functioning alcoholics

Functioning Alcoholics – It’s NO Way To Function

Articles, International, Treatment, Understanding Addiction

Those men and women who believe they are functioning alcoholics really need to take a step back and analyse exactly what physical and mental harm their excessive drinking is causing.

3 stages of ‘functioning’ alcoholism:

Here are 3 progressive stages leading to deeper dependence. It goes without saying that the earlier a person acknowledges alcohol currently has the better of them, the easier it is to make necessary changes.

  • Early stage alcoholism: This is when someone is drinking too much, but they have not suffered too many consequences. Addressing the amount of alcohol being consumed at this stage is when it is easiest to make necessary changes.
  • Middle stage alcoholism: Many class this as ‘the classic functioning alcoholic’ stage. The person is still holding down a job and their close relationships are still in place. The problem is that their life is starting to suffer. If action is taken now to curb drinking then there is every chance of getting life back on track. It must be reiterated that while this is seen as the classic case of a functioning alcoholic there is still hope of bringing them back from the brink of:
  • Late stage alcoholism: The job has gone, relationships are in tatters and the need for alcohol to get a person through the day is ever-present. It urges them to drink day-in and day-out. They cannot stop after the first drink and will continue until falling into bed for a troubled nights rest. It must be stated that this stage is not as common as many believe. They think this is the stereotypical alcoholic when indeed middle-stage alcoholism is far more prevalent.

Don’t fall foul of progressive alcoholism:

As can be seen through the above stages, alcoholism is progressive. Consequences gradually increase in line with the amount and regularity of alcohol consumed.

No one should tell a person who is at this heavy drinking stage that it is easy to quit, it is not, but if a person has already started to see the negative side of excessive alcohol intake then quit they must.

Denial is disaster:

As with all addictions a functioning alcoholic will be in denial:

  • Self-denial: They will be aware that they are drinking to excess but convince themselves that it is not as serious as it really is. They assume it is having little noticeable effect on their lives and relationships. Some high-functioning alcoholics with a responsible or senior position at work also take the view that they deserve a drink for the amount of hard work and success their efforts achieve. If this denial is maintained much needed professional assistance will not be sought. It can take traumatic incidents such as being apprehended for drink driving or going through a divorce to make them understand just how serious their situation now is.

Professional rehab can help:

Modern life is full of stress and challenges. It is easy to reach for the bottle as a form of comfort blanket, but the reality is that reaching for it too often will give little comfort.

Whatever stage you are at in terms of excessive drinking please seek professional rehab assistance as soon as possible.

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Anne -

Anne Lazarakis joined the DARA Rehab team from Sydney, Australia. She writes about addiction and mental health on a global, local and community level. She also relays personal accounts of substance abuse and recovery through the stories of our clients, their families and our own team members.
If you, or someone you care about, needs help for a drug or alcohol addiction, contact one of our therapists today.
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