The look of a Dry Drunk

Abstinence without sobriety

Alcoholics Anonymous informally refers to the alcoholic who has stopped drinking, but who still demonstrates the same alcoholic attitudes and behaviors, as a “dry drunk.”

They say that such an individual has abstinence but not sobriety.

This concept has been adopted by most twelve-step programs such as Narcotics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous and Emotions Anonymous.

It appears on almost all of the Web sites devoted to the different addictions, although characteristics of the dry drunk syndrome differ widely from site to site. Most often mentioned are:

  • depression;
  • anxiety;
  • irritability, anger;
  • grandiosity, pomposity, an inflated ego;
  • an inability to delay gratification, impatience and impulsivity;
  • self-pity;
  • being a workaholic, other compulsive behaviors, tunnel vision, a lack of balance;
  • intolerance, rigidity, being overly judgmental;
  • nostalgia toward or romanticizing of one’s drinking or drug use; and
  • emotional constriction, lack of spontaneity, failure to enjoy life.

What can be done if one finds oneself with these symptoms?

Avoid relapse by;

  • Going to more meetings
  • Talking more to ones sponsor; or, getting a sponsor
  • Doing the program
  • Doing 12th Step work
  • Revisit Steps 1, 2 and 3.
  • Trust your Higher Power

See also;

Related Reading:

Dieting: A Dry Drunk
Walk in Dry Places
No Soft Landings: A Memoir