Dry Drunk –
Drying Out Is Not Enough
By Ned Wicker
Getting sober is not the only answer to alcohol abuse or
alcoholism. I say that because people think that as long as somebody
isn’t drunk, they’re sober. The idea of a “dry drunk” is hard
to get your hands around, but it’s the key point to understanding
that just because somebody isn’t drunk or isn’t drinking, that
doesn’t mean they are free from dependence on alcohol or free from
Trying to get help
An acquaintance of ours talked her husband into going in for
treatment for his “drinking problem,” and he traveled half-way
across the country to check into a Christian treatment facility. He
was there for 30 days and the final bill for the treatment was in the
neighborhood of $100,000.
The wife said she had enough of his drinking and according to her
story she connected with an interventionist to begin the process of
forcing her husband to stop drinking. He had been in and out of
treatment for 20 years and the marriage had been on shaky ground for
They had been to
counseling, but nothing was ever resolved. The husband was a very
successful businessman, who owned five companies, three houses and
according to friends lavished his wife with money trying to please
her. He had come from a wealthy family and denied any problem with
After not having a drink for 30 days, the husband came home and
immediately began drinking again. Why? The addiction was still there.
He still had the cravings for alcohol and the 30-day period did
nothing to change the addictive cycle.
He received treatment, but he never went into recovery, he
became a VERY angry “dry drunk”.
I suppose he spent all that money just to get her off his back.
She wanted him to change his ways, but she never received any
treatment herself. The only thing that changed was he didn’t have a
drink for 30 days.
The beauty of the Alcoholics Anonymous
12-Step program is that it helps people changed their lives. It’s
not just abstaining from alcohol, but a holistic approach to managing
the disease of alcoholism.
He agreed to change but didn’t really embrace his change, he
Christian treatment for alcoholism can be very powerful and
effective, but the alcoholic cannot continue in denial, cannot merely
acquiesce to the demands of a spouse, or just go through the motions
of receiving treatment and expect that anything different is going to
If he does not believe he has a problem, if he does not believe he
needs help and if he does not have an understanding of God, there is
not going to be any surrender to the process. Christian treatment is
rendered meaningless if the “power greater than ourselves,”
namely Christ, is not allowed to enter into a relationship with the
The words of Christ are quoted in Revelation 3:20,
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my
voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he
Do we have a changed HEART!
It is not the number of times one goes into treatment, as we can
all fail and need additional help, it’s the willingness to accept
our situation, accept the help and most of all surrender to God, as
we understand him. This fellow may have been in and out of treatment
for 20 years, but it is sadly obvious that a major “disconnect”
has been going on in his life.
Learn more about the dry drunk return to our home page or to about alcoholism.
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and Finally Remember:
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”
– Matthew 7:7-8
Dan, Ned and Debbie continue their discussion of the 12 steps reviewing what it takes to get everything out of this important treatment progam, this week on Recovery Now!
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