Dry drunk syndrome

Posted by mothergoose76 @mothergoose76, Jul 17 7:17am

A fellow AA member has not bee going to meetings for months and lately has been argumentative and hurtfu towards me. I am trying to be tolerant, but am wondering if my emotional sobriety is being compromised. Maybe she is thirsty. I’m stumped. What are the signs of a dry drunk?

Hello @mothergoose76

I am sorry to hear that your AA support group is causing you to feel emotionally unsafe. That is counter-productive, isn't it? I would encourage you to talk with a facilitator or perhaps a long-time member of the group to get some feedback on this uncomfortable situation. You asked about the term, dry-drunk. I did find a blog on the Psychology Today magazine on this topic. The title is "Is There a Dry Drunk in Your life. Here is the link, just click on it and you can read more about this.
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/heartache-hope/201105/is-there-dry-drunk-in-your-life.
This article lists six characteristics of a dry-drunk.

1) Resentment at a spouse, parent or whoever has "made them" stop drinking.
2) Annoyed and frustrated with the realization that they can't drink as do most people, ever again.
3) Realizing that because of their drinking, they may have unrealized goals, dreams and potential.
4) Having to accept and take responsibility for the wasted years due to drinking, without an excuse or justification.
5) Anxious about venturing out or challenging themselves for fear of failure. The alcoholic may not have had any normal life experience with failure and success, which in turn would make them stronger and wiser. Instead those years were devoid of dealing with life on life's terms due to the alcoholic addiction.
6) Jealous of others for their stick-to-itiveness, perseverance and strength. Resenting the family member or friend for their dreams and punishing them by not being supportive, questioning their ability and striving to clip their wings of creativity.

As you can see, there can be many frustrations to overcome when a person becomes sober.

I would also like to invite others who have posted in the Addiction/Recovery discussions to comment on this. Please meet @lolly906 @stsopoci @savana1 @notaround @sandij @thankful @johnhans @christinelouise @zeph317 @johnwhitfield @hisgrace6992 @jimk849

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@hopeful33250

Hello @mothergoose76

I am sorry to hear that your AA support group is causing you to feel emotionally unsafe. That is counter-productive, isn't it? I would encourage you to talk with a facilitator or perhaps a long-time member of the group to get some feedback on this uncomfortable situation. You asked about the term, dry-drunk. I did find a blog on the Psychology Today magazine on this topic. The title is "Is There a Dry Drunk in Your life. Here is the link, just click on it and you can read more about this.
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/heartache-hope/201105/is-there-dry-drunk-in-your-life.
This article lists six characteristics of a dry-drunk.

1) Resentment at a spouse, parent or whoever has "made them" stop drinking.
2) Annoyed and frustrated with the realization that they can't drink as do most people, ever again.
3) Realizing that because of their drinking, they may have unrealized goals, dreams and potential.
4) Having to accept and take responsibility for the wasted years due to drinking, without an excuse or justification.
5) Anxious about venturing out or challenging themselves for fear of failure. The alcoholic may not have had any normal life experience with failure and success, which in turn would make them stronger and wiser. Instead those years were devoid of dealing with life on life's terms due to the alcoholic addiction.
6) Jealous of others for their stick-to-itiveness, perseverance and strength. Resenting the family member or friend for their dreams and punishing them by not being supportive, questioning their ability and striving to clip their wings of creativity.

As you can see, there can be many frustrations to overcome when a person becomes sober.

I would also like to invite others who have posted in the Addiction/Recovery discussions to comment on this. Please meet @lolly906 @stsopoci @savana1 @notaround @sandij @thankful @johnhans @christinelouise @zeph317 @johnwhitfield @hisgrace6992 @jimk849

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I was not clear. My group is a safe place . But a member of the group, with whom I’ve become close friends, has stopped attending meetings and has been upsetting of late. I wondered about the dry drunk syndrome regarding her behavior.

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If she is not attending meetings is she contacting you directly,@mothergoose76? If so, is there a way you can stop her from contacting you?

Please read the information I listed about dry-drunk.

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@hopeful33250

If she is not attending meetings is she contacting you directly,@mothergoose76? If so, is there a way you can stop her from contacting you?

Please read the information I listed about dry-drunk.

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Yes. No calls or emails. The sticky part is that she was a close talk-every day friend. I suggested she start attending meetings to help her cope with feelings of hopelessness and fatigue and she reacted very badly. I feel rather like I’m back in 7th grade!

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@mothergoose76

Yes. No calls or emails. The sticky part is that she was a close talk-every day friend. I suggested she start attending meetings to help her cope with feelings of hopelessness and fatigue and she reacted very badly. I feel rather like I’m back in 7th grade!

