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Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Dry Drunk

Something that has been eating at me for about a month now is a counseling session I was in while in Georgia. The counselor went over 4 major symptoms of a dry drunk. What is a dry drunk? "A sober alcoholic who develops a set of habits and attitudes that take the joy out of their life and for those around him or her. Those habits often precede a relapse into drinking, even if the alcoholic has been sober for years." When I saw these symptoms I thought, "Dear God. This is me!" I slipped and slid in my disease for a long time. I didn't always know it or recognize the behaviors. Neither did those around me. They just knew I was acting like a butt-head. When I started studying this, everything made complete sense. Every time I'd come off a bender, I'd make all of these promises (promises I'd genuinely intended to keep), be ok for a while, and then complacency would sneak in not followed too far behind by all the symptoms... Then BAM, I'd be right back on a binge. It's a sneaky, cunning disease.

Now I'm not putting the blame on anything or anyone, but myself. I made those decisions consciously. Not in the correct frame of mind, however. I would sometimes try to resist, but to no avail. I was too sick and not ready. As a result I hurt myself and alot of people I care dearly about. When sober, I was a dry drunk a significant portion of the time.

I went online to try and find those symptoms to write about tonight. Instead I found this in an article here. Found a lot more than I bargained for and it's as scary as crap. I'll tell ya what's different after the list.

Symptoms of a dry drunk are as follows....

• acting self-important, either
by “having all the answers,”
or playing “poor me.”
• making harsh judgments of
oneself and others.
• being impatient or pursuing
• blaming others for shortcomings one suspects in oneself.
• being dishonest, usually
beginning with little things.
• impulsive behavior which
ignores what’s best for oneself and others.
• inability to make decisions.
• mood swings, trouble with
expressing emotions, feeling
• detachment, self-absorption,
boredom, distraction or disorganization.
• nostalgia for the drinking life.
• fantasizing, daydreaming and
wishful thinking or euphoria.
• less participation in a 12-step
program or dropping out

Getting active in the program has done tons to keep me more grounded. I now know what behaviors to look for and deal with them then and there. Even if I have to call my sponsor. The steps will be invaluable in addressing these defects of character. The most powerful weapon against falling into that trap again is awareness. And then immediate action. Whether it's going to a meeting, stepping back and evaluating the situation, or just going for a walk. Still not perfect, but I am a LOT better.

I think it's important to note that I never stopped caring or loving. I was just allowing myself to fall into a deep, dark hole.

Some info was referenced from

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