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B10. The Cure for Alcoholic Intemperance.

If men can be cured or rid of an appetite for liquor, there would then be less and less demand for liquor. If people cease to have an appetite for any article kept for sale, there soon will be little or no sale for such article.

We hold that the appetite for liquor can be controlled, through the exercise of a certain mental law. This law is within the reach of all. It can he experimented on without cost. It can be used by the sufferer from this diseased appetite; and be used, at the same time, by his friends in his behalf.

Such friends can use the law of silent demand. That is the power which one mind possesses of silently throwing its thought, or desire, or wish, or expectation, into another mind, and making such mind wish, desire, think, and act, in accordance with the other’s wish. This power can be used by one or many minds thinking or desiring in unison. It can be used for good or evil results. It is constantly used all about us, though for the most part unconsciously, with good or evil results.

For instance, the man who drinks will crave liquor the more if much in the society of those who drink. He will feel the craving less if much in the society of the temperate and self‑controlled. No word nor argument, for or against the use of liquor, heed be made, in these cases, to increase or lessen such craving. It comes of the silent action of mind upon mind.

But this force of silent demand can be used more intelligently, and with quicker profitable result.

If, in your own mind, you will say in thought that you do not expect a friend afflicted with this habit to give way to it, he will, through the force of your mind acting on his own, be strengthened to resist the temptation. If you will, in mind, always positively see him as temperate and self‑governed, he will receive from you the force, in thought, of temperance and self‑government. If several unite in so sending him this thought, and so seeing him in thought, they give him a proportionately stronger force to resist the uncontrollable appetite. They are, then, really praying for him, and praying in the strongest way. A man is cured of the craving for liquor when he can pass the liquor saloon, or even enter it, without any desire to drink, or scan have liquor freely offered him, with no desire to partake of it. He is thoroughly cured when he can take a glass of wine, or other stimulant, without giving way to the inordinate appetite for more.

The bar‑keeper is, in many cases, the most thoroughly self‑controlled man in the saloon. He may be always in the midst of liquor selling and drinking, but has no tendency to indulge to excess. No intemperate bar‑keeper can retain his position. His employer expects him to be temperate. The action of the employer’s mind on the employee is one powerful agency in keeping him temperate. The employee feels the employer’s thought. He has that part of the employer’s mind which expects, and demands, that he shall keep sober, thrown into his own mind, and acts in accordance with such mind.

This is precisely the mental attitude which we should assume toward the victim of excess. We should image him in our minds as temperate, and able to control his appetite. In so doing we send him (our thought being kind, sympathetic, and free from anger or impatience) a force or current of thought, which will cause him to demand of himself to be temperate. If we send him the thought of controlling his appetite, we help him to control his appetite. The more of us who so unite in sending such order of thought to any single individual, the stronger the power brought to bear on that individual to stop his excessive craving for stimulant. It becomes then a co‑operative prayer for such individual.

But if we in our minds always see or image that man as a drunkard, we are sending him a current of thought which will aid the more to make and keep him intemperate. We are helping him only to keep before him the image of himself as a drunkard; and if we regard him in spirit as worthless, depraved, and irreclaimable, we are helping him only to see himself as worthless, depraved, and irreclaimable. We must not in our minds say, “I wish he would control himself,” and almost in the same thought say, “I expect or I am afraid he will get drunk the next chance he gets.” In so doing, we increase those chances. Nor should we in our minds, when he is absent or present, scold him in anger or impatience for his infirmity. For in such mood of scolding, we shall always see him in mind as the drunkard or the person who irritates, vexes, or grieves us by his inability to control his appetite. We help to cure that inability when, in our minds, we make him a man temperate or self‑controlled. We send the force of such a reality in thought to the weak will, so oft overcome by the inordinate craving. We send, on the contrary, the force of the intemperate reality when we image such in our minds, to the same weak will, and increase its burthen.

But it may be asked, “Is not the man a drunkard? Where is the consistency of saying a man is temperate, when he is not, or of seeing him in our minds as temperate, when he is not?”