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That is too bad that you find yourself without your "close talk-every day friend" as you said. I hope that you can find some support for the stress you are feeling.

What kind of support would be helpful for you, @mothergoose76?

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@mothergoose76 @hopeful33250 This is too weird- I generally only follow the lung groups, since I'm a lung cancer survivor. But, when I opened the weekly digest and Addiction & Recovery came up first it was like a sign that since I missed my 11am Zoom meeting I should peek in here. And, the first thing I read was about you looking along the path of your walk, which really spoke to me, so thank you! Next, I opened this because I too, have a similarly close person and issue. And, same as you, suggesting a meeting only makes it worse. (Meanwhile, I really came away from the article feeling like it was written by someone with a psych degree but not our problem.) The only thing I've found helpful is to involve another common friend- if geographically possible, to meet for a walk or sit outside to visit. It puts the balance back on our side, at least long enough to hopefully get her to shift her perspective for the moment or to better evaluate our own.

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@bluelagoon

@mothergoose76 @hopeful33250 This is too weird- I generally only follow the lung groups, since I'm a lung cancer survivor. But, when I opened the weekly digest and Addiction & Recovery came up first it was like a sign that since I missed my 11am Zoom meeting I should peek in here. And, the first thing I read was about you looking along the path of your walk, which really spoke to me, so thank you! Next, I opened this because I too, have a similarly close person and issue. And, same as you, suggesting a meeting only makes it worse. (Meanwhile, I really came away from the article feeling like it was written by someone with a psych degree but not our problem.) The only thing I've found helpful is to involve another common friend- if geographically possible, to meet for a walk or sit outside to visit. It puts the balance back on our side, at least long enough to hopefully get her to shift her perspective for the moment or to better evaluate our own.

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Hi @bluelagoon, What a great idea to invite a third person to the tense relationship! It does provide a balance of power, so to speak, and can make the conversation less hurtful and provide more opportunity for healthy conversations. It is important to remember, @mothergoose76, that the only person you can change is the person in the mirror (you) so you need to make whatever time you spend with your dry-drunk friend as safe as possible.

Is there someone else you could invite into your time together?

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Hi @mothergoose76, I'm new here but I have 8+ years of sobriety and have been in your shoes. I actually worked for the lady I'm referring to part time. We had gone through treatment together and she apparently thought she was 'cured' so she didn't bother to get a sponsor and work the steps. Simply put, she was a toxic dry drunk and I had to cut her out of my life to protect my sobriety. That is my #1 priority because without that, everything else goes away anyway.
It's been my experience that a dry drunk is someone who isn't drinking but they're still a jerk. Have you heard the expression "10% drink, 90% think"?
Do you have a sponsor?

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@sleepyhag

Hi @mothergoose76, I'm new here but I have 8+ years of sobriety and have been in your shoes. I actually worked for the lady I'm referring to part time. We had gone through treatment together and she apparently thought she was 'cured' so she didn't bother to get a sponsor and work the steps. Simply put, she was a toxic dry drunk and I had to cut her out of my life to protect my sobriety. That is my #1 priority because without that, everything else goes away anyway.
It's been my experience that a dry drunk is someone who isn't drinking but they're still a jerk. Have you heard the expression "10% drink, 90% think"?
Do you have a sponsor?

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Hi and thanks for your reply. I have 41 years and am still going to (Zoom) meetings, checking in with my sponsor and working the steps. The person I wrote about is newly sober- two years- and has become a dear friend. My sponsor reminded me of the old AA story about the drowning person would refused to drop a heavy rock and grab a life ring. I went out and found a rock and wrote my friend’s name on it. Every time I’d get on the resentment train in my head, I’d pick up the rock and drop it. Funny how after all these years the simple tricks still work. Being an addict, I shall doubtless have a pile of rocks on my fireplace hearth in time. Again, thanks so much for the support. MotherGoose

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@sleepyhag

Hi @mothergoose76, I'm new here but I have 8+ years of sobriety and have been in your shoes. I actually worked for the lady I'm referring to part time. We had gone through treatment together and she apparently thought she was 'cured' so she didn't bother to get a sponsor and work the steps. Simply put, she was a toxic dry drunk and I had to cut her out of my life to protect my sobriety. That is my #1 priority because without that, everything else goes away anyway.
It's been my experience that a dry drunk is someone who isn't drinking but they're still a jerk. Have you heard the expression "10% drink, 90% think"?
Do you have a sponsor?

Jump to this post

Hello @sleepyhag and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect!

I appreciate your post in our Addiction/Recovery discussion group. Congratulations on your 8+ years of sobriety, that is wonderful!
If you are comfortable sharing more, would you like to relate the story of your sobriety journey? Are there any particular thoughts, behaviors that have helped you the most?

I look forward to getting to hearing from you again.

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