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Does punishment stop an alcoholic from drinking?

Government attempts to control or reduce alcohol consumption

In addition to using alcohol for various reasons, attempts have been made to control or reduce the amount consumed. In biblical times some of the methods used to curb consumption included putting dead bugs or worms in the drunkards’ wine. They tried pouring alcohol on all the foods he ate, believing he might become sick of the taste.

There were other methods which were even more disgusting. Years ago, the wife of the drunkard was put in jail because it was thought she caused the drinking problem. Another attempt was to limit the consumption of alcohol by pouring hot burning liquid down the drunkard’s throat. I even recently watched a news program from Singapore where they filmed a man who had been arrested on his first DWI. He was stripped of his clothing, strapped to a body-holding apparatus, and whipped until his buttocks were a bloody mess. I can’t imagine the punishment for a second offense.

Self awareness of a drinking problem

Drinking socially must be great! But if you’re lying on your bed, hanging on to the mattress to keep from falling off, or sucking on a wine bottle wrapped in a brown paper bag, somehow the pleasantries are gone. I have known alcoholics who have told me they were just going to finish their binge for the weekend, and then come back to A.A. Sadly, they didn’t live through the next four days.

Can you stop an alcoholic from drinking?

Today, the alcoholic or drug addict doesn’t have to be lying in the gutter wearing a torn overcoat, or begging for food, to qualify for treatment. We all know tht wealth does not prevent us from addictions; we just do it in fancier clothes. Many people have unhappy relationships with alcohol or other substances and may be oblivious to their condition, or may be aware of it and just can’t find the courage or desire to do anything about it.

To learn more about how you can help an alcoholic with a drinking problem, read our alcoholism intervention tips.

Photo credit: Funky64

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4 Responses to “Does punishment stop an alcoholic from drinking?
2:59 pm March 7th, 2011


Would love to use some of the examples of former punishments you cited. Can you give me any sources for them?

Many thanks.


Marilyn Lancelot
1:26 am March 8th, 2011

Hello Gail

I googled the words ‘unusual punishment for alcoholics in past history’ and found several sites.

Honey Bunny
2:35 am March 12th, 2011

I thought that corporeal punishment was something from the middle ages. Thank goodness we understand addiction and alcoholism as a disease now, instead of as a moral deficiency.

8:48 pm March 3rd, 2017

For those folks raised or married to alcoholics being in there presence is punishment. Have never met a decent, giving, or kind alcoholic. Very sad when you see haw these folks treat there families. Perhaps they need housing alone so they hurt no one. The worst drug addict is an alcoholic. Perhaps we should legalize pot and ban beer.

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About Marilyn Lancelot

Marilyn Lancelot is a recovering alcoholic and compulsive gambler with twenty years of recovery. She has authored three books, Gripped by Gambling , Detour, and Switching Addictions. She also publishes a newsletter on-line, Women Helping Women for recovery from gambling. This newsletter has been published for more than 10 years and is read by women and men around the world.