The big book describes dry drunk syndrome and untreated alcoholism with the phrase “restless, irritable, and discontented”. Basically, if you happen to be a sober alcoholic, and find yourself constantly dissatisfied with life, you may be in the thick of untreated alcoholism. It’s obvious to spot untreated alcoholism — when the alcoholic is drinking. How do you spot it when the alcoholic is sober?
In our meetings, we often hear talk about stinking thinking, the insanity of the next drink, character defects, fear, resentments, the fear of relapse, the progressive nature of alcoholism, and how important it is for the alcoholic to stay physically sober.
One thing that I hear little talk about is the behavior and attitudes associated with untreated alcoholism and how it affects the alcoholic and the other people who must be around them. I work with many women who have been physically sober for years, some with double digit sobriety, yet their lives are still filled with turmoil, drama, conflict, unmanageability, glaring defects, more garbage piled onto old garbage that was never cleared, and most significantly I find that NONE of them have never sponsored another person…or if they have it was half asked.
These oldtimers will put on a great front. Happy hallmark meeting shares as they die inside. Or there are the ones that are jaded and unteachable-they hate everything and everyone, but know the big book front and back… using meetings as a place to spread their cheery disposition and have no problem humiliating a newcomer for share…If that’s sober…I don’t want it. I don’t care how much time they have. They would rather suffer and spread their suffering then seek help from someone new or be sponsored by somebody that has less time.
I could be sponsored right now by somebody with a month sober. God doesn’t care about time, why should I? What matters is the message and if they carry it effectively. There is no reason people should suffer having 25 years sober because they think there are above being taught by someone with less time.
We settle for being a dry drunk instead of being catapulted into the 4th dimension and being agents for God???…Why? Pride? Ego? Sloth? It’s starting to piss me off the more of these women come out of the woodwork. Like seriously, something is wrong with our fellowship when slogans and meetings overshadow the Solution. They are just as lost and sick as the newcomer we must start talking about this and what we can personally do each day to help shed light on what seem to be a epidemic in our fellowship. Chronic relapses because we as sponsors are lazy? I am going step up my game this next year. Period.
“They only thought they had lost their egoism and fear; they only thought they had humbled themselves. But they had not learned enough of humility, fearlessness and honesty, in the sense we find it necessary, until they told someone else all their life story. More than most people, the alcoholic leads a double life. He is very much the actor. To the outer world he presents his stage character. This is the one he likes his fellows to see. He wants to enjoy a certain reputation, but knows in his heart he doesn’t deserve it. The inconsistency is made worse by the things he does on his sprees.” pg 73
So are you yourself suffering from a reconstructed ego produced by “time” and refusing to stay teachable?…or are you a product of 90 meetings in 90 days?…or a never worked the Steps but go to meetings everyday?…or worked Steps 1-3 and my sponsor told me to “take my time” (that message kills people btw) or worked them once 10 years ago and chooses to “carry the message” by sharing at meetings just to hear themselves talk?…or untreated altogether alcoholic?? Have you lived with one a untreated drunk?? Do you know anyone suffering in silence? Sponsored any of them?
“We were having trouble with personal relationships, we couldn’t control our emotional natures, we were a prey to misery and depression, we couldn’t make a living, we had a feeling of uselessness, we were full of fear, we were unhappy, we couldn’t seem to be of real help to other people“
The alcoholic is like a tornado roaring his way through the lives of others. Hearts are broken. Sweet relationships are dead. Affections have been uprooted. Selfish and inconsiderate habits have kept the home in turmoil. We feel a man is unthinking when he says that sobriety is enough.
Below is something someone wrote about untreated alcoholism which I love. Private email me if you would like this dudes blog….also the “sign and symptoms of a dry drunk…
Love in the Sunlight of the Holy Spirit!
The problem with only achieving physical sobriety is that we may never get any better.
Because sobriety doesn’t cure insanity, nor does it reduce selfishness. Sobriety doesn’t stop us from constantly whining and complaining, from thinking about ourselves 24/7. How ridiculous it is to get sober but remain mentally and spiritually warped beyond comprehension. In fact, if you’re gonna kick it and not really change, you might as well just keep drinking. At least you’d be making a small economic contribution.
Most addicts are actually more annoying when they’re sober yet untreated, if you can fathom that. We remain needy and obsessed with how we feel all of the time.
Oh no, what am I doing in life?! What am I gonna do today? What am I gonna do tomorrow?! Nobody knows what it’s like to be me. Me! Why do I feel this way? Poor me. Nobody has it this tough! The world owes me! I need a cigarette, I need this, I need that, I need to go to a meeting! I want cookies, I want ice cream, I want… wanh, wanh, wanh, wanh, wanh!
Yup. If all we do is remove the drugs and alcohol, we still act like drug addicts and alcoholics. But, hey, at least we’re sober! What a joke. Addicts and alcoholics can do as much, if not more damage to others by achieving physical sobriety but failing to actually get better.
Once sober, I literally have a volcano of work to do on myself. I must begin to extract the cauldron of poisons that have turned me into a pathologically selfish drug addict. I must extract the poisons of selfishness, self-seeking, dishonesty, fear, and countless others if I am to truly recover. I must take it upon myself to fundamentally change the person I was. I must change the way I act, react and respond. I must change the way I view suffering. I must change the way I approach others. I must change my attitude towards life, work, relationships and family. For sure, I must change from deep within.
Through right action, I begin to enlarge my spiritual life. I begin to accept that I shouldn’t be taking credit for every good thing that happens to me… and I shouldn’t be blaming something else for every bad thing. I begin to realize that the bad stuff is my own fault. It happens when I try to do things my way, when I exert my own selfish will. But the good stuff happens when I let go, when I step back a little and let something guide me that is much greater and more powerful.
Even if you’re an addict and you don’t believe that God is present in your life, maybe you should change your mind because it’s much better to have a humble attitude as opposed to attributing your recovery and success to you and you only.
Because it’s arrogant not to. Are we really that powerful? Are we really all-knowing? Do we really have it all figured out? Please. Look how small and insignificant we are compared to the entire Universe.
God, give me the courage, power and willingness to walk through discomfort, just like everybody else…
Dry Drunk Syndrome
Those individuals who give up alcohol but fail to do more work will often develop dry drunk syndrome. The symptoms of dry drunk syndrome include:
- They are likely to have a low tolerance for stress – even the slightest incontinence can send them into a rage.
- Such people will have few scruples about engaging in unethical behavior.
- The dry drunk will tend to blame all their problems on other people. They will fail to take responsibility for their own bad decisions.
- They continue to behave secretively and tell lies.
- The individual is likely to suffer from loneliness and boredom. They may later use this as a justification to return back to their addiction.
- They will tend to be full of self-pity. They view their time in recovery as being similar to serving a prison sentence.
- They are likely to romance the drink This means that they spend a good deal of time thinking about all the good times they had while drinking – even though such good times are usually just in their imagination.
- This individual tends to be overconfident in their ability to stay sober. They will deny that they need the help of anyone else.
- Even though this individual is physically sober they are still caught in denial. They just can’t see that their behavior needs to change.
- The dry drunk will usually suffer from terminal uniqueness. This means that they do not believe the normal rules apply to them, and this can put them in great danger.
- Such people tend to be full of negativity and resentment. This makes them difficult to be around.