The Typical High Functioning Alcoholic

The visions of alcoholism are generally quite vivid and usually include horrific details. While this is all true, it is not always the case. Alcoholics are not always estranged from their family, they are not always broke, and some even do have jobs. Many alcoholics struggle with alcohol abuse but appear to have it together on the surface. In fact, an alcoholic can be a great parent or a model employee, maybe even someone you admire.


These alcoholics are functioning alcoholics and the signs of their disease are not always very prominent but they may have a preoccupation with alcohol, they are part of the “happy hour” club, and you will rarely see them at a social or family function without a drink in hand. The high-functioning alcoholic doesn’t fit neatly within the set stereotypes of a drunk.

Most functioning alcoholics will surround themselves with people who drink on a regular basis and will attend events in which alcohol is a priority. Most will boast about how they don’t drink during the day or don’t show up to work or family functions drunk, but in any social situation where there is alcohol they will be center stage.

It is common also for the functioning alcoholic to obsess when they will be able to have their next drink and this may show in their conversations or statements to coworkers. This could be stating they can’t wait to go home or to the bar and have a drink or they could just scurry through their cash to make sure they have enough for the night. 

The high-functioning alcoholic doesn’t have the capacity to stop after just one drink. You may often see them refuse drinks in a social situation, but they are more than likely waiting to get home where they can continue drinking without further scrutiny. If they do have a drink, chances are good they won’t stop until the night is done. They are very clever at hiding their disease and don’t expect them to admit they have a problem. 

High-functioning alcoholics will feel tremendous guilt and shame if their alcoholism becomes noticeable to others. They go to great lengths to conceal their disease. They are masters at compartmentalizing their life by being the model person and the drunk all in the same day.

Because in their minds, the high functioning alcoholic doesn’t see that they have a problem, they rarely seek help and instead try to quit drinking on their own. Unfortunately, most are unsuccessful and return to drinking after a short period and they basically pick up where they left off and this will continue to be a pattern until formal treatment is sought.



Reference: https://www.sobernation.com/the-symptoms-of-the-high-functioning-alcoholic/#utm_sguid=167060,b3f8b28a-f3f4-2089-f529-3daeca1da5a3

  • 113 Commentsby Likes|Date
  • @DeanD,
    I suffered SO much. I was in a constant state of extreme shame, remours, fear, paranoia and depression/anxiety. But we're so secretive. We can't let others know what our deal is. We can't let people know what kind of scum we really are. I'm so glad it's over now and I'm never going back.
  • First time I read this . It could be my biography . Nice Post !

    Keep Plugging @melfield !

  • This was me. Exactly! I don't know why, but I've never really gotten hangovers. So I would get home from work (around 4) and go straight for my first drink and not stop until I passed out (usually around 9-ish). I very rarely drank outside my home or my father in law's home (he lives only a few blocks away). I almost never drank at family functions, or social outings, (for fear of being found out) but always left from these things early, in order to get home and drink. But I always knew I'm an alcoholic, and admitted to myself, my kids and my partner that I had a problem and needed to stop. I have 4 kids. 3 are teens and my youngest is 10. Unfortunately, my 10 year old doesn't even remember me before I was a drinker.

    About 5 years ago, something extremely horrific happened to one of my children (not at all related to my drinking, thank god!) but this horrific thing that happened shook me to my foundation. So I had to make sure my child was receiving the care needed to begin her path to healing. We also had to deal with filing a police report and courts and all that fun stuff. So while she was working with a counsellor who specializes in working with kids with PTSD, my alcoholism basically got catapulted right to a whole new level. I didn't get help for myself. I felt like all of my energy and resources needed to be placed on her recovery. She was just a child and had to go through something no child should ever have to go through. She's my oldest. She's 19 now. She drinks. That scares the shit out of me.

    But I carried on going to work. Going to court with my child. Drinking every evening and weekend. No hangovers ever. Work, drink, sleep, work, drink, sleep. That's been my life for about 7-8 years. But not anymore! I don't know if anyone ever caught on to what I really was. It REALLY bothered me to think someone might. But now I don't have that weight on my shoulders anymore! I love that! I'm just me! Not some secretive, high functioning, drunk! And my poor kids don't have to have a drunk mom anymore. My older boy would express his judgement of my drinking and could be quite ruthless about it at times. He also loved to tell me all about what it does to a person's body and how gross it is. My younger teen son would ignore it altogether, but I'm sure it really bothered him too. And my baby girl, I don't think she even really
    knew any different. She doesn't even seem to care that I quit, lol! But I'll explain it to her when she's a little older.

    When I was drunk, I'd still help my kids with their homework and interact with them. My tolerance was so high that I only ever really had a buzz on. I wasn't mean or violent or anything like that. But it did a massive number on my health and now it's life or death and I simply CAN NOT drink anymore. Period.


