Dry Drunk

Old 04-01-2010, 06:19 AM
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Dry Drunk

I have read posts that mention the condition of "dry drunk", and am not sure what it is. I would like to hear people's definitions of what this is and how to avoid it (or even how to recognize if I am being/becoming one) as it sounds like it is not a healthy thing to be, and it is not the way to recover. I have not opted to join AA, but have not totally discounted doing so at some point either. I see that different recovered/recovering people on this forum have chosen to find their way with AA, and some have used other methods. I appreciate hearing points of view from anyone, no matter what is currently or has previously helped them with their recovery. I am new (10 weeks sober) and just learning things and want to continue on a healthy path to recovery and welcome your thoughts on this topic of "dry drunk". Thanks.
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Old 04-01-2010, 06:38 AM
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It's not a term I me is simply
one who no longer drinks
but has not changed their way of living.

They apparently are staying stuck and not makeing
progress in being happily sober.

I have found so much positive happenings in life
by useing the AA 12 Steps. It's a great way to change!
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Old 04-01-2010, 06:39 AM
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Hi Hound,
I myself have asked that question and after reading the answers and being honest with myself, I had to admit that although now 6 months sober, I'm still just dry and not recovering. I'm just not drinking. Some days it's easy some days not so much. I don't work a programme other than being a member of SR.Three years ago I went through detox and short rehab, followed by therapy and attending AA meetings. When I did all that I was recovering, but then I foolishly stopped and I relapsed again and again. I value my sobriety, but I'm not at ease, knowing I'm only a breath away from relapsing again. I'm not sober, I'm just dry. I hope this helps. Other people will be along to tell you about the beauty of true recovery. Please consider their way, it's so much better and easier. I'm hanging in there and I will find my way too - one day.
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Old 04-01-2010, 06:46 AM
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My husband was one. To be honest, I think some of us who had a miraculous change and spiritual experience tend to use it. I considered my husband one because while I was/am growing up, he remained the same miserable man. This ultimately led to his relapse. It was frustrating to watch. I didn't want to leave him behind.

Generally used for those miserable in sobriety who do nothing to try and climb out of it. Happy when it rains so-to-speak.
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Old 04-01-2010, 06:48 AM
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I too wondered what the term "Dry Drunk" meant, thank you for the definitions
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Old 04-01-2010, 06:49 AM
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It's not a term that I would use either, though I understand the concept.

I was beaten down emotionally, spiritually and physically and I knew without a doubt that I would have to reconnect with my spiritual self if I was going to recover.
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Old 04-01-2010, 07:48 AM
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I've always heard that 'dry drunk' means simply not drinking but not working on recovery as in changing your lifestyle and/or ways of thinking.
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Old 04-01-2010, 07:59 AM
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For me and i did it, it is as least says just stopping drinking and changing little else. My finances, relationships, health all improved of course but i found myself avoiding all social occasions, opportunities to go places, thoughts of the future were quite negative, angrym regretful of the past, tired all the time (stressed)...stuff like that...

It's a tricky one to define cos i am sure there is a lot people can add but basically, in hindsight, it is pretty much changing nothing on the inside and expecting exterior changes to be enough...people last years doing this and i met a guy who had been like this for 20 miserable as anything but not drinking...i could never keep this up for more than a few months at a time before it became too much and drank again...
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Old 04-01-2010, 08:11 AM
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Wow...congrats on 10 weeks! That is WONDERFUL! My interpretation of a "dry drunk" is someone who has given up drinking but is white-knuckling it and not enjoying their sobriety, not had a spiritual awakening. I too am afraid of being in this category.

I was determined not to use AA as part of my recovery. I didn't like their talk of a Higher Power, the idea that we are defenseless against the first drink, and that we cannot maintain sobriety unless we help others to stay sober. I thought it was a load of crap. Surely willpower would be enough to help me overcome my problem. But I was proved wrong, time and time again, and so I surrendered and just gave myself to the program. Even though it's sayings and ideas still make me cringe at times, I am able to swallow it, take what I need and leave some of what I don't. I know there are other programs out there, but AA is readily available to me at no cost, and if I make a meeting, no matter how bad my day was, I know I won't drink. Just my two cents on what is working for me. You will find your way.
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Old 04-01-2010, 08:22 AM
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I've been doing CoDA work for 1.5 years and have made great strides. But I feel there's something missing in my work.

On a recent weekend trip, I was visiting a long-term recovery friend and after hearing my story, she suggested that my mother was a "dry-drunk" regardless of whether there was alcohol involved or not. (I am currently living with my mom...difficult to say the least! And still intrigued by what the term means, but the responses here resonate.

