Some people who are sober are still lonely, anxious, or depressed. They are struggling to bring more happiness to their lives. Quitting drinking does not automatically change people’s lives.
Sober people may still feel as if life has no meaning and cannot figure out what is wrong. If you are feeling this way, you could be experiencing something called dry drunk syndrome. Many recovering alcoholics have this syndrome, even some that have attended an addiction rehab program. Learn more about it today.
Defining a Dry Drunk
Dry drunks are people who have stopped drinking but still act as if they are living alcoholic lifestyles. The sobriety organization Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) popularized the term.
Before people understood what a dry drunk was, many people believed that people with addictive behaviors did not want to change. We now understand that people with the syndrome have underlying psychological or mental health issues. The issues are still present although people are no longer drinking. The mental health issues often began before their addiction and intensified with their drinking.
Many people start drinking to handle mental health, trauma, or other issues. Once they quit drinking, they may not have the healthy coping skills they need to quit acting out in addictive ways. Some people lack the support they need to change their behaviors and find sobriety. Creating a support system is important to the recovery process.
Behaviors of the Dry Drunk
Not sure if you are a dry drunk? There are some behaviors that might determine if you have this syndrome. These behaviors include:
Resenting people who want you to quit drinking.
Feeling annoyed or frustrated if you are no longer able to drink.
Wondering if you did not achieve your goals due to your drinking and feeling jealous of others who achieved their goals.
Becoming anxious when thinking of making changes.
Considering yourself a failure.
Blaming others for your dissatisfaction in life.
Isolating from others.
Avoiding recovery meetings.
Skipping therapy sessions.
Experiencing emotional numbness.
Replacing alcohol with other addictions, such as gambling, food, sex, or shopping.
If you display these behaviors, you may have dry drunk syndrome. This syndrome increases the risk of experiencing a relapse. If you need help overcoming this syndrome, consider reaching out for help.
Detox and Recovery
Drinking a great deal of alcohol can lead to dependence. People who try to stop using may experience withdrawal symptoms. This is why detox procedures are essential to the recovery process. When people enter detox programs, they can quit drinking and begin the process of healing their bodies. Medical detox programs are available to help people overcome their withdrawal symptoms.
Once their detox programs end, people will have sobriety in their lives. But, sobriety does not make mental health, psychological, or behavioral issues disappear. More work is needed to handle these issues. Many alcoholics need some sort of addiction treatment program to help them work through their issues. There are outpatient and inpatient treatment programs to help with issues, behaviors, causes of addiction, and more.
Overcoming Dry Drunk Syndrome
If you do have this syndrome, you will need to overcome it if you want to increase your chances of staying sober. Many alcoholics believed that they did not need any more help because they were sober. They soon realized that they were wrong.
Negative thoughts, behaviors, and patterns will catch up with you. Some ways you can overcome dry drunk syndrome and prevent it in the first place include:
Keeping up with your treatment program
You should not quit an addiction treatment program. Try to complete all parts of your treatment program to the end. If you were supposed to attend therapy sessions for one year, keep going, even if you start feeling better. While there is not one program or treatment plan that will work for everyone, finishing your treatment program is a good way to address dry drunk syndrome.
Participating in groups
In many communities, there are support groups for people recovering from alcohol addiction. Making connections with other recovering alcoholics will remind you that you are not alone. When they talk about their struggles and triumphs, they will remind you that sobriety alone is not enough to help you recover from addiction.
Developing new, fun hobbies or getting back into other ones
Your recovery success depends on your treatment program and your support systems. It also depends on the enjoyment you can find in your sober and recovering lifestyle. There are many hobbies that you might enjoy. You could also return to hobbies that you once loved.
Fighting your old ways of thinking
Addictive thinking can threaten a sober and recovering lifestyle. If you start thinking that you do not need help, that you can have just one drink, or that you do not need support from anyone else, you may fall back into old, addictive ways. This may lead you to drink once again. If you want to stay sober, do not let yourself fall into old ways of thinking.
Do you feel as if you are a dry drunk? You might have dry drunk syndrome. If so, please reach out for help. There are programs, support systems, and people who want to help you stay sober and recover from your addiction.
Staying sober is not enough. Without a recovery plan and adequate support, you have a much higher chance of relapsing. If you have relapsed after finding treatment for this syndrome, find addiction rehab help right away. Your sobriety and your life depend on it.