The real man in this case is not a drunkard. The real man is what that man is in his highest aspiration or desire, and it matters not how low or degraded is the material condition of any human being, there remains still in that individual the desire to be something better, or the desire to rid himself of an appetite or habit which brings him pain. The real is the spiritual man or woman. In him or her there is always the spark of aspiration; or, in other words, the desire for improvement, although it may be very feebly expressed. When we send, even to the man in the gutter, this sentiment in thought, “You are not a drunkard. You are not irreclaimable. You are temperate,” we are sending to the real man thoughts or forces which feed his spirit and make it stronger.

It is only the material man, or the material part or mind of that man, that is in the gutter. With him in our thought, we have nothing to do. We refuse in mind to see him. We see only in mind that man out of the gutter, erect, clothed, self‑controlled, and in his right and higher mind. When so we see him, we are sending him that kind of thought. We are presenting to him, as we so send him such thought, the image or ideal of himself as a true man. But if we see him in imagination always as a drunkard, we help to keep him in mind before himself as a drunkard, and this helps to keep him a drunkard. If we see him in imagination as an inordinate lover of strong drink, it is an aid to keep him before himself as an inordinate lover of strong drink.

The desire of one or many persons to rid another person of an injurious appetite, is the greatest of all power for so ridding him of such appetite, or any other defect. It is a co‑operative prayer.

But such desire or prayer, or the law of demand, must, like any other force in nature, be directed aright, or it may do harm instead of good.

If we express this thought in our prayer, “we ask for the reform of this man cursed with an inordinate appetite,” or “we ask for the reform of this incorrigible thief,” we have still too much in mind the image and thought of an uncontrollable appetite, or an incorrigible thief, and we shall then send this thought to the victim of appetite, or to the thief. That thought acts on them. It does not lift them up. It keeps, rather, excess and thieving ever present in their minds. For the thought that others think of you they send you; and one is very apt to hold himself or herself in his or her own estimation as others esteem them. If one hundred people unite, unjustly, in thinking of you as a thief, or hold you in any other evil estimation, you will have a powerful unseen force acting on you, to make you feel that you are the very character they think you. You may not know where such impression comes from, or that such cause for disposing you to evil exists. But it does exist, and people do others a great deal of temporary harm by so thinking unfavorably of them.

Just as we see a person in mind do we pray for them, or desire them to be. If you will persist ever in seeing a person’s present faults, with all the irritation those faults may cause you, you are actually praying or demanding that such person shall remain with such faults. You are sending that person, from time to time, the same faulty, defective portions of himself, in instalments, to add to himself. You may even have a certain pleasure in talking that person over and over, and raking up all his or her shortcomings, and the annoyances they have caused you. You are then doing that person much harm, and harm in proportion as your love for raking up the old annoyances increases.

When people are always scolding about the faults of another, they really beget in themselves a love for such scolding. They beget in themselves a morbid and unhealthy love of fault‑finding. If the person with whom they find fault was suddenly made relatively perfect, their occupation would be gone. They would feel uneasy, because they could no longer image him in their minds as the “poor, miserable creature” he had been.

No thought cuts deeper to the heart of an intemperate person than the feeling, on his part, that his friends do not, in their minds, trust him in the use of liquor. The feeling that the bottle is put out of sight, because he has entered the room, has made many a man rush from that room or place, and rush into excess. Why is this? Because a force or thought has been sent him, and has entered into him, and became a part of him, for the time, telling him that he is weak, untrustworthy, and relatively worthless. If he is placed on the same footing of indulgence as the others, and if the others say to him in their minds, “We expect and know that you will govern your appetite as we do,” they will give him a mental help to govern that appetite, because a stronger, more encouraging, and aspiring order of thought has been sent him from those persons, and has entered into and acts on him.

