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The research stage. The research stage in the development of Sobriology, obviously, starts with the description and analysis of alcohol and other intoxicants, as well as with the collecting the scientific data about the medical and social ill-effects of their consumption, and with the development of scientifically grounded ways of substance abuse prevention.
One of the first scientifically grounded attempts to explain the reasons for taking alcohol was the great scientist and teetotaler of the second half of the 19th century August Forel (1848-1931). Working in the clinic for alcoholics, he drew a conclusion that the reason for alcoholism is wine itself, its peculiar properties which result in alcohol addiction. The solution of the problem he saw in exclusion wine from the life of the society. Thanks to Forel, a permanent temperance movement tradition of IOGT in Switzerland appeared which promoted the spread of sober ideas throughout the world.
August Forel was one of the first scientists who worked out the anti-alcohol theses:
«People, who call upon moderate use of alcohol, opium, etc., not only tempt those who try to fight against temptation but also make an exclusive source, if not an ovary, of alcoholism, as well as of dependencies from any intoxicants which result in degeneration of human brains and nervous system. All the addicted individuals start with the moderate use and are recruited among moderate drinkers” .
In his anti alcohol theses which abridged version is given here, Forel wrote:
1. “Any alcoholic “beverages”, including, fermented ones, such as wine, beer or fruit wine are poisons. These poisons kill 1/10 of males in Switzerland over 20, provide about 30 per cent of patients to our psychiatric asylums, result in 75 per cent of crime against individuals, make people silly, coarse, retard their spiritual development, drop morals and are worth lots of money without brining any use…
2. The so called “moderate” drinkers do not make themselves stronger, do not feed themselves, and, get nothing good. They lose about 6 years of life… and suffer from diseases 2 times as often as abstainers.
3. One third of the Indian army are abstainers. This one third is responsible for 12 times as little offences (73 against 869) and 2 times as little days of sick leaves as non-sober two thirds of the rest of the army.
4. Everyone who drinks moderately tempts (subconsciously) some of his weaker fellow citizens to do the same. That is why he is also to blame for alcoholic epidemic among his people for most of them cannot stop at moderate drinking.
5. A sober person gets more pleasures of life than loses because he gets healthier. A person who gets artificial pleasures cannot but lose a great number of natural pleasures.
6. If sobriety will spread more and more it will do harm to not any professional class and not to any branch of agriculture. Grapes and fruits could be used in a healthy way, and that’s all. Sobriety will multiply the wealth of the country which forces, health and morals won’t be wasted and destroyed by alcohol.
7. The habit of “moderate” drinking retards and blocks any spiritual work, increases the number of mistakes, makes our thinking more trivial and shallow, lessens a muscle force and road safety, decreases ability for any physical and spiritual work… Alcohol ruins brains...
8. Alcohol spoils reproducing cells of drinking men and women, as a result their descendants more or less degenerate…
9. As a medicine alcohol is good for nothing… It is useful only for solution of some medicines.
10. The resume to the alcohol problem can be as follows. If by magic to put out of the way all the drunkards, a few years later they will be replaced by new ones… The reason for alcoholism is the use of alcohol itself which, being wide spread, drives many people to abuse.
11. And so, the only solution is to eliminate all the fermented or distilled “beverages”, as well as alcohol trade which promotes alcohol production”.
In accordance with the above citation, alcohol is poison in any doses. Not only overdrinking but “moderate” drinking does harm, destroys body and soul. Besides, people who drink moderately, tempt weaker fellow citizens. The only solution is to eliminate any production and trade of alcohol.
In spite of the fact that A. Forel was a multilateral scientist, he attached so much importance to his sober activity that he even settled the epitaph being made on his tombstone: “The apostle of anti alcoholism” .
The similar ideas can be found in the open letter to municipal and local authorities of Russia “«About the settlement of wine and beer problem” of anti alcohol societies of Moscow (1915). Here are some of the theses of the letter:
IY. The fight against drunkenness of individuals cannot sober up the nation.
