Dry Drunk Syndrome

Putting down the drink for good is a huge part of recovery. To feel the full benefits of sobriety, however, usually requires more from a person. When someone stops drinking without getting help from a therapist, a rehab, or a fellowship, they run the risk of becoming a dry drunk. A dry drunk is a person who hasn’t looked or doesn’t want to look at their behaviors and actions since they stopped drinking. They may not be interested in changing, and they may not have the willingness to either.

A dry drunk can act the same way they did when they were drinking alcoholically. The only thing that has changed is the omission of their alcohol consumption. This syndrome is more likely to occur with people who quit drinking on their own.

Characteristics of a dry drunk can include:

  • self obsession
  • resentment towards friends and family
  • anger and a negative attitude about abstaining from alcohol
  • romanticizing about their drinking days
  • looking at and finding ways to replace their addiction with another.

Another addiction could be food, gambling, internet useage—anything that’s done obsessively. When a person replaces their addiction, they are still holding all the pain inside that they had from drinking. They aren’t looking into why they became an alcoholic in the first place.

Being a dry drunk is a miserable way to live. Sure, it beats passing out in the park, or throwing up on the rug every other day, causing a fatal car accident, or going to jail. Still, what about living? Is being resentful and angry all the time really an ideal way to live? People who get help with their recovery can go on to live meaningful and memorable lives. They learn what caused them to behave in ways foreign to their nature. They learn to accept responsibility for their past and present behavior. Most important, they accept that they have an addiction.

You may wonder what hope there is for the dry drunk. Unfortunately, a loved one or friend can’t persuade a person to do anything about their unchanged behaviors and attitudes. They have to come to that conclusion on their own. If they were to decide to get into therapy, then the questions the therapist asks might help pry them loose from an unwillingness to look at themselves. Even though they have stopped drinking, they may also benefit greatly from going to a rehab. There they will be fully immersed in healing and recovery.

“Nothing is impossible; the word itself says, ‘I’m possible!’” – Audrey Hepburn

With clinical training in abnormal psychology and psychopathology, the team at Infinity Malibu offers evidence-based treatment for clients facing substance abuse and co-occurring behavioral problems. Get the help you need today by calling 888-266-9048

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