Notices

High-Functioning Drunks

Old 03-15-2017, 10:19 AM
  # 1 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Owensboro, KY
Posts: 5
High-Functioning Drunks

I wasn't talking about you! Well, yea, some of you. I just quit drinking a couple of months ago after two years of retirement and approaching 70. Fortunately, I made it this far without tickets, job warnings, affairs, etc. But, at 1/3 to 1/2 fifth of vodka a day, I was headed that way. My purpose of posting is to say I am astonished at how much many of you drank, and your horrible hangovers, and, yet, you were still performing at a high level. For years. Give me some insight on how you could do that.
Northeast69 is offline  
Old 03-15-2017, 11:08 AM
  # 2 (permalink)  
Member
 
tomsteve's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: northern michigan. not the U.P.
Posts: 15,281
for me, the high functioning- before I sunk deeper into alcoholism- was just an illusion.
tomsteve is offline  
Old 03-15-2017, 11:11 AM
  # 3 (permalink)  
Member
 
paulokes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Manchester, UK
Posts: 1,111
I was high functioning. I could wear a 400 suit and soil myself at the same time

Definitely some truth that folks with more money/education can avoid consequences longer. The idea that we actually functioned is more of a delusion IMO.

P
paulokes is offline  
Old 03-15-2017, 11:20 AM
  # 4 (permalink)  
zjw
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 5,225
I dunno i think it just catches up to you. or you get tired of it?

i'd routinely show up to work still drunk from the night before. I'd sit there so hungover i'd just zone out for the first couple hours of the day. by 3 or 4pm i was pretty eager to drink again.

I dunno how much longer i coulda kept doing that maybe a few more years I dunno but what did me in was the increasing frequency of panic attacks which i htink where mainly brought on by alcohol withdrawel. I gues sthe 15-20 beers i had the night before wasnt enough by 3 or 4 am i'd wake up with the first set of issues then by 7 or 8 am it was getting worse then i just battled panic attacks through out the day. It woudnt get better till i drank again so I started drinking earlier and earlier in the day.

I think it just caught up with me. after i got sober i realized i was also pretty tired of it too.
zjw is offline  
Old 03-15-2017, 11:28 AM
  # 5 (permalink)  
Member
 
MsCooterBrown's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: The Great Outdoors
Posts: 1,992
Yeah...you are really never sober. I did payroll for 350 people for 33 yrs. I had to report to work at 6AM. Still drunk I am sure from the night before...then you do go into a zone..then start all over. When I look back at it I really don't know how I pulled it off. I am recently retired. Early out. BUT why did I wait till I got out to get sober...now that I think about it ...I gave it a few runs before. But always went back to drinking. This time I am done with it. Seriously sick of it.
MsCooterBrown is offline  
Old 03-15-2017, 11:35 AM
  # 6 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Cleveland
Posts: 83
To an outsider, I may have looked like a functioning alcoholic, but like zjw, I was not keeping things together well at all. My consequences had not been too bad except for a DUI several years before. I was able to rationalize that with an "Everyone I know has deserved a DUI at some point. I was just unlucky in getting caught" excuse. But there were still two cars in the garage, a marriage and usually a paycheck.

The reality is I lost at least two jobs as a direct result of alcohol - it's just that my employers may not have known this. My health was crumbling, my marriage was starting to fail and my anxiety was becoming suicidal.

I don't know if other functioning drunks were like me. In my case, things were getting worse and I don't know how much longer I could have kept the illusion going.

Congratulations on your sobriety. I am sure your retirement will be far more fulfilling without alcohol.
feldknocker is offline  
Old 03-15-2017, 11:47 AM
  # 7 (permalink)  
Member
 
Daucuscarota's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 252
I was able to function at a very high-stress professional job, but I had zero self-confidence, and the shame of drinking made that much worse over the years.
Daucuscarota is offline  
Old 03-15-2017, 11:52 AM
  # 8 (permalink)  
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: East of Eden
Posts: 420
I wouldn't call mine performing at a high level. More like just barely getting away with it. I had a good job, nice house, reliable vehicles, wife, family, friends. Eventually my stupidity caught up with me. Lost the wife, house, a lot of $ and all my self respect. Costly illusion for me.
NewRomanMan is offline  
Old 03-15-2017, 12:37 PM
  # 9 (permalink)  
Member
 
NYCDoglvr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 6,263
I showed up for work while secretly hoping I'd get hit by a bus. Then I couldn't show up for work any longer. It's a progressive disease. Congrats on your sobriety!
NYCDoglvr is offline  
Old 03-15-2017, 01:02 PM
  # 10 (permalink)  
Semi-Professional Philosopher
 
steve-in-kville's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Rural PA
Posts: 949
Basically I was merely surviving. Sobriety allows me to thrive! Big difference!
steve-in-kville is offline  
Old 03-15-2017, 01:32 PM
  # 11 (permalink)  
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 8,674
Curious as to why you want to know? It was a miserable high wire act I don't want anyone to think will work forever.
August252015 is offline  
Old 03-15-2017, 01:55 PM
  # 12 (permalink)  
Member
 
SoberCAH's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: West Tn
Posts: 3,043
This discussion reminds me how hard I had to work to project the appearance of normalcy, even though I was in shambles on the inside.

