The Alcoholic Wife and Her Family Facts About Wives Who Drink and Their Spouses, Derived From a Study of the Clinical Material of the State University Alcohol Clinic in Brooklyn, With Emphasis on a Case Analysis of Five Families Where the Mother Is Alcoholic

Lena Marie Blanco, Fordham University

Abstract

Background of the Study. The impetus for this study arose when this student found, during the orientation program of her second year placement at Kings County Hospital, that a new research and treatment center known as the State University Alcohol Clinic had opened. With the help of clinic staff the writer learned that one area needing research was that concerning alcoholism among women. Since social work stresses social factors, the writer felt it would be of interest to study the alcoholic wife within her family group. During the research period the writer worked directly with some of the patients, thus acquiring first hand knowledge. The universal use of alcohol as the "great deceiver," dates to early man, so that alcoholism is by no means a modern day problem. The brewing of beer can be traced to the beginning of agriculture in 5000 B.C. during the Neolithic or New Stone Age. In early societies a religious festival usually called for several days of celebration in which the men especially were permitted to drink. Tribal drinking was a communal affair and as typified in the Dionisian orgies, only men could participate. With the exception of the Moslem culture, which forbids drinking for all, most groups accept the use of alcohol by men whereas the use of it by women has always been forbidden or controlled. Despite restrictions placed on women in one form or another, Egyptian tombs of 4000 years ago bear imprints of women "suffering from overindulgence in wine." In ancient Rome drinking for men under thirty was not permitted and any drinking by women was a serious crime. In order that husbands might detect the use of alcohol by their wives, kissing was sanctioned in a law by Romulus. Roman law also provided for the acquittal of a man if he murdered his wife for drinking. As the Roman empire expanded and life became more complex, drinking patterns spread to all classes as laws became less stringent. Similarly, as our culture becomes more complex, drinking seems to be spreading not only among classes but inclusive of both sexes. Although the use of "spirits" seems universal, the extent to which they are used and consumed depends on the group, for as one author claims, "The use of alcoholic beverages in a group of society is primarily a cultural phenomena." Solitary drinking and individual intoxication, for example, are rare among primitive people.

Subject Area

Social research|Clinical psychology|Individual & family studies|Social work

Recommended Citation

Blanco, Lena Marie, "The Alcoholic Wife and Her Family Facts About Wives Who Drink and Their Spouses, Derived From a Study of the Clinical Material of the State University Alcohol Clinic in Brooklyn, With Emphasis on a Case Analysis of Five Families Where the Mother Is Alcoholic" (1955). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI30670862.
https://research.library.fordham.edu/dissertations/AAI30670862

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