  • It felt good to finally read something I could relate to my own alcoholism. ..

    When I told one of my friends I was getting sober she said "I never thought of you as having a drinking problem"

    So I WAS doing Great job at hiding it over the years. ...

     But I'm ready to be sober for good.

    The longest I ever made it being sober was 3 weeks. I'm currently 12 days and is so hard today. I'm missing a friend's Bachelorette party tonight because I didn't think it was the best way to test my new sobriety.   
  • @melfield I grew up with a mother who was a functioning alcoholic and it was hard, especially because I didn't remember what she was like when she wasn't one. I had cancer when I was younger, which led to my parents divorce, my dads depression and mothers catapulting alcoholism. I felt a lot of guilt and regret, because of what I had unintentionally done to my parents lives...but then it all changed. My mother went to treatment and I didn't see her for four months, but it was worth it because she came back a better person. I have no animosity towards her and love her more than ever. I just want you to know that your children will still and always love you, and the best way to move past the days of your past is to stay sober and move forward to better days in the future :)  
  • This post could not have felt more like me.  I am a new member of this site, and am desperately searching for support in quitting.  My job often puts me around other drinkers, and I often wake up on a Sunday morning after a gig and cannot remember huge chunks of the night before, but will get up and head to church and take care of my obligations there.  I feel guilty trying to hide my drinking, but I know everyone sees it, which then just makes me mad.  My wife has tried everything she can, but I keep giving in, and just saying that it's not a big deal in a social situation- even when I know it will turn into a big deal.  Besides all of that, my health is awful, and drinking is a huge part of why.  
    I woke up this morning with the honest belief that this will be day one without the sauce- I hope that this site can help give me a place to go when things get rough.  
  • @guten5319 , day 2 is Great  ! Keep a positive attitude , and you will be amazed at how much better you are about to feel .
  • This is totally me. However I do realize I have a problem and want to stop. I hope I can. I am trying things to distract myself so I don't even go for that first drink. I usually drink when I am bored.
  • @Sheila
    Yeah good going on 5 days. Man, it isn't easy. 
    I love what you just said about connectedness...going to keep that in my mental 'handbook of useful phrases' when feeling down. Can't wait to chat more! And on the functional drunk issue...well I think my user name says it all. I told a long time close friend of mine last night what had been going on, and he was shocked. He didn't know the half of it. I've spent so long covering it up, and I should really get an Oscar for my performance as 'hard working, happy and well rounded person'. It feels so good to finally be honest.
  • @DeanD Thank you for the tip! I will look into it.
  • It's true that high functioning alcoholics don't see that they have a problem. They don't consider themselves alcoholics at all because in their minds, alcoholics are those bums without jobs and are a menace to society. Well, at least that's what my oldest brother thinks. He's a police officer and a responsible father. And he also has a lot of friends, who are are functioning alcoholics like him. It seems that they always have a reason to drink, a birthday or something to celebrate about even though it's for a trivial reason, like having a new car.       
  • High-functioning alcoholics may be "high-functioning," but they're still not functioning as highly as they could be without alcohol. To me, that's the sad part. My dad was a high-functioning alcoholic. And I think that's the reason it took him so long to admit that he had a problem. I mean, if you get bombed every night and still get up and go to work every morning, what's wrong with that, right? That was his thinking. Sometimes I think that high-functioning alcoholics are in more danger than plain old regular alcoholics, because they don't suffer as much. Does that make any sense?
  • @DeanD,
    Yes! That's exactly what I have to do now. I will also start seeing an addictions councelor in April 18 and will hopefully get to working through some of my past stuff the right way. 31 days sober! :)
  • Nice to hear that you're doing well, @melfield!! Keep on going!
  • Sometimes being "high functioning" is the worst thing that you can be, because it delays, or prevents, you realizing that you have a problem.

    I was like this for many years, and it wasn't until I'd hit "rock bottom" that I eventually managed to seek out help.

    In some respects I was lucky because the place I worked at had dealt with a number of employees who had been through what I was going through, so I wasn't as stigmatized as I might otherwise would have been. Plus, we had our own "in-house" AA group there too, which helped enormously.
  • @Sheila... Welcome to the community, my friend. And congrats on wanting to quit drinking and trying again. You're right: labels can be so harmful. Addiction is a disease, not a moral failing. Just because your brain is wired differently, you shouldn't have a negative label attached to you.

    We're a caring community full of helpful, supportive people. We will assist you any way we can, so don't hesitate to reach out whenever you'd like. You can do this. I know you can. And everyone here is behind you 100 percent.

    Sending you peace, hugs, and sober vibes.
  • @Sheila .

    Welcome to the group . We wish you the best on your road to recovery . I too am a functioning alcoholic . 10 1/2 weeks sober now ( still counting half weeks ) I often refer to myself as an "Old Drunk " in a light tone . Alcoholism is serious . But for some of us , it is therapeutic to try lighten the mood . It's not so much a label thing . I am cautious not to call anyone else an "Alcoholic " , unless they say it first .  

