What is a Dry Drunk?

silver flask

For those new to recovery, the concept of a “dry drunk” may be tough to fathom. The basic concept is that a person can be sober but not actively at work on their underlying issues. That is a dry drunk. But a person in recovery that is actively working on all the issues that led them to drink is not a “dry drunk.”

This article examines the concept of a “dry drunk” and provides tips for how to avoid becoming a dry drunk after rehab. Here is why getting sober is just the first step.

Causes of “Dry Drunk” Syndrome

One of the things you learn first in rehab is that there are layers to your sobriety. There is a period of withdrawal and getting sober. But a deeper layer is the work you do to uncover the feelings that led you to drink in the first place. That place is recovery and it takes time, forgiveness and healing to get there. But with the right help, it can be achieved.

But some people never make it. While you may think just of the person who relapses into alcohol misuse as “not making it,” the truth is that there are some people who never touch another drop of alcohol and still fail to recover fully. These folks are dry drunks, people that may be sober but unchanging; they are not pursuing the work necessary to change their life. Recovery is a journey that teaches new behaviors and life skills that are an important component to finally healing and regaining health.

Dry drunks may be stuck in some of the same patterns that they had when they were drinking. For example:

  • They may still lash out in rage or frustration when they are stressed.
  • They may continue to exhibit bad decisions or unhealthy behaviors; they may even pick up new addictions.
  • They may feel very sorry for themselves.
  • They may live in denial that anything is wrong.
  • They may even glorify their drinking days as a “good time.”

Woman holding a card with the word alcoholism on it.

Getting Treatment for Alcohol Addiction

Dry drunk syndrome is the condition of completely missing the work necessary to find happiness as a recovering alcoholic. Many times living with a dry drunk is just as difficult as when they are drinking; the only thing that has changed is that the bottle is missing, but the anger and grief are still there. That is why it is so important to consider Washington State alcohol rehab to keep moving forward toward recovery.

If you or any of your loved ones are struggling to move from being a dry drunk to a recovering alcoholic, Washington State alcohol rehab can help. Stopping drinking is just the first step and it is time to go a little further – with a little help. There is a way out of the anger and frustration you are feeling. It takes work, but the journey is always worth it.

To learn more about admissions,  contact us today!

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.