What is a Dry Drunk?
Dear Dr. Steve:
I have no trouble admitting
that drinking had become a problem for me. It had even gotten to the point where my wife
gave me an ultimatumeither the booze goes or her and the kids would go. But unlike
many other weak-minded individuals, I was able to stop drinking without going to rehab or
A.A. Yet that doesnt seem to be enough for my wife. Her friends at her Al-Anon
meetings are filling her head with more ideas about how I should be living my life. They
tell her that even though Ive stopped drinking, I am a dry drunk. What more
do they want from me, a pound of my flesh?
one of those good news-bad news stories. First, you are to be congratulated for taking a
serious look at your drinking and doing something about it. To quit drinking is hard
enough. To quit drinking all by yourself without the help and support of other people is
exponentially more difficult. In choosing abstinence over drinking, youve given your
family and yourself an incredible gift. You are to be congratulated!
news is, that even though you may be abstinent from drinking and drugging, you may still
act and think as an alcoholic who is still drinkingthus the phrase dry drunk.
You see, you have dealt with the physical aspect of alcohol abusenamely removed the
alcohol from your body, but you may still need to deal with the mind and soul aspects,
namely your attitudes, beliefs, and spirituality. For instance:
may have stopped drinking but you may resent your wife for forcing you to stop drinking.
may have stopped drinking but you may resent other people who are able to drink.
may have stopped drinking but never dealt with the emotional impact of being without your
old friend, alcohol.
may have stopped drinking but you may still treat your wife and kids much the same as when
you were drinking.
may have stopped drinking but you may still be secretive and deceitful.
may have stopped drinking but the toxic influences of grandiosity and shame may still
infect your relationships.
may have stopped drinking but your judgmentalness and pride may still make your wife and
children feel slighted and insignificant.
may have stopped drinking but you may still be willful and self-centered.
may have stopped drinking but the idea of powerlessness and unmanageability may still
remain foreign concepts to you.
10.) You may have stopped drinking but you may still reject the need for making room in
your life for a relationship with a Higher Power.
can go on and on but the point I want to make to you is that you can be abstinent and
still be a son of a gun to live with. Thats because abstinence
detoxifies the body but Recovery detoxifies not only the body but the mind and soul
you would much rather be appreciated for what you have accomplished rather than experience
the disapproval of others for who and what you still may not be. Just as the choice to
quit drinking was solely yours, how you go through life without alcohol will also be
yours. For the emotional and spiritual well-being of your family as well as yourself,
Recovery is an alternative to the thinking and behaviors of a person who abuses alcohol.
consideration to follow steps I list below. Whatever you decide, please feel good about
what youve accomplished with abstinence. At the same time, please know that life can
become even better for you!
from chemical dependency and its toxic impact on family members. Raise your children to
choose to be alcohol and other drugs free. Learn how to in Dr. Frischs, Psy.D.
Recovery book seriesFrom Insanity to Serenity.
1.) Buy a book about Recovery
2.) Attend an A.A. meeting
3.) Talk to an old-timer at a meeting about your fears and concerns about Recovery
4.) Go to at least five more meetings
5.) Learn about the first three steps of the 12-Step Program
6.) Talk to other people at the meetings about your fears and concerns about Recovery