  • Thank you all for the kind welcome - especially hugs and peace. I recently read Deepak Chopra's book on addiction and he says that the opposite of addiction is not sobriety but connectedness. I think that you can be very involved with a lot of people and still feel disconnected when you have an addiction and the underlying problems that go with it. It is great to connect and hear stories of struggle. Yes, it is nice not to feel alone.
  • Thanks Dean. I'm very excited. I am on day five. I'm doing really well. I like this site and I'v been checking in every day. @DeanD. Thank you for being so welcoming.
  • Rock on @Sheila ! Proud of you !
  • @functional... That honesty is liberating, isn't it? Your acting career might be over, but your life is just beginning. :)
  • @guten5319 It's a long process and step one is to know you have an issue. That is a big first step and at least you are there. It's always good to discuss the issue and this forum is a great place for that. I hope to hear more about the progress you are making.
  • @guten5319... Congrats on Day 2!!! One day at a time, my friend!! And remember: We're here to offer help and support anytime you need or want it. :)
  • @gluten5319, Good for you. I didn't think I could do this but today I am on day 11 - It has been fantastic. I rely a lot on yoga and meditation, walking and reading - even reading what's on this site. You can do this.
  • This post is LITERALLY the story of my life for the past two years. Thank you for making me feel like I have somewhere to go to, now that I've finally made the decision to stop drinking.

    This is Day One!
  • @Rob74 ,

    It looks like @DeanD wants me to find you . I'm happy to be found . I'm 46 , father , husband , and "Typical Functioning Alcoholic " . 3 months sober after 30 years drunk . Possibly the best 3 months of my life .

    This post catches a lot of eyes . "Functionals " are probably the most common group here . So , I'll talk you anything I can . I can also tell you I have made a lot of friends here , and they will give you plenty of love as well . Start a new post in "Tell us why you are here " and you'll get all the support you can handle .  Welcome aboard . You want some of this my friend !

  • I think it has a lot to do with those people trying to rationalise their own behavious... they drink almost, or just as much as we do, and they're thinking "she can't have a problem.... because I drink just as much as her, and that'd mean that I have a problam, and I can't have a problem, right??".

  • @swench... It's normal to be afraid of getting help. But sometimes we have to confront our fears and move forward anyway. You've recognized that you have a problem. That's the toughest step, and you've done it. I think you'll be relieved if you take the next step and seek some help. You don't have to do it alone, either. We're here to help and support you however we can. 
  • @Charmageddon... I'm wondering if you've ever considered trying SMART Recovery, which is an alternative to AA and the 12-step program. I know a lot of people who have had great success with SMART. And many of those people were people who, like you, found AA too religious. 

    You should check out the SMART Recovery website for more info. You can find them at this link: http://www.smartrecovery.org
  • I just found this page and this is my very first attempt to seriously stop drinking. This description sounds so like me, or how I was. Lately it's getting worse and instead of being able to hide it I end up embarrassing myself or worse, being mean to someone I love. I don't want to hurt people and sometimes I don't remember the mean things I said and am horrified when find out later. This seems like a good start, just talking about it and reading that there are a lot of people like me.
  • I feel like this is what I am. I'm on day 2 of being sober and I haven't gone 2 days without drinking since my son was born almost 2 years ago. I hide it all the time and have every excuse in the world to go home and drink. My wife finally had enough and went to her family's house for a couple of days with my son. I know it's time to quit!
  • @scott108... Congratulations on your 2 days of sobriety. That's a great start, my friend. Realizing that it's time to quit is a huge first step and I'm glad you're taking action. I hope you use your family as motivation to stay on the right track. Maybe consider going to AA or SMART Recovery (12-step alternative) meetings. The support you can find in those groups can be invaluable.

    We're here to offer help and support whenever you need it, so reach out anytime. Know that you are not alone. Take things a day at a time, or even an hour or minute at a time if necessary. Whatever helps keep you moving in the right direction.

    You can do this. I know you can. And we're all behind you 100 percent.
  • Oh my gosh! This could have been written about me (although, of course, who could know). Spot on article. I think that one of the problems is that the traditional view of alcoholics mentioned in the first paragraph is also believed by high functioning alcoholics so its easier to believe there isn't a problem. i bought a book about giving up alcohol which although very good, took the view, "so, you've lost your job and crashed your car and now want to give up alcohol." It made it harder to engage with the book as this wasn't the case. Thats a problem I've always had - that there weren't any major problems. Anyway. Great to read something so accurate.
  • High Functioning on the outside and high functioning on the inside in killing myself on the installment plan.  I can relate to the expression, "Double life. "  I definitely had that.  I hid my drinking.  Sneaking and hanging only with people that drank like me.  I didn't know any restaurant in town that didn't serve booze.  Bloody Mary's for breakfast with friends only meant I was putting vodka in my coffee before I got there.

