The dry drunk theory of workplace bullies
We've had this discussion with quite a few Gen X colleagues over recent times. One, a barrister was commenting on a mad bad magistrate.
I explained my observations based on some Dr Google and personal observation of a high functioning alcoholic relative now dead - father in fact.
It's about the "dry drunk" routine. As the alcohol over years, and decades in the case of boomers, alters brain function causing a trend towards depression, the otherwise high functioning and generally unaware boomer starts lashing out at seemingly trivial bits of uncertainty and chaos that occur in every normal day. A typo, a slip up, a correction or fudge that needs to be clarified.
Everyone is an idiot or a f*ckwit except of course our hero the high functioning dry drunk boomer, when actually the every day mishaps trigger a deep and powerful subconscious and alarming reliance on the alcohol fix to smooth things out, especially after hours of withdrawal. This reliance creeps up so incrementally, probably over decades, the addict probably doesn't even realise the source of their deeper seated fear, powerlessness, depression and anger. Not for nothing is alcohol known as the Great Deceiver:
It's very destructive too with the mood swings, the belittling pre-emptive innuendo, the degrading personal comments - all to project the addict's problem onto others just as long as they can get that alcohol anaesthetic for the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.
Here is one description of the behaviour of the so called "dry drunk":
and here complete with "grandiosity":
The worrying thing is that this effect surely applies to everyone who takes alcohol fairly regularly over the years, whether they believe it affects them or not. Really every bad mood they have may or may not be caused by alcohol cravings. They will never know without a reasonable period of abstinence and self aware monitoring to note any difference in the upward or downward trend of their moods and contentment.
Also given alcohol is the drug of choice of older working Australians the younger generations will have to deal with the associated pathology of their older colleagues for a long time to come and probably forever.
Posted by editor
at 7:12 PM NZT
Updated: Saturday, 23 July 2011 7:29 PM NZT