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Dr. Steve Frisch, Psy.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in
Chicago, Illinois and Northfield, Illinois.

You can contact Dr. Frisch, Psy.D. at
(847) 498-5611.

Recover 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. Frisch’s, Psy.D. Recovery book series.


What is a Dry Drunk?


D
ear 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 ultimatum—either 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 doesn’t 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 I’ve stopped drinking, I am a dry drunk. What more do they want from me, a pound of my flesh?

This is 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, you’ve given your family and yourself an incredible gift. You are to be congratulated!

The bad 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 drinking—thus the phrase dry drunk. You see, you have dealt with the physical aspect of alcohol abuse—namely 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:

1.) You may have stopped drinking but you may resent your wife for forcing you to stop drinking.

2.) You may have stopped drinking but you may resent other people who are able to drink.

3.) You may have stopped drinking but never dealt with the emotional impact of being without your old friend, alcohol.

4.) You may have stopped drinking but you may still treat your wife and kids much the same as when you were drinking.

5.) You may have stopped drinking but you may still be secretive and deceitful.

6.) You may have stopped drinking but the toxic influences of grandiosity and shame may still infect your relationships.

7.) You may have stopped drinking but your judgmentalness and pride may still make your wife and children feel slighted and insignificant.

8.) You may have stopped drinking but you may still be willful and self-centered.

9.) You 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. 

The list 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. That’s because abstinence detoxifies the body but Recovery detoxifies not only the body but the mind and soul as well.

I know 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.

Give some consideration to follow steps I list below. Whatever you decide, please feel good about what you’ve accomplished with abstinence. At the same time, please know that life can become even better for you!


Recover 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. Frisch’s, Psy.D. Recovery book series—From Insanity to Serenity.

Pathfinder’s Checklist

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

G.B.U.

Steve



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