In view of the fearful Imvock made even year, all over the length and breadth of the land by
intemperance, which both destroys its victims and robs society of their labor and their influence.,
there are few questions, which, by careful consideration of private and public interest, command
themselves to the Christian philanthropist more than this :—‘ • Can inebriety be cured ?”
There was a time, when unanimously, the public voice, both of the learned and unlearned, an¬
swered in the negative, and but little effort was put forth to arrest the progress of this evil, or secure
its victims from its deadly grasp. With the progress of the Temperance Cause, however, the
opinion of those, who have taken pains to investigate the matter, has greatly changed, and thanks
to the valuable help afforded by the light, shed upon the subject by science, inebriety is now looked
upon, not as a vice only, but as a disease, which, with proper care and under the right treatment,
can be cured.
So mysterious, however, is the nature of that disease, so complex and obscure its character,
involving as it does, abnormal conditions of both body and mind, and varying in every ease,
with individual temperament and characteristics, that it often happens, that even while its existence
is admitted, vet less dependence is placed upon medical science for its cure, than upon new sur¬
roundings, new habits and new associations. Thus numbers of men—who, on recovering from a
long course of inebriety, have found themselves in a Temperance atmosphere, and disgusted with the
past, have gratefully embraced the opportunities offered them, pledging themselves, attending
Temperance meetings, and on every occasion renewing their pledge by new committals to total
Abstinence,—have seemed thoroughly reformed, or cured, although without any aid from the
physician. But when, of necessity perhaps, their circumstances became different, and they were
deprived of those outward helps to their strength of resolution, upon which, almost unconsciously,
they had learned to depend, they soon wavered, and after a while, fell again and again.
It is evident, therefore, that however useful all those influences may be, as mere outward helps,
something more is needed ; for, even admitting inebriety to be merely a mental disease, a species
of insanity, inherited or acquired, by some means of which the patient has no knowledge, vet, such
are the peculiar relations of mind and body,—the abnormal condition of each acting on the other—
that while the morbid developments of the physical system, which result from inebriety, will effec¬
tually paralyze all efforts at restraint, the continued indulgence, which the patient is powerless to
denv himself, will daily aggravate those infirmities, which render resistance impossible. No effort,
for renewed self-control can be made, therefore, with a chance of success, without the help, so far as
possible, of a healthy system, both mental and physical.
fhe first attention then, in any rational treatment, must \ e given to a searching and patient diagno¬
sis of whatever malady may suggest itself, and the application of the proper remedial agents. Indeed,
post; mortem examinations have established the fact, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that undue
indulgence in drink, not only intensifies some already prevailing weakness, but produces lesions all
through the physical system, so that in reality, there is not an organ of the body, that is not impaired
in its functions, by this fatal habit. In fact, the nature of the disease appears to he molecular,
affecting not only the nerve matter, but every part of the human system.
'fhe mistake is often made, that in order to cure the disease, the appetite for drink must he
removed, hence the nostrums and the panaceas, so widely advertised, which profess to destroy
the appetite. It is safe to say, however, that such assumed specifies arc based, neither upon common
sense, nor upon any number of well authenticated cures. It is not the appetite alone,— that is the
morbid craving for stimulants—which constitutes the disease, but that craving, and infirmity of will
in resistance, combined with it. Remove either, therefore, and a cure has been effected.
As for the appetite, whether it he idiopathic, as is sometimes the case, or induced by the habits
of the past life, as it more often is, it can never be removed by any human skill. It may be weakened
by a long lapse of time, but it will never die, so long as its possessor himself may live. The efforts
of the physician must, therefore, be directed towards the other component part of the disease; in
other words, the will must be stimulated and strengthened up to the point of total abstinence, by
removing, through all the resources of medical and psychological skill, every thing which has under¬
mined it in the past, or may enfeeble it in the future. When the power of will once more asserts
itself oyer appetite, or in other words, when the power to practice total abstinence is attained, it is of
little practical importance, whether the appetite lives or dies.
