Skip to content


    Exciting News for WebMD Members!

    We've been busy behind the scenes building new message boards for you. You'll have new and easier ways to find messages, connect with others, and share your stories.

    And, this will all be available on your smartphone or other mobile device!

    What Do You Need to Do?

    The message board you're used to will be closing in the coming weeks. While many of your boards will be making the move to our new home, your posts will not. Want to keep a discussion going? Save posts you want to continue (this includes your member profile story), so that you can re-post them in the new message boards.

    Keep an eye here and on your email inbox, we'll be back in touch soon to give you all the information you need!

    Yours in health,
    WebMD Message Boards Management

    Includes Expert Content
    dry drunk behavior???
    An_248170 posted:
    I started dating someone a few months ago. He is an alcoholic that has been sober for the past 4 years. We started dating everything was wonderful, never fought, enjoyed each others company, worked on his house together, he told me he loved me, wanted a future together, family etc. because of our distance I would stay at his house from fri to mon. everything was great…we would text/talk during the week when apart. After another great weekend, out of the blue I don't get my usual good morning text, he doesn't return mine, doesn't answer the phone. This goes on for 2 days then I get a text basically's not working, get your stuff get out (I had some things at his house). He wouldn't talk about it (was almost angry) wouldn't answer calls, it was over. So it ended, I was crushed I never had closure because I didn't understand, I didn't expect to hear from him that was it. During discussions with his mother it was learned that ever since he stopped drinking 'this is what he does' she can't explain it he shuts down, shuts people out, even her and the rest of his family. Says it hits him out of the blue, almost like a rage, that he says he needs to be by himself. Jump ahead a few months, communications start up again with him, he apologizes, says things were great he got scared etc wants me back. I'm hesitant tell him my fears of it happening again, he assures me it won't. I go back to him, again everything is wonderful couldn't be more perfect. Again after a great weekend, no texts, no return calls..Here we go again. Later in the week I get a text saying I need to get things straight, I'm seeing my counselor again (doesn't specify what kind of counselor) , I need time, I'm having a really hard time right now, etc. His mother is beside herself because no one knows what to do to help him. I've looked up depression, bi polar, and a friend suggested 'dry drunk". I've never heard of this before but am searching for some explanation for this behavior. His mother said ever since he stopped drinking this has shown up and maybe the alcohol was masking this behavior. We can't understand if there's a 'trigger' for this to happen, it seems to happen out of the blue when things couldn't be better. He cries all the time, won't let anyone help him, pushes everyone away, but knows he has a problem and can't explain why this happens to him when everything's going good. Does anybody have any advice or can tell me if this is 'dry drunk' behavior? Thanks
    Betty Ford Center
    Harry L Haroutunian, MD responded:
    The first time the term "dry bender" (or "dry drunk") is used in 12-Step literature is in the book '12 Steps and 12 Traditions.' It is used in the context of being on an "emotional jag" caused by anger or other disturbing emotions.

    Another definition: Being dry without a drink, but acting with signs and symptoms of being drunk; not thinking clearly, reacting emotionally, getting angry or defensive without pausing to reflect who or what is affecting you, or how your behavior will affect others (and maybe not caring.) The only thing missing is the drink.

    Is it possible that your friend may be in a "dry drunk"? Sure. Never having met the person, it would be irresponsible to make a clinical assessment. I can say it's a really good thing he's seeing a counselor.

    You have been through this experience twice with this person. Perhaps counseling could benefit you, too, and give you perspective on the situation.

    Featuring Experts from Betty Ford Center

    Harry L. Haroutunian, MD., is an internationally known speaker on the topics of Addictive Disease and its treatment. He is Board Certified in Family M...More

    Helpful Tips

    Will smoking weed effect my everyday life and health due to my age?
    I'm 14 and I've been smoking marijuana since I was 12 due to family problems&a family loss and my grades seem to me slowly going down ... More
    Was this Helpful?
    1 of 1 found this helpful

    Related Drug Reviews

    • Drug Name User Reviews

    Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

    FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.