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Stinking Thinking by Dry Drinking

Old 10-21-2010, 01:50 AM
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Stinking Thinking by Dry Drinking

People that are in relationships with alcoholics want nothing more than our love ones to stop drinking. However, even when our alcoholic stops drinking our relationships will still have its ups and downs, and its good times and its bad times. Those are ups and downs that everyone experiences and should be expected in any relationship. The alcoholic has to surrender to the HP, and the journey of recovery begins. The alcoholic needs and should want to be responsible for all aspects of their recovery, whether it is through a 12-step program or a professional substance abuse counselor. Otherwise
their growth in recovery could be stunted with only one piece of the pie in check: being physically clean and sober.

The alcoholic that is described as a "dry drunk" only works on the physical clean and sober aspect of their recovery. The Dry Drunk Syndrome is a term that should not be used as a catch-all when one has a bad day or a bump in life throws us for a while. The Dry Drunk is a condition far more serious than the highs and lows of our day-to-day existence.

The phrase "dry drunk" has two significant words for the alcoholic. "Dry" refers to the abstinence from drinking, whereas "drunk" signifies a deeply pathological condition resulting from the use of alcohol in the past. Taken together these words suggest intoxication without alcohol. Since intoxication comes from the Greek word for poison, "dry drunk" implies a state of mind and a mode of behavior that are poisonous to the alcoholic's well being.

Persons experiencing a full-blown DRY DRUNK are, for that period, removed from the world of sobriety; they fail, for whatever reason, to accept the necessary conditions for sober living. Their mental and emotional homes are chaotic, their approach to everyday living is unrealistic, and their behavior, both verbal and physical, is unacceptable.

The symptoms of a dry drunk shows up as:

1. Grandiosity, put very simply, is an exaggeration of one's own importance. This can be demonstrated either in terms of one's strengths or weaknesses. In either case it is blatantly self- seeking or self-serving, putting oneself at the center of attention, from the "big me" who has ask the answers to the "poor me" whose cup of self-pity runneth over and wants all of our attention.

2. Judgmentalism is mutually related to grandiosity. It means that the alcoholic is prone to make value judgments - strikingly inappropriate evaluations - usually in terms of "goodness" or "badness".

3. Intolerance leaves no room for delaying the gratification of personal desires. This is accomplished by gross confusion of priorities with the result that a mere whim or passing fancy is mistakenly given more importance than genuine personal needs.

4. Impulsivity is the result of intolerance or the lack of ability to delay gratification of personal desires. Impulsivity describes behavior which is heedless of the ultimate consequence for self or others.

5. Indecisiveness is related to impulsitivity in the sense that while the latter takes no realistic account of the consequences of the actions, the former precludes effective action altogether. Indecisiveness stems from an unrealistic exaggeration of the negative possibilities of the action ; so one wavers between two or more possible courses of action, more times than not-nothing gets done.

In order to survive living with a dry drunk, a codependent needs to keep a sense of humor. There just is no other way to do it. I was thinking about this yesterday as I was cleaning up my bedroom. I suffered a massive stroke in DEC 2009, and as a result I suffer from immobility problems. Well, my husband basically wasn't there to help me when I got back home. It got to such a condition that I was embarrassed of having anyone in my house, and I had my inhome care discontinued. My DDH had to take me to my doctor's for vertigo. The nurse noticed this in my medical records and wanted to know why. I told her the truth.

Now, GET THIS!

My DDH's explanation was he just kept hoping for me to get better! HUH!? (I needed to get better before my DDH was willing to help me around the house.)

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Old 10-21-2010, 03:01 AM
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My experience as a dry drunk on antabuse was that I didn't start working on my problems. Just not drinking didn't help. I was surprised and baffled: I thought if I just quit drinking everything would get better.

But, as I realized one day when my therapist suggested taking a walk when I felt the anger, frustration and resentments going into overdrive, I told her: that won't help, my head is still attached no matter where my feet might take me. The problem wasn't in my environment, it was inside me.

