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kerry1 08-28-2005 07:19 AM

"Dry Drunk" syndrome
I think my brother is a dry drunk. He's an alcoholic but functions very well. I think he manages to keep his drinking to a minimum, and he's hardworking and successful. However, he's mean, sadistic and judgmental. I got seriously ill recently and his response was to verbally beat me up and call me names; he has no tolerance for "weakness". He said this all in a phone call - he called my sister on mother's day to say happy mother's day to her - since I was at her house he talked to me too, lucky me. His first words were "I'm saying happy mother's day to [sister]; you're not a mother and your dogs don't count." I should have hung up then, but didn't, and that's when he started yelling at me for being ill. I've battled depression for years - he yelled at me for that, too, and accused me of being suicidal. Although I've mentioned feeling suicidal (a long time ago), I've never tried it or even seriously considered it. Yet all of a sudden I'm a train wreck.

I'm thinking of cutting him out of my life completely. Anybody else have a drunk or dry drunk relative that you have done this with? I cut off my parents when I was very young, because I couldn't take the abuse, and it worked - they are nice to me now and I've made peace (mostly) with them. But they're my parents. I don't owe my brother a thing - he's just a brother, not a parent. He has a really nice wife and they're trying for a baby - I want to keep in touch with wife and baby but I can't if I don't keep in touch with him. Any ideas? He lives thousands of miles away but there's always the occasional "family reunion". HELP.

lostnewwife 08-28-2005 08:22 AM

Re: "Dry Drunk" syndrome
I am sorry to hear of your brother's addiction and abusive personality. My mother has been an alcoholic, in complete denial, all my life. When she drinks, she is the most evil, cruel and selfish person who will stop at nothing to beat EVERYONE down that crosses her path. The last thing I wanted was to cut her off, but after 28 years of her destruction, addiction and abuse, I was left with no choice. I did everything in my power to help her, support her and encourage her, but in the end, the bottle won instead of me. I promised myself that I would ONLY cut her out of my life after I knew there was NOTHING more I could do to help her. I am not sure how close you are with your brother, but I do think you are in a position where you can help him. Does the rest of your family know about his addiction? Does his wife? Does he admit to it? If not, maybe an intervention would help.
I think that regret is one of the worst feelings in the world, so do your best to help him before you decide to cut him out of your life forever. His wife and future children will need you in their lives, as you need them, so try to avoid losing your loved ones to this disease, at all costs. However, this DOES NOT mean that you have to tolerate his verbal and emotional abuse in the meantime. Be firm but supportive and when you've tried all possible solutions and coping methods to no avail, make your decision then (if you're not already there). I really believe that you will all lose if you cut him off completely. Your brother needs a swift kick in the head, followed by support and encouragement from his not give up until you know you've done your best to help him.
I hope this helps. Please keep us posted.

CanadaSquirrel 08-28-2005 10:50 AM

Re: "Dry Drunk" syndrome
You cannot control another's actions, however you can control how you react to someone's elses actions. You need to show him that this is unacceptable behaviour and it will not be tolerated. You are not anyone's punching bag whether it be physically, or verbally. He does this because he can....I lived with a man that was abusive both physical and verbally abusive and it was only when I decided to get this man out of my life that I feel better about myself and even then it took years to deal with the verbal abuse. The effects of abuse (no matter where it comes from) can be long lasting , be the one to take a stand....God Bless. You cannot help your brother right now, so protect yourself.

kerry1 08-28-2005 12:24 PM

Re: "Dry Drunk" syndrome
Thanks for your support, folks. Canada, you're right. He does it because he CAN. Lostnew, he's 44 and he's acknowledged that he's an alcoholic. What he doesn't acknowledge is that he isn't in control. I don't know if he drinks or not - but it can affect your personality even if you're not actually touching liquor. His wife knows about it and I believe she's a recovering alcoholic too - she's not a lot younger than he is and not naive, just in love, poor thing. But she's not a "dry drunk", which is a personality that is abusive and judgmental. If anyone can change him it's she, not I.

I'm not trying to change him; that's useless. I need to protect myself, which means I think I need to cut him off. And that may mean forever, if he doesn't change his behavior.

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