What is a functioning alcoholic?
What does an alcoholic look like? Do you picture the person who wakes up and starts drinking, the one who reeks of liquor throughout the day, and doesn’t put the bottle down until their head hits the pillow? Do you envision their lives consisting of blackouts, outbursts, and embarrassing episodes?
If this sounds like the right description, you might want to take another look.
5 Signs of a Functioning Alcoholic
While most alcoholics do eventually reach the point where their lives become unmanageable, the truth is, 20 percent of all individuals who could be classified as an alcoholic do not fit the profile above (at least not right away). Many fall into the category of a functioning alcoholic. If you’ve never heard the term, it describes an individual who drinks regularly, probably hasn’t admitted to having a problem yet, hasn’t suffered any major life problems due to his or her drinking, and continues to show a pattern of steady or increased regular drinking.
You Drink to Relax at the End of the Day
Many functioning alcoholics have successful careers during the day and somewhat healthy relationships with family and friends. It’s only when they wind down at night that they begin to drink. Many claim that a few drinks helps them relax or de-stress after a long day; every day. Some may only drink a couple of glasses of wine before heading to bed so they quickly dismiss having a problem. But it isn’t the amount or the time the person drinks that matters. It’s the fact that they use alcohol as a coping mechanism / stress reliever. That’s one of the identifiers of alcoholism.
You Drink to Get Through Social Occasions
Drinking alcohol at a social event doesn’t automatically make you an alcoholic. However, if you find yourself absolutely requiring a drink in order to loosen up during social events or business meetings, or drink so much at social events that you have trouble remembering pieces of the event, you may be a functioning alcoholic.
You Drink During the Workday
It’s never enough to get you drunk, but it’s just enough to take the edge off. No one knows you’re drinking, at least you don’t think they do. You’re not slurring your words, and a breath mint easily disguises the odor of alcohol. You just need it to cope with the stresses of the job and to stave off any shaky hands. You know those are withdrawal symptoms, right?
You Experience Withdrawal Symptoms When You Don’t Drink
Speaking of withdrawal, one of the most obvious signs of alcoholism is if you experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking. Signs of withdrawal include shaking hands, anxiety, irritability, feelings of nausea, lack of clarity, lack of peace, and unusual tiredness, especially during the time of day when you would normally drink.
No One Knows You Drink
High-functioning alcoholics are often those individuals who don’t seem like they drink too much. The secret is in having all those pre-drinks. Maybe you down a couple of drinks while you’re getting ready for the social event, and carry a flask in your purse for a discreet bathroom break. It appears as if you’ve only had one drink at the event, when you’re actually on your fifth. Does this sound familiar?
What Should You do if You’re a Functioning Alcoholic?
Just because you don’t fit the normal description of an alcohol doesn’t mean you aren’t struggling with alcoholism. If you see yourself in the signs about, consider asking for help. Gracious Care Recovery Solutions can help you safely detox and provide you with addiction recovery treatment options that will help you address your drinking habits as well as your spiritual, mental and physical well-being. Contact us today.