When you think about the stereotypical alcoholic, you might imagine a person chugging vodka straight out of the bottle, stumbling around, raging about a lost job. On the other hand, it is much more difficult to identify that someone has a drinking disorder when he is high functioning.
A high functioning alcoholic refers to a person who is able to maintain a moderate level of functioning despite having a drinking problem.
In other words, you drink to excess, but your life isn’t falling apart – at least not outwardly. You maintain the house and yard, take care of the family, and hold down a job. You are able to disguise the fractures in the façade from co-workers, friends, and even family. But behind closed doors is a secret—your drinking habit has begun to take center stage.
Some Signs that You May be a Functioning Alcoholic
- You find yourself using alcohol to cope with daily stress or emotional discomfort
- You drink too much, too often (for men, this is more than 4 drinks a day or 14 drinks a week)
- You drink alone
- Your tolerance has dramatically increased
- You experience withdrawal symptoms when you are not drinking
It’s Not an Alcohol Problem If You’re Meeting Your Obligations, Is It?
It’s easy for a functioning alcoholic to rationalize a drinking problem. You work hard, so you deserve to play hard, too. You pay your bills and volunteer your time, so there’s nothing wrong with unwinding on the weekend. However, deep down, you feel yourself spiraling.
Keeping up with your schedule, job, or family obligations gets more difficult. Scheduling your drinking around commitments leaves you nervous. Your partner or spouse keeps mentioning your drinking, and it’s causing more and more arguments. In fact, you’ve started hiding your alcohol in water bottles.
When the World of a Functioning Alcoholic Comes Crashing Down
The thing about being a high functioning alcoholic is that it is always temporary. You may be able to keep up with everything for a while, but eventually the booze wins. It will always win because no matter how high functioning you are, the booze is always stronger, and desperation will always increase, and at some point, you will be knocked off balance.
It starts small. Someone catches on that you’re drinking alcohol at work. Maybe you have your first interaction with the police while driving drunk. A friend or family member sits you down to talk about your drinking.
Another problem area is your health. Drinking to excess long-term eventually takes a physiological toll, such as liver damage, pancreatitis, or unusually high blood pressure.
Entrusting Your Care to a Team That Gets to the Root of the Problem
One of the most significant problems you’ll face now is choosing a treatment facility that helps you quit drinking. You don’t want fad treatments. Instead, you need executive rehab where therapists offer you targeted and individualized care. High-quality care combines evidence-based treatments with a thorough dual diagnosis assessment.
Other modalities include:
- Behavioral modification that helps you to uncover dysfunctional patterns and then change them
- Dual diagnosis treatment for the co-occurring mental health disorders
- Mindfulness training as a way to respond to stressors and triggers in healthy ways
- Exercise therapy, which encourages you to pursue physiological health at your own pace
- PTSD treatment for program participants with traumatic experiences in the past
Because you don’t want people at work to find out what you’re doing, you should also select a facility with a business center. Stay on top of what’s going on at the office without jeopardizing your recovery. It’s the optimal way to heal in private for many professionals.
How to Reach out for Help
As a functioning alcoholic, it’s hard to admit or even see the severity of your condition. However, there’s no shame in enlisting the assistance of experts in the field. At the First Step Center, addiction treatment specialists want to help you succeed in your recovery. Call 866.832.6398 today to find out what it takes to get started.