What Is A DRY Drunk? Exploring the Myth of the Dry Drunk Hypothesis

We’re going to talk about something very important that you’re going to hear in a lot of alcoholism recovery type philosophy. What is a dry drunk?


We want to take a look at this, because a lot of people look at this and they say;

Is a dry drunk someone who just wants to drink again?

A dry drunk is someone who has only taken away the component of alcohol. That means nothing in their life has changed other than giving up drinking. A lot of times it gets confused with a term called wet brain.

Wet brain refers to people that have the symptoms of being drunk even though they haven’t drink.

A dry drunk as I mentioned is someone who has just taken away the alcohol component.


It’s kind of like the idea of; if I could give up alcohol then I would be X.

  • Then I’d be more productive.
  • Then I’d be healthier.
  • Some people think they would make more money and things like that.

What they’re saying is, if I could give up alcohol, these things will change in my life. Now while that might be true, we want to look at the foundation of why people are alcoholics in the first place.


A lot of 12-step literature and recovery literature talks about drinking as a symptom of something bigger.

Is drinking something bigger or a symptom of something else?

A lot of 12-step programs will say; there’s a thing called “stinkin thinkin”.

We look at this and we say;

We have this idea of drinking as a symptom.

We have this idea of stinking thinking

meaning we’re thinking poorly.

We have drinking, as piling up of something


If we just take drinking out of the equation we might be a little more productive.

“Of course we’re going to be healthier we might make more money because the drinking is out of the way and will be more productive.

But we want to look at the underlying issues, I see this all the time there’s people who have been in recovery for years but they’re miserable and they treat people poorly. This is what’s known as a dry drunk they have not given up the attitudes, feelings and behaviors that they had when they were drinking

If we follow along with what most literature says, “If drinking is a symptom of something else” then we look at it we say well “drinking might be a symptom of something bigger.”

Drinking might be a symptom of what’s making your life miserable now!

In a lot of literature, you’re also going to see what is known as the fourth dimension.

The fourth dimension is where they say;

“Drinking might be a symptom of what’s making your life miserable now!”

You are going to get the fourth dimension of living which is like a whole new life. If you were to look at it religiously it would be like being born again. Your life changes, your thoughts change, your behaviors change and your attitudes change. This is known as someone who is recovered or in recovery.

My life is starting to change now, one of the things that I didn’t realize when I was first starting to get sober. While I

was dealing with that year and a half, I felt like if I could just

get rid of the drinking then I’d be more productive, I’d be healthier, I’d make more money, I wouldn’t be as depressed.

I thought that the drinking was the only problem that was stopping me from

reaching the fourth dimension.

But as it were, that wasn’t the only problem. I found out that every time I put the bottle down without fixing the underlying problem, which was my life as a whole. All I was doing was setting myself up for the next relapse.


So, I want to ask you a question, Are you setting up for the next relapse?

Because every time I stop drinking, no matter how long it was whether it was a day or a month before I put the bottle down I was setting myself instantly for a relapse.


That’s why relapse is so common because the thoughts attitudes and behaviors do not change.

What needs to change here is a fundamental shift in life philosophy because often times we

Drink as a symptom of something bigger. We drink;

Because we don’t like our life

Because feel like life is happening to us.

Because we’re just responding to whatever happens

Because we feel like we are getting the short end of the stick

Because of what happened in our past or what’s happening now

We look at this and say; these attitudes, behaviors and feelings are setting us up for a relapse.


What is leading us to a relapse?

A lot of people say that an emotional relapse happens long before drinking.

What does this mean? We take a look at this and I want to put all this together for you because I want you to understand what’s going on. The problem with me for the year and a half that I couldn’t get sober was the fact that I didn’t understand, what was going on. It was eating me alive.  I was like;

Why can’t I just quit?

 What is the deal?

 Why do I keep going back to this like a moth to a flame?


We look at it we say well a lot of it has to do with the fact that drinking is a symptom of something bigger.

