The images which come to mind when thinking about someone who might be an alcoholic would not quite fit with a categorization of something like “high-functioning”. Alcoholics, according to the mainstream stigma of alcoholics, are constantly belligerent, ruining their lives. Alcoholics might be homeless or mentally ill. Many people assume that the alcoholics who attend meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous are old, grumpy men, grumbling on in complaint about the fact that they can no longer drink. A vast majority of alcoholics fit none of these descriptions. Such descriptions are what inflates the level of denial most alcoholics have about their alcoholism. Since they are neither belligerent, homeless, severely mentally ill, or a grumpy old man, they do not believe they could fit the bill of an alcoholic. Individuals who are still functioning and healthy in their lives are often called “high-functioning” alcoholics.
However, the high-functioning alcoholic is a myth. Considering alcoholism and functionality, one would think that the two couldn’t go hand in hand. Maintaining bills, jobs, responsibilities, and caring for children, for example, creates an external facade which masks deeper underlying problems. Hidden in closets, the car, the office, the bathroom, and every moment alone is a compulsive and chemical need to drink. Functioning alcoholism isn’t functioning at all. Alcoholism is alcoholism, despite the circumstances. When someone is struggling with a chemical dependency on alcohol, they are in need of treatment.
Alcoholism and functionality have an expiration date because of the chemically dependent nature of the disorder. Chemical dependency is marked by a growing tolerance to alcohol. Alcohol tolerance develops when the brain needs more alcohol in order to achieve a greater or similar effect of euphoria compared to what it has been receiving up to this point. The more chemically dependent the brain becomes, the more chemically dependent the body becomes. Experiencing subtle symptoms of withdrawal is often mistaken for being “manageable”. While an individual may not be experiencing full delirium tremens, they are waking up with the shakes in the morning. Upon taking one drink or a few sips, the shakes go away. This is not functional or manageable. This is alcoholism. Alcoholism is a progressive and fatal disease which necessitates full treatment of the mind, the body, and the spirit, at the earliest intervention possible.
If you believe you or a loved one are struggling with alcoholism, do not be blinded by the myth of functionality. You can get better before your alcoholism gets worse. Long lasting recovery is possible at Infinity Malibu where our luxury residential treatment programs and full continuum of care is providing clients the opportunity to change their lives. When you change your life, you change your legacy. Start your legacy of recovery today by calling us for information on our program: (855) 575 – 2604