Dry Drunk Syndrome: A Non-drinking Alcoholic’s Nemesis
The Dry Drunk Syndrome: A Non-drinking Alcoholic’s Nemesis
A Hazard to the Non-drinking Alcoholic
When an alcoholic stops drinking, it is cause for great celebration.
Unfortunately, sobriety is not guaranteed to last forever. It takes hard work and commitment and a keen eye for dangerous or slippery situations.
One danger to the non-drinking alcoholic is the Dry Drunk Syndrome, a set of habits and attitudes that take the joy out of the life of alcoholic and those around him or her. Those habits often precede a relapse into drinking, even if the alcoholic has been sober for years.
A dry drunk can be successfully treated. Here are some signs that will help you recognize the condition, and some suggestions on how to cope with it.
Alcoholics often develop, during their drinking years, many abnormal attitudes and behaviors, which they then carry with them into sobriety. These are the characteristic of the dry drunk. Family members and friends often don’t recognize the symptoms of a dry drunk as anything unusual, since in the past they have become used to this behavior from the alcoholic. They may even come to mistake these symptoms as personality traits (“oh, that’s just how Dad is”).
Some typical signs of a dry drunk are:
* Self-importance, either by having all the answers, or playing "poor me".
* Making harsh judgments of oneself and others.
* Being impatient or pursuing whims.
* Blaming others for their shortcomings.
* Being dishonest, usually beginning with little things.
* Impulsive behavior that ignores what’s best for them and others.
* Indecisive- inability to make decisions.
* Mood swings, trouble with expressing emotions, dissatisfaction.
* Detachment, self-absorption, boredom, distraction or disorganization.
* Nostalgia for the drinking life.
* Fantasizing, daydreaming and wishful thinking or euphoria.
* Neglecting the 12-step program or dropping out altogether.
Call your sponsor, go to meetings, meditate, seek out therapy, and don’t drink.
This syndrome is unfortunately very common, and highlights the untreated emotional issues underneath the addictive disorder.
If you feel you are in need of something more, you might consider the Foundation program at Serenity Ranch. This is a 3- week program to deal with issues that have or may lead to a slip or even a relapse if not dealt with.
The Dry Drunk Syndrome also applies to those addicted to things other than alcohol.