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Post Info TOPIC: Dry drunk syndrome


Senior Member

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Posts: 260
Date:
Dry drunk syndrome
 


  • I've been reading Saved by Grace's postings on dry drunk detachment. I too believe that I live with a dry drunk. He was drinking when I met him and had all the symptoms of drinking alcoholically, had blackouts, got DUI's, drank till drunk, broken blood vessels in the skin around the face, all the classic symptoms. Since I had been married to two alcoholics before I told this nice man that I just couldn't date him because he drank and I had dealt with that before. He said several people from AA had been by to talk to him, but he didn't believe in it, thought if you had to have it to quit you were weak. (I know this not to be true and part of his disease). He did quit drinking though and I have witnessed one very unhappy person.

    I have been doing some reading on dry drunk syndrome and one of the things that suprised me is that they go through the same five stages of grief that most people go through when they have a great loss in their life or have been told they have a terminal illness. Of course alcoholism is an illness, so this makes sense. The stages of grieving are 1. Denial 2. Anger 3. bargaining 4. depression 5. acceptance. I suppose they don't make it to the acceptance part unless they work a true honest recovery program.

    I read something by Angie Lewis that read, "A dry drunk is someone who exhibits alcoholic behaviors and thinking but has not actually had any alcohol. A dry drunk displays the same signs and symptoms as an alcoholic, such as denial, anger, resentment, and spiritual and emotional immaturity."

    In the article Counter Punch edited by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair
    Addiction, Brain Damage and the President "Dry Drunk" syndrome and George W. Bush by Katherine van Wormer, stated that Dry drunk traits consist of:
  • 1. Exaggeraged self-importance and pomposity
    2. Grandiose behavior
    3. A rigid, judgmental outlook
    4. Impatience
    5. Childish behavior
    6. Irresponsible behavior
    7. Irrational rationalization
    8. Projection
    9. Overreaction
  • These were also stated by the Kenneth Peters Center for Recovery as Dry drunk traits.

    The crux of the matter is that the alcoholic is not at peace with themselves and need some kind of inner healing.

    I've heard many an alcoholic say that "drinking wasn't the problem, drinking was the solution." It was their solution to their mental anxiety, fear, panic attacks, mistrust, insecurity, whatever plagued them.

    Sense a dry drunk doesn't medicate his feelings with alcohol , he suffers needlessly every day of his life. this is not necessary if they would seek God for their life challeges and use the fellowship of AA to bring them total sobriety. Total sobriety is having a healthy body, mind, and soul.

    So back to my friend and my part in my own recovery. He stayed sober a year and I ended up marrying him, because of course by this time my heart was involved and I loved the guy! Now I am married to a dry drunk and I have to practice my program just as hard, if not harder than I ever did with the alcoholics in my life. I have to remind myself of the three C's, I didn't cause it I can't control it, I can't cure it. I would like to see him get the help he needs in AA, but I doubt that it will happen. It would take a miracle. I believe in miracles, but I'm not holding my breath.

    He has gotten very active in church and has also quit smoking. He also did this on his own without the benefit of niccorette or any of the nicotine 'helpers' or a doctor. He has smoked most all his life! I don't know how he is able to white knuckle it, but so far he has three years of sobriety and a month off the cigerattes.

    I meanwhile suffer his critisims and his putdowns on occasion. It's not all the time, nor is it mean spirited, it just is. I wonder if anyone else has had experience with dry drunk syndrome and how they handled living with their dry drunk. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    java


-- Edited by java on Tuesday 12th of May 2009 11:48:56 PM

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Java (known as Overcome in chat)


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Yup...mine is a dry drunk aswell. Did the same thing... he was sober for a year and I married him, even though we were going through problems at the time.... I love him, so we tied the knot.

He is worse then when he was drinking and drugging. It hurts more, at least when he was using I could blame his behavior on the drugs and alcohol. He has so much anger now... never had anger towards me before.... it's tough... it's the disease. I got sick of the anger, I moved out a little while ago. Now we hang out on weekends and such, but it is more confusing then ever...never know what I am going to get.

Mine goes to 2 AA meetings a week (which is great!) but not working his program (which is crappy). But it's not up to me to tell him what to do... and if I did he would get very angry... I don't need that!

He has to come to his own peace, on his own... it's his journey not mine. I have my own recovery to work on.

I don't know if he will ever change, and at times that makes me feel very sad.

For me, focusing on myself, going to meetings, this board, alanon chat, and giving myself some space, have helped tremendously!

It's tough, I feel for you, I know what your going through, and it's not fun.

