Most people have a mental image of an alcoholic. It might be the wino they see slumped in front of the bus station late at night or the disheveled old woman who always comes into the local 7-11 to buy strong wine or vodka first thing in the morning. While this type of person clearly has alcohol issues, not all alcoholics are so obvious.
Some people with a serious alcohol problem are referred to as high-functioning alcoholics because they don’t display any of the symptoms you might expect to see. They can hold down a job, maintain a family life, and not fall apart at the seams. So, what is a functioning alcoholic and are you one?
There is a fine line between normal drinking and problem drinking. Unfortunately, too many people slip over the line without realizing it. You don’t need to be pouring vodka on your cornflakes at breakfast or passing out on the train to be an alcoholic. You don’t even need to be drinking all that much to have an alcohol problem.
A Coping Mechanism
Functioning alcoholics drink for many reasons, but a classic case is a person who drinks to cope with stress, social situations, or depression. It often starts slowly, insidiously. Perhaps you need a glass of wine after a bad day at work, and overtime, as you get promoted and your job becomes even more stressful, one glass morphs into two bottles a night. Or, maybe you started drinking in high school, so you would look cool and be respected by your peers, and now you can’t go out without drinking a six-pack of beer first.
Drinking alone is another red flag. For most people, drinking is a social activity. We open a bottle of wine when friends come over for dinner, or share a glass of prosecco with a friend to celebrate a promotion. This is normal. However, if you regularly drink alone, or feel the need to hide your drinking from loved ones or friends, you have a problem.
You Don’t Have a Cut-Off Switch
Occasional drinkers know when they have had enough. It’s either when their funds run low or they feel sick. At this point, they stop drinking and go home or switch to soft drinks. Functioning alcoholics don’t have an off-switch. Once they start drinking, they can’t stop, and a night out will typically end with them passing out somewhere or waking up with no memory of the previous evening. Functioning alcoholics also have withdrawal symptoms if they do try not to drink.
If any of these points sound familiar, you could have an alcohol problem. Like other addictions, this is probably something you need help with. If you live in Florida, an alcohol rehab center Florida will be able to help you detox and achieve sobriety. Otherwise, speak to your doctor or check into a local rehab center.
Drinking too much destroys lives and will eventually kill you, so take it seriously or you could end up like that wino we mentioned in the opening paragraph.