“They were drunk although not with wine, they staggered although they drank no ale” (Yeshayahu 29:9).
In the field of alcoholism treatment, there is a concept of a “dry drunk.” This term describes those who have stopped drinking alcohol, but whose behavior remains essentially
unchanged from their drinking days.
Just as a “dry drunk” phenomenon occurs with someone who
has stopped drinking, it can occur in someone who never drank excessively. In the above verse, the Prophet describes such be- havior occurring in the absence of alcohol intoxication.
Active alcoholics are generally oblivious to their self-centered behavior. Seeking to satisfy their own needs regardless of how this may affect others, they are likely to project blame for ev- erything that goes wrong onto anyone and everyone — except
themselves. They refuse to make any changes in the way they live; instead, they demand that others accommodate.
We often observe this same behavior in people who do not use intoxicants. In a way, alcoholics are more fortunate, for eventually the toxic effects of alcohol will force upon them the realization of their destructive behavior. People who do not drink and who are thus not likely to have any toxic disasters which precipitate a crisis must, therefore, exercise even greater scrutiny, lest they unknowingly indulge in behavior that is de- structive to themselves and others.