The High-Functioning Alcoholic

When you picture an alcoholic you might be thinking of a homeless man with dirty ripped clothes and a beard stumbling around with a paper bagged beverage. You might be surprised to learn that not all alcoholics are homeless, jobless, dirty, or old. They may be sitting next to you at your office meeting, in a coffee shop, or at a local bookstore. A high-functioning alcoholic looks very put together, has the dream car, house, job, and spouse. They seem to have everything, however they still might be abusing alcohol. That's what it was like for me. For many years, I had it all. I never lost a job or car because of drinking. I never even lost my license, because I was responsible and took an Uber or Lyft home after a night of drinking. I accomplished all of my goals in life and was able to purchase a home (in this market!?!). I was only 30 when all of this was happening. My friends would even tell me they didn't think I drank more amounts or frequency than most of them.

But I realized, when the weekends started getting more and more carried away, that there was an issue. The feelings of shame, guilt and regret started getting more and more frequent and my motivation started to slide. It was when I didn't have any motivation to do anything at all that I knew something had to change.

Traditionally there are 7 stages of alcoholism. The first 3 being: initiation, experimentation and regular usage. Anyone who has started drinking has gone through these stages. Some quicker than others. The next stage is risky usage that turns to dependence. And the last 2 are addiction and crisis/treatment. Luckily, I realized what I was doing in the Risky usage stage and didn't get past that stage. Many others, however, don't make it out alive past the addiction/crisis stage.

High-Functioning alcoholics tend to justify their usage with the ability to maintain their lives in an appropriate manner. They are viewed as productive members of society so everything must be OK, right? What often happens is their usage slowly transitions into the crisis stage and they will slowly see the effects of addiction start to unravel their put together life. It might even be too late for some, only showing signs when they are at their absolute worst.

If you feel like you might be a high-functioning alcoholic, you probably are. Sorry, not sorry for being blunt. If you are questioning whether you drink too much, you are. If you aren't sure where to go or what to do, reach out! DM me on Instagram and I'll help you find the best routine to start your recovery journey!