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dry drunk behavior???
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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 saying..it'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
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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.


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