A Dry Drunk Cries Wet Tears

A young Lohan sees into her future…

Pretty much, that GIF sums up how I’ve felt this week, except the 32 year-old me got a double-slapping of reality about my past- AND present-day self. Vague and non-specific enough? I’ll let the description of what a “dry drunk” is do a bit of the talking, then. If for some reason some of my readers can’t read the below screenshot, or if you would just rather go to the original link, here it is.

I wasn’t going to even try to blog this week because I’ve been so emotional, but I honestly felt a call from God to share my experience for anyone else who might need to be keyed in on the dry drunk phenomenon. Hearing about it in AA the other night, the term immediately rang a bell in my mind because Jane Fonda used the term repeatedly in her autobiography in reference to her struggle with bulimia. I’d never bothered to look it up, much like I never bothered to go to another AA meeting after the horrific one (yep, just 1) that I attended last year when I had sobered up the first time. Oh, how very different my life and my struggle with alcoholism might’ve been if I’d learned about a dry drunk last year, or even when I was reading Ms. Fonda’s book right before I re-sobered up! Reading the warning signs above, tears were streaming down my face because I realized I was reading about myself. Then my paranoia kicked in and I thought that maybe everyone else had seen all these characteristics in me, but no one wanted to call me out on it.

When I read about these symptoms on Tuesday morning, my heart was broken. I’d just gotten my two-month chip the night before, yet I felt like I’d been going through the motions of re-sobering up. All I’d wanted the last two months was to make it to the next week so I could have another notch on my “re-sober belt,” which in turn meant praise and pats on the back. I wasn’t giving myself credit for all the ways that this time around has been a night and day difference from the last time around, when I was the textbook definition of a dry drunk (which, in turn, is why it was so easy to start drinking again over a year ago–because I’d dealt with none of my issues). To stop drinking is not enough; as much as it hurts, one has to get to the bottom of why they were drinking in the first place. We all have our unique challenges in life, but I guarantee you there’s a million other people who could read the above list and be colossally startled into seeing themselves and their negative mindset in that list. It hurt to read this list mostly because of the uber-specific personality attributes that are pegged, but it also hurt to read the part about a dry drunk resisting AA. I have yet to get a sponsor and yet to pay $12 for The Big Book; both of these are essential parts of the programme and I’ve flat-out refused to do them. I want to share this photo and caption from my Facebook page before I wrap the blog up:

“The conversation-starter reading from the AA magazine tonight was the story of a young, Jewish Chinese woman who thought she was too good for AA/not enough of an alcoholic to need to go and be active in meetings. After our group discussion and when it came time to pass out the chips, there were no two-month chips to be found in the chest to give me. A Mormon mother took her two-month chip out of her purse and gave it to me: a young, Southern Baptist (soon to be Methodist again!) man who thought he was too good/not enough of an alcoholic to need to go and be active in meetings. With tears in my eyes the rest of the meeting, I felt so blessed and thankful to actually be exercising true sobriety this time around, instead of just being a “dry drunk.”

I feel like I’ve been given the golden key: a chance to really, truly beat this. Undoubtedly (and unfortunately), many alcoholics never realize there’s more to sobering up (and more to enJOYing life!) than merely abstaining from liquor. God wants so much more for all of us; He really, truly wants us to be joyful about living for Him. Old habits die hard–as the cliche goes–but I’m determined to unlearn as many of the detrimental mindsets and contrarian habits as I can. True sobriety covers all the bases: the mind, the emotions, the spiritual life, and the physical body. Each element is just as important as the last, and that’s what I wasn’t getting until now.

Please pass on the link above to anyone you know who might be unsure about their journey to sobriety, or to anyone with family members or friends who are involved in the life of a sober person. It’s so important that people know there’s more to this journey than pouring your liquor down the drain. In the meantime, I’ve been blessed to have the support of several people this week whom I cried to and poured out my heart to about this. I was ashamed and humiliated enough to only talk to four people about my reaction to being a dry drunk, but this issue is important enough to me and my recovery that I want others to know the condition is very real, and that there’s help to overcome it and get on with your life. No one wants that more for you than God. He knew that this week I was finally open-minded and stable enough for Him to reveal this list to me, and I’d be remiss not to give Him the glory and pass it on to others.

Happy Hallerween to everyone!


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  1. Bootleg Rehab |

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