    Now that I have been sober for a few years, I need to remember that most people had no idea what was going on with me and that liar is still within me and can lie to me again into thinking I have this thing "licked."
  • It is interesting (and sad) to think that what is actually healthy for body and mind in relation to alcohol is so far away from how most people use it. I remember being in one work place where we were almost forced at 4.30pm on Friday to go into a room together and drink beer or wine. During this time all the staff discussed which alcoholic drinks they liked best with the boss who collected wine. I thought it was a terribly unhealthy business practice and very unethical as they don't know who (like me) might be in recovery. I abstained despite peer pressure. It struck me a bunch of them might be functioning alcoholics.

    I would say more people are alcoholics by the standard of drinking to get drunk than anyone imagines. When I was drinking I couldn't imagine why you would drink other than for a high or a numb feeling. One drink for me just makes me feel weird, the second makes me start to feel a little numb.

    Because I know I can control myself with alcohol -now- unlike other substances, occasionally (like less than 4 times a year) I experiment with light dinner drinking and I'm always disappointed. I guess for someone with a psychology like mine prone to dependence I don't get the point of just feeling a tiny bit strange while eating dinner.

    I know if I hadn't abstained for so long from everything (it was probably at least 5 years without even a sip) I would still be in the mindset to get back into problem drinking, but I've reached the point where all I've gained by not using substances is something I'm terrified to lose and I can be conscious of that easily. The alcohol doesn't have a chance.

    Now that's *just me*. I never had that biological thing where once the alcohol touched my lips I'd drink until forced to stop, for me it was more a deep emotional dependence. I also preferred other drugs more and used alcohol as a substitute. So please no one think the fact I can have a glass and stop means I'm the miraculous recovered alcoholic who can have the  always revered "just one drink". In my experience if you have ever been a serious alcoholic there isn't "just one drink".

    And apart from anything else it isn't worth it. Once you quit life is so much better. You have clarity of mind, you're in control of your actions, you can place what you REALLY value ahead of the drink instead of risking everything for your addiction.

    Have a great day everyone <3

    Jessamine
  • @Daz... Welcome to the community, my friend. I'm glad you're doing some self-discovery and have decided to make some positive changes in your life. Big congratulations to you on Day 2! That's a fabulous start!

    I would recommend that you explore the many discussions in this forum. I'm sure you will find a lot of helpful information. You should also consider finding an AA or SMART Recovery meeting in your area to attend. Being around people who know exactly what you're going through can be very valuable.

    Just try taking things one day at a time, or even one hour or one minute at a time if necessary. Getting sober isn't easy, but if you set the goal and stay focused on it, you can do it. It takes some hard work, but it's incredibly worth it.

    We are here to help and support you however we can, so don't hesitate to reach out and lean on us whenever you need to. In the meantime, I am sending you positive, sober vibes and lots of hope and encouragement.

    You can do this. I know you can.
  • @DeanD Thanks for your insight. I've been extra careful not to drink. It's hard to think of how I will handle future circumstances. In my family we drink wine with dinner and have dinner parties with copious amounts. I'll need to learn to sit back with water in hand. The same would need to happen when going out to dance at a club, for instance. I'm 27 and I love to dance. I'm going to need to envision a night out without a drop of alcohol. I imagine that a whole bunch of people can relate on this one. How does one resist? It's an unknown for me to be sober and still enjoy the same things. Maybe the community has some thoughts on adjusting. Or maybe I've switched topics. I'll look around different parts of the forum. Thank you so much again.
  • @Soberheart hello and welcome. glad you want to make some healthy changes!! i understand it can be challenging... i think living life sober and enjoying it is something you can learn.... recovery is a learned behavior...

    i think many buy into the belief that drinking equals fun...but it doesn't. don't you remember having fun as a child or teen without alcohol? feeling so free and enjoying the simple things in life???  i think if you can educate yourself some on alcohol and the myths...you'll feel better. annie grace wrote a book called "this naked mind" and it has helped me see booze for the lie it is.... and i can look at drinking in a more conscious light... check her site out... also, "the easy way" method to stop drinking is insightful...

    one day at a time... you are worth having a healthy body and life!!!

    we are here to support you however we can!
  • @dominica Thank you so much for the resources! Just reading the preview alone made me want to buy Annie's book. This quote was a truth bomb:

    "I can put you back in control by removing your desire to drink, but be forewarned, getting rid of your desire for alcohol is the easy part. The hard part is going against groupthink, the herd-mentality of our alcohol saturated culture. After all, alcohol is the only drug on earth you have to justify not taking."

