If you read any recovery-based literature, go to an Al-Anon meeting, or hang out in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous, you may have run across the term “dry drunk.” If you have a loved one who has stopped drinking, you may be thrilled for a time. When someone you care about gets rid of a destructive habit, everybody wins. At least, that is the way it is supposed to work until you realize that just stopping drinking is not enough to create a positive long-term change.

What is a Dry Drunk?

A dry drunk is someone who no longer drinks alcohol but still exhibits many of the same behaviors that he or she had while in active addiction. Dry drunks may have put down the drink, but the misery and unhealthy behaviors are alive and well. In fact, by taking alcohol out of the equation, there is a good chance that some of those unattractive behaviors will be magnified without the substance to numb emotions and regulate actions. Some of the unhealthy thinking and behaviors that characterize a dry drunk include:

  • Anger and Resentment. Many dry drunks are reluctant quitters and resent the people or circumstances that pushed them into giving up alcohol. Look for sarcasm, emotional outbursts, and the withholding of affection as a just a few signs.
  • A Sense of Entitlement. Not much is ever good enough for dry drunks. They have had to give up their best friend (alcohol), so they feel as if they are entitled to negative emotions and behaviors.
  • Self-Pity. Dry drunks are sure that life is over and they will never laugh or have fun again.
  • Blaming. Dry drunks will blame others for their troubles, failures, and shortcomings, never taking responsibility for their choices or actions.
  • Grandiose. Many dry drunks have an over-inflated sense of importance. You cannot win an argument with them, and they may want to tell you how to best live your life.

The Difference Between a Dry Drunk and Someone in Recovery

Fortunately, a dry drunk is not the same thing as a person in recovery. If it was, who would ever want to stop drinking? Recovery provides a new way to live that is free of the desire to drink as well as other negative emotions. People living a strong recovery program find freedom from anger, fear, jealousy, and other negative emotions. They are able to repair damaged relationships, manage finances, and find career stability and success.

Some people find recovery from alcoholism and then lose it without picking up a drink again. Essentially, they turn into a dry drunk and need help to get back on the right path. For either group, those who have never had recovery before and those who have, there is help available at a reputable Florida alcohol rehab.

Where Can Dry Drunks Go for Help?

Recovery from addiction is a process that is not meant to take place in isolation. Alcoholism in its most severe state tends to isolate you as does being a dry drunk. Just putting down the drink is not enough to make a lasting change. If you or any of your loved ones are exhibiting the symptoms of dry drunk syndrome, help is available. Contact us now to learn about how our Florida alcohol rehab program can help you begin a healthy and productive journey in recovery.

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Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.