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The History of Alcohol in America

The Rise of Alcoholism in America

Determining the amount of alcohol consumed in our country is tricky because the percentages of alcohol vary from one alcoholic beverage to another.  Beer is 3% to 5% alcohol, while wine is around 18% alcohol.  The harder drinks like vodka and whiskey may be around 45% alcohol.  What makes finding a statistic on alcohol consumption even more difficult is the statistics may be based on all ages or just adults.


Alcohol in Early America

Even though statistics may vary, it is quite clear that the consumption of alcohol in the early years of the United States was prevalent and extensive.  It was not hidden; citizens and visitors to our country both openly noticed it and thought of it as a developing problem.  Historians believe that, although drinking alcohol was widely accepted and done in excess, there wasn’t a lot of people getting “drunk”.  This means that drinking alcohol was such a part of the lives of early Americans that they had a tolerance to its effects and rarely got to the point where they were ‘falling down drunk’.


The Popularity of Alcohol

Most casual drinkers at the time would start their days with a quarter pint of cider.  If they did not have their drink at home, they would stop for a drink on their way to work.  Most merchants and businessmen would take a late morning break for a drink of their favorite liquor.  On their way home it was customary to stop for a drink at the local pub.  All walks of life at all times of the day and at all ages participated in the consumption of alcohol.  It was America’s pastime.


The Reasons for Drinking

The reasons that Americans drank back in the early days of our country are probably the same as they are today.  They liked the feeling that alcohol gave them.  Plus alcohol was easy to make and this great country of ours had all the right ingredients.  It was a cash crop.  It was cheap to make, and a lot of it was made, which paved the way for mass consumption.  People drank to celebrate.  They drank to bond.  They drank to numb their feelings.  Back then, it seems nobody was above the allure of alcohol.


Early Statistics of Alcohol Consumption

The consumption of alcohol in America (per capita) in 1830 was nearly 4 gallons.  In other words, every person in the United States of America averaged about 4 gallons of alcohol per year.  Fifteen years later that average had declined to 1 gallon per person.  Why such a decrease in a relatively short period of time?  It has to do with the big changes that society in the United States underwent during the first fifty years of the 19th century.  The development of the economy; the monopoly of employment; the big changes in how we communicate and how we get around; the insurgence of religion – all of these changes were motivators for people to be more interested in abstaining from alcohol than being under the influence of it.


Alcohol in Society Today

In today’s society, there is much divisiveness over alcohol consumption. Many religious cultures forbid drinking, while other more cosmopolitan cultures view it as a social staple. Regardless of this, for those people who have a problem with alcohol abuse, it is a hugely destructive substance that destroys lives.


Today alcohol related fatalities are more than fatalities involving every other drug combined.  It is truly America’s gateway drug and there are countless programs and recovery centers across our nation dealing with alcoholism.


How to Get Help for Alcoholism


Following the physical detox portion of the the rehab program, clients engage in a variety of life skills education phases where they will learn how to communicate effectively, have control over their life and decision making, participate positively in personal relationships and become industrious and successful at work.


Once a person has successfully completed each phase of the program, they are freed from the bondage of addiction and can go on to a happy and productive life.


Call toll free 1-800-556-8885 to talk with an expert Addiction Counselor.  Our goal is to help free society from the perils of addiction.
See Also:  Alcohol Abuse Among Females