    It is this "alcohol-saturated" culture I'm really battling now. My cravings are waning and I know about my tendencies to drink just to have fun when I'm alone at home. I've severed the mindless drinking habit. But how will I do resisting the whole world's bad habit in the company of other people? I would like to learn more about this superpower. I want to discover a sense of solidarity with sobriety!

    I have a feeling that sobriety opens doorways, drinking shuts them. The first few days I stopped drinking I was waking up earlier and getting more stuff done. I also experienced greater awareness of my feelings towards things. In addition, I started meditating again which is a turbo charged self-therapy session for me. Lastly, I felt empowered to apply for a couple of jobs. These are milestones that show me how powerful sobriety can be.

    Thanks for the community's support.
  • @Soberheart wow, that is a powerful quote.... ya know, i think society has been brainwashed, but i also think many, if not most drinkers, live in silent desperation when it comes to their drinking behavior... i mean, they don't speak it, but deep down many wish they didn't succumb to that pressure...you know their bodies and minds are affected too...even on a minor scale... and i think most people are fine with those who decide to be non-drinkers...

    i sometimes buy some kombucha and take with me to gatherings... and it makes for great conversation... it's got a kick to it, which i like. and it's healthy, and not that anyone asks me why i'm not drinking, but if they did, i'd just say i love the health benefits of kombucha and booze makes me tired. that's the truth... :)

    keep doing what you're doing.... let people think what they want... functioning alcoholism is the huge elephant in the room, and we need more people to wake up and be free from the alcohol trap... :) 
  • This is really important, as a lot of people have the idea that people dealing with alcohol problems have to look and be a certain way to be labeled as alcoholics, instead of recognizing that it is indeed a disease and it's treatable with proper care and that it can happen to anyone.
  • This was a very interesting post that defined the alcoholic in detail. Once they know how to put their stuff together without getting into trouble or physically abusive; especially those who are not diagnosed with any ailment, they think they have no problem.

    Only their consciences can judge them.
  • I actually worked with a bunch of people that I feel would fit this description to a tee when I was working in a corporate environment. In fact I could have probably been described as that myself, since no one would really think that I had an issue with alcohol if they purely saw me in work hours. Apart from coming in a few times with a hangover (which I tried to disguise) I don't think anyone was any the wiser. It's dangerous though as I think when you're still functioning and a lot of people don't have a clue, you're more reluctant to admit you have a problem and get the help that you need.
  • @melfield... Keep looking forward and let your past go. You're in a better place now. That's the important thing. :)
  • Thirty-one days of total badassness, @melfield!!! :)
  • @melfield... How are you doing today?

    @singledout... Good for you for realizing you have a problem and wanting to stop. We're here to help and support you however we can. You can do this, and we're all behind you 100 percent!
  • Gosh, I think the relatives of highly functioning alcoholics have it very hard, at least the ones who realize their loved one has a problem. Because in this case it's the relatives of the highly functioning alcoholic the ones who realize this first, and then that's when things get rocky. 
  • High functioning alcoholics are basically no different from weed smokers. They think that just because weed is legalized, they can actually smoke it as much as they want without being branded as an addict. Functioning alcoholics, on one hand, think that just because they've managed to maintain their basic human functions and carry out their responsibilities, society cannot see them in the same light as hardcore alcoholics. That's where they are mistaken, though.

    Alcoholism builds up over the years. Functioning alcoholics possess a great deal of resilience but once this resiliency crumbles, alcohol will take a toll on their bodies and they will eventually suffer the psychological and physical consequences of having high blood alcohol content in their system. Moderation is the key. If you think you can't control your consumption, then avoid alcohol completely. 
  • @doglover123,
    Thanks for sharing your story with me. I really appreciate it.

