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Women of the Temperance Movement to Fight Alcoholism

Women of the Temperance Movement to Fight Alcoholism Resurgence - A women's support group meets to discuss the fight against alcoholism and share their stories and support with one another.

Women of the Temperance Movement to Fight Alcoholism


While there are plenty of problems unique to our current moment in history, alcoholism is not one of them. The historical prevalence of alcoholism gives us a lot to learn from today. It is something we have seen at Resurgence Behavioral Health time and time again. Lessons from history can often be a wonderful source of innovation in today’s world.

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The Roots of the Temperance Movement


The Temperance Movement began in the 1800s in Cleveland, Ohio, as a response to an increase of social drinking in American culture. Throughout the 1700s, alcohol had become a routine part of life for colonials. In addition to its role as a regular beverage, it was also used as a medicine and as a means of barter between people. Although alcohol was seen as commonplace and even daily drinking was not uncommon, drunkenness was not tolerated, and people were ready to fight alcoholism.

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The Rise of the Temperance Movement


As problems with alcoholism and episodes of public drunkenness rose, so did a sense of public alarm to fight alcoholism. Churches and religious orders were particularly quick to point out the various ills they claimed to be caused by the “demon drink.” It was not long before local Temperance Movements began to have a nationwide influence.

Why Women Became a Force in the Temperance Movement


There are many reasons why women became such a strong force within the Temperance Movement to fight alcoholism. At this time in history, women were seen as being responsible for the well-being of everyone in their homes. This included responsibility for the physical, mental, and emotional health of her husband and her children. The rise of alcoholism led to a rise in many serious domestic issues. These included financial stability and, in some cases, domestic violence.

Who Were the Women of the Temperance Movement?


Several famous and notable women lent their voices and power to advance the Temperance Movement. While some disagreed that the main issue of drunkenness was its ‘sinful nature’, they did agree that alcoholism was a growing threat.

Susan B. Anthony


Susan B. Anthony was a champion of human rights throughout her life. She advocated for the end of slavery and equal pay to women workers. She was inspired by her father’s Quaker religious background. She believed true change came from a multi-pronged approach. She wanted to address the wrongs in the world while advocating to lift people from victimhood and poverty. She was heavily involved in the suffrage movement as well. She gave a famous speech at a Chicago meeting of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. During the speech, she focused on the Temperance movement and why it was such an important issue for women to take up. She acknowledged that some women struggled with alcoholism. But the real issue was how much women suffered as the result of drunkenness, even if they themselves never took a sip. Women, at that time ,often had little or no voice when it came to their wages, owning property, or being able to make their own decisions. All of this added to their vulnerability and often left their well-being in the hands of men who were in the grips of alcoholism.

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Francis Willard


The Women’s Christian Temperance Union, or WCTU, was founded in 1873 to improve the lives of people via the Temperance Movement. Francis Williard became president of the organization shortly after its formation. She quickly became known for her “Do Everything” policy. Williard had a clear understanding of how alcoholism had ravaged communities. As a result, she was an ardent supporter of the Temperance Movement. But her commitment to helping people was not limited to the abolition of alcoholism. She felt in order to truly help people, you needed to do a little bit of everything. She was involved in various human rights campaigns including those to advance voting rights and create greater access to education.

Marie Caroline Brehm


Marie Brehm became involved with the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, or WCTU, in her early 30s. She became president of the organization and served in the capacity for five years. She was also appointed by two separate presidents to represent the United States in the World’s Anti-Alcoholic Congress. President William Taft appointed her in 1909 for the convention held in London, England. In 1913 she was appointed again by President Woodrow Wilson as the US delegate for the congress held in Milan, Italy. Brehm was an undeniable force within the political community. She became the first woman to run for vice-president with Herman P. Faris for the Prohibition Party in 1924.

The Legacy of Women in the Temperance Movement


The work these women – and many others – accomplished during the Temperance Movement echoes still today. Their bravery, innovation, and ability to rally support among people inspire people today. Those values have become the fundamental virtues of any grass-roots campaign. In a time when women were seen as second class citizens not even worthy of voting, these women faced harsh criticism but held fast to their convictions. They did so with compassion and a willingness to work in collaboration with others. They were activists and educators, caregivers, and motivators.

How the Temperance Movement Influenced Alcohol Rehab


Today, the staff at Resurgence Behavioral Health uses the lessons and examples set forth by these women to create change in people’s lives today. Not all aspects of the Temperance Movement have a place in modern-day alcohol rehab, but there are many lessons we still use successfully today. An approach that encompasses physical, mental, and spiritual health is a basic tenet of our work today. We work with doctors and experts from a variety of disciplines. This allows us to develop a network of research, education, and support to help every client we meet.

Insurance Verification


Our commitment is to support people who ask for help. Our drug and alcohol rehab facilities and programs are top of the line. But we realize that is not someone’s first impression of us. We work tirelessly to make help accessible to everyone. One of the ways we work to reach people where they are is through our Insurance Verification service. People can speak with one of our insurance experts to determine their coverage level. We work with insurance companies across the country and understand the complexities of coverage. We understand it can seem overwhelming and confusing to navigate through the fine print. This initial challenge to recovery is one that keeps people mired in substance abuse for a longer amount of time. We see it as the perfect opportunity to show how committed we are to making ourselves accessible and offering a hand up to those reaching out for help.

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Reach Out for Help Today


Alcoholism has a long history in our culture, but that does not mean it has a place in our future. The Temperance Movement – and the women who championed its cause – has taught us many valuable lessons. We understand the true cost of alcoholism extends beyond the person who drinks. We know a person’s physical health is tied to their emotional and mental well-being. The staff at Resurgence Behavioral Health embraces the legacy of these women to forge a brighter future. If you are ready to reach out, we are ready to help.

Alexa Iocco

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