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The Opium Habit   By:

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THE OPIUM HABIT,

WITH

SUGGESTIONS AS TO THE REMEDY.

"After my death, I earnestly entreat that a full and unqualified narrative of my wretchedness, and of its guilty cause, may be made public, that at least some little good may be effected by the direful example." COLERIDGE.

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION

A SUCCESSFUL ATTEMPT TO ABANDON OPIUM

DE QUINCEY'S "CONFESSIONS OF AN ENGLISH OPIUM EATER"

OPIUM REMINISCENCES OF COLERIDGE

WILLIAM BLAIR

OPIUM AND ALCOHOL COMPARED

INSANITY AND SUICIDE FROM AN ATTEMPT TO ABANDON MORPHINE

A MORPHINE HABIT OVERCOME

ROBERT HALL JOHN RANDOLPH WILLIAM WILBERFORCE

WHAT SHALL THEY DO TO BE SAVED?

OUTLINES OF THE OPIUM CURE

INTRODUCTION.

This volume has been compiled chiefly for the benefit of opium eaters. Its subject is one indeed which might be made alike attractive to medical men who have a fancy for books that are professional only in an accidental way; to general readers who would like to see gathered into a single volume the scattered records of the consequences attendant upon the indulgence of a pernicious habit; and to moralists and philanthropists to whom its sad stories of infirmity and suffering might be suggestive of new themes and new objects upon which to bestow their reflections or their sympathies. But for none of these classes of readers has the book been prepared. In strictness of language little medical information is communicated by it. Incidentally, indeed, facts are stated which a thoughtful physician may easily turn to professional account. The literary man will naturally feel how much more attractive the book might have been made had these separate and sometimes disjoined threads of mournful personal histories been woven into a more coherent whole; but the book has not been made for literary men. The philanthropist, whether a theoretical or a practical one, will find in its pages little preaching after his particular vein, either upon the vice or the danger of opium eating. Possibly, as he peruses these various records, he may do much preaching for himself, but he will not find a great deal furnished to his hand, always excepting the rather inopportune reflections of Mr. Joseph Cottle over the case of his unhappy friend Coleridge. The book has been compiled for opium eaters, and to their notice it is urgently commended. Sufferers from protracted and apparently hopeless disorders profit little by scientific information as to the nature of their complaints, yet they listen with profound interest to the experience of fellow sufferers, even when this experience is unprofessionally and unconnectedly told. Medical empirics understand this and profit by it. In place of the general statements of the educated practitioner of medicine, the empiric encourages the drooping hopes of his patient by narrating in detail the minute particulars of analagous cases in which his skill has brought relief.

Before the victim of opium eating is prepared for the services of an intelligent physician he requires some stimulus to rouse him to the possibility of recovery. It is not the dicta of the medical man, but the experience of the relieved patient, that the opium eater, desiring nobody but he knows how ardently to enter again into the world of hope, needs, to quicken his paralyzed will in the direction of one tremendous effort for escape from the thick night that blackens around him. The confirmed opium eater is habitually hopeless. His attempts at reformation have been repeated again and again; his failures have been as frequent as his attempts. He sees nothing before him but irremediable ruin. Under such circumstances of helpless depression, the following narratives from fellow sufferers and fellow victims will appeal to whatever remains of his hopeful nature, with the assurance that others who have suffered even as he has suffered, and who have struggled as he has struggled, and have failed again and again as he has failed, have at length escaped the destruction which in his own case he has regarded as inevitable... Continue reading book >>




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