How Do You Overcome Functional Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is alcoholism, whether it involves a disheveled homeless person drinking from a brown paper bag or a highly educated lawyer who drinks too much at home or at work but still wins cases. Functional alcoholics are often successful professionally, have a solid financial base, may be active in the community and appear not to have a care in the world. However they are still alcoholics. Whether they drink every day to “reward” themselves for the hard work they did or whether they abstain from drinking for several days, they are still alcoholics.

How Functional Alcoholics Hide Their Alcohol Use

Functional alcoholics still participate in responsibilities and obligations. They may be the first to sign up for a new project at work or the first to volunteer at the school bake sale and have a schedule that appears so full that they do not have time for drinking. However it is this structure and form that often enables them to hide their alcoholism. While functional alcoholics are very good at hiding and denying their addiction, there are still observable signs of alcoholism. These include the following:

  • Social drinking contacts. Functional alcoholics like to drink, so often their social contacts are other people who like to drink. While they may also engage in other activities such as golf or attending the theatre, such events will also involve drinking.
  • Preoccupation with alcohol. A functional alcoholic almost always has alcohol on his or her mind, and it may be a frequently discussed topic.
  • High alcohol consumption level. While the rest of the people out to dinner or celebrating happy hour may have one or two drinks, the functional alcoholic will drink noticeably more. A functional alcoholic rarely leaves a drink without emptying the glass or may be the first one to say just one more.
  • Concern over public image. Because functional alcoholics make great efforts to maintain their outward appearance and image, they often struggle with embarrassment or shame should they appear or act in a drunken manner.
  • Drinking throughout the day. Functional alcoholics may be sipping a cocktail before dinner, wine with dinner an after-dinner drink later. At work they may have a two-martini lunch and follow the day with happy hour.

Learn More about Overcoming Functional Alcoholism

A functional alcoholic is still an alcoholic who needs help. If you are worried about your or a loved one’s drinking habits, call and talk with us. We can help you identify drinking problems, learn ways to address negative drinking habits and find resources that meet your unique recovery needs. We are available 24 hours a day to talk with you about functional alcoholism, so please call our toll-free helpline now.