Y. Sobering up the nation can be achieved on one condition only: taking away all the alcoholic “beverages” from the people’s use.
YI. “Weak beverages” (wine and bear) are even more harmful than vodka because contain not only alcohol but many other harmful ingredients.
YII. A smaller strength of beer and wine does not guarantee “moderate” use: together with a vodka alcoholism there is also a beer and a wine alcoholism which are admitted to be a serious problem in Western European countries.
YIII. Wine and beer are more dangerous because they are weaker and tastier, and women and children take them more willingly.
XIII - XYII. …
XYIII. Neither beer nor wine branches are of great importance in the economy of Russia. That is why prohibition of wine and beer cannot result in serious losses in this field.
XIX. Grapes can be used not only for producing wine but also for producing a number of useful products (raw berries, raisin, grape juice, grape honey, paste, etc.) That is why elimination of the Russian wine growing cannot destroy the Russian growing of grapes as a branch of economy at the south end of Russia” .
Judging by this citation, as far as early in the 20th century, Russian doctors called alcohol “a paralyzing narcotic addictive poison” and thought it impossible to use it even in small doses. Beer and wine were considered even more dangerous for they tempted youth and women. They thought it was the state’s obligation to limit the free production and trade of alcohol containing goods, and grapes should be used to produce healthy products instead of wine.
Besides, in 1915 the Permanent Commission on Alcoholism which was under the Russian Society of the National Health Care and which had been studying the alcohol problems for 17 years, officially recognized alcohol a drug, harmful in any doses, and took a decision to exclude it from the list of food products . It should be pointed out that the Russian doctors saw the narcotic properties of alcohol as the reason for drunkenness.
Thus, late in the 19th - early in the 20th centuries many of the theses of the modern theory of sobriety were formulated, such as: alcohol is poison, “moderate” doses and “weak” alcohol goods cannot sober up the people. Only absolute sobriety can guarantee sobering up an individual and the society, etc.
The following stages can be outlined in the history of development of the national Sobriology.
Pre-revolutionary and Early Soviet stages. N.I. Grigoriev defends a Doctor’s thesis in Medicine “Alcoholism and crime in St. Petersburg” (1900). Alcoholism is being studied as a disease and a national calamity (National Encyclopedia, 1909), as a scientific and domestic problem (I.D. Strashun, E.I. Deitchman, L.G. Politov, 1928). Peculiarities of women’s alcoholism, village alcoholism, alcoholism in the army, the influence of alcohol on future generations are considered (Н. Блохин, 1913). V.M. Bekhterev writes his works about alcoholism and the fight against it (1912, 1927). The works of the Russian Congress of Struggle against Alcoholism have been issued, among which the studies of the great Russian physiologist I.P. Pavlov take an important place. (1910). F.F. Erisman (1897), V.Y. Kanel (1909), E.I. Deitchman (1927, 1928), I.D. Strashun study alcoholism among children and schoolchildren (1929). A. Korovin translates into Russian the French research “The Influence of Alcohol on the Child’s Body” by Jule Demme, and Doctor A.L. Mendelson on the basis of this research writes his “Book of Sobriety” for the Russian school (1913). I.P. Mordvinov writes “The First School Book of Sobriety” (1909), S. Uspensky prepares a popular textbook “The School of Sobriety” for primary schools (1914), M.M. Belyaev and S.M. Belyaev М.М., a doctor and a teacher, create “The Collection of Anti Alcohol Sums” (1914).
The Modern Stage. The 20th century proved to be very fruitful from the point of view of collecting scientific data throughout the whole world. In Russia the research in all the fields became more active after the governmental and party anti alcohol decrees of 1972 and 1985-1987. In spite of the fact that since late 80s the state actually moved aside from the solution of the alcohol problem, much of the new sobriological research has been carried out on the crest of the wave of the Fifth Sobriety Movement in Russia which stands against the official policy of “moderate” drinking.
