Temperance Model of Addiction

The temperance model of addiction argues that exposure to addictive substances or behaviors alone might result in addiction. Everybody faces risk from these things and actions.
Temperance Model of Addiction Sociology Definition


The temperance model of addiction argues that exposure to addictive substances or behaviors alone might result in addiction. Everybody faces risk from these things and actions. By making these harmful substances and activities unavailable, societies can treat addiction. The temperance model’s fundamental tenet is that communities are responsible for shielding their people from these risks.

Although temperance agencies are no longer active, this fundamental idea is still prevalent. This is especially true with certain drugs like heroin or methamphetamine. It seems that other drugs like alcohol and cigarettes are seen as less dangerous.


In the past, this model has been mistaken for the moral model’s methodology. The Temperance Model of Addiction treatment plan was used from the 1840s to the late 19th century. Benjamin Rush designed the temperance approach.

This model’s central tenet is that the drug can cause addiction and ruin individuals, that person cannot control their addiction, and abstinence is the only way out.

The “mantra” is that since a person’s will is sick, they cannot regulate or resist. Rush said anyone with addictions should stop using the chemical immediately and fully. They lived by the phrase “Taste not, handle not, touch not.”  This was necessary for people to overcome their temperance addiction.

This understanding of addiction was condescending; it pitied rather than understood why people get addicted. So it should be no surprise that someone with alcohol addiction was called a “Drunkard.” Jellinek said that the supporters of the temperance model’s notion of an illness rendered the model ineffective. According to this theory, a person with addiction would have the fortitude to avoid using alcohol if they believed in a higher power.

The Temperance Model claimed that addiction was an uncontrollable illness. They held the view that alcohol is the root of addiction and that because it is so accessible, there is no barrier to drinking. The outcome was an addiction. This model’s central concept is that moderate drinkers are just as culpable as heavy drinkers.

They believed that someone who drinks moderately is worse off than someone who drinks excessively (drunkard). The temperance paradigm despises those who use moderate alcohol while empathizing with those who consume large amounts. According to the temperance approach, it’s crucial to encourage the individual struggling with addiction to get help.

Prevention is a sort of recovery. Societies may regulate and restrict access to harmful products and activities. An outright ban may be used to try to prevent it. Between 1919 and 1933, the US made an effort to accomplish this with alcohol. Alternately, prevention might be accomplished by limiting access to harmful products and activities in society. One such is the high taxing on cigarettes.

Temperance Model of Addiction Application -Example

The Independent Order of Good Templar was American history’s greatest temperance membership organization. Because of their intense commitment to helping addicts recover, they were concerned that others could mistake them for having addictions.

They were effective in facilitating the recovery of addicts.

The sponsors of modern-day Alcoholics Anonymous were comparable to the Good Templar (AA).

Sponsors must be capable of abstaining for a certain amount of time to occupy an official role in helping people with addictions. AA was founded in the nineteenth century.

As a result, it was comparable to the temperance model.

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