by Dr. Lorin Bradbury
Question: I don’t have a question to respond to, but I have had many people ask about the dry-drunk syndrome. So, over the last three weeks and today, I have written on characteristics associated with being a dry drunk.
A dry drunk is someone who has quit drinking or drugging but continues to manifest behaviors of alcoholism or drug addiction. In essence, the individual has not made the necessary emotional changes that should characterize sobriety.
Being an alcoholic or drug addict sets up many thought patterns, attitudes, feelings, and actions that are immature. You might think of it as a perpetual state of adolescence. Simply removing the alcohol or drugs without changing these underlying factors produces the dry drunk syndrome. It’s often those around the non-drinking alcoholic or non-using drug addict that recognize a lack of progress toward recovery or a reversion back to the old ways of thinking and acting.
For some who have made progress, the dry drunk state can be a precursor to a relapse. Some of the symptoms of a dry drunk state are restlessness, irritability, moodiness, and general discontent. There are several attitudes associated with the dry drunk syndrome described in substance abuse treatment literature. Over the past three weeks I wrote on self-centeredness, grandiosity, and Impulsivity. Today I will address Judgmental Attitude.
Judgmental Attitude – This is a very destructive attitude for people in recovery. It is closely linked to grandiosity and tends to view everyone else judgmentally. But it may reflect the individual’s view of himself or herself. When someone diminishes their own value, they may project that feeling unto others. Or they may simply become very critical of everyone else in an attempt to elevate their own worth in comparison to others.
If while reading this, you recognize this characteristic, I encourage you to reach out for help either from an addiction specialist, or an AA or similar self-help group. If you have a loved one who is stuck in this state of perpetual adolescence, encourage them to get help. To live in a dry-drunk state is to live in misery. There is a better way. Face your fears and let others help you.
Lorin L. Bradbury, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Bethel. For appointments, he can be reached at 543-3266. If you have questions that you would like Dr. Bradbury to answer in the Delta Discovery, please send them to The Delta Discovery, P.O. Box 1028, Bethel, AK 99559, or e-mail them to [email protected]