I had to work on me, it was through the 12 steps that I finally figured out who I am and what motivated me for 30 years of drinking.....
I mention the 12 steps but there are other programs. I hope your DD looks for a program.
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Old 10-21-2010, 12:47 PM
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thank you for your posts.
I still struggle with this, as my ex ABF has not had a drink in almost 9 months. But he is not committed to a program of recovery.

I thought things would be better when he stopped drinking. But all of the negative behavior stayed with him. And it made me scared. So I am alone now.

I saw a movie recently...love those old movies. Tony Curtis and Frank Sinatra.
Tony Curtis was a user, no depth whatsoever. Frank Sinatra was a sweetheart. Natalie Wood was the love interest.

It's WW2, and at one moment of rare self-awareness, Tony Curtis says to Frank, " When you want something, you weigh it out in your mind, you think about how your life will change if you get it, you think about how others lives will change, what it will mean to everyone. When I want something, I just figure out what I have to say to get it, and then I say it."

That's my exABF. Those words really hit me. I guess it's all just my journey of letting go. Not ready yet. Working on it. I still have not given up the dream of my happily ever after.

I thank my HP for bringing me to this site.
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Old 10-21-2010, 01:09 PM
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Interesting.. what's more striking is how I seem to be a 'dry drunk' myself.. I've always been impulsive, judgemental, intolerant and indecisive... I've also ALWAYS been in some sort of therapy or self-help. Obviously, something isn't working right.

Thank you for this.
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Old 10-21-2010, 01:27 PM
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Thank you for your posts. It helps me to know that I am not alone. Living with my DDH makes me feel so alone. Talking to him is like talking to a wall. Our marriage has always been about him! His common reponse to decisions we needed to make was "What about me (him)!" I don't even think he knows how upset I am with him.

My situation got so bad I started sleeping on the sofa in the living room. However, after a few nights sleeping on the sofa it became uncomfortable, so I moved back upstairs into our bedroom. I think by me moving back into the bedroom he thinks everything has been forgotten. He has always had the believe if something isn't discussed, it isn't real.

I have told him I only what two things from him: get a physical; and to go into individual therapy. Somehow our conversations got back on my requests of him. I'm glad my 35 year old son was in the bedroom to hear his response, because once again his stinking thinking response was "What's in it for him!" I responded it was for his own benefit. Later he told me "if" he goes he wants me to be nicer to him. I'm not sure how I could be any nicer to him than I already am at this point of time in my life.

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Old 10-21-2010, 03:44 PM
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The drinking is only a symptom.

Thus the 'dry drunk' syndrome from someone who is white-knuckling it.

My disease is threefold: physical, emotional, and spiritual.

If I don't address all three areas, and on a consistent basis, I am a dry drunk at best.

It's a miserable way to live. I've gone through periods like that, and don't care to any more, thank you very much.
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Old 11-10-2010, 05:04 PM
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This might be my first post here, so excuse me if my etiquette is off.

My ex AGF was a dry drunk for the last couple months of our relationship. And those last few months were more difficulty and wearing (emotionally) than any of the worst times when she actually drank.

She/was a dry drunk because I forced her to quit by threatening to leave her. She did quit, and managed by preoccupying herself with everything imaginable. I think the term is called "spinning". Much like when she drank, she was simply avoiding her own issues and problems. This for me was the final straw. I realized that she was not ready to let go of her powerlessness to alcohol. Her intolerance and impulsivity were the biggest problems. In her mind, I think, she felt empowered by her ability to quit drinking.

I think she felt that she was fixed and that was it.

But the problems she had/has were not due to alcohol. There were many unresolved emotional and character flaws that require her attention (maybe they are the reason she drank, I think). I think the program (AA) helps with that stuff. Quitting drinking only made her worse. She developed this inflated sense of self-worth and felt it excusable to gratify her every, impulsive, whim in the name of her sobriety (she got a ridiculous tattoo for no reason, decided to take a trip for 2 weeks on the drop of a dime, took on an extra job, severed relations with parents and friends who felt she needed to go to AA).

