This will be strictly one person’s opinion of what the often used term “dry drunk” means. I am certain that if you were to ask ten different people in the recovery community what the term means, you would most likely get ten different explanations. That said, please bear in mind that this is only one person’s opinion.

First, what “dry drunk” doesn’t mean:

  • someone is intoxicated but dry to touch
  • someone is acting intoxicated even though they have not had a drop to drink
  • all of a drunk’s liquor bottles are empty

Second, what it does mean:

  • someone has stopped drinking but still thinks like a drunk
  • someone has stopped drinking but not changed any of the characteristics that lead to his or her drinking
  • someone in recovery (clean and sober) who suddenly, and hopefully temporarily, reverts to his or her old ways of thinking that led the individual to drinking in the first place

What it implies:

  • someone needs to focus (or re-focus) on working the AA 12 step program of recovery beyond “just stopping drinking”
  • someone is at risk for relapsing (starting drinking/using again)
  • someone identifies what stress triggered old ways of thinking and uses AA principles to work through the problem rather than letting habitual ways of thinking trigger relapse

Note: the term “stinking thinking” is also recovery jargon for a person in recovery thinking like he or she did when they were still drinking or drugging.

Please comment. However, I will be out of touch from the Internet for several days. Therefore, it may be a while before I respond to your comments. Thank you for your patience.