The method of cure consists, therefore, in applying the proper remedies to the physical condition,
thus removing every weakening influence, which past indulgence mi^ht have over the will. Then,
when the physical system is in the right condition, leaving the mind entirely free, let no man, how¬
ever long he may have been a slave of appetite, imagine that he is the helpless victim of destiny ; he
can have power over himself, to repress the cravings of his appetite, for human will counts for
something, not only in the modification of physical nature, but in the modification of a man’s own
nature. " But ” to borrow, and apply to the subject on hand, the words of Prof. (ieo. E. Day, M. I).,
of England, speaking on the prevention of insanity, "the will can only be developed by exercise:
cannot be fashioned suddenly, and through reflection only; must be a slow and gradual growth,
through action in relation to the circumstances of life, dust, in fact, as he gains by practice, a
particular power over the muscles of his body, associating them in action for the performance of
complicated acts, which, without previous training, he could no more perform than he could fly, and,
rendering his muscles in this regard, habitually obedient to the dictates of his will, so can he, in
like manner gain by practice, a particular power over the thoughts and feelings of his mind, asso¬
ciating them in action, for the definite accomplishment of a definite aim in life, and rendering them
in this regard, habitually obedient to the dictates of the will, in the pursuit of its ideal.” The right
scientific advice to any one, who has suffered from the disease of inebriety, is then, as soon as he has
regained his physical health, to strive before all things to develop his will, and by no means to
believe that prayer,—if by prayer he means what is too often meant, viz : merely a formal or senti¬
mental invocation for help from on high, and not the sincere and earnest expression of all the
energies of the heart and mind—can compensate for lack of will in the conduct <d‘ life.
It is for the cure of inebriates by the aid of such means,—that is by restoring to the will its power
over appetite,—that inebriate asylums have been established ; and the results obtained are of such en¬
couraging nature, as to prove beyond a doubt, the necessity of those institutions for the cure of the
particular disease of inebriety, as there are hospitals for the cure of other diseases.
Thousands of letters might be copied here, from cured patients and grateful relatives, in proof of
the theory advanced. One case we have in mind, a man of high position and social standing, who
became so completely a slave to the dominion of his appetite, as to bathe all the efforts, both of himself
and friends, until it seemed that he must be given up, as beyond hope. After fourteen month’s
sojourn, at the Greenwood Institute, however, he was dismissed cured, and some months after,
a letter was received from his brother, of which the following is an extract:
I have greatly enjoyed II.’s stay at my house, the past month. lie has seemed like anew man,
a renewed being. IIis cure seems to be thorough, and I have never been more grateful to God
for His goodness, nor have I ever felt under deeper obligations to any human being, than I do and
shall to you, Doctor.”
The letter was received about one year since, and there has been no relapse, but rather an increase
of strength, from day to day.
If the thoughts presented above have any weight, the important inquiry suggests itself: Is every¬
thing done for the inebriate that should be done? In other words, ought any to be given up by
their friends, without some attempt towards their cure; and when friends cannot, ought not the
State give them the proper care? The question is one, not merely of philanthropy, but of political
economy also, and as such it is left for every one to decide.
In accordance with the above theories, the
has been established. This Institution is located in the beautiful and quiet village of Greenwood,
eight miles from Boston, on the Boston & Maine R. R. The patients here have the benefit of fine
scenery and an invigorating atmosphere, where quiet surroundings can be enjoyed,—a very important
consideration, in the treatment of diseases resulting from an overtaxed nervous system, and for the
raising up of those who have fallen in the great battle of life. During the last fifteen years, I have
been engaged in this work, and thus far, I have found no place so well calculated, for an Institution
of this kind, as Greenwood. As I have no pecuniary aid from the public, reasonable charges must
be made, for the care and treatment of patients. Both sexes arc admitted, and it is my purpose,
as soon as sufficient funds can be secured, to establish a separate department for females.
Persons desiring to make special enquiries, can have all the information they wish, by addressing
me at Greenwood, or by calling at mv office in Boston, Room No. 11, Tremont Temple, on week
days, between the hours of 10 A. M., and 2 o’clock P. M.
ALBERT DAY, M. D„ Supt.
Greenwood. Feb. 22 . 187 2 .
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