In some cases, early sobriety creates the sensation of a pink cloud of well-being, but a dark cloud called a “dry drunk” might lurk just beneath the surface. When alcoholics and drug addicts put down the bottle and stop ingesting harmful substances, they begin to feel better. Their physical health starts to make a comeback, and they have a newly rediscovered blush on their cheeks and spring in their step. While in an alcoholic or drug-infused haze, they had forgotten what it was like to have energy and feel good. In addition, they may find friends are happier to spend time with them and their family members have embraced them back into loving relationships. Life is beautiful on this pink cloud. If attempts to follow a program of recovery stop here, then the “dry drunk” may take over. Because addiction is a disease of body, mind, emotion and spirit, dealing with the physical part alone is not enough to live comfortably in sobriety. Discovering the underlying mental, emotional and spiritual issues and working on making changes is the hard work of recovery. Reaching out to others who already have walked the path can make all the difference in avoiding a “dry drunk.”
Family Members Can Recognize Symptoms of ‘Dry Drunk’
Family members and friends may be the first to recognize the symptoms of a “dry drunk.” They, too, have been hopeful with the first stages of recovery, but suddenly they notice that some of the old patterns of behavior and poor communication are creeping back into the family situation. Turbulent emotions may begin to erupt, and confusion reigns. Resentful that they cannot drink or use drugs to ease the pain they feel, alcoholics and addicts once again may start to blame everyone else for their feelings. They are anxious about social situations, and they are fearful about taking responsibility for their own lives. Someone who is in “dry drunk” mentality may exhibit childish over-reactions and seem dissatisfied with everything. Family treatment is an integral element in recovery so that loved ones can recognize “dry drunk” situations and learn effective ways to cope.