While researching my family tree, I came across an advertisement in the October 15, 1901 Atlanta Constitution that I found fascinating! The ad (pictured below) reads:
Drunkards Easily Cured
Miss Mary Roberts Wants Every Lady Reader of This Paper To Know How She Saved Her Brother.
Used an Odorless and Tasteless Remedy in His Food Quickly Curing Him Without His Knowledge.
Trial Package of the Remedy Mailed Free To Show How Easily It Is To Cure Drunkards.
The terrible evil of drunkenness has at last found a conqueror. Miss Mary Roberts, of 1033 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco, Cal., tells how she saved her brother from ruin and her words burn with a new hope to every woman who would rescue a son, brother or husband from the scourge of drunkenness. She says:
“Yes, it is true that my brother is now a reformed man. For years he drank only occasionally but at last he got so bad that to be sober seemed a living death to him. After a spree he would tremble and shake and act as if he were going insane. He would then drink sparingly, but in a few days would start off again, and I wouldn’t see him for a week.
I saw a notice in our home paper that there was a remedy called Golden Specific to be given secretly in tea, coffee or soft food and that they would send me a free trial. I wrote for it and gave it to my brother early one morning in a cup of coffee before he had a chance to go out to get a drink. The effect was wonderful and seemed to brace him up. He went out and came back quite sober for him. In the meantime I had sent for a regular treatment of Golden Specific and after using it my brother was a changed man. Day after day, I watched and prayed and it all seemed too good to be true. His whole manner changed. I said nothing about the remedy I had been giving him secretly and did not talk of his being cured, but I would often tell him how happy I was and what a noble man he was to stop drinking. He, of course, knows it all now, but his new life, prosperity, new friends and self-respect have long ago forgiven me for the way in which I saved him from a drunkard’s grave. May every mother, sister or daughter learn from my experience is my devout hope, and in thus making public the story of our private misfortune and subsequent blessings it is my earnest desire that ever woman read in my words the way to happiness not only for herself, but for the man who is struggling with the curse of liquor upon him. Dr. Haines, who discovered Golden Specific, is deserving of a woman’s homage, and I am glad to know that he will send a free trial remedy to every woman who writes him.
Send your name and address to Dr. J. W. Haines, 1783 Glenn Building, Cincinnati, Ohio, and he will mail the remedy to you in a plain package and thus you can begin the cure at once. The remedy is odorless and tasteless and you need have no fear of discovery.”
So what became of this Dr. Haines and his remedy? Further research lead me to this website, where he is described thus:
In 1917 the American Medical Association denounced his remedy (by then known as “Haines’ Golden Treatment”) as “a cruel humbug.” On analysing the powders, they found them to comprise “milk sugar, starch, capsicum and a minute amount of ipecac.”
In theory, the ipecac holds promise as a cure – bung it in the guy’s whisky bottle and he might be violently sick whenever he takes a drop, thus he begins to associate drink with sickness.
There wasn’t, however, enough ipecac to make an impression beyond the normal effects of alcohol, and even if there were, the advert advises putting the remedy in the patient’s coffee – so at best it might put him (it’s always a him) off coffee.
There is something particularly sad about the fact that this remedy wasn’t aimed at alcoholics but at their families, who might invest in it a quantity of both hope and money that they could ill afford.
Other interesting links:
If you’re looking for a quick fix, I’m sorry to report that you can no longer get a sample of Golden Specific. But if alcohol is your problem, not your solution like it was in my case, you are in luck! There are still doctors looking to cure your alcohol problem: DrinkLessNow.com. If you’ve got a living problem like I do, I think your best bet is to get with the program.
Physicians who are familiar with alcoholism agree there is no such thing as making a normal drinker out of an alcoholic. Science may one day accomplish this, but it hasn’t done so yet.
Despite all we can say, many who are real alcoholics are not going to believe they are in that class. By every form of self-deception and experimentation, they will try to prove themselves exceptions to the rule, therefore nonalcoholic. If anyone who is showing inability to control his drinking can do the right-about-face and drink like a gentleman, our hats are off to him. Heaven knows, we have tried hard enough and long enough to drink like other people!
–BB p.31, More About Alcoholism
One last thing: Does the quote from one of the testimonies on DrinkLessNow.com make any other alcoholic out there laugh? This sounds like a living hell!:
Alford W.’s Story:
I hadn’t gone into a bar without getting drunk for 10 years. After only three weeks of Sobrexa, I couldn’t finish a second martini… and I wanted to! I haven’t had a problem since.
Perhaps we should keep Alford W. in our prayers.
Now and then a serious drinker, being dry at the moment says, “I don’t miss it at all. Feel better. Work better. Having a better time.” As ex-problem drinkers, we smile at such a sally. We know our friend is like a boy whistling in the dark to keep us his spirits. He fools himself. Inwardly he would give anything to take half a dozen drinks and get away with them. He will presently try the old game again for he isn’t happy about his sobriety. He cannot picture life without alcohol. Some day he will be unable to imagine life either with alcohol or without it. Then he will know loneliness such as few do. He will be at the jumping-off place. He will wish for the end.
– BB p.152, A Vision For You
- The Strange and Secret Keeley Cure for Addiction (addiction-dirkh.blogspot.com)