When I feel down I force myself to do things - usually a meeting, or doing something active. Take the day off and do what "YOU" want to do... did that today (I needed it!!)
I woke up this morning to sunshine, and decided to call in sick... I spent most of my day out side, went shopping... just enjoyed my day, all by myself. Today was a good day, and that's all that matters to me right now =).

((((java))))


JaneG



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~*Service Worker*~

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Everything u read in our literature works wether the alcoholic is drinking or not , I just changed the word alcoholic to my husb name and it all made sence.  Dry drunk or not abuse is abuse , u need some boundaries for this relationship . He is assuming that what he is doing is ok with you , time to let him know it's  not .
Unfortunatley we teach people how to treat us , time to change that .  and please remember that nothing u say or do will cause him to drink , that will be a choice he makes and it will not have anything to do with you .  You were not the reason he drank .  Until u say enough it will only get worse .  goodluck

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Senior Member

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my husband is a dry drunk, well he drinks some but he sure has those symptoms, thanks for posting that.

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robin


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Posts: 260
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We are seperated too, JaneG, it was a boundary that I set for myself back in February. We still see quite a bit of each other and he helps me out with my daughter from time to time, because I'm in a college course this summer and I needed someone to take her to her Band Concert she had the first night of my night course, things like that. So he does do some things that are redeeming, in his attitude and then it's right back to the "stinkin thinkin".

One of the biggest things that made sense for me was the seventh thing on the list of dry drunk symptoms: irrational rationalization. My husband does not work a regular job (one of the main reasons i asked him to leave) he buys, sells, swaps, trades anything in order to make a dime. This does not support him, he's behind on all his bills and he is living on his parents 10 acres in the country in a trailer house. He "rationalizes" that he has a job because he is "working" and he is a very hard worker at what he does, but he is behind on all his bills and just the other day asked me to pay some of them. I refused. It blows my mind that he thinks he is "working" it is so irrational.

I go to as many f2f meetings as I can get myself to, with taking care of an 86 year old mom and a 11 year old daughter. Sometimes it is two a week, sometimes just one. Recently I started a college class this summer to work on me and keep the focus on me. It makes me feel really good to do that.

I am sad that he continues to find excuses for his unacceptable behavior, but that is HIS problem. His insecurity just reared it's ugly head this morning when he couldn't get me on the house phone (I have dial-up service for my computer) and called me on the cell phone and wanted to know if I was on the computer with my al-anon friends. I said yes and he accused me of having a boyfriend and wanted to know what my nickname was, I guess so he could go on line and read what I wrote about him! He is so insecure! I would never do on-line dating, even if I were single, don't trust it. I just told him that it was a support group for me and that he didn't need to know about everything that I do, just that I wasn't doing what he had suggested. I know I am trying to rationalize with a irrational person, so I wasted my breath on that.

Back to working on me and Keeping the Focus on myself. Going to al-anon meetings here at MIP and posting on this board. Thanks MIP family.

Java



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Java (known as Overcome in chat)


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all this is terribly familiar, thanks for posting it all so succinctly, Java.
My mom is a dry drunk- never drank a drop her whole life.
This all fits her to a "t". I just had a run-in with her last night over the phone- she was generating drama. I took the bait for a little while but realized what was going on and let it all go thanks to this program. I used to get all bent out of shape and try to rescue her...long story; anyway, your post was very enlightening and I am glad to read it this morning after going through what I did last night. hugs, J.

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I have found that dealing with a dry drunk can be a lot more painful/worse than dealing with an active A.  At least in my case, I knew what to expect when they were using, dry - was just SO much anger to contend with.



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~*Service Worker*~

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I have no suggestions, just empathy and compassion for you....  I share the same thoughts as the others - in many ways, I found it MORE difficult living with a dry drunk than a wet one - the chaos was almost as bad, AND they never went away and passed out for hours at a time, to give me a much needed break!

All I would say is what we always advocate - dive into your recovery, do what YOU need to do for your health and serenity... 

Tom

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"He is either gonna drink, or he won't.... what are YOU gonna do?"

"What you think of me is none of my business"

"Focus on the whats, and not the whys, as the whys will eat us up"

 

 

 

 



~*Service Worker*~

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The ex A showed many of these signs when I met him.  I believe he stayed "dry" for a while then. Obviously when I saw the red flags I should have got out.

I am used to being around people who are irrational and moody because that is what I grew up with.  Detachment has really saved me. The other tool I use all the time is to be incredibly busy and focused on my own life. I've been there with trying to get an ex A to cooperate, it was like trying to herd ducks.  You have my empathy.

Maresie.



