Many of us have heard the term “dry drunk” before, which basically means that someone may be sober, but little else has changed in the person’s behavior. Although we prefer to stay away from labels, this speaks to a phenomena that is often observed in the recovery field.
A similar situation includes when people have been in and out of multiple treatment attempts, and even after periods of sobriety, still display the same unhealthy behaviors, as they haven’t changed their overall mindset or their way of being. When this is the case, it is usually an indicator of either another relapse in the future, or, at the very least, that further work needs to be done of some type after treatment.
Here are some questions that may point to someone still needing to lose their old “addict” behavior:
- Is s/he able to hold a steady job?
- Can s/he pay his/her bills?
- Does s/he show up on time for appointments?
- Does s/he take care of other responsibilities?
- Are they present for their children (if they have any)?
- Are they honest and trustworthy?
- Do they hang around the same old people they used to get drunk or high with?
- Is s/he kind and friendly toward others, or frequently angry and argumentative?
There are so many more questions that may be applicable here, but we think you get the point. Recovery isn’t just about sobriety, it is about an overall improvement in life and interactions with others. People working to change become responsible adults who are hopefully more considerate of others and not just “looking out for number one,” as addictive behaviors are typically very selfish in nature.
It is also important to watch out for their addictive/craving mind simply seeking another substitute, like a process (shopping, eating, sex, gambling, etc.) instead of a drug.
Many loved ones, treatment professionals and recovery support people look for these changes in behaviors as signs of success. When people who are suffering from substance use disorders are able to continue to apply self-reflection and self-inquiry into how they are really being and doing in life, they are able to keep making adjustments along the way. They are able to let go of the “addict” part of them and move on to something so much more fulfilling in life.