You or a loved one may have gone through the painstaking process of becoming sober at an alcohol detox center in Florida. An alcoholic in recovery from alcoholism. That is nothing short of a miracle! You finally think that all the pieces have fallen into place now that you’re not drinking. Still, somehow, things don’t seem quite right. Are you asking, am I a dry drunk?
You feel anxious and annoyed, your relationships hit a rock. You become bored with your recovery and decided it’s time to focus your attention on all the things you ignored while you were drinking. If any of this sounds familiar, you suffer from dry drunk. This is not a medical diagnosis, but rather a “term of endearment” in the recovery community for those still suffering while staying sober.
In Alcoholism, Sobriety Is Only Part of the Picture
Getting sober isn’t easy, and staying sober is an everyday challenge. Those with consecutive years of recovery under their belt know that not using is only half the battle. The substance once obsessed with likely caused a lot of problems in your life, and they aren’t all external. What that means is the inner emotional and psychological problems must be dealt with as well. Simply stopping the use of your substance of choice just isn’t enough to tackle those demons. Staying sober in our minds is as crucial as not taking another drink.
It’s easier to allow ourselves to become lax in this area of our recovery because at first, we place so much emphasis on not using. Mental sobriety usually happens second because we must first stop using to get our minds clear. Sometimes after our minds become clear, we decide that active recovery is no longer necessary and we are “all better” – free from addiction and alcoholism. This is not the case, and some of the following signs and symptoms may show you have become a dry drunk.
Dry Drunk – Signs and Symptoms
The following symptoms occur in a dry drunk:
- No longer attending 12-step meetings or treatment
- Irritability and restlessness
- Boredom and generally unsatisfied with life
- Loss of impulse control
- Rationalizing problems without trying to solve them
- Remembering the “good times” of using as if there were no negative consequences
Continued support is critical to lasting alcohol use disorder recovery. If you or a loved one relates to any of these signs of dry drunk, contact Wellness Counseling and Residential Detox to regain control of your sobriety.
You Might Be A Dry Drunk If…
Maybe you started off going to treatment or 12-step meetings or both. You took it seriously but after a while felt like you had everything under control and understood everything about treatment or the 12 steps. You stopped going because it took up too much time or your family convinced you it wasn’t important now that you have been sober for a while. Now you’re able to stay away from alcohol and drugs physically but without being in active recovery your mind reverts to old ways of thinking. This thinking and inactivity in the recovery community lead to a dry drunk situation.
Shiny Newness of Sobriety
Without proper relapse prevention and continued support, little things start to annoy you, like the way a co-worker sneaks an extra five minutes of break time every day. In the beginning, you were grateful to even have the job but now you seem to be finding fault with it at every turn. You’re bored with things, the shiny newness of sobriety has worn off and everything seems monotonous again. You become complacent, unwilling now to do any more work on yourself. Your emotions may be all over the place, wildly out of control; or not there at all. Then you start thinking back to the “good old times” – memories of using and drinking when it was all pleasure and no pain.
This thinking is referred to as “euphoric recall.” You’ve forgotten all the negative consequences of your substance use and only remember how great you once felt.
Dry Drunk Obsessions of Perfection
Many people allow themselves to fall into a way of thinking that could be bad for their health. One such pattern, known as “magical thinking”, proves especially dangerous for addicts and alcoholics. It means that you allow yourself to believe that certain actions will bring about the desired result. The two really don’t have any connection.
For instance, believing that if you promise yourself this is your last drink, then everything in your life will fall into place the way you think it should. It’s just like the placebo effect where you take a sugar pill believing that it will cure your headaches, and somehow it seems to do the trick. Those who suffer from addiction and alcoholism often allow some type of magical thinking to fuel their obsession. Watch out for the obsession for “just one more.” in sobriety, especially in terms of becoming a dry drunk.
Magical thinking can resurface and feel harmless at first. It can be easy to confuse magical thinking for just being hopeful. You think if you experience sobriety for long enough, you can repair those relationships that had suffered and then resume drinking once they are “fixed.” As if the mere act of no longer drinking pays the bills, repairs the car, and makes everyone around you happy. If you notice yourself or your loved one slaking in their recovery, magical thinking could be part of the problem.
Continued Recovery or Relapse
If you or someone in recovery has reached this dry drunk phase, you will soon arrive at a decision. It’s as if you come to the end of the road with only two choices. Renewing your activity in recovery with continuing care in Florida, or returning to active addiction and alcoholism.
Allowing yourself to drift along without working at your recovery is likely to produce this dry drunk effect. Just as you had to work to keep your addiction going, recovery also requires you to remain involved. If you have a desire to renew your activity in recovery, get to a 12-step meeting and introduce yourself to the newcomers. Often the best way to help ourselves is to help someone else. Keep in mind when you got sober how many people in recovery helped you along the way. Hopefully helping someone get the hang of the basics will inspire you to keep setting a positive example.
Treatment When Relapse Occurs
It is crucial to remember, relapse does not mean failure. Alcohol use disorder is chronic and needs ongoing treatment. When relapse occurs due to the dry drunk phase the following programs are available depending on relapse severity:
- Alcohol detox program
- Residential treatment program in FL
- Partial hospitalization program
- Intensive outpatient program in FL
- Continuing care
- Alumni services in Stuart
Call 772.324.4130 today if you feel at risk of relapse for any reason, including the dry drunk phase. Find lasting sobriety at Wellness Counseling and Residential Detox.