New York becomes the first state to outlaw drunk driving.
Prohibition is repealed on December 5. Eighteen months later …
The first meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous is held, leading to the 12-step program devised by founders Bill W. and Dr. Bob.
The "drunk-o-meter" (precursor to the Breathalyzer) is invented.
The Lost Weekend, starring Ray Milland as a desperate alcoholic, wins four Oscars, including Best Picture.
Hazelden, which will later count Eric Clapton, Melanie Griffith, and Liza Minnelli among its guests, opens in Center City, Minnesota, employing a hard-nosed approach to rehab.
Left: Ray Milland in The Lost Weekend.
Alcoholism is declared a personality disorder by the American Psychiatric Association.
Poet Dylan Thomas dies the morning after drinking 18 shots of whiskey at New York City's White Horse Tavern.
Bela Lugosi becomes the first celeb to publicly enter rehab when he checks into Los Angeles' Metropolitan State Hospital in Norwalk.
Left: Dylan Thomas' gravestone in a churchyard in Laugharne, Wales.
The American Medical Association classifies alcoholism as an illness (in 10 years, they will up the ante to "disease").
Caron treatment center—the future rehab home of Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and Miss USA Tara Conner—opens in Wernersville, Pennsylvania.
Senator Ted Kennedy drives his car off a bridge in Chappaquiddick, on Martha's Vineyard, leading to the death of passenger Mary Jo Kopechne. He later denies rumors that he was inebriated.
Above: Dick and Catherine Caron, founders of Caron Treatment Centers.
Jimi Hendrix suffocates, having literally drowned in red wine.
Neil Young releases "The Needle and the Damage Done"—an elegy for the victims of late-sixties excess.
A World Health Organization committee recommends doctors use the term "alcohol dependence syndrome" rather than alcoholism.
Left: Jimi Hendrix.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving is founded.
Hard-core band Minor Threat releases "Straight Edge," setting off a nationwide movement of sober-living bands, and a craze for X-marked fists.
Cheers debuts on NBC, making a heartthrob of Ted Danson as the sober, Perrier-drinking bartender-proprietor Sam Malone.
Left: Ted Danson (upper left) and the cast of Cheers.
Cocaine Anonymous is founded.
The Ad Council launches its first "Don't drink and drive" PSAs, showing beer mugs and wineglasses colliding in a toast, then shattering on impact.
The world-famous PSA "This Is Your Brain on Drugs," featuring an egg in a frying pan, airs on TV.
Left: Wineglasses colliding in the Ad Council's "Don't drink and drive" PSA.
The flagship Promises Treatment Center opens in West Los Angeles, establishing a more holistic approach to rehab that will later be made famous by its deluxe Malibu sibling.
Warning labels appear on alcoholic beverages.
Robert Altman's The Player shows AA's rising influence in Hollywood: "Gee, Larry, I didn't realize you had a drinking problem," says one film exec to another who's driving to an AA meeting. "Well, I don't really," Larry replies, "but that's where all the deals are being made these days."
Left: The Promises Treatment Center in Malibu.
River Phoenix, 23, dies outside Johnny Depp's Viper Room on L.A.'s Sunset Boulevard after taking a heroin-and-cocaine speedball.
The FDA approves naltrexone for the treatment of alcoholism; in some trials it proves effective for less than a quarter of tested subjects.
Leaving Las Vegas, starring Nicolas Cage as a man who deliberately drinks himself to death, is released. Cage will win an Oscar for the performance; John O'Brien, author of the semi-autobiographical novel that the film is based on, kills himself two weeks after learning the movie was green-lighted.
Left: River Phoenix in Stand By Me.
Phi Delta Theta becomes the first fraternity to pass an alcohol-free housing policy for all of its international chapters.
The Cirque Lodge rehab center opens in Sundance, Utah, offering ski-resort luxe that later attracts Lindsay Lohan, Kirsten Dunst, and Eva Mendes.
The film 28 Days premieres, featuring Sandra Bullock as an alcoholic sent to rehab.
Left: Sandra Bullock in 28 Days.
Robert Downey Jr. relapses on Thanksgiving weekend following a stint in prison on drug charges.
The new federal limit for a driver's blood-alcohol level is established as 0.08.
George W. Bush is sworn in as the nation's 43rd president—and the first teetotaling commander-in-chief of the modern era. He dried out at 40 after years of alcohol-related incidents, including a 1976 DUI.
Left: Robert Downey Jr.'s police photo.
Robert Downey Jr. is released from state-sponsored rehab and begins his clean-and-sober climb to the top of the Hollywood heap.
James Frey's recovery memoir, A Million Little Pieces—which includes an account of an allegedly abusive stint in rehab—is published. He later reveals that many of the book's passages were fictional, but it goes on to sell millions of copies in more than 30 languages.
Intervention premieres on A&E, depicting the real-life struggles of addicts and their families.
Left: James Frey's A Million Little Pieces.
Robert Downey Jr. is named Entertainment Weekly's Entertainer of the Year.
Star New York Times reporter David Carr publishes his best-selling memoir, The Night of the Gun. According to Stephen King, Carr "summoned everything that matters about the loaded gun of substance abuse."
In AMC's Mad Men, boozy senior copywriter Freddy Rumsen wets his pants in the office and is given a six-month leave of absence. Roger Sterling tells him to "take the cure" at Hazelden.
Left: A scene from AMC's Mad Men.
Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew premieres on VH1. So far: five seasons, two spin-offs, two deaths, and a sobriety success rate estimated at 24 percent.
David Sheff's Beautiful Boy, which chronicles his son's addiction to meth, rises to No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list.
The term prehabbing makes its debut following an announcement from Charlie Sheen's publicist that the actor will be entering rehab as a "preventative measure."
Left: Nic and David Sheff.
Literary agent Bill Clegg's memoir, Portrait of the Addict as a Young Man, details a two-month crack binge that cost him $70,000. He reportedly receives five times that amount as an advance.
Whole Foods pulls kombucha fermented tea from its shelves after discovering it contains alcohol.
Eminem's Recovery, featuring songs about his opiate addiction, sells 5.7 million copies in two weeks, making it the year's best-seller.
Left: Eminem's 2010 album, Recovery.
The 13th Step, a bar named after the AA lingo for hooking up with a fellow recovering alcoholic, opens in New York's East Village.
Disney star Demi Lovato, 18, drops out of a tour with the Jonas Brothers to check into rehab for "emotional and personal issues."
Warner Bros. fires Charlie Sheen from Two and a Half Men following his very public battle with addiction.
Left: Charlie Sheen.
The Fix, an upscale sober-lifestyle website, is launched.
Amy Winehouse dies after drinking what doctors estimate was the equivalent of 15 shots of vodka in an hour.
Major League Baseball VP Joe Torre announces he is considering banning alcohol from big-league clubhouses after reports surface that some Red Sox players drank beer during the team's historic September flameout.
Occupy Wall Street bans alcohol and drug use in Liberty Plaza.
Left: Tributes to Amy Winehouse left outside the singer's London home.