We all have a conception about what an alcoholic looks like. You may even have friends or family who are alcoholics, and exhibit the classic signs. However you may not be aware of the functioning alcoholics in your life.
They manage to get through their daily lives and conceal the truth about their addiction to alcohol. Functioning alcoholics are in just as deep as any other alcoholic, if not more, because others are unaware that there is a problem until it is too late. It’s important to know the signs of a functioning alcoholic and how to spot their patterns of hiding the truth.
Behaviors of the Functioning Alcoholic
A functioning alcoholic is someone who drinks regularly to feed an addiction, yet manages to fly under the radar. Others do not know that there is a problem, as the functioning alcoholic manages to go to work every day, take care of a family, and maintain a circle of friends.
All the while, drinking is an essential component of daily life. Functioning alcoholics are successful, leaving no room for questions about a drinking problem. They tend to drink more than others at social functions, yet seem unaffected by their drinks. They can go for periods without drinking, but may appear to be anxious.
There may be times when they are forgetful or their personality changes dramatically after a bout of drinking. Functioning alcoholics can go on with their addiction for years with no one knowing until the day it catches up with them with a DUI, illness, or an outburst. Physical symptoms may be their downfall when functioning alcoholics begin to experience severe, stomach problems, exhibit shakiness in the morning, or develop insomnia. Until then, they manage because they are excellent at concealing the truth.
Functioning Alcoholics: Keeping the Big Secret
The functioning alcoholic becomes an expert at concealing his or her addiction. The day is carefully scheduled around drinking as they slip in a drink at breakfast, have a few drinks on their lunch break, stop in at the bar with friends after work, and have more when they get home. If no one else is around, they might top off two bottles of wine in an evening. The key is to make sure others do not see them overindulge.
They carry mints to cover the scent on their breath. They manage to abstain when necessary, although they will exhibit symptoms when alcohol isn’t available. Some will even rely on stimulants to help them overcome typical signs of a hangover and function normally while drunk. Eventually, a pattern of heavy drinking will catch up with the functioning alcoholic.
Functioning alcoholics are at serious risk of hurting themselves or others. If friends and family see any of the warning signs, it is important to urge a functioning alcoholic to seek help at a rehabilitation center before tragedy strikes. Excessive drinking can only tear a body down over time.