It was a mess. In my opinion, a dry drunk is worse than a drunk. You can sometimes have fun with a drunk (I know that sounds bad, but it is the truth). A dry drunk is sooo manipulative and shallow/hallow inside. Like being with a spoiled 3 year old.

Edit: I hope I don't sound to bitter.
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Old 11-10-2010, 07:17 PM
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I've never heard the expression Dry Drunk, but it makes me nervous for my own situation. After a threat of leaving him, my husband quit drinking altogether (6 weeks ago, and then again 2 weeks ago) without a program or other support. I wouldn't describe him as impulsive/judgmental, etc., but I know his quitting drinking isn't going to solve all our problems. At the very least, he needs some individual therapy in addition to the marriage counseling we're trying now.

Good luck to you all, and to myself!
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Old 11-10-2010, 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by seekingcalm View Post
I saw a movie recently...love those old movies. Tony Curtis and Frank Sinatra.
Speaking of Tony Curtis, did you know he was a recovering alcoholic? His daughter Jamie Lee Curtis is also in recovery.
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Old 11-10-2010, 09:32 PM
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There were multiple times in my marriage I threatened to leave if he didn't quit drinking. And there were multiple times he quit--to get me off his back. I think the longest was four months. OMG, what a miserable four months that was. I was on edge the whole time wondering if (when) he would drink again, and he was angry and resentful of me for taking away his "good times." Yuck.

I cannot describe the feeling of relief I got when I stopped caring whether he drank or not, whether he went to the doctor or not, whether he was "getting it" or not. It took a lot of pain and suffering before I got to that point, but man, what a difference. I still remember the day in couples counseling he said "you're not going to tell me what to do," and I said "you're a big boy, you do what you want, I will do what I need to do." That was a pivotal moment for me, and a shock for him.

I complained for the longest time how everything was always about him. Looking back, I was part of the reason. I MADE it all about him. When I stopped, my life took a sharp turn for the better.

L
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Old 11-11-2010, 09:09 AM
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That's not what Dry Drunk means. It's a common misconception which has grown up over the decades. It's actually a colloquial term for a medical description.

A very serious Post Acute Withdrawal problem – though perhaps not as common as the others – is difficulty with physical coordination. Common symptoms are dizziness, trouble with balance, problems with coordination between hand and eye, and slow reflexes. These result in clumsiness and accident proneness. This is how the term “dry drunk” came into being. When alcoholics appeared drunk because of stumbling and clumsiness, but had not been drinking, they were said to be “dry drunk.” They had the appearance of being intoxicated without drinking.
We know now that long term alcohol abuse severely disables the brain's GABA neurotransmitters and receptors. This causes a whole range of problems from severe muscular convulsions to extreme mood swings. It takes anywhere from a year to over a decade of sobriety (or genuinely moderate drinking) for this damage to repair. Until it does the addict will experience intense cravings as they will mask physical feelings of the damage. These will exacerbate mod swings and may enhance whatever unresolved psychological issues were at the root of the drinking in the first place. And also make them less able to deal with the consequences of their time of active addiction.

The cravings can be held at bay by will power and distraction. This can mean peer support, steps, sports, religion, yoga, meditation, etc. Supportive family and friends will also help. This is not easy but is possible. It is also starting to appear that the cravings can be swiftly and effectively treated with a GABAb agonist which will modulate the GABAb receptor and bring the addict back to normal function. At which point psychological issues which were at the root of the drinking can be much more easily addressed if they are still a problem.
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Old 11-11-2010, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by LaTeeDa View Post
I cannot describe the feeling of relief I got when I stopped caring whether he drank or not, whether he went to the doctor or not, whether he was "getting it" or not. It took a lot of pain and suffering before I got to that point, but man, what a difference. I still remember the day in couples counseling he said "you're not going to tell me what to do," and I said "you're a big boy, you do what you want, I will do what I need to do." That was a pivotal moment for me, and a shock for him.

I complained for the longest time how everything was always about him. Looking back, I was part of the reason. I MADE it all about him. When I stopped, my life took a sharp turn for the better.

