When a person addicted to a substance decides to stop drinking on his own, he needs to go into detox first as he can go through withdrawals. Trying to detox at home can be dangerous as a person can get into delirium tremens or other complications. He needs to be in a clinical environment under medical supervision to get beyond his withdrawals.
After the person completes detox and continues to manage to remain in abstinence due to circumstances that prevent him from drinking, without help of a rehab or counseling and tries to “wing” it on his own. This person who is staying away from alcohol for all practical purposes but has not been able to bring about a change in the character, behavior and personality that continues like that of one when he was drinking. Such a person is said to be in a Dry Drunk state.
The characteristics of the person who is a dry drunk are:
Egotistical – he considers that he has done something great by stopping consumption of alcohol. And he behaves as if he has done some favor on the rest of the family and friends by abstaining. Hence they should be at his beck and call and listen to his demands.
Obstinate – he wants everything to resolve and be fine immediately, as in his suspension should be revoked from the job; for example – his father should trust him with the business and financial dealings just because he has stopped drinking.
Self-Obsession – he remains self-obsessed. The resentments towards family and others remain the same and affect him more. There is constant anxiety and fear of relapsing.
Emotional Inability – the inability to manage emotions is the same. The volatility of emotions makes the family feel as though they are walking on egg shells around him.
Manipulative Nature – the same manipulation and lying continues. He feels deprived of something he thought he enjoyed so much by not drinking. He also becomes jealous of friends who do not have addiction issues.
Negative Involvement – the person can get into substitute negative addictive behaviors like gambling, food, sex etc. The person, who has been like this many times, has already relapsed in his mind. And is looking for excuses to re-start drinking again and can eventually get the bottle in hand.
However, others can remain abstinent but keep suffering from the emotional pain and behavioral issues that plagued him when he was drinking as he never learnt the tools to enable him to deal with his emotions and work on oneself to transform oneself to be a better person, realistic and balanced.