The "SAMARITAN TREATMENT"

The 1937 "Cleveland City Directory" listed it as vacant but the 1938 issue listed it as:

SAMARITAN TREATMENT, THE. Harold Greenbaum MD Medical Director. John W Gruver Business Manager. 48 Hour Institutional Treatment for Alcoholism 7609 Euclid av. Tel Henderson 4415

I don't know how long they survived but the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History (online as http://ech.cwru.edu) shows Dunbar Life insurance company relocated to that address on Aug. 1945.

I discussed this research as an aside when talking with Judit Santon, GSO Archivist. She was very interested in it and in turn sent me a couple items on Samaritan Treatment from their archives. After giving some thought as to whether there is any reason these documents should not have wider distribution, I've OCR'ed them and am enclosing them here--GSO has the originals. I'd gladly Xerox my copies to anyone expressing a need for them.

The first is an undated, unnamed old-timer's recollection of their experience in the Cincinnati, Ohio Samaritan Treatment [neither spelling nor grammar were edited]:

SAMARITAN INSTITUTE--- TREATMENT PROGRAM FOR ALCOHOLICS

I believe the name of the Samaritan Treatment Program you asked about is the Samaritan Institute. To the best of my knowledge there were two or three such facilities during the 1930’s and 1940’s. One was in Cincinnati, Ohio another I think in Florida and one somewhere in the East-- perhaps in New Jersey.

Though I lived in Montclair, New Jersey during the late 20’s and early 30’ s--I don’t remember hearing of this facility at that time. 

In 1938 I attended the Samaritan Treatment Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio--which in it’s day was quite popular as a ‘drying out’ resource. It was regularly used by those who needed occasionally to regain temporary sanity and health between bouts of drinking. They offered the aversion form of treatment-- or as it was often called ‘the upchuck’ method.

Patients received a physical examination on entry, and a detoxification procedure was initiated. Most alcoholic patients were in pretty rough shape.

As early as possible, patients were tapered off and injected with a drug which caused them to throw up. Patients were given their favorite beverage alcohol at regular intervals throughout the day and in between injections of the aversion drug. The throwing up process became routine-- arduous and very disturbing to say the least.

So much so that after a while as the nurse would come down the hail with the shot glass of the favorite drink on the saucer-- the very rattling of the glass against the saucer-- could start the throwing up process-- in other words, one became conditioned against the use and almost totally against the sight of the drink.

With some, this aversion would last quite some time and with a few even permanently. However with all too many, sooner or later the alcoholic would take and try a drink. If it ‘stayed down,’ one felt one was cured-- which was my experience after seven months.

The Schick/Shadel Institute in Seattle is essentially the same procedure. I believe the Medical Director there is Dr. Arthur Smith.

While most such programs allegedly cooperate with the Fellowship of A.A. . this varies from place to place dependent upon the attitude of the current management. Some such Centers also attempt to provide counseling services to the patient and family.

Originally however, they were all known as ‘Drying Out’ resources. Many patients would in fact make advance reservations when they planned or went on an extended drunk. The length of stay naturally depended on the condition of the patient. Though most people went through withdrawal and then the treatment within ten days to two weeks. Mind you, all these tactics are of course changing and being updated as new drugs and new methods make their appearance.

Legitimate Treatment Centers offer counseling-- referral and follow up with A. A.., and point to permanent sobriety as against the temporary ‘drying out’ or short term procedure.

In my own case, while there, I was told by the nurse, that I need no longer be ‘that way’ any more. That something new was available-- which the nurse's brother had found in Akron, Ohio-- and it was called A.A. So that was my first contact with the Fellowship-- through the nurses brother. So at least the seed was sown and following three relapses, I found personal recovery and sobriety as of November 11, 1944.

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The second was a copy of an early pamphlet from their national headquarters
in Chicago:

LETTERHEAD

I FIRST PHASE -- HOSPITALIZATION

II SECOND PHASE -- SUPPORTIVE

III THIRD PHASE -- NON-ALCOHOLIC READJUSTMENT

IV INSPIRATIONAL SUPPORT


SAMARITAN UNITS

BALTIMORE, MD.  
1304 St. Paul. St.  
Tel. Vernon 2617
DALLAS, TEXAS           
2600 Maple Ave.      
Tel. 2—6266 
OAKLAND, CALIF.
1222 Lake Shore Blvd.
Tel. HIghgate 6622
CINCINNATI, OHIO 
622 Oak St.
Tel. Woodburn 1972
HOUSTON, TEXAS 
3402 Fannin St.
Tel. Jackson 2-5159  
PHILADELPHIA, PA.
220 E. Lancaster Ave.
Tel.  Ardmore 5860
CLEVELAND, OHIO 
7609 Euclid Ave.  
 Tel. HEnderson 4415 
LOUISVILLE, KY
402 West Ormsby Ave.
Tel. Magno1ia 6240    
PITTSBURGH, PA.   
27 N. Negley Ave.
   Tel. HI-land 7756
CHARLESTON, W. Va. 
312 Broad St.   
Tel. 36—211        
LONG BEACH, CALIF.
4201 E. 10th St.        
Tel. 85941       
RICHMOND, VA.
Broad Street Road, W.
Tel. 6-1556
CHATTANOOGA,
 TENN 
1305 Bailey Ave.    
Tel. 2-5453            
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. 
3350 Wilshire Blvd.
Tel. DR-1242 
 KANSAS CITY, MO.

 

SUGGESTIONS TO CONVALESCENT PATIENTS

First Phase—-Hospitalization
In the first phase of our treatment, it is our object to see that the patient acquires an aversion to alcohol in the average period of 48 hours, and at the same time, medications are given which we believe to be the best and most scientific yet discovered for the elimination of alcohol toxins from the system. In establishing an aversion to alcohol and eliminating the toxins, the necessity for liquor no longer exists and the patient is able immediately to carry on his regular work on a non-alcoholic basis.

