Helping the Helpless

A personal account.

By DANIEL H. KRESS, M.D., Veteran Physician, Orlando, Florida

Few years ago a woman came to me, asking if we would admit a friend of hers into the sanitarium. This friend was a very brilliant woman, an actress and playwright, who was in a most serious condition. It was feared that she would go insane. I learned that she smoked in­cessantly, and I said to the friend, "Yes, we will admit her on one condition. She must understand before she comes that she cannot have one cigarette after arriving here."

The first two days I kept her in bed with a nurse constantly by her side. On the second day I was called to her room. She was almost beside herself. As I entered, she said, "Doctor, I cannot stand this any more. I am so nervous, I am afraid I will do something desperate. I will jump out of that window. I must have just one cigarette." Then she added, "Before coming here, I consulted two nerve specialists. They said it would be unsafe for me to cut out the cigarettes entirely, but advised me to smoke five or six a day." I asked, "Did you do it?" She admitted that she could not hold herself down to that number.

Then I said, "Of course you could not. Your rnind was kept continually upon your cigarettes, looking forward for the time to pass until the next smoke. This is a continual torture. The only way for you to do is to come to the point where you will say, 'I will give them up altogether, regardless of what I may suffer.'"

She said, "I can never do that." I answered, "Then I shall have to give up your case as a hopeless one. I know you are up against a difficult task, and God knows it, too. That is why He has made provision for us in the gift of Christ to this world.

If we were able to help ourselves, this sacrifice would not have been necessary, but He came to help the helpless." I assured her of God's willing­ness and anxiety to help her, and had prayer with her.

When I was through, she snapped her 'fingers and said, "Doctor, I will never smoke another cigarette, never, never, never !"

Two weeks later she came to my office and said, "Do you know that I have no desire whatever for cigarettes ? It is just wonderful. Can you explain why this is so?"

I said, "No, I do not know that I can explain -how this was brought about, except in the words of the Scripture, 'The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is everyone that is born of the Spirit.'"

I then told her that when the will is placed without reservation on God's side it becomes omnipotent and the impossible is made possible. It was the only explanation I could give, aside from the fact that we had also given her the food that tended to destroy the craving for narcotics.

This woman gained in weight, had calm nerves, and became the picture of health. The first thing she did after leaving was to persuade her brother-in-law, who was extremely nervous and suffering from insomnia, to come to the sanitarium as a patient. He, too, was a heavy smoker, but he never touched a cigarette or cigar after his arrival. Her experience as she related it to him helped him.

He remained two months, and has ever since been in the best of health and has no inclination to re­turn to the use of tobacco. Again and again he assured me that the desire to smoke no longer existed. He now lives on a meatless diet and uses no condiments, coffee, or tea. This undoubtedly helps to combat the craving for tobacco.

How Diet Can Help the Drunkard

Years ago I gave a talk on temperance to the patients in the parlor of the Battle Creek Sani­tarium. I dwelt upon the need of being workers together with God in our efforts to overcome, and pointed out that our prayers are often neutralized by what we eat and drink. At the close Mrs. S. M. I. Henry, world evangelist of the Woman's Chris­tian Temperance Union, came forward and in a most earnest manner said, "I am thankful to be here. Today I have had something explained to me that has perplexed me for years."

Then she went on to say : "Years ago I gave a talk to mothers on the importance of prayer in the home life, and quoted the promise, 'Train up a child in the way he should go : and when he is old, he will not depart from it.' A mother came to me with tears in her eyes and said, 'All you have said has appealed to me, but can you explain to me why my only boy, whom I had dedicated to the Lord before his birth, and who was a constant subject of my prayers, is tonight filling a drunk­ard's grave?' After prayerful thought I had to say to that mother, 'I do not know. All I do know is, if there was any fault, it was not on God's part.' "

"Now, I know why," she said. "I recall that the food that that mother prepared for her husband and children was of a nature to create the craving for strong drink." Many a mother is today pre­paring food for her husband and children which is neutralizing her prayers in their behalf.