If three, five, or ten persons are in a room, and they will, by previous agreement, make up their minds that the next person who enters that room shall be made to feel a certain emotion, or be put in a certain mood of mind, they will be very likely to throw such mood on that person, provided their minds and attention or concentration of thought is not taken off such person by the entrance of others, or by other causes of interruption. They may, by this method, make that person feel awkward, or constrained, or very cheerful, in accordance with the character of thought they unite in thinking of him for the time. As they for the time image that person in their minds, so will they, to greater or less extent, make that person feel. What they may imagine, in concert, that person to feel and act for the time being, are they desiring or praying for that person to be. Prayer is the putting out of a strong desire or demand. It can be so put out for a good or ill purpose. We can pray for evil as well as good, and many do, unconsciously, pray for evil rather than good. If I, as a bigot, see another person always as a miserable, fallen creature, full of faults, and also desire that such person shall feel very uncomfortable, shall be harassed and disturbed in mind, shall live in a gloomy and despairing state of mind, until such person accepts my opinions and is converted to them, I am doing the wrong thing, and using prayer, or the law of demand, in the wrong direction; because I am then both judging and punishing, through the power of thought. I have no right so to inflict pain on others. That is man’s erroneous method. It is not the method of the Spirit of Infinite Good. That method is to convert and change men’s natures through pouring on them sunshine, and not darkness. That method is to make them feel cheerful, joyful, and uplifted into temperance and self‑control, as I so image them in my mind, and send such image in thought to them. When I do this, I connect myself with the Spirit of Infinite Good; I feel better myself than if I in mind scold or threaten, or see ever the degraded being or uncontrollable appetite.

At present too many of us are so seeing the sufferer through alcoholic intemperance. As so these many minds see him are they praying for him in the wrong direction. They are co‑operatively handling this gigantic unseen power of thought to keep the drunkard and the criminal down, by always seeing him as a drunkard or criminal, and never forgetting that he has been one. They are unable to forget it. They are very liable to show before such person that they are not able to forget it. If they cannot forget, they must make that person feel it. Because thought, as a force, travels from mind to mind, and acts from mind to mind; and if in your mind you cannot forget that the person before you has been a criminal or a drunkard, you are certain to make that person feel your unspoken opinion of him.

A man should never be spoken or thought of as a “reformed drunkard.” To help keep him self‑controlled, we need to forget that he has ever been a drunkard. We have nothing whatever in our minds to do with him as a drunkard. We need to bury the former drunkard, bury him so deep in forgetfulness that he can never be dug up again. If we do not, if in thought we keep up a fear he may relapse into his former habit; if we are ever admonishing him to keep sober; if we carry that thought with us when in his company, or out of it, we may be more to blame than he if he does fall; for we have, in such case, been sending him, in thought, the image and force of his fallen self, instead of the image and force of a strong man able to control his appetite.

If on a very dark night you walk the street, and some one falsely calls out, “Look out! There’s a hole just ahead of you!” you will for a moment think, feel, and walk as if there was a hole ahead of you. You will, in imagination, see yourself tumbling into it. A power of thought has been thrown on you by another to make you so feel.

The temperance lecturer sometimes talks drunkenness a whole evening. The mental pictures given the audience are sometimes those of his old self in the gutter. He may dig up his old degraded self and exhibit it. Sometimes he excites laughter through humorous representations of degradation. Sometimes he scolds, threatens, and even abuses those engaged in the liquor traffic.

Is this a healthy order of thought to throw on an audience? “But people must be warned against the evil of liquor drinking,” you may say. True. But sometimes “warnings” run into long‑drawn histories of vice, crime, degradation, and create a morbid and unhealthy appetite for more of the same pictures. The long and elaborate account of the execution, the description of the gallows, the close detail of the criminal’s demeanor as the hangman’s knot is passed over his neck—all this is not a warning, even if the condemned slew his victim in a fit of drunkenness. It is an unhealthy story, which sometimes, after being read by the small boy, induces him to hang and torture the cat, in the spirit of imitation.

If you desired to cure a man of a murderous tendency, would you put him in a place or in surroundings where his thought would be led towards, or away, from murder? Would you call his place of sojourn “The Murderer’s Home?” Is a man made the less an inebriate from knowing that he is in an “Inebriate’s Home?” or an institution called by any name to remind him continually of an old fault and an old self, which he needs to bury and forget?

When either in words or in thoughts (and thoughts have tongues as well as words) you remind the victim of any defect of character of his old faulty self, and the hole he has so many times tumbled into, you are actually digging for him the hole again, and setting in motion a force to push him into it. You want to cover that hole up, and the drunkard with it, and forget all about it, just as you want the holes you may have fallen into in time past similarly covered up, and your old faulty self covered up and forgotten with it.

We have in our minds nothing to do with the drunkard of yesterday. Bury him. Forget him. In our thought he is today a temperate, self‑controlled man. In our mind we expect and demand him so to be. In his own mind he must also hold himself as temperate and self‑controlled. We are then praying, and he is praying with us in concert, and in the right way.