Second Phase--Supportive
The second phase of our treatment consists of 3 treatment appointments per week for the first month at our institution and one treatment appointment per week for the second month. This is called the supportive phase of the treatment. It is designed to correct glandular imbalance and to eliminate nervousness and, at the same time, psycho-therapy is resorted to in an endeavor to correct real or imaginary mental disturbances. We desire to emphatically impress upon all our patients the importance and lasting benefit to be derived from this supportive phase of our treatment.

Our experience has been that within a short time after the first phase of the treatment, the patients experience such an exhilaration by return of a hearty appetite, sound sleep, and all normal bodily functions, free and unobstructed by a craving for alcohol, that many of them feel that in their individual case the supportive treatment is not necessary. However, the bodily impairment, especially vitamin B deficiency, brought about by the ravages of alcohol still remain even though camouflaged by a return of better health and happiness than the patient has ex­perienced for years. Every phase of our supportive treatment is carefully and scientifically worked out and is subject to variation to suit each patient’s own particular needs as our physician may decide. You have paid for this supportive treatment, you will be benefited by it, and you might as well avail yourself of it to the fullest even though at the expense of some inconvenience to you.

In short, we want to render you the fullest service possible in correcting the physical disturbance and impairment brought about by an excessive and continued use of alcohol. And in this connection we feel that it is proper to warn you that neither this treatment, nor any other treatment known to medica1 science, can restore your system so that you can ever drink alcohol again, even in moderation. Alcohol first attacks the cortex or covering of the nervous system, including the brain. When this cortex or covering of the nerves becomes impaired, it is non-resist­ant to alcohol and allows alcohol to make a direct attack on the nervous system. Originally your nerves were protected by a fatty substance called the lipoid. When this has been dissolved through the continued use of alcohol, your nerve endings lack that pro­tection that once nature provided for you. Once weakened or im­paired by the excessive use of alcohol, this protective covering of the nerve cells can never be restored to its normal functions. Even after years of abstinence, our patients, like all other alcoholics, find that any attempt to drink socia1ly or in a normal manner results in dire consequences. You can leave it alone al­together, but you will never be able to drink in a controlled manner.

Furthermore, the aversion to alcohol which you have acquired by reason of the first phase of our treatment will tend to wear off in time, depending upon the individual—possibly a few months in some instances and years in others. And you must be prepared to be on your guard and in fact take definite steps to overcome that mental, emotional, or nervous phase of your nature which tends to induce one to again take up drink, even though there is no physical craving for it and not withstanding the knowledge that the protective covering of your nervous system is gone and that alcohol will react as a deadly poison to you.

Third Phase--Non-alcoholic Readjustment.  This brings up the third phase of your treatment—the readjustment of your life on a non-alcoholic basis. Of necessity this is a phase over which this institution has no control except to give you the benefit of a few helpful suggestions derived from our years of experience in treating alcoholics,

For a long time, many years perhaps, depending upon the individual case, alcoholic indulgence with all its attendant frustration and handicap to your social and business affairs, has been the most important thing in your life. You now have reached a stage where you have no physical craving for drink and if you are honest with yourself and sincerely desire a complete recovery you will come to the conclusion that you are nevertheless a potential alcoholic and that you can never again touch alcohol in any form, even in moderation. However, to abruptly change your accustomed method and manner of life from an “alcoholic” to a completely “non-alcoholic” basis is not an easy task. To be successful you must of necessity find new interests and purposes in life to occupy your mind and idle time to such an extent that the old “alcoholic’ order of things is completely crowded out.

Whereas in the past, through the medium of alcoholic indulgence, you have found. release and escape from the realities of life, you must now subject yourself to rigid self-analysis and attempt to discover and correct the weakness in your mental, spiritual, or emotional armor which in the past caused you to seek solace and escape in drink. You will probably be able to trace the roots of this tendency toward alcohol back to some un­fortunate experience or faulty training in your early environment, either as a child or in early adult life before your nervous system and emotions became stabilized.  Perhaps as a child your parents were too harsh or too lenient; perhaps for any number of reasons you have developed an inferiority complex; perhaps you have suffered severe frustration in school or in social or economic life.  Whatever the cause, you no doubt are in sane manner emotionally immature or
one-sided, so that there is a tendency and urge upon you when the going gets rough, or life seems dull, to want to escape; and in the past you have found that escape, temporarily at least, in alcoholic indulgence. Try to discover and put your finger on that “escape” tendency of your makeup so that you can either overcome it or at least find a better and more satisfactory means of gratifying it than that which alcohol in the past has supplied.

Many of our patients are making splendid progress in readjusting their lives on a non-alcoholic basis through association with a group of ex-alcoholics known as “Alcoholics Anonymous”. They stress the spiritual values of life and offer to each other a fellowship of sympathetic understanding and helpfulness which we believe to be sound and worthy of the highest praise. While Samaritan Treatment is not connected in any way with “Alcoholics Anonymous” except through our interest in the welfare of many of our patients who have joined the group, we will be glad to put you in touch with some of the members of the local group if you are interested.

One of our patients in particular who was a heavy drinker for twenty years and finally found himself upon the brink of destruction is now accomplishing a wonderful “come-back” to a normal, happy and successful life through his association with “Alcoholics Anonymous”. He has taken up an early hobby, long neglected through alcoholic indulgence, of collecting a scrap book of inspirational gems of literature. He has submitted a partial result of his work which we feel contains such potential help and inspiration to all our patients that we reprint it herewith and trust that it will be helpful or at least interesting to you during your hours of convalescence.


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