We also have something to do with the fact that we were setting up for the next relapse.

And the fact that I thought when I stopped drinking all this stuff was going to start to get better.

What I didn’t realize, I was a dry drunk because my feelings, my emotions and my behaviors did not change. The only thing that changed was taking away the alcohol.

What happens in life is, if you are drinking as a symptom of something deeper. When those things start to creep in, it’s very easy to go back to what worked in the first place.

Drinking was a solution to a lot of your problems.

Drinking was a solution to not being able to emotionally respond.

Not being able to deal with your stinking thinking or your depressive thinking.

Not being able to deal with your life.

If you want to get to this fourth dimension,

It is just a way of .life where you take responsibility for your actions.

Your lot in life;

I am responsible for where I am, where I am in life is the

       Culmination of the decisions that I’ve made.

Little decisions every day lead you down the path.


Just like if you decide to drink today you might say well “it’s only one it’s not going to hurt me.”

“It’s not going to be that big deaI. I got to have one at the wedding” or whatever it is.


You’re going to look at this and what happens is you start to change over time. This is how things creep in. the same thing happens with emotional relapse, when you have those negative feelings creeping in;

  • You might have anger.
  • You might have guilt.
  • You might have resentment.
  • You might have depression, grief, loss.
  • You go we might also have jealousy.

All these things start to creep in. if you don’t deal with them right away, what’s going to happen

Is going to lead to an emotional relapse. Emotional relapse is reverting back into the negative emotions


Looking at it saying;

Hey, look my drinking is a symptom of all this negative stuff!


So this negative stuff needs to change now. The best way to change this is by changing your life philosophy, changing the underlying belief that governs your life.

You might not know it because you might not have thought about it, but everyone has a life philosophy. You got to look at what is governing your life

  • Is it feeling like you’re a victim of all the things that happen to you?
  • Is it feeling like you are getting the short end of the stick?
  • Is it anger because everyone else is stupid or wrong?
  • Are you angry, feeling guilty, resentment, depression, grief loss or jealousy in your life?


You want to take a look at your life philosophy and say what I believe about life right now.

Do I believe it’s hopeless or hopeful?

Do I believe it’s down or up?

Do I believe it’s positive or negative?

And when we start to change our life philosophy, everything starts to change. We get into this fourth dimension.

But what I want you to watch out for emotional relapse.

I want you to look at drinking as a symptom of something bigger.


This is why in so much literature, they say:

You got to work on yourself.

You know go to therapy!

You got to take care of you.

You know you got to do these steps.


Because a lot of people believe that it is a symptom of something bigger. We want to look at this because we don’t want to end up a dry drunk.

We want to talk about how to change your life philosophy.

I want you to go over to talksober.com/life check out that page we got some videos on, “How to understand how to make a new life philosophy.” We also have some worksheets and stuff that you can go through so that you don’t fall into the trap of being a dry drunk.

By keeping the same beliefs, keeping the same feelings and keeping the same behaviors, change can happen and it can happen fast. But it starts with changing each individual thing.

Once you start to realize that, you stopped being a dry drunk and you start to realize life is what it is.

I need to change my thinking get out of emotional relapse.

I need to realize when these things come in because feelings are like barometers.

We don’t have to trust every single feeling.

We just listen and say that might be useful that might not be useful.


We’re going to talk to you on;

How you can be better, how you can learn, how you can understand, how you can stop being a dry drunk, stop setting yourself up for the next relapse and dive into the fourth dimension of living. Where you take responsibility, you take charge and you start to understand what’s going on in your life in your emotions, in your mind and your thoughts.

We’re going to understand this together,

I’d like you to go over to;


Keep on guard if you keep on guard and you start to understand that feelings and thoughts don’t   just happen to you. They are a result of what you’re putting into your mind and what you dwell on. You have these patterns and we’re going to start to change them and we’re going to get to that fourth dimension of living and say life can be different


Go over to


Get our worksheets and

Let’s stay sober together one day at a time