    @DeanD,
    Hi! I haven't been on here as much this week because I've been back at work. I was off last week. I'm doing great this week. It's nice to be back in routine and working again. Still sober :)
  • This has been a problem that I suffered with for a few years. It wasn't until I seemed counselling that I was able to overcome it.
  • I was a high functioning alcoholic. I can tell you things can quickly go out of control this way. Especially when a loved one tries to get you to stop. In my mind, I was being prevented from doing something I loved. I couldnt see past that. I realised how badly things have gone with I started to spend more time drinking that with my actual family. I almost did the unthinkable and took it out on a friend. Now we are still best friends and I no longer drink.
  • This is authentically paramount, as a plethora of people have the conception that people dealing with alcohol quandaries have to look and be a certain way to be labeled as alcoholics, in lieu of apperceiving that it is indeed a disease and it's treatable with opportune care and that it can transpire to anyone.
  • I was like this and I had some issues that I really could have resolve in my head only with drinking. In that period I was without a job. So no money, no love, no luck just me and misfortune and of course the drinking. I couldn't function when I was drunk I did that during the day. I was a bit slower but okay, when I drink I write poetry and prose and create music.
  • I am a high functioning alcoholic. I have tried many times to quit, with help, without help....I am trying again. I must say I don't like the worfd drunk - it's painful. I am a person, struggling with many issues and one of the ways I wrongly cope is with alcohol. I am stopping but I won't beat up on myself using painful labels for my problem.
  • This post could be me - well me one week ago and at least the past 3 years and maybe more.  I woke up so many mornings and said "today I will not drink".  I would have a productive work day come home to the family and well start checking in with them with a glass of wine or beer.  And it would not end until bed.  One week ago I admitted my problem to my wife, to AA hotline and out loud to myself.  I am on day 7 and embracing that I am starting a new life and I am loving it.  Has not nor will it be easy as I miss those drinks - but the time and memories (that I will not have to fake as I will remember these) are amazing.  What a blessing it was to own the problem, want to change it and find an alternative path for me.  A lot of my strength comes from you all who share your struggles - we are a lot a like - thus I am not alone - thus I am not bad- and it can be fixed.  Thanks for great posts like these- thanks for the great people here and Happy 7th  Day Anniversary to you for me!!!!! Thank you
  • @Sheila... We're super glad you're here with us. :)
  • @Sheila...  Congrats on Day 5! That's awesome! Just keep going! And remember we're here for you, so lean us if you need to! :)
  • @erook7878 Thanks for the encouragement! I'm on to day 2!
  • @Sheila , It feels great doesn't it ?!?!?!!! Proud of you . Keep rockin!
  • This is me for sure and I want to change.  I've been going to the gym more to get out of the house (where I tend to blackout drink), but I've fallen back into a rut.  I've tried AA but didn't really like it.  I want to feel better, and hiding my alcohol abuse is embarrassing.  
  • @OCR_Runner... Kudos to you for wanting to change. Have you by chance looked into the SMART Recovery program? It's a 12-step alternative that has helped many of my friends. They have in-person and online meetings. You can visit their website at:


    We're here to help and support you however we can, my friend. 
  • @AndyDave... Welcome and congrats on Day 1! We are here to assist you any way we can. We are a caring, supportive group and you are not alone. Reach out anytime. :)
  • Hello, I read this and it fits me to a T.  I have recently been forced to confront things through the potential loss of my family (sorry step family). I am getting help now and on the road to a detox.  I came here to speak to like minded people.  Having now seen what a shit I have been and admitted it, people are wanting their pound of flesh.  I really do understand that, I really do.  It doesnt make things any easier though.  Anyone got advice here? 
  • @Rob74... Welcome to the community. I'm glad you're getting help and are on the road to detox. I think there are a lot of people here who can help you. @TWSJ is one, for sure. In the meantime, maybe take a look around the various discussions on this site.

    Keep doing the next right thing, my friend. We're here to help and support you however we can.
  • This is huge, and very difficult to explain topeople. 
    People think that just because you don't live out of a shopping cart, under a bridge, you can't "really" be an alcoholic. 
  • @zozzie
    Isn't it crazy! This image we're sold...I've found it's not even that you can't be an alcoholic, it's that you don't have a problem whatsoever. I've had to really stress the point to some people, like "You know that wetting yourself on the regular is not normal, right? Falling through a glass door and not remembering it? Not normal" And they're incredulous, sort of like, "Are you really sure? But you're married and you have a job" It's actually crazy. I can see it more from the outside now. I feel like the character in this scene from The Congress sometimes when I think about it. 

  • So true, @zozzie. Same thing with being a drug addict. There's still such a stigma attached to the disease. We need to keep telling our stories so we can break that stigma down.
  • This description fits me to a T. I need some help, and yet I'm afraid to go get help.
  • My cousin went through an ugly divorce last year. Little did any of us know but her husband of 24 years had always been a high functioning alcoholic. Talk about being shocked. It is amazing how well people can hide things when they want to.
  • Unfortunately for the high-functioning alcoholic, nobody sees the problem because we're just clever enough to keep it together in spite of the constant alcohol-chatter in our minds.
    I tried AA early this year and found it was too depressing (and religious). Hearing those true hard-luck cases also allowed me to rationalize that I may not really have a problem.
    In my unprofessional opinion, the true test for whether or not you have a drinking problem is how much time you spend planning your next drink, and/or obsessing over trying not to have your next drink (successfully or not). I imagine the things I could do with the extra bandwidth if I wasn't preoccupied with this addiction.
    As you could probably guess, I'm gearing up for another go at abstinence.
    Best of luck to you all!
  • @DeanD, @melfield... Do you have any pointers for other high-functioning alcoholics trying to quit?
  • @Charmageddon, I think you need to be ready to do it. In my own case, I had a medical issue which scared the crap out of me and that was the push that got me going, even though I already wanted to. I know how hard it is when you know you have a problem and you want to quit, yet you keep finding yourself following your same old patterns. I would recommend making an appointment with an addictions counsellor. I see one and she's great! I've learned so much already! They can start working with you even before you quit, to make a plan to help you to get to the point of being ready to quit and you won't have to feel alone in the process. 
  • Great advice, @melfield. No one has to do this alone!
  • Hello, brand new person to this site.  Just looking for assistance in staying sober.  I consider myself a high functioning alcoholic.  My friends and family know I drink, but do not realize how much.  AA is too religious, and I am just looking for a starting point for help. 
  • @Jessica... Welcome, brand new person to this site! We're glad you're here. We will help you stay sober any way we can. If AA is too religious for you, have you tried SMART Recovery? It's a 12-step alternative organization that has helped a lot of people find and maintain sobriety. You can find more info here: http://www.smartrecovery.org