The prevalent use of cigarettes among the youth is due, in part, to the fact that mothers have in­nocently and ignorantly been supplying their chil­dren with foods and drinks that tend to create the desire for both alcohol and tobacco. To make true prohibition effective, aside from casting their votes, mothers must be taught that there is one thing even more needful than this, and that is to supply their tables with simple, nonirritating, non-stimulating foods and drinks. "Slaying oxen, kill­ing sheep, eating fiesh, and drinking wine" are associated. Hence the admonition, "Be not among winebibbers ; among riotous eaters of flesh."

Daniel, when a young man still in his teens, was taken to Babylon as a captive and commanded to eat at the royal table laden with meats, stimulants, and delicacies. However, he "purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank," saying, "Let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink." This was the food of his choice. It was the food that had been served by his mother at home. There was no danger that this boy would side-step and resort to the use of wine or strong drink. A boy brought up today on sim­ilar foods will possess no craving for alcohol or tobacco.

The prevalent use of cigarettes by boys and girls, men and women, is threatening civilization. It is a real curse, but "the curse causeless shall not come." Back of this curse often stands the mother who is serving to her boys and girls the very foods and drinks that create the craving for both alcohol and tobacco.

Some years ago a reception was given in London to the American delegates in attendance at a Euro­pean conference against alcohol. Doctors Crothers, Shephard, and J. H. Kellogg were the American representatives. Doctor Kellogg, not being able to attend, requested me to represent him. During the evening the customary speeches were made. One of England's most brilliant platform speakers, a stanch temperance advocate, said in the course of her remarks that she could sympathize with the women who were addicted to the use of beer, be­cause she drank beer herself up to fifteen years ago. She said, "Although I have not tasted alco­holic beverages of any kind since then, the crav­ing I have for beer is just as strong now as it was then." This statement and confession came as a surprise to me.

At the close of the meeting she invited my wife and me to spend an evening in her home. We accepted the invitation and were royally enter­tained. When we sat down to her elaborately spread table, I said to myself, "Here is the ex­planation of' her remarks.' I felt it my duty to speak to her of my impressions, and called her attention to the relation between the food we eat and the craving for drink.

I also told her how, after a lecture given at Liverpool, a woman with a babe in her arms came to speak to me. She said she was a drunkard, and told me she had again and again resolved to give up drink, and had rushed past saloons for a block or two, only to return, and after taking one drink she would continue to drink until thoroughly in­toxicated.

I asked, "How long have you been drinking like this?"

She replied, "Ever since I gave birth to my second child. The doctor advised me to drink porter to increase the flow of milk to nourish the child. The first drink I took was distasteful, but I soon found that I could not let it alone."

I then said to my hostess, "The difference be­tween you and this woman is simply this : You both possess a craving for beer ; you have the will power to resist it, while she has not. If in some way we could show this woman how to get rid of this craving, she would have no difficulty in keeping away from beer." The woman saw the point and made changes in her diet.

Saloonkeepers of the past recognized the need for a free lunch table to encourage trade. That lunch table was not laden with peaches, pears, and oranges, or other luscious fruits. They knew that such food would be disastrous to their business. The table spread in the saloons was laden with sausages, meats of all kinds, and highly seasoned foods. They could afford to serve such foods to their patrons, for they knew from experience that they created a thirst which led to the bar for a drink. These foods also create the desire to smoke.

Many a praying mother is innocently" furnishing this same kind of food to her husband and children.

I believe the hope of the future lies in educating women to prepare the right kind of foods for their husbands and children. Temperance campaigns and efforts to enforce prohibition will fail to ac­complish their purpose in the future, as they have in the past, if this educational campaign is not carried into the homes of the people.

The poor drunkard who was admonished by Dr. Lauder Brunton, of England, to "be a man and give up drink," gave an answer that is really a re­buke to all temperance advocates: "You good people have a great deal to say about my drink, but you have nothing to say about my thirst." Let us in our efforts deal with causes instead of results. Drunkards and cigarette addicts are often made in the home, rather than at the public bar. If we want men like Daniel, who can resist temptations when thrown among ungodly associates, we must have mothers who, like the mother of Daniel, will bring up their children in the way that they should go; then when old they will not depart from it. No craving for drink or tobacco will exist in a child that is brought up in this way.

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By DANIEL H. KRESS, M.D., Veteran Physician, Orlando, Florida

March 1945

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