What is a Dry Drunk?
When an individual finds themselves abusing a substance, they may have established certain feelings, attitudes, trains-of-thought, and actions due to their inebriated states. These are usually negative symptoms that inevitably cause a person to look for sobriety. However, upon recovering, some people aren’t prone to changing these behaviors even with the substance out of their system. These are the people considered to be ‘dry drunks’.
Though it’s sort of a slang term, ‘dry drunk’ is used to describe people within the sober community who no longer abuse a substance but continue to act in a socially impaired manner. These individuals usually sprout when treatment wasn’t strong enough to change their frame of mind. They are also some of the most vulnerable to relapse.
This is due to the fact that many dry drunks are necessarily recovered. Though they may have refrained from drinking alcohol or taking drugs, they’ve missed the entire notion of recovery. That is, healing one’s life for a new opportunity. Their mindsets are halted in the moments of their life that were most intoxicated. They hold onto negative emotions as they haven’t accepted the fact that their addiction is the root too much of their life’s difficulties.
It’s important to look out for signs of a dry drunk in recently treated individuals. As mentioned, relapse is a significant threat. Yet, there are other risks involved. In some cases, suicide has been an issue.
Below are attitudes and mentalities frequently found in dry drunks.
- Superiority: When you observe a recently treated individual, do you find that they have the essence of being egocentric? Keeping with the attitude that the world revolves around them? There are two ways in which dry drunks display superiority. Either by allowing themselves to feel above everyone or by making themselves a victim. These tendencies tend to lead dry drunks to distance themselves from the crowd as they feel one above everyone else. In 12 Step programs, the phrase ‘terminal uniqueness’ is attached to this sort of behavior.
- Impulsivity: Dry drunks are generally impatient people. They do what they want when they want, and as frequently as they want. Taking in little to no regard for the safety of those around them. With years of substance abuse in their track, they hold much desirability for instant relief. When combining this with the feelings of superiority, you’ve got an impulsive attention-seeker not keen to the treatment they had just undergone.
- Complacency: It’s important to keep complacency in mind as it is one of the leading factors for a treated individual heading back into relapse. With laziness and a lack of motivation comes the tendency to give up and return to what once brought on some form of tranquil. It’s often taught within treatment that individuals should remain active - for the sake of their life’s progression and to keep distracted from relapse.
- Negative Judgment: When an individual looks at the world around him/her as a product of negativity, they themselves inevitably become the product too. The two sides to this frame of thought only butcher one’s ability to socialize. A dry drunk may go about seeing everyone else as below them. Or, they’ll go out of their way to assure that they are below everyone else. Both sides of the spectrum are harmful in the sense that they push one away from the possibility of friendships. And dig them deeper into the hole of dry drunkenness.
As mentioned, dry drunks have one of the highest tendencies to fall back into substance abuse. Usually, through the above-mentioned attitudes, dry drunks take eight specific steps that have a strong risk of leading to a relapse. Below, these steps are listed in their order. It’s important to take awareness to these emotions in cases of yourself or someone you love as they could place the hard-earned recovery in jeopardy.
- Becoming Discontent with One’s Decision: When a dry drunk first exits treatment, they may become irritable, restless, and/or discontent with their new life. Nuanced annoyances begin to take larger form. They seek out differences for the sake of separating themselves from everything around them. Without a proper support system, these annoyances will only continue to grow.
- Dissatisfaction with One’s Life: Productive tasks are distracted by meaningless habits. Directing the sober individual into boredom. There is very little excitement usually due to the lack of substances that at one time brought on euphoria. Though it’s often mentioned in treatment that new hobbies should be taken up as a way to distract oneself, many are vulnerable to ignoring this factor. And eventually, they find themselves in a position of wanting nothing more than to get high again.
- One’s Feelings Grow Sluggish or There’s an Overabundance of Emotion: The third stage of relapse tends to have a distinct crossroad. Either the individual loses faith in their emotion and finds their lives becoming dull or they their emotions produce a hyper state. Coinciding with little annoyances, simple everyday situations are taken with fatigue or large amounts of unnecessary energy.
- One Starts Day-Dreaming of Their High Times: This is pretty self-explanatory, yet, crucial in terms of relapse. If an individual finds themselves recalling the times in which they were high - and how much they enjoyed those times - then they are bound to begin wanting the substance again. Often, these individuals use these way of thought as a coping mechanism to ignore all the negativities that came with substance abuse.
- One Begins Fantasizing Unrealistic Scenarios: After daydreaming the past, it can be expected that one will begin to imagine an impractical future. Usually with the notion that if they dream hard enough, those dreams will come true. Sometimes these dreams are empowered by past experiences and sometimes they’re fueled by unlived fantasies. Regardless of the case, they are usually dead-end pipe dreams that only leave individuals into our next step.
- One Loses the Desire to Improve Themselves: With those dreams in mind, many individuals will begin talking about their plans rather than acting upon them. Their fantasies have led them into the belief that the chances of self-improvement are slim within their new sober life. Mostly due to the fact that much of their motivation was placed within a substance.
- One Starts to Witness Unfulfillment: Individuals are often led to believe that upon becoming sober, much of their dreams will come true without any further effort. This is when they begin feeling unfulfilled with their own self as they realize further effort is quite vital to their situation. Yet, as mentioned, there’s little motivation to head in that direction.
- One Defends Substance Use: This is when the cycle takes its full circle. Individuals retrieve back to the idea that without a substance, their lives are meaningless. Therefore, many of them end up abusing again out of their own self-deprivation.
If you or anyone you know is looking to set up a treatment for substance abuse or you have more questions/concerns about dry drunks/relapse, Stonewall Institute Treatment Center is happy to lend a hand. Please, give us a call at (602) 535-6468 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Stonewall Institute Treatment Center on Friday, August 18th, 2017 @ 5:48PM
Categories: Drug Treatment Arizona
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