L

This is soooo right! ^^^^^


I put my xabf up on a pedestal, made it all about him. We did what he wanted to do, listened to music he liked, watched movies and tv he wanted, went were he wanted, didn't have friends over cos he didn't want company, kept the curtains closed all day because the light hurt his hung over eyes, bought him the best of food and everything else was cheap because we'd spent so much of expensive food for him that there wasn't much left for anyone else...and of course there was ALWAYS money for smokes and booze...didn't matter if we needed bread or milk or cat food...the cash was for his alcohol.

For a while that was ok...I don't know why really. But when it became "not ok", then of course they're gonna be "what about me?!" because for a while it was all about them and it was like that to begin with because I allowed it to be.

Detaching saved my sanity. Ignoring him moaning and groaning about how much he deserved and doing things for myself, changing things that I could change made me happier. Eventually I stopped caring what he did as long as he left me alone.

Acdirito, what do you hope to gain by insisting your OH have a physical and individual therapy?
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Old 11-11-2010, 11:01 AM
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What does DDH mean?
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Old 11-11-2010, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by seekingcalm View Post

It's WW2, and at one moment of rare self-awareness, Tony Curtis says to Frank, " When you want something, you weigh it out in your mind, you think about how your life will change if you get it, you think about how others lives will change, what it will mean to everyone. When I want something, I just figure out what I have to say to get it, and then I say it."

That's my exABF. Those words really hit me.
Wow, seekingcalm, these words really hit me too. Thanks for sharing!

Craven
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Old 11-11-2010, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by seekingcalm View Post

It's WW2, and at one moment of rare self-awareness, Tony Curtis says to Frank, " When you want something, you weigh it out in your mind, you think about how your life will change if you get it, you think about how others lives will change, what it will mean to everyone. When I want something, I just figure out what I have to say to get it, and then I say it."

That's my exABF. Those words really hit me.
Wow, seekingcalm, these words really hit me too. Thanks for sharing!

Craven
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Old 11-11-2010, 01:20 PM
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Dry Drunk Husband (DDH)

Describes somebody who behaves like an alcoholic but is sober. You can be Sober and not be in recovery. You cannot be in recovery and be using or drinking.

That's it in a nutshell.

Originally Posted by lb6493 View Post
What does DDH mean?
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Old 11-11-2010, 01:31 PM
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acdirito, what are you doing for your recovery...

...from the affects of his alcoholism? I understand you have mobility and health issues right now, but your postings scream out for Al-Anon recovery in my opinion, and it's clear you have plenty of internet access. Have you tried any online Al-Anon meetings? If not, I highly recommned you do (as many as you can find, as often as you can attend).

Your so incredibly focused on him and his behavior, use third-party pro-nouns describing others, and almost never look inward in your posts, that it actually frustrates me and I don't even know you. YOU CANNOT CHANGE HIM. YOU WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO CHANGE HIM. YOU CAN ONLY CHANGE YOU.

I'll tell you only this-- this forum is here for you, not your DDH. Talk about you, why you do what you do, why you say the things you say, why you take the actions you take, and what you want out of recovery and the remainder of your life.

Stop posting manifestos, and start sharing and talking about YOU. I can Google too, but I can't Google you.

There is a line in Ala-non that says, "while you may not like us, you'll come to love us just like we already love you." This is why I'm posting this to you.

Take what you want and leave the rest.

Cyranoak



Originally Posted by acdirito View Post
People that are in relationships with alcoholics want nothing more than our love ones to stop drinking. However, even when our alcoholic stops drinking our relationships will still have its ups and downs, and its good times and its bad times. Those are ups and downs that everyone experiences and should be expected in any relationship. The alcoholic has to surrender to the HP, and the journey of recovery begins. The alcoholic needs and should want to be responsible for all aspects of their recovery, whether it is through a 12-step program or a professional substance abuse counselor. Otherwise
their growth in recovery could be stunted with only one piece of the pie in check: being physically clean and sober.

