Am I a Recreational Drinker or a Functional Alcoholic?

Many people are capable of moderating their drinking, but many others simply cannot say no once they start. There are different categories of people who drink, but the lines between these categories are thin. This is why many people develop a drinking problem with noticing its progression.

Categories of Alcohol Consumers

The three categories that alcohol users fall into consist of recreational drinkers, functional alcoholics and non-functional alcoholics. These categories can be described as the following:

  • Recreational drinkers are able to consume alcohol in moderation. They have the ability to say no to alcohol or to put a drink down when they know they have consumed enough. Recreational drinkers know their limit and are able maintain control over their behavior while drinking.
  • Functional alcoholics appear to manage responsibilities and go about their day as they normally would, but they do have a problem with drinking. They will not leave a drink unfinished, find reasons to drink throughout the day and may “reward” a hard day at work with several drinks during happy hour. A functional alcoholic can be hard to identify, making it difficult for him or her to get help.
  • Non-functional alcoholics are those who cannot function while drinking. These are the individuals who are seen causing fights in public, drinking and driving, ruining relationships with others, not showing up to work or school and getting in legal trouble. While everyone else may be able to see this person as an alcoholic, the individual can still be in denial of a drinking problem. He or she may still claim to be in control and may not want help nor think that it is needed.

Do I Have Control Over My Drinking?

If you are wondering if you are a recreational drinker or if you drinking may be a problem, ask yourself the following:

  • Do you know your drinking limit and consistently stick to it when consuming alcohol?
  • Do you feel good about yourself and your behaviors after you have been drinking?
  • Do you feel confident in your ability to say no when offered alcohol?
  • Do you avoid situations involving alcohol that may be dangerous, illegal or detrimental? This includes drinking and driving, going to a party underage, binge drinking or blacking out.
  • Do you make sure that drinking alcohol does not interfere with your job, family, friends, school or involvement in groups or activities?
  • Do you feel like drinking alcohol is an option or a choice, and that it is not necessary for you to drink have a good time, relax, de-stress or enjoy life?

If you answered “no” to any of the previous questions, then your drinking habits may be more of a problem then you are aware. Even if you could answer “yes” to all of them, if you are questioning the role of alcohol in your life, your drinking is worth exploring further. Alcoholism develops rapidly, and it is better if you can spot a problem before it gets out of hand.

Professional Help for Alcohol Users or Addicts

Are you concerned that your drinking behaviors may be a problem? Please consider making the decision to better your life by seeking out help. Call our toll-free helpline to discuss your drinking worries with our caring and confidential counselors. We are here 24 hours a day to talk with you about recreational drinking and alcoholism and to help you find solutions to your concerns.