Life with a dry drunk can be difficult, to say the least. You may be delighted and relieved that your partner has managed to stop drinking (or using drugs), but you frequently feel like you’re walking on eggshells to avoid conflict on the home front. Sometimes, living with a dry drunk seems even harder than living with a person who is actively using.
What is a Dry Drunk?
The term “dry drunk” refers to a person who has stopped using addictive substances, but who has not worked on the physical and emotional changes needed for long-term recovery. These elements are every bit as important as the physical aspects of being clean and sober.
Even though the substance has been removed, the behavior is still just as dysfunctional. Dry drunks may be self-absorbed, restless, negative, irritable, quick to anger, judgmental and intolerant, or they may experience depression or mood swings.
Dry drunks are frequently angry and resentful at the person who encouraged them to stop using, or jealous of friends and family members who still use. They may be bored and dissatisfied with a life free of something that has demanded their time and energy for so long.
If this describes your situation, there are things you can do to help your loved one – and yourself.
Seek counseling or therapy. Living with a dry drunk can threaten your own happiness and wellbeing, but counseling can help you gain understanding and learn strategies that can help you cope with a very difficult situation.