But when, after his excess, he goes among people and meets the peculiar look, and feels the peculiar thought, which, if put in words, would say, “You have been on another spree; you have disgraced yourself again,” then he has in himself, and outside of himself, almost everything to discourage and little to encourage. He sees himself imaged everywhere as a fallen creature. It is then the drunkard being ever dug up. The temperate man is buried.

And by whom? By people who may be faulty as well as he. By people who may pride themselves on being temperate as regards the use of liquor, who may be themselves very intemperate as regards control of temper or mood, or some other physical appetite; who know and can realize nothing of the terrible craving or incessant gnawing, coming, not only of a morbid appetite for stimulant, but from a body ignorantly and unconsciously exhausted in some way of its vitality; a demand and craving which they may be indirectly fostering and feeding, through the injurious thought they may send him. For he needs the image and force in thought of strength and self‑control, to send him not the image of weakness and degradation.

Our thoughts of each other do strengthen or weaken each other, do encourage or depress each other.

If the family at the breakfast‑table are each in thought saying of the son, whose weakness lies in liquor, “I expect he’ll get to drinking again today; I fear he’ll go to tippling again with his companions,” they are making him feel depressed, weak, untrustworthy, and, consequently, all the more liable to resort to drink for sake of a temporary stimulation. They should say in thought, “He is not going into any excess. He can govern himself. He will govern himself.”

The strongest prayer is not the prayer of petition, or supplication, or entreaty. It is the prayer of imperious demand. When you knock at a door you do not, so far as that knock is concerned, make it in the spirit of begging. You use your force of muscle so that it shall be heard within. If you knock hesitatingly or entreatingly, you will not put so much force in it, and it is not so liable to be heard.

Imperious demand is the heart and essence of prayer.

The Spirit of Infinite Good desires that we knock at its door in a similar positive, imperious, demanding mood for whatever we want. It desires to give us of its strongest force; and to attract this, we must come in our strongest force. We do not come with our strongest force when we say, in words or in thought, “We hope, or beg, or entreat, or supplicate that our friend’s uncontrollable appetite be removed.” That is half‑way effort. We want to say, “His appetite must be cured. He is cured. He has no uncontrolled appetite. We see him in mind only as a self‑governed man. We demand of the Supreme Power that he be made so.

If yours is the uncontrollable appetite for liquor, say in your mind not only, “I will conquer this appetite,” but “I have conquered it. It is conquered.” Then you join your spiritual force with those who regard you in spirit as self‑controlled. Your real self or spirit has taken a strong, positive, decided hold in this matter. The material, the body must follow in time. But when your spirit was saying, “It’s no use, I can’t conquer this appetite. It will ruin me in time,” the material part of you was “led of the spirit” in the wrong direction. Seeing yourself thus in mind as weak and degraded, is a force to make you so. Whatever you image yourself in mind, you must make of yourself in time. Your image of yourself as temperate, and self‑controlled, and your saying that you are so, is the first step in the right direction. You may afterward fail at times. The material appetite may at times get the best of the spirit’s aspiration. Yet every time you so fail, you are taking a stronger hold to control yourself, providing in mind you always say, “I have conquered. I am determined to conquer.” The periods between your relapses will grow longer and longer. You will find the appetite gradually decreasing. The cure will be gradual, but sure. All permanent cures must be gradual. When you have no longing for liquor, you are cured. When you cease to think of it, your cure is sure and permanent.

If you use liquor, make up your mind before you swallow it, that you will not indulge to excess, and that you will not allow what you do take to make you drunk or lose your head. This also is a prayer, a demand, a force working for you in the right direction. The effect of liquor on different individuals is due entirely to their mental conditions. A man who makes up his mind beforehand not to become intoxicated, will keep his head, while if he drinks without a thought of self‑control, he will the more quickly lose it.

Q's note:

Knock Knock!  Who's there?!  Can you hear me?!


Image Credit:


Remote Lands (n.d.). [Image]. Retrieved July 1, 2021, from


Mulford, P. (1886-1887). The cure for alcoholic intemperance. Your forces and how to use them (pp.377-388). Hollister, Missouri: YOGeBooks by Roger L. Cole. doi: 2015:01:16:10:43:09

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