After the Al-Anon meeting where I first heard the term dry drunk, I began to investigate what it meant. When I had first been led to start attending meetings, I actually believed that overindulgence in alcohol was an alcoholic’s major problem.
I was so uninformed, that I thought if a person quit overindulging, then all the attendant problems would magically fall away. Boy, was I in for a surprise. Mike, my former boyfriend of 9 months, hadn’t had a drink in over 5 years. Yet his behavior was unpredictable, extremely cold, and too often, angry.
Much of his anger was related to his time in Vietnam. He had shared with me that he’d gotten very good at killing. I think he bore a lot of shame over that. To make matters worse, his family were all drinkers. When he finally hit bottom and went to AA, he had to abstain from being around his family. It was all so very sad.
Yet I wasn’t willing to subject myself to an angry person again (combat vet or not) for the long haul. I had enough of my own baggage to deal with at the time.
Here are some thoughts from an article on Dry Drunk Syndrome by Buddy T. from the About.com website:
“Unfortunately when many former drinkers go through the grieving process over the loss of their old friend, the bottle, some never get past the anger stage … whether they realized it or not, they began the stages of grieving—denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance—the same stages people go through when they have a great loss in their lives or have been told they have a terminal illness.”
Learning about the many aspects of alcoholism has opened my eyes to the harsh realities someone with an addictive personality, or predisposition to becoming alcoholic, must face.
As I heard many times in meetings, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”I’m so grateful that I do not have the problem myself. I have much empathy for those who do.
To learn more about the Dry Drunk Syndrome, read the complete article at: