surprised to find the origin of the prohibition movement, attributed roughly to bizarre antics of one woman; Carrie Amelia Nation.
Many surmise her disdain for alcohol is due to the fact that her first husband died as a direct result of drinking. In reality, their marriage was nearly doomed from the start, as his addiction to alcohol was so apparent, many warned her against the union including her own parents.
The separation became final September 1868 -shortly after their union- just before the birth of their daughter. Her then ex-husband died just a few months later in the following year of 1869.
Her anger spurred her to take a hatchet to the liquor bottles lining the barback, and most establishments that offered spirits. She never lived to see prohibition go into effect, however, her notion that God had called upon her to enforce the sale of alcohol in saloons and brothels had sparked many a movement, previously unheard of.
Saloons across the nation put up signs, “All nations welcome except Carrie,”.
Self imposed prohibition
Likewise, people across the nation sparked their own movements. Including six individuals in a Baltimore tavern, who swore earnestly to each other to never have a drink again.
Thus, “A Society Of Reformed Drunkards” was formed, which is now very much considered the precursor to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Before long there were new faces at these meetings, and lots of them, forming entire societies.
These societies became known as ‘Washingtonian Societies’ and they began to spread like wildfire, popping up in states across the nation; hundreds of meetings, thousands of alcoholics flocking to take the pledge.
At its peak, more than half a million people added their names to the growing list reformers.
Those who fought hard to free humans from the bonds of slavery often viewed alcoholism as the same evil. Which is how the term temperance was coined, which was used to describe the moderation of alcohol before what later lead to the entire prohibition.
The first year that the 18th amendment was ratified it brought with it, prohibition of production and sale of alcohol. There was also a delegated protection of order for those women and children affected by alcoholism.
At the time of prohibition, alcoholism had become such an issue that even, President Franklin Pierce died as a result of edema and cirrhosis.I can tell you from personal experience neither of which are fun, cool, or epic (any of the things people use to describe modern day drunk shenanigans).
When does it end?
President Pierce died October 8th, 1868 due to cirrhosis of the liver as a result of alcoholism. Now, around the same date 2018, and what has changed? At what cost? How many lives lost?
Perhaps Carry Nation
might tell you at least one too many.
Suppose First Lady Jane Pierce might say the same.
150 years later…they might be rolling in their respective marked graves.
No, I’m not advocating prohibition, what I’m advocating is a change because it seems clear that we haven’t really learned all that much except how much worse alcohol is on a scientific level.
So let’s stop striving for drunk foggy memories and start enjoying sober activities; making that the norm.
Change starts with us.
Change starts here.