TRACING THE HISTORY OF ALCOHOL USE IN COLONIAL AMERICA
- November 25, 2018
For thousands of years, humanity has been inexplicably attracted to the intoxicating aroma of alcoholic drinks. In fact, from the first moment our ancestors swung from the trees to obtain fermented fruit, a plethora of alcoholic drinks have become ingrained in cultures across the globe. From fermented mare’s milk on the steppes of Mongolia to the chocolate drinks in ancient South America, humanity has always found inventive ways to create these potentially addictive substances. So where does America fit into the picture? How did beverages like beer or ale become integrated into the United States? Where did all of this begin? Let’s take a trip back through time to trace the history of alcohol use in Colonial America.
In Europe during the 1600s, water was not exactly the cleanest liquid people could use to quench their thirsts. At this time in history, public water sources were heavily contaminated with germs and bacteria. However, while well water was definitely not safe to drink, more potent concoctions like wine and beer certainly were (as the processes used to make these beverages destroyed harmful contaminants). In fact, when the Puritans sailed in the Mayflower across the Atlantic Ocean, they took with them a hefty supply of beer (which was even larger than the onboard supply of water).
During the Colonial Period, alcoholic drinks were available to people from all walks of life. Even children were allowed to indulge in beer and ale on an everyday basis. Typically, alcoholic drinks were used to alleviate or treat a wide range of sicknesses and to celebrate special occasions (including weddings, births, and funerals).
Although the Puritans brought back beer from their native England, they still faced one dilemma: how to make beer in the New World. Ultimately, these people had to use items that naturally occurred in the wild (including evergreen branches, berries, and fruit) to create different types of beer, wine, and cider. Likewise, European-imported hop was brought to the New World to help the settlers create a more traditional craft beer, and, during the middle of the 1600s, the distilled beverage called rum was introduced to the New World from the Caribbean.
Interestingly, though, one of the first documents stating that alcoholism is an easily preventable disease comes from the 1700s. At that time, Benjamin Rush (a Philadelphia-based physician) pronounced that alcoholism is, in fact, a disease that is easily treated through abstinence. At the time, his theory was not considered acceptable, but his words would continue to echo throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.
Always remember that alcohol does not have control over your life. You do. Are you suffering from a substance use disorder or a severe form of addiction? Do you have a friend or family member suffering from one or more of these debilitating illnesses? If you do, get in touch with Asana Recovery today. Our counselors and healthcare experts are ready to walk you through every step of the detox and withdrawal process and rehabilitation and guide you towards living a happier, healthier, and freer lifestyle. While the road to recovery might not be an easy road to travel, we promise to help you every step of the way. Take the first step to stay fit, healthy, and safe.
The time for you to take back control of your life is now. If you are interested in one of our residential treatment or supervised detoxification/withdrawal programs, we are ready and waiting to speak with you at your disclosure. Call Asana now at (949) 438-4504 to learn how to overcome your alcohol abuse or addiction troubles today.