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  • David Sklar, PhD, ACSW

DRY DRUNK?

Updated: Apr 22, 2020

I have always been confused by the phrase "Dry Drunk" as I have heard it used over the years. How is it possible to be sober and drunk at the same time. It's like being in two places at the same time. Dry drunk is a concept coming out of the beginnings of AA. A dry drunk is someone who is sober, yet there is still "the presence of actions and attitudes that characterize the alcoholic prior to recovery".(Solberg, The Dry Dunk, 1970). Simply put, the dry drunk, despite being sober, is still acting like an asshole.(James Dolan, New York Knicks) The recovering alcoholic isn't making the moral and spiritual changes that Bill W. and the early founders felt was a mandatory part of getting sober. Sobriety was supposed to lead to a kinder, more caring and loving human being. When someone in recovery calls another recovering person a dry drunk it is meant as an insult. Sobriety can lead to kinder, gentler human beings. But not always. Dry drunks do not exist in my world. Everyone gets points for not drinking. Some people are assholes, drinking or not drinking. That is just the nature of the world. Sober is sober.

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