For Sobriology the medical anti alcohol studies by I.N. Pyatnitskaya (1961, 1969, 1971, 1974, 1978), B.S. Bratus, and P.I. Sidorov (1984), E. Bekhtel (1986), N.Y. Kopyt and P.I. Sidorov (1986) are of interest. But the position of these scientists is half-and-half. Describing the heavy consequences of drunkenness the authors do not draw any sobriety conclusions. That is why sobriologists are guided by the studies done by scientists teetotalers: academician F.G. Uglov (1979, 1983, 1986, 1985, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1995, 2001, 2003, 2004), G.Y. Uzephovitch (1977, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1984, 1985, 1999), V.A. Ryazantsev (1981,1982, 1983, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1993,1999), E.D. Brokanas (1980, 1986, 1987), S.I. Zhdanov (1990), A.M. Karpov (2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009), etc.
The medical and social aspects of smoking are considered in the works by O.S. Radbil and Y.M. Komarov (1988) in the collections of articles of the International Agency of Cancer Research (1986). The research and op-ed by President of the Russian Association of Public Health, coordinator of the coalition “Russia free from Tobacco”, Doctor of Sc. (Politics), Candidate of Sc. (Medicine), Professor A.K. Demin (2008) attract our attention. He thinks smoking is one of the regulated factors of improving health and demographic problems in Russia. The problem of curbing the epidemic of smoking is the matter of concern for the World Health Organization (WHO). The European Regional Bureau of WHO has studied the global tendencies and consequences of tobacco smoking and offer a range of measures to be taken to lessen the demand for tobacco (2000). The nature and consequences of drug addictions are considered in the works by D.V. Kolesov (1986, 1987, 1988, 1991, 1992), N.B. Florova (2006) and others.
The credit for revival the idea of absolute sobriety in Russia belongs, first and most of all, to the sociologist Igor Pavlovich Krasnonosov. In March 1966 he sent his memorandum “Proposals how to De-escalate Drunkenness in the Country” to the Presidium of the 23rd Congress of the Communist Party of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), then he sent them to outstanding scientists, physicians, writers. The memorandum and its review made a fundamental work “The Path to Sobriety”.
Late in 60s I.A. Krasnonosov formulated the main principles of sober outlook.
“Ideological principle: struggle against drunkenness should be considered as a political but not as a narrow domestic problem.
Theoretical: consequences of the use of alcohol depend exclusively on the total consumption per capita – regarding the index of strong goods (so, all the talk that “moderate”, “civilized” drinking is less harmful is vain).
Moral: repressions against drunkards are not only useless but also unfair because the struggle against drunkenness and tolerance towards “innocent”, peaceful wine use by right-minded citizens is needed who are to blame as much as drunkards.
Organizational: the task of rooting out alcohol use is not narrow institutional but national and should be headed by Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) and the Government of the USSR” .
The concrete and effective way of sobering up became possible due to G.A. Shitchko’s discovery who declared that alcoholism and other dependencies are not medical cases but brain disorders, false drug-use programs. G.A. Shitchko worked out a technology of overcoming alcohol and tobacco dependencies. His disciples worked out different versions of his technology, including the technology of overcoming drug dependency (V.I. Grinchenko, V.A. Druzhinin, Y.V. Morozov, Y.A. Sokolov). But the official study of narcomania (narcology) would repeat that alcohol and drug addictions are medical cases and should be treated by medicines. But there some narcologists who came to understanding that the main and the only possible way of overcoming dependencies is psychotherapeutic and medical measures can only relieve the problems, connected with poisoning by intoxicants (V.A. Ryazantsev, 1999; S.N. Zaitsev, 2006).
Psychological and educational aspects of prevention and overcoming dependencies are considered in the works by P.I. Gubochkin (2000, 2001, 2007 2009), D.V. Kolesov (1986, 1987, 1988, 1991, 1992), A.N. Mayurov (1980, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009), Y.A. Pryadukhin (1996), L.K. Fortova (1994, 2001, 2002), G.M. Entin (1979, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1994), V.N. Yagodinsky (1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989), A.N. Yakushev (1980, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993) and many others.
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