Somebody in AA called me a dry drunk. I have a BIG problem with this label, so I want to raise awareness of its absurdity and potential for damage.
Growing up in 12-step clubs, I heard the term “dry drunk” all my life. My dad got sober in 1970, with the help of AA, and chose to stick with that path of recovery all the way through 2003 when he died. It worked for him (that, and a lot of other spiritual and intellectual exploration he did on the side, but yeah).
But when I got sober in 2010, I only went to AA for a month before knowing that was not going to be my path. And I have seen many 12-step folks in online communities who disapprove of that, who shake their heads, call me a “dry drunk,” and say I will never truly change without the help of “the program.”
Bullshit. There are a myriad of ways to get sober, and once sober, a myriad of ways to stay that way. Want to know my three-step plan for recovery?
- Stop consuming alcohol – on your own or in a detox facility, however you have to do it. Depending on how much you were ingesting on a daily basis, it can take up to a month to feel like your body is functioning normally and your brain chemistry is back in (relative) balance. It took me a month and it was the weirdest, worst month ever. Then it got better. Hang in there.
- Find methods by which to improve your mental, emotional, and spiritual state so that you can try to better yourself, change your thinking and behavioral patterns, and restructure and reschedule your life to remain sober long-term. This could mean any or all of the following: good friends to talk to, supportive and loving partner, spiritual reading, online communities, meditation, prayer, fitness, volunteering, reading, writing, new hobbies, etc.
- Don’t let anyone tell you you have to do anything to be sober the “right” way. There is no right way. There is only what works for you to stay healthy and happy. The end.
Thank you to Sober Wayfarer for the link!