    Stick around the forums and check out the various discussions. I think you'll find a lot of helpful information.

    Sending you positive, sober vibes.
  • Hi everyone!
    I am new to this group. I have been struggling for a long time with alcohol abuse. And I have decided to take my life back, After days of feeling regret and embarrassment for drinking. I am not going to lie I am very scared of this process, more failing at it.
  • @lpsmith88... Welcome to the community, my friend. Kudos to you for deciding to take your life back. That's a courageous and wonderful first step! And don't worry, because it's perfectly normal to feel scared. Change can be scary, for sure.

    We are here to help and support you however we can as you embark on this amazing journey. Just take things a day at a time, or even an hour or minute at a time if that's easier. And don't be afraid of failing. If you make mistakes along the way, just treat them as learning experiences and get back on the right track again.

    You can get sober if you set the goal, focus on it, and are willing to work hard to achieve it. It likely won't be easy, but it will be incredibly worth it.

    I'm glad you found us and I look forward to seeing you around the various discussions in this forum. Consider us a part of your recovery network. We're all behind you 100 percent!

    Sending you positive, sober vibes and lots of hope and encouragement.
  • This description is my husband to a T and pretty much me as well. My husband is amazing at his job and has no problem waking up and putting in a 10 -18 hour days at work. I've noticed he has taught me how to conceal it and become more secretive. He refuses to see himself as an alcoholic where as I'm beginning to admit to myself that we both have a problem. I have more willpower not to initiate the drinking and know that we have an issue and need to get it under control but sadly can never say no to a shot he pours and then won't stop till I'm ready for bed. Last night we got into a huge fight because we made an agreement to stop drinking during the week on Tuesday after the holiday weekend and he went out to buy a bottle anyway. We had a heart to heart this morning and had a sober day. I hope tomorrow we will be successful again. I'm ready for my life back.
  • @augusta_west i'm glad to hear that you and your husband had a good heart to heart and yesterday was a sober day.

    i'm hoping the same for you today.... would you both be interested in watching videos about recovery or reading a book? not everyone is into that, but those types of things help me....youtube has a lot of great videos...and there are many books. it's good to keep recovery fresh in mind.

    sending you positive, sober vibes and a hug for today!
  • @augusta_west... I'm happy you're starting to realize that you and your husband have a problem with alcohol. That's an important first step, for sure. I'm sorry you had a fight, but it's terrific that you guys sat down and had talk, and had a sober day, too. That's wonderful progress.

    We're here for you. Always remember that. You are definitely not alone and you can reach out for help and support anytime you need it.

    Peace and hugs.
  • I'm new to the forum. I'm already relating to the dialog. I went 7 years once. Then I broke and now I go 7 months. Don't know why this is such a pattern. So disappointed in myself, Hubby is Incredible. 


  • @jrwgjw... Welcome to the community! We're glad you're here!

    We're all human beings, my friend. And human beings falter at times. That's just how life is. So while you may feel bad for slipping up after 7 years, you should also feel great that you now have 7 months. Don't be disappointed in yourself; be PROUD of yourself!!

    It's wonderful that you have an incredible and supportive husband. That certainly helps. Be grateful for that and keep moving in the right direction. Remember: It's not the slip-ups that define us; it's how we react to them. You're back on the right track now, so keep doing the next right thing. One day at a time. And know that we are here to help and support you any way we can. It's what this wonderful community does. And now you're a part of it. :)

    Sending you positive, sober vibes and hugs of encouragement.
  • I am 7 years sober as of June 2. It helps me to read these articles and comments to solidify the fact that alcohol is cunning and baffling.