On this same trip I visited with my now ex-g/f. It was like what yeahgr8 said: she's changing nothing on the inside and expecting exterior changes to be enough. (Great piece of wisdom!) Shortly into our visit... I started to trigger and wanted to drink. I don't have an active problem with drinking... but I certainly could. It was good to notice that she triggered me. I also realized that our relationship... was like the one I have with my mom: very.very.difficult. Thanks to my recovery, I know that me moving in with ex (something she desperately wants and my refusal was the cause of our breakup) would not solve her problem of being unhappy and miserable but would quickly lead me back down into the black hole of nothingness.

Recovery friend suggested I attend Al-Anon. Might be what's missing in my recovery work.

Great topic, thanks for bringing this up.

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Old 04-01-2010, 08:27 AM
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I think dry drunk refers to unhappy abstinence. Plain and simple. Just not drinking and not happy about it.

Living a life in contented recovery, however, I think is a good balance between mind, body and spirit since they're all parts of the same basic unit: what happens to one part affects the others.

If you're working a program that enables you to re-center the mind and emotions to break the habits that contributed to the need for alcohol, it will ultimately make you enjoy living in the present without the need for that 'crutch.'

That's been my experience. Take care.
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Old 04-01-2010, 09:57 AM
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My father was like this for 3 years when he quit. He ended up returning to drinking and it has progressed worse than ever.
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Old 04-01-2010, 10:01 AM
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As the old saying goes...

Abstinence (e.g. dry drunk) is not drinking and feeling bad about it.
Recovery is not drinking and feeling good about it.

This is what always helped me.

For me, the key to truly being in recovery and not being a dry drunk is a combination of SR, AA, reading about alcoholism, speaking to groups about alcoholism, and helping other alcoholics. This helps me stay connected to my higher power.

It doesn't take me a lot of time each day (some days as little at 15 minutes), but by staying active in my recovery, I have found that it keeps me much happier. (By reading and posting on SR, I am working on my recovery right now.)

Every time I start feeling down, I just ramp up my recovery efforts and my down feelings usually pass.
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Old 04-01-2010, 10:07 AM
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Don't resist, allow
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Those in AA who work the 12 Steps have the Promises which are in the Big Book materialize for them.

We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.

We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.

We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.

No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.

That feeling of uselessness and selfpity will disappear.

We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.

Self-seeking will slip away.

Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.

Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.

We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.

We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Promises regarding Alcohol specifically
And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone -even alcohol.

For by this time sanity will have returned.

We will seldom be interested in liquor.

If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame.

We are not fighting it, either are we avoiding tempation.

We feel as though we had been placed in a position of neutrality - safe and protected.

We have not even sworn off.

Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us.

Whatever program you choose to work to recover, I hope that the above promises come true for you because living life like that is an experience so amazing you really would not want to miss out. But if you find that your life is not like that even if you are sober, then why not try working the AA 12 Step program.
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Old 04-01-2010, 10:14 AM
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My definition??.... Simple:

Not drinking and resenting it.

Take the alcohol out of the alcoholic and what do you get?.... "ic".... lol.

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Old 04-01-2010, 10:45 AM
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Ic! Isn't ic something that home kept fish in tank get sometimes? Yuk. LOL
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Old 04-01-2010, 11:08 AM
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"Abstinence (e.g. dry drunk) is not drinking and feeling bad about it.
Recovery is not drinking and feeling good about it."

I usually say this as.....: Abstinence is not drinking and feeling bad about one's life. Recovery is abstinence (not drinking) and feeling good about one's life.

I don't use the term 'dry drunk.' I find it used (mostly) by AAer's (although it's used by others more and more) who like to define the terms sober/sobriety/recovery/recovering/recovered for, not only themselves, but others also.

If there's one thing I've learned in my recovery it is that there are lots of terms that I only get to define for myself; these terms would include the terms above...: sober/sobriety/recovery/recovering/recovered. I don't get to define these terms for anybody else. If a person is abstinent (and no other changes in his/her life), and he/she is happy/content with his/her life, regardless of what others may think, that person has the right to call themself sober/in sobriety/in recovery/recovering/recovered, and nobody has the right to deny them that, even if those others are not happy with this sober (....etc.) person's life.

There's another old saying.....: take the alcohol out of an alcoholic horse thief and what you have left is a sober horse thief. Usually this saying is used in a derogatory manner, but as I see the saying says.... even tho still a horse thief, he is sober. period. not dry, but sober.

Of course, all the above are just my opinions...and ps, I may not agree with others' definitions of sober/in sobriety/in recovery/recovering/recovered for myself, I just leave those others to their own..........

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Old 04-01-2010, 02:22 PM
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My friend's husband never drank or drugged and his therapist told him he was like a dry drunk. I was confused about that one.
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Old 04-01-2010, 03:56 PM
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Quitting drinking but holding on to poisonous outlooks & attitudes.............
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Old 04-01-2010, 07:44 PM
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dry drunk... not dealing with what underlying issues there may be associated with the drinking. so in the absence of alcohol... those issues become elevated and make life more difficult, and thus the individual is more likely to be more miserable and irratable then when they were drinking.
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