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maresie


Veteran Member

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Yeah my husband stopped drinking for 3 yrs. He got in to an argument with my son that I know he is on something too. But AH said nothing changed when I stopped  drinking at home. its because he did not change. He was white knuckling it. DRY DRUNK He would aks me when he had the craving He really needed that drink
I just said do what you want . You know what I feel about it then he says i'm controling him.
Last time he was drinking 3 yrs ago I told him I was going to get a divorce. So he went back  to the bottle( beer) I went to a lawyer to see how much I needed to start. I'm sticking to my boundrys. Now I'm saving $$$.



-- Edited by peacewithin on Thursday 14th of May 2009 02:15:16 AM

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One thing I would recommend is getting a book that I heard suggested on MIP and that is "Getting them Sober".  I am married to a dry drunk as well and this book is helping me keep my sanity as well as the meetings. When I first picked it up I started reading it with the thought that I am not living with someone who has quit drinking. I just kept reading it with the mindset that he is still drinking because when they are "dry" without recovery their behaviors are basically the same if not worse. I have learned to live my life as if he were not in it. Spend the time with the kids that I want to, have fun without depending on him to help me have fun, learn how to react to his "stuff", and continue to attend meetings and work on my recovery. I have found the independence and self worth that I never thought I could have. I thought I would have to leave him to get all of that which eventually might still happen, but for now, today, life is good.... For me!



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((((Java)))))

I have said many times that living with my AHsober (over 20 years of sobriety) has been way more difficult and painful then any drunk I went thru with him. He moved out 4 years ago (his decision). It still is painful. It is almost spooky how his mood changes as if he is drinking. I am thankful though that he found sobriety because alcohol can destroy the body/mind. I react the same to the dry drunk behavior. I have spent years trying to find his "bottle". An A is an A whether he is sober or not. I still try to work the program.

In support,
Nancy



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(((( Java))))

I can identify!! I never really know from one day to the next what the weather will be like with my bf. Tuesday he was confused yet receptive to talking and intimacy. On Wednesday, he was distant and cold. Today I got really sick. The doctor said it is from stress. I was lying in bed resting and napping and when I woke up my bf was sitting beside me holding my hand. He came back this evening and held me and was attentive and caring. The roller coaster ride from hell sucks!!

Step One: I am powerless over the dry drunk.
Step Two: Came to Believe that a Power greater than myself could restore me to
Sanity.

I have to keep the focus on ME and take care of ME. I must learn to detach and not
give power over my thoughts and feelings to the dry drunk. My emotional, mental
and spiritual well-being should not be determined by the behavior of the dry drunk.
I used to find myself trying to analyze the behavior or words (often not congruent) of the dry drunk...!!! A total waste of time and crazy making!! I must love myself first and foremost and value my serenity more than anything else. Without this foundation all bets are off and I will be consumed by and destroyed by this dis-ease. Every day my first decision must be to my own well being. If I am feeling better tomorrow, I may consider a weekend get away (from the dry drunk) and relax and have some fun. I am so WORTH IT!!

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Last month, I kicked my husband of 10 years out of my house. He has been a dry drunk for the last fifteen years. I have never actually seen him drink alcohol. However, his parents are/were active alcoholics and I excused his behavior for so many years.

It turns out that not only was he lying to me throughout our marriage but 6 months ago, he began cheating on me with someone who shares his spiritual views.

I just recently learned the term "dry drunk" and I am struggling each day with my recovery. Even though we attend counseling together and co-parent our son, I still struggle with the lying. Each moment I try to work my program and change my behavior. I realize now how insidious this disease is and that I really don't have any control.

Each day continues to be struggle as he continues to lie to me and my son while living with the woman he cheated on me with.

It is comforting to finally not feel alone or lost without sanity.


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"Forgiving is not forgetting. It is letting go of the hurt."


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Well I'm confused still about a dry drunk my ah sober husband 5 months is still doing step 4/5 on me now that he knows about him. I just accepted al alon and givine up myself to my higher up. My problem is . I'm eager to learn and get better but unable to because of ah wont let me. Wants to teach me his program . I can't get better if the problem is still in my face daily and trying to be in my head. I went to several al alon meetings and left not feeling any better. Then I found one.. And was accepted in the group right away. I went home with a strong positive firm attitude that his behavior was not accepted. He needs to stop and stay on his side of the street. I made my boundarys and presented them to him. He accepted those until he went to work and talked to his ppl about my boundarys . This is what it's come down to now  aa / against  al alon . Battle of the strong. Recently I had to make change to detach from him all together left me no choice . He won't let me get better the al alon way . Want me to get better his way and I can't do that. So this is what I struggle with everyday. And do everything to advoid the fight. My defenses are up all the time trust has been gone . Any advise please would help me



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