    I too was a functioning and selfish alcoholic. I lived a world of deceit. It's so indescribable how life is so much better with honesty and serenity. The 12 Steps I try and incorporate daily to keep me accountable. It really does work!!
  • @Serenity6209... Congratulations on your 7 years of sobriety! That's an amazing accomplishment! I'm so happy that you were able to overcome your dependence on alcohol. Keep doing the next right thing, my friend.
  • My first day in here and wow this hits the nail on the head! Me to a tee and feels good to know I'm not the only one on this boat. Time to learn to be happy being me again.
  • @Dbme633... Welcome to the community. We're glad you found us. You are most definitely not alone. We are here to help and support you any way we can. Be sure to look around the various discussions and feel free to weigh in anytime. :)
  • Hi! I'm new, I've never read something so true and reading your comments has made me feel so much more motivated.
    Thankyou xx
  • I really relate to this. I'm a bit of an alcoholic, and when I drink, my BAC gets to dangerously high levels. (0.3-0.45) No one expects that I drink, nor do they believe that I've smoked pot, because I'm a straight A student. I'm not close to my family, but I have extremely close bonds with my friends and am very supportive of others' problems, so no one thinks that I have my own. For me, I almost never get hangovers, nor do I feel sick, and I'm pretty calm and collected when I'm drunk. I've even gone outside in public under the influence of alcohol. No one noticed.
  • @GeorgiaMay... Welcome, my friend. I'm glad what you've read on this site has motivated you. We're here to help and support you anytime!

    @ciaodios... Even though you don't feel the ill effects of your drinking, and people don't notice when you're drunk, you're still likely doing harm to your body. Have you ever considered cutting back or stopping altogether?
  • @DeanD I'm aware that my body is being harmed as I drink. Especially since, when I drink, I almost always black out. Once, my body has gone numb after I was drinking and I was so out of it that I couldn't move. And yes, I was told that if I could stop drinking for a month, I would be set and done with drinking. Once that month was over, I reached for the bottle. I always try to cut back but end up drinking more and more each time.
  • @ciaodios... Just keep trying to cut back. If you mix willingness and hope enough times, you will get to where you want to be.
  • @Pyromantic hello and welcome. so glad you are here....

    it does typically get worse over time....so i'm glad you realize that and are willing to do something about it now.....

    there are many people addicted to alcohol. quite a few functioning alcoholics.... but there is hope...take some time and read around here and if you feel inclined, start a new thread and share with us a little bit about you and your story....

    we are here for you and believe the best for you..and for your life.

    you do not have to stay in bondage to alcohol addiction....but i will say quitting will require some hard work and dedication...and if you find yourself struggling, reach out for help. we are here....and there are other resources too, like meetings, counseling, books, videos, etc.

    you are a good soul.....and we are happy to journey with you.
  • @Pyromantic... Welcome to the community, my friend. I'm so glad you found us! Congratulations on deciding to stop drinking. You're taking an incredible step toward bettering your life and I'm proud of you for doing that.

    Alcohol can definitely impact our lives in so many negative ways. It sounds like that's been happening to you. But just know that you CAN quit drinking. It won't be easy, but I guarantee will be worth it.

    There are so many caring, supportive people here. People who have been exactly where you are. And people who are currently where you are. People who "get" what you're going through. We will offer you help and support anytime you need it, so don't hesitate to reach out. That's what we're here for.

    You can do this. So go forward, be brave, and keep the faith. 

    I am sending you positive, sober vibes and hugs of hope and encouragement. Be sure to check out the other discussions around here. I hope to hear more of you in the days and weeks ahead.

  • New to this forum. 9 days sober today. Have been living a life as a high functioning alcoholic. First time I have admitted that! I am scared of failing. I wonder how long it will take before I am not thinking of having a wine every night!
  • @starry hello and welcome. very glad you are here and congrats on 9 days sober.

    admitting that you're an alcoholic is a great thing! i don't believe in failing...we can learn from each "failed" experience and get up and keep going. even the most successful people have "failed" at certain things, but they just kept going....learned and tried something different.

    relapse does occur in recovery sometimes. a lot of times actually. you've probably experienced that yourself...but the key is to get up and start again...and again...no matter what. there will be  day when you'll finally just never relapse again...and that will be great.

    early recovery can be tough, but stick to your guns. if you need help, reach out.....

    feel free to start a new thread in the forum and share with us whatever you feel like sharing...we are here for you and are honored to journey with you...

    hope you have a wonderful day!
  • Hey, @starry... Welcome to the community and kudos to you for your 9 days of sobriety. That's terrific!!

    I'm happy you've admitted you have a problem with alcohol, and I commend you for taking steps to fix that. It's perfectly normal to be scared of failing. And if you do happen to slip, just remember that it's not the slip-up that defines you; it's how you react to it. Slipping up is NOT failing.

    We will stand by you as you travel the road to recovery. We are here to help you and support you any way we can, so don't hesitate to reach out anytime. You are not alone, my friend.

    Sending you big hugs of hope and encouragement...and positive, sober vibes.

    You can do this. I know you can. :)
  • reading this hit hard. most definitely me. thanks for accurately putting into words what it's like to lead a double life.

  • We're here for you, @pomegranatehs. Anytime. Just reach out.
  • Thanks for your supportive words.
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