My friends are high-functioning alcoholics. I won’t say that I am, because that sounds kind of arrogant.
I’m a high-functioning alcoholic.
See what I mean?
But they’re out there. I believe that they’re considered a minority within alcoholism-dom (is that what you call it?). Perhaps that’s true. But I think it’s also an understatement.
They may be hard to notice. One friend is a successful business owner. The other is a manager. The latter is the one I’m most concerned with. Lives alone. Watches depressing YouTube videos all day. And is never seen without a beer.
He’s a very likable guy. Never seems depressed. But it’s there.
Hell, he’d probably admit to it.
And I think this is how we overlook high-functioning alcoholism. We just assume that they’re okay. Sure, they might drink too much from time to time. But does ‘from time to time’ become most of the time?
Perhaps it takes one alcoholic to recognize another. But there are signs:
Do they drink alone?
Is drinking a usual part of the conversation?
Do they get intoxicated at all social functions?!
Most people were surprised to learn I go to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Sure, I drank large quantities from time to time. But, to them, that didn’t make me alcoholic. Even people in my family (my wife included) were taken back by learning this.
But truthfully, I was drunk everyday. I even hid liquor bottles strategically around the house. And it wasn’t like I was shy about my drinking. But no one suspected that it was as bad as it was. And it was horrible!
I was hungover most mornings. If I woke up without a hangover, I would think something was off. And my professional life suffered because of it. If I wasn’t calling in sick or showing up late, I probably wasn’t the A player they wanted me to be.
I got fired at my first real ‘big boy’ job for this very reason.
Yet no one suspected a thing. Even my DUI arrest (after getting fired), no one suspected that I might’ve had a problem. I was just having a ‘bad week’. And after I got my life ‘together’, the worst had yet to come.
And there were all of these tell-tale signs…to include outbursts and physical altercations…yet nobody suspected anything.
I was burning inside. Even suicidal. Hangovers would lead to depression and paranoia. And to relieve these thoughts, I’d go back to the bottle. And on and on the cycle went.
They say that not all alcoholics hit rock bottom. That’s especially true for high-functioning alcoholics. I certainly hit rock bottom after getting fired and then arrested. But I appeared put together after that. And the reality was, I was hitting rock-bottom nearly every week.
Thankfully, I found AA and decided to take control over my addiction.
But some might feel shame. And some might not even know they have a problem. But just because someone doesn’t fit the classical mold of an alcoholic, doesn’t mean they aren’t suffering.
If you are concerned about a friend or a loved one’s drinking, please be open with them. Denial is common, but it doesn’t hurt to ask “do you think you might have a problem?”. They might thank you later.
If you need more information, please visit DrugRehab.com What is a High-Functioning Alcoholic