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Health Centre

Dry Drunk: Unhappy Abstinence

You’ve had enough problems with drink. You decide to pull yourself out of the mess. That’s easier said than done. In the initial stages there are several problems.

The disease of alcoholism has two sharp edges. The first edge attacks you when you drink excessively. You face problems in several areas of your life. These are obvious and are easily noticed by others. The other edge is that part of the disease that attacks you when you are struggling to recover. These problems are felt by you alone. Others are not even aware of these problems. Abstinence-based edge is as painful as the alcohol-based edge.

You can’t remember things. Life is very stressful. Mentally you start craving for alcohol. Your irritable and demanding behaviour makes others feel that you are more tolerable when you are drinking!

You are in the dry drunk phase. Dry refers to the fact that you are not drinking now. Drunk refers to the fact that you display the same deviations in behaviour and attitudes that you exhibited when you were drinking.

Recognise the dry drunk symptoms. You can then deal with the problem. If you do not recognise the pattern and acknowledge it as a problem, you’ll almost certainly slip back.

Warning Signs

  • Thoughts About Associated Pleasures: You start thinking constantly about pleasures associated with drinking. Though you are aware that you have had problems with alcohol, still you imagine that drinking was a pleasant experience.
  • Fear About Well Being: You feel a lack of confidence and extreme anxiety in life without alcohol. If there is any stress, you seem to want a quick peg.
  • Loneliness Leading to Depression: You experience intense loneliness. All these days, you were drinking with your cronies, or you were drinking alone. All your highs had been in relation with liquor. You had cut yourself off from many social relationships to be with the bottle. Now you are alone. There are people around you but there is no communication.
  • Irritation and Anger: You consider staying away from drink a major sacrifice. So you think everyone and everything else should conform to your expectations. This, naturally, does not happen and this leads to stress, anger and frustration.
  • Impatience: Things cannot happen soon enough for you. You can’t wait to get your suspension order revoked, or the promotion that was delayed.
  • Compulsive Behaviour: You try many mood altering activities. You talk continuously in the presence of others or keep absolutely quiet. You might make impulsive and impractical purchases to impress friends or family. You might take to gambling or some other route of escape from reality.
  • Self Pity: This is the biggest and most negative rut you can get into. You seem to think you have been singled out for injustice.
  • Tunnel Vision: You try to drown yourself in work and escape from social or family obligations. Or you shy away from responsibilities at work and try to integrate yourself with another aspect of life. You do not look at the facets of your life with balance.
  • Denials and Over Confidence: You deny that you have to make lifestyle changes. You deny that you have to change your attitude to life. You do not want to discuss your problem. You boast that you have kicked the habit. Quite recklessly, you even say that you can drink without getting addicted again. You do not realise that at this point, you are not ready for this test at all!


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