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Old 07-22-2010, 11:33 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Dry Drunk? what is it?


Hi all! I have seen a number of references to a dry drunk here and I'm not sure I get what it is. I searched the threads but didn't see an explanation, and I googled it but what I found was confusing. So if anyone would care to shed some light on it for me I would be grateful:-)
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Old 07-22-2010, 11:41 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It's confusing because there's a number of competing definitions - all of which I'm sure you'll find here LOL.

Wikipedia has

Quote:
Dry drunk is a colloquial expression which describes an alcoholic who no longer drinks but maintains the same behavior patterns of an alcoholic. ...
It's not a term I use.
D
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Old 07-22-2010, 11:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
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It means exactly what Dee and wikipedia says...
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Old 07-23-2010, 12:05 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Ok, I see what I am confused about...what are the behaviour patterns of an alcoholic other than drinking? It seems that defining what an alcoholic is varies from person to person so what is the pattern?
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Old 07-23-2010, 12:54 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Geez you don't ask much La Femme

it's hard to give a short answer but I'll try

For me, when I was simply just 'not drinking'...

I was still living the same life, I had the same resentments, the same fears, the same mistrust of people, the same self centeredness and anger and rage at the world that I'd built up over many years of solitary drinking.

I was emotionally stunted and I wasn't interested in growing in any way.
I wasn't even aware I was stunted - I thought I was right.

My perceptions were still the twisted perceptions of an active alcoholic.

Some choose to call that being a dry drunk - to me I was just 'between drinks'.

When none of that frustration anger and fear 'went away' (I endured it for 2 months once) it was not surprising that I returned to drinking.

D
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Old 07-23-2010, 01:10 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks Dee!

Maybe I'm too new at this...I think I kind of thought growing as a human and giving up alcohol went hand in hand. I'm actually really surprised anyone could give up alcohol and not change. I mean suddenly its like I feel again, you know?
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Old 07-23-2010, 01:28 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Well for me I was in denial....I thought me and my life were fine...I just 'drank too much'...

Took me another 10 years or so to peel back a few more layers of myself and get to the truth

D
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Old 07-23-2010, 02:21 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Until I found these forums, I thought "dry" was a term given to alcoholics that no longer drank. My Dad refers to himself as being dry for 15 years. Maybe its a generational thing?
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Old 07-23-2010, 02:27 AM   #9 (permalink)
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When I am being a dry drunk I am being a tantrumming, screaming, nutty bitch.

I thought it was only alcohol that made me act that way- I was wrong!

Only been that way twice in 5 months sober - compared to 3-4 times per week at the end of my drinking. Progress not perfection.

I'm still impatient and have other character defects, but then so does everyone. The only time I define myself as being dry drunk is when I act completely mental and insane, just like drunk people do. It's scary!

Hope that helps.
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Old 07-23-2010, 03:58 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Its not like we are supposed to be perfect once we are sober is it..because then the world is full of dry drunks, right;-) does sobriety = working on yourself? lf so I was sober long before I abstained. I kind of feel like being sobeer is just another step in a constant project to become a better human being, although obviously a crucial one.

Thanks for all the info, makes more sense now...I still think people who give up alcohol, even if they are dry drunks, deserve a lot of credit.
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Old 07-23-2010, 04:54 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I hate the phrase 'dry drunk'.

It's not helpful...and people usually call others that as an insult...a way to place judgement on someone else's sobriety.

Obviously being sober isn't a simple thing. We're still human whether sober or not...and with that comes all of the problems and emotions of life.

Many folks find that when they stop drinking that they are dealing with an untreated mental illness. I have depression...and the depression doesn't care that I don't drink. Some days are really tough.

I get really concerned with the term being thrown around when people use it to mean anyone who hasn't found 'serenity' or whatever in being sober.

I think that when people get this misconception stuck in their heads...as though they should feel good and peaceful about sobriety...and they don't feel that way....they get discouraged and go back to getting smashed all the time.

I like to say that you don't have to feel recovery to do recovery. Dang it, if you are having days where the last thing you want to do is stay sober...yet you do stay sober...you are doing it right. That's what's supposed to happen...and the longer you spent drunk the more time it's going to take before you can heal.
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Old 07-23-2010, 05:00 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Thanks bambozzlw that makes a lot of sensw, I was picking up negative vibes on the term too:-)
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Old 07-23-2010, 05:05 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I don't use the term either, because I think it's meaningless.

