Is My Boyfriend A 'Dry Drunk'?

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Is My Boyfriend A 'Dry Drunk'?

Postby cvallejo » Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:49 pm

My first post, so be nice :)


My boyfriend has been sober nearly 7 months (alcohol, prescription painkillers, cocaine, and other pills), and has been in sober living this entire time. He entered treatment after I kicked him out of our apartment for lying, using, etc.

When we first reconnected, about 3 months ago, it was as if he became a new person. Now, though, I'm starting to feel ... change.

Every time I try to talk to him about what he put me through, and how he made me feel, and my concerns and fears, he either laughs, or groans and gets defensive, angry that I'm bringing this up again. In my mind, part of recovery is being able to take responsibility for your actions, actively work towards making amends, listening to your loved ones and being receptive about the pain that an addict has put them through.

My boyfriend is about to leave sober living and into the "real world," and I'm horrified that if I continue in this relationship, I'm missing a huge RED FLAG about his seriousness and dedication to sobriety. Any insight? MUCH LOVE!!!
Last edited by cvallejo on Sat Sep 09, 2017 9:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is My Boyfriend A 'Dry Drunk'?

Postby Brock » Fri Sep 08, 2017 1:41 pm

Hi and welcome.

Even though we are an alcoholic recovery site and group, your post was still put up, even though your boyfriend appears to be more of a drug addict. Since the fellowships follow basically the same format of steps, maybe some here can help advise you.

I must admit that the once or twice my wife bought this up, I was kind of not very pleased, maybe not angry, but certainly saying 'I know I know,' while thinking I hope she shuts up about this. For me with someone so close I was not able to just say sorry, she had heard that many times before, and I suspect he has told you the same in the past, made promises and broke them, said sorry many times. So for me it's been a living amends, and over time she has seen by my actions that I am sorry, even saying she is happy she stuck with me through the tough times, since I ended up being a 'good catch.'

In our step 9 we make amends to those we have harmed, and living amends is not often used but is mentioned as a method. I don't think you should hassle him about this, these words - “listening to your loved ones and being receptive about the pain that an addict has put them through...” it actually sounds like you want him to do for you what the program did for him, and I don't think this is a good idea.

AA has a sister organization called Al-anon, for friends and families of alcoholics, maybe NA has such a thing as well, or you could visit the Al-anon meetings https://al-anon.org/ these will help you understand what he is doing, and I expect answer your questions, best of luck.
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Re: Is My Boyfriend A 'Dry Drunk'?

Postby PaigeB » Sat Sep 09, 2017 9:38 am

Early in my sobriety I tried to make amends but it was an ugly failure... perhaps like the groaning and blaming your ex-BF is doing. You might be right to see how it goes when he leaves treatment before you jump back into a relationship. Going to treatment is getting a separation from our drug of choice - for me that was alcohol, but alcohol was a gateway drug that allowed me to do any drug in front of me. I went to treatment, intensive outpatient for a couple of months drinking regularly and still got a pass, even having them say I "might not be an alcoholic" and "alcoholism in remission". I was one one those people who can do really well with institutions. I knew how to follow the rules and protect my booze. I never stopped drinking and drank another 10 years.

The real test is how we act in the world. I have heard the phrase, "If you want to know how I am doing with AA, ask my family!" I can hold my own at a one hour meeting a few times a week and still be a terror in my home. I know because even years later I struggle a great deal with my old habit of respect via fear and yelling. My husband is as patient as a saint and remains so... but I was pretty darn bad when drinking, so any change is good... that does not make it right.

I worked through the Steps with a sponsor in AA... NOT the Steps the counselors talked about... NOT my "life History" told to the group and NOT my "interferences". They did not teach me how to LIVE life, they taught me how to cope with it (sad). They thought they were teaching humility by making people eat humble pie, but I had to DO humble acts to learn that humility was desired. They wanted to teach me about my inner child and maybe find pity for her... and they taught ideas of co-dependence (both theories I find to be crap for me... I was cruel, no excuses). BUT I DID NOT KNOW ANY of the TRUTH about myself until I went through the book with an woman AA who went through the Steps the same way herself. I found out where I blamed people and why - I found out what instinctual fears drove me to extremism. I told them to another person who could continue to hold me accountable to the truth about myself. I worked through what & why I needed to make amends for without pity for my inner child or blaming my parents. AND I continue to go to several meetings a week lest I forget what drove me to the desperation of seeking this way of life, but also to hear new experiences and solutions and share my own experiences and solutions.

