functioning alcoholic

When you think of alcohol abuse, those worst-case scenarios may come to mind. But addiction can take many forms–some are easier to recognize than others. Knowing the signs of a functioning alcoholic can help you identify it faster in yourself or a loved one so that you can get the help you need.

Who Is the Functioning Alcoholic?

They probably have a steady job. People may say he/she’s a “good, upstanding citizen,” a “great friend,” or a “caring mother/father.”

They’re usually in a steady relationship and may have kids. Most functioning alcoholics are responsible, intelligent, middle-aged individuals.

A functioning alcoholic often has a family history of substance abuse, especially alcohol addiction. Family history gives them a false sense of justification for their actions. “I’m not that bad. At least I don’t drink the way my parents did.”

Because a functioning alcoholic manages their addiction most of the time, only those close to them may know they have a problem. But the alcohol is impacting their health, their relationships, and their life. It’s just happening more slowly than the crash-and-burn scenarios people often think of when they hear the word “alcoholic.”

No matter how subtle it seems, some consequences can be severe, such as:

  • Legal trouble
  • Money issues
  • Early dementia
  • Mental health challenges
  • Liver disease
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease

What Are the Signs of a Functioning Alcoholic?

If you are engaged in this form of substance abuse, you may be in denial. So take a look at the below signs and try to consider them objectively.

You make light of your “alcohol problem.” You might tell jokes about day drinking; it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, hitting the “mommy juice,” managing stress with alcohol, or other cliches. People often use humor to process emotions about things going on that are hard to look at.

You’re also experiencing close calls. Those with this condition often look like they have their act together. But they’re playing with fire in all aspects of their life.

Close calls might include:

  • Almost getting a DWI / DUI
  • Barely making it to work on time
  • Forgetting about a project until the last minute and just getting it done
  • Nearly missing parent day at your kid’s school

As the condition progresses, these become more frequent. And they’re no longer “almosts.” You start seeing the consequences and hurting those you love.

Alcohol has become a tool for you. So you feel you need it to go to sleep, relax after work, or socialize. If someone questions your drinking, you may get angry. When people feel strong emotions around something, that usually means deep down, they’re also questioning themselves. And it just doesn’t feel good to have someone else point it out.

You may make excuses, hide your drinking, and deny it to avoid feeling bad. You might also notice that your family members are making excuses for you. You’re starting to lose track of time and forget things because you were drinking. You set out to have a couple and end up drinking more than you planned.

Getting Help for Alcohol Addiction

Solution Based Treatment offers addiction treatment that works for those who are high functioning like you. You probably don’t need a lengthy inpatient stay with 24/7 supervision. Instead, you would thrive in a program that recognizes that you’re already managing your condition to a certain extent and provides you with an individualized level of support you need to escape the downward spiral of this condition and reclaim your life.

Solution Based Treatment offers:

Treatment is just the beginning of a new perspective on life. Please call us at 833.999.1941 to learn more about our personalized programs.

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