And, I agree with you LaFemme, stopping drinking does bring about other changes in one's life, but I think sometimes, peoplefight those changes and try to remain exactly as they were, minus the alcohol. For me, I was thrilled to begin to change.
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Old 07-23-2010, 06:48 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I have been dry drunk. It happened when I didn't live a full real sober life and yet didn't actually drink alcohol. Just stopping drinking was not enough for me to live a sober life, I needed to change as well, and some of those changes were very difficult, and although I didn't drink again, i still failed changing in ways that otherwise would have kept me drinking.

As time went on in my early recovery I began to understand that living sober is not just an altogether instant solution to all my problems. Some problems would take more time than others, some I stayed in denial about more than others, some were completely beyond me so early in the game.

As the months and years went by life eventually demanded I revisit some of my solutions for some of my problems, And I found myself when coming to terms with myself that I had in fact been dry drunk about some of my early solutions. It was then I understood, for me alone, what being dry drunk means.

It's not for everybody but it is in my toolbox, and my experiences with it were helpful to ensure my continued sobriety, and I'm sure I'll discover more about myself and alcoholism and living a sober life again. And again without drinking. I do know that not everybody "needs" to do the "dry drunk thing" to have a happy sober life. It's an acquired taste, lol.

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Old 07-23-2010, 07:07 AM   #15 (permalink)
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If one wants to call themselves one then fine...

In my experience it is used when somone in the halls does not like someone for whatever reason and they don't have the guts to just come out and say it.
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Old 07-23-2010, 07:20 AM   #16 (permalink)
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I've read about it in reference to really hard core, long term alcoholic's, who despite being sober for quite some time still move or stumble as if drunk. Apparently it's caused by brain damage sustained from chronic alcohol use.

If I come across it again, I'll post it here.

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Old 07-23-2010, 07:26 AM   #17 (permalink)
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I think that is "wet brain" (Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome) that you may be referring to, Murray.

Yeah, Chops, it is used as an insult by some resentful ignorants against others. Don't I know it.

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Old 07-23-2010, 07:52 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bamboozle View Post
I like to say that you don't have to feel recovery to do recovery. Dang it, if you are having days where the last thing you want to do is stay sober...yet you do stay sober...you are doing it right. That's what's supposed to happen...and the longer you spent drunk the more time it's going to take before you can heal.
I can sign on to what your saying too, Bam, in my own way. For me, came a time when suffering was just not the way to go anymore. I had had enough. So even though I didn't drink, I had to draw a line and decide that my being "sober" pretty well sucked. I then went from there and reworked my sobriety into a whole lot less of suffering. Not easy because this time I wasn't coming off a booze run. Different story and a whole lot harder to change me because i was already sober, you know?

Anyways.

I really agree that feelings are not the best measure of the quality of my sobriety. And through tough times we need to hang on and not drink. Suffering from alcoholism though is not cake walk on our feelings and the less my feelings have to be twisted up all the better. My use of being dry drunk saved me countless years of useless hardships I otherwise would have endured I'm sure. Now my sobriety is very changed from when I began years earlier, and I'm grateful for how I did it.

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Old 07-23-2010, 08:05 AM   #19 (permalink)
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What's interesting to me is this...I have been trying to get sober 5 Years now...I am currently at 12 days which is a massive record for me, sad but true. Also I feel amazing, really positive, no real cravings. The thing is I have spent the past 5 years doing a ton of work on myself, and I don't think I would stand a chance of getting sober if I hadn't already done so much work.

So in a way, a person who can abstain without having done the work on themselves is really impressive to me. If that makes any sense:-)
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Old 07-23-2010, 08:27 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bamboozle View Post
I hate the phrase 'dry drunk'.

It's not helpful...and people usually call others that as an insult...a way to place judgement on someone else's sobriety.

Obviously being sober isn't a simple thing. We're still human whether sober or not...and with that comes all of the problems and emotions of life.

Many folks find that when they stop drinking that they are dealing with an untreated mental illness. I have depression...and the depression doesn't care that I don't drink. Some days are really tough.

I get really concerned with the term being thrown around when people use it to mean anyone who hasn't found 'serenity' or whatever in being sober.

I think that when people get this misconception stuck in their heads...as though they should feel good and peaceful about sobriety...and they don't feel that way....they get discouraged and go back to getting smashed all the time.

I like to say that you don't have to feel recovery to do recovery. Dang it, if you are having days where the last thing you want to do is stay sober...yet you do stay sober...you are doing it right. That's what's supposed to happen...and the longer you spent drunk the more time it's going to take before you can heal.
I don't like it either, it's tossed around too much, usually by a sponsor that crosses the line from showing tough love towards the sponsee to being a control freak jerk that is counterproductive.
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