What is a Dry Drunk? Signs and Ways to Overcome It!

If you have been around the rooms of a twelve step program then you probably have heard of the term dry drunk, but what does that exactly mean?  Basically, a dry drunk is an alcoholic that is sober but still acts like they did when they were drinking. They are usually angry and miserable most of the time and appear to be white knuckling through life just to not drink and be happy. This is why a program of recovery for alcoholics and addicts is suggested. 

Signs and Characteristics of a Dry Drunk

A dry drunk will start to show signs of anger, depression, discontentment, irritability and restlessness if they are not working on themselves. The hopelessness that they begin to feel starts to make them act out in unhealthy ways, which may in fact start to resemble behaviors they had when they were still drinking or using. Although the dry drunk isn’t drinking or using, they may no longer be motivated to stay clean and sober. This can happen because of a few different things: something happened where they lost all hope, they built a resentment, they believe that they don’t need to work any steps, they experienced a setback, etc. Whatever the reason for this syndrome, it can descend very rapidly and may lead to a relapse. The good news is that there are ways to overcome dry drunk syndrome.

How To Get Out Of The Dry Drunk Funk

Awareness of actions and a desire to change

Work a program of recovery (calling a sponsor, working the 12-steps, going to meetings, and helping others)

Build a stable sober support network

Maintain a relationship with a higher power

Learn new skills and hobbies

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