The alcoholic that is described as a "dry drunk" only works on the physical clean and sober aspect of their recovery. The Dry Drunk Syndrome is a term that should not be used as a catch-all when one has a bad day or a bump in life throws us for a while. The Dry Drunk is a condition far more serious than the highs and lows of our day-to-day existence.

The phrase "dry drunk" has two significant words for the alcoholic. "Dry" refers to the abstinence from drinking, whereas "drunk" signifies a deeply pathological condition resulting from the use of alcohol in the past. Taken together these words suggest intoxication without alcohol. Since intoxication comes from the Greek word for poison, "dry drunk" implies a state of mind and a mode of behavior that are poisonous to the alcoholic's well being.

Persons experiencing a full-blown DRY DRUNK are, for that period, removed from the world of sobriety; they fail, for whatever reason, to accept the necessary conditions for sober living. Their mental and emotional homes are chaotic, their approach to everyday living is unrealistic, and their behavior, both verbal and physical, is unacceptable.

The symptoms of a dry drunk shows up as:

1. Grandiosity, put very simply, is an exaggeration of one's own importance. This can be demonstrated either in terms of one's strengths or weaknesses. In either case it is blatantly self- seeking or self-serving, putting oneself at the center of attention, from the "big me" who has ask the answers to the "poor me" whose cup of self-pity runneth over and wants all of our attention.

2. Judgmentalism is mutually related to grandiosity. It means that the alcoholic is prone to make value judgments - strikingly inappropriate evaluations - usually in terms of "goodness" or "badness".

3. Intolerance leaves no room for delaying the gratification of personal desires. This is accomplished by gross confusion of priorities with the result that a mere whim or passing fancy is mistakenly given more importance than genuine personal needs.

4. Impulsivity is the result of intolerance or the lack of ability to delay gratification of personal desires. Impulsivity describes behavior which is heedless of the ultimate consequence for self or others.

5. Indecisiveness is related to impulsitivity in the sense that while the latter takes no realistic account of the consequences of the actions, the former precludes effective action altogether. Indecisiveness stems from an unrealistic exaggeration of the negative possibilities of the action ; so one wavers between two or more possible courses of action, more times than not-nothing gets done.

In order to survive living with a dry drunk, a codependent needs to keep a sense of humor. There just is no other way to do it. I was thinking about this yesterday as I was cleaning up my bedroom. I suffered a massive stroke in DEC 2009, and as a result I suffer from immobility problems. Well, my husband basically wasn't there to help me when I got back home. It got to such a condition that I was embarrassed of having anyone in my house, and I had my inhome care discontinued. My DDH had to take me to my doctor's for vertigo. The nurse noticed this in my medical records and wanted to know why. I told her the truth.

Now, GET THIS!

My DDH's explanation was he just kept hoping for me to get better! HUH!? (I needed to get better before my DDH was willing to help me around the house.)

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Old 11-11-2010, 05:44 PM
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I find this thread really interesting. It describes my ex to a T...who I thought was just good ole fashioned narcissistic.

What about being an alcoholic causes this behavior? Is it just what the alcohol does to the brain?
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Old 11-11-2010, 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Rayn3dr0p View Post
When I first logged in here, the idea of an alcoholic who is sober but still exhibits all the behaviors associated with alcoholism (lying, manipulating, irresponsiblity, etc.) was truly eye-opening. I used to live in a fantasy world where my ex would stop drinking and we would live happily ever after. Now, I know better. I needed this reminder today as I'm stuck in a moment of weakness. Thanks.
It is nice to learn that I wasn't the only person living in a fantasy. This forum makes me feel normal and ok with myself.

Thank you everyone.
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Old 11-12-2010, 04:38 AM
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Originally Posted by goldengirl3 View Post
Is it just what the alcohol does to the brain?
Pretty much. And it can either be ridden out which can take a very long time, ridden out with support like a support group, religion, sports, etc or medicated. (Or a mixture of all, whatever works.) It's not a personality fault or spiritual deficiency it's neurochemistry.

That's not to say that some alcoholics aren't just asshats, but that is true of all people everywhere.
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