So you need not rush headlong into any decision about if you go back into this relationship. Some sponsors suggest the alkie wait a year before getting into one. That will be up to his sponsor & him. YOU can go to Alanon and work the Steps yourself if you like - or just find out that you are not alone in your fears... Alanon is a good place to be... there will be much love and insight there.

Peace to you cvallejo and God's speed (timing/Kairos) in All Things. :wink:
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Re: Is My Boyfriend A 'Dry Drunk'?

Postby Noels » Sat Sep 09, 2017 11:45 am

Hi and welcome to e-aa.

cvallejo wrote:My first post, so be nice :)


My boyfriend has been sober nearly 7 months (alcohol, prescription painkillers, cocaine, and other pills), and has been in sober living this entire time. He entered treatment after I kicked him out of our apartment for lying, using, etc.

When we first reconnected, about 3 months ago, it was as if he became a new person. Now, though, I'm starting to feel ... change.

Every time I try to talk to him about what he put me through, and how he made me feel, and my concerns and fears, he either laughs, or groans and gets defensive, angry that I'm bringing this up again. In my mind, part of recovery is being able to take responsibility for your actions, actively work towards making amends, listening to your loved ones and being receptive about the pain that an addict has put them through.

My boyfriend is about to leave sober living and into the "real world," and I'm horrified that if I continue in this relationship, I'm missing a huge RED FLAG about his seriousness and dedication to sobriety. Any insight? MUCH LOVE!!!


My first question would be whether your boyfriend have been working the 12 steps where he is and if so, on which step he currently is since amends (discussion with the ones we harmed takes place in step 9 ).
Then I remember when I just got sober. It wasn't always easy for me - therefore the slogan 'one day at a time ' and it was at times even 'one moment at a time '. However I was sober, most of my 'old behaviour ' when I was still drinking have changed and I was trying my utmost to show my family that I am again trustworthy and worked hard at rectifying whatever my drinking behaviour 'screwed up '. So whenever they showed fear or questioned whether I was going to remain alcohol free or 'reminded ' me of unacceptable behaviour when I was still drinking (comparing then -present behaviour ' with past drunken behaviour ' it made me feel exceptionally unhappy. As if nothing I did was good enough since surely they could see the change in me? Although that would irritate me eventually I still didn't argue, fight or retaliated since I was adamant to remain the new person I had become. Or rather a better version of who I was before the alcohol got to me.
You mention that you sense a change in your boyfriend toward you.
Firstly it's necessary to understand that he has been in a very protected environment for 7 months. I was in a clinic for 3 weeks once and adapting to the 'normal world outside ' was difficult.
Secondly, almost 2 years sober I am now divorced after a 22 year long marriage - my choice. In my humble but honest view unless you are willing to forget or at least put aside your hurts experienced whilst your boyfriend was still active in addiction until he is ready to make amends to you and take on a supportive role now - your relationship is not likely to last and the breakup later will probably be more hurtful for both of you.
So I'd say you have 2 choices - forget and make peace with the past - never to bring his behaviour up again and it may work out for the both of you if he is still interested OR cut your losses and write it off as experience.
Either way I wish you well.
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Re: Is My Boyfriend A 'Dry Drunk'?

Postby Blue Moon » Sat Sep 09, 2017 5:21 pm

cvallejo wrote:Every time I try to talk to him about what he put me through, and how he made me feel, and my concerns and fears, he either laughs, or groans and gets defensive, angry that I'm bringing this up again. In my mind, part of recovery is being able to take responsibility for your actions, actively work towards making amends, listening to your loved ones and being receptive about the pain that an addict has put them through.


He's not ready to discuss it. Also, I'm unclear what you're expecting to achieve. Amends is about putting things right. That takes time, energy, and might not take the form you're expecting.

Your expectations are not unreasonable - for a normal, mentally-healthy person. But you need to ask yourself if they're unreasonable for him, given where he's at and what he's capable of. If he's incapable of enough empathy to say what you want to hear, can you live with that?

Yes, hold him accountable - for what he does today. Are his actions today consistent with what a loving partner should be doing today?

Alanon sounds like a good suggestion for you.
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Re: Is My Boyfriend A 'Dry Drunk'?

Postby Spirit Flower » Sun Sep 10, 2017 3:15 am

You should know that less than half of people stay clean after treatment. Living a sober life takes time and effort. Many emotional ups and downs. So, be a good friend but don't get too serious for a long time.

Don't make any babies.
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