I can't say that I miss it.
SoberCAH is offline  
Old 03-15-2017, 02:19 PM
  # 13 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 1,095
Originally Posted by zjw View Post
I dunno i think it just catches up to you. or you get tired of it?

i'd routinely show up to work still drunk from the night before. I'd sit there so hungover i'd just zone out for the first couple hours of the day. by 3 or 4pm i was pretty eager to drink again.

I dunno how much longer i coulda kept doing that maybe a few more years I dunno but what did me in was the increasing frequency of panic attacks which i htink where mainly brought on by alcohol withdrawel. I gues sthe 15-20 beers i had the night before wasnt enough by 3 or 4 am i'd wake up with the first set of issues then by 7 or 8 am it was getting worse then i just battled panic attacks through out the day. It woudnt get better till i drank again so I started drinking earlier and earlier in the day.

I think it just caught up with me. after i got sober i realized i was also pretty tired of it too.
This was me exactly.

In my younger days I could bounce back a lot quicker. I could stay out till 2 in the morning drinking and get up and go to work at 7. Sometimes on weekends I was up for 36 hours straight and drank the whole 36 hours.

As I aged it got harder and harder to function; it took a physical toll on my body but mentally I was burned out for years before I quit drinking.

Not only did the booze mess me up but I became overweight, out of shape, developed high blood pressure and sleep apnea - so I walked around like a zombie for years either exhausted, drunk or both.

Today at 142 days sober I look back on it like it was a bad dream - I get better and more clearer everyday. I never want to go back to the state of being again.
Doug39 is offline  
Old 03-15-2017, 03:57 PM
  # 14 (permalink)  
Member
 
Maudcat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Wareham, Mass
Posts: 7,067
Well, just me talking. I think "high functioning" is a misnomer. I don't use it anymore.
Alcoholism is progressive. We bounce back quickly when we are young, less so as we age.
High functioning implies that we are smart enough, savvy enough to keep the different parts of our lives together while drinking to excess. Particularly with regard to work life.
That isn't it. The inevitability of the condition means that we can keep it together til we can't any more.
There is no high functioning, only barely functioning.
I was hungover every, single day on my job in my last years of drinking.
Every. Single. Day.
I didn't get written up. No one ever spoke to me about it. I did my job, barely, then went home to start drinking again.
Was I high functioning? No. I was lucky.
So..if we must think of people as high functioning, how about we think of it as a phase in the drinking continuum, as opposed to a type of drinker?
Again. My opinion only. Peace.
Maudcat is offline  
Old 03-15-2017, 05:59 PM
  # 15 (permalink)  
Member
 
JeffreyAK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,183
I would have thought I was perfectly functional for years before the s**t really started to hit the fan. In reality I was deluding myself and others, a big game of how can I keep drinking and dodge consequences while appearing highly functional. It was only a couple years after I quit that I fully appreciated what I could really do, genuinely functioning, without alcohol.
JeffreyAK is offline  
Old 03-15-2017, 06:07 PM
  # 16 (permalink)  
Administrator
 
Dee74's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 205,696
Welcome to SR Northeast
sheer bloody mindedness mostly. I'm good at that.

the first ten years of my drinking I hit every deadline, crossed every T...immense effort required.

The second ten years my alcoholism over took me...by the end I'd lost 2 careers and teetering on a third... was drinking all day everyday.

From this distance tho I don't think I was functioning at all..not even in those first ten years. I was presenting one face to the world while inside I was screaming and crying.

Not much functional about that.

I think to myself now..what if I'd been able to use all that effort for other things...?

who knows?

D
Dee74 is offline  
Old 03-15-2017, 08:12 PM
  # 17 (permalink)  
Member
 
DesertDawg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 292
Originally Posted by August252015 View Post
It was a miserable high wire act I don't want anyone to think will work forever.
Perfectly stated. I suppose I was high-functioning by outward appearances. Good-paying, responsible job, dutifully getting up at 4am every Monday morning to get on a plane to fly to California for work. But on the weekends, it was *ON*. At least a gallon of vodka every weekend...so much better than having a life. Did that for years. It CAN be done...for awhile. But I'm not 26 anymore. Those Monday mornings had become pure hell. Had a withdrawal seizure on a business trip to Seattle, ended up in the hospital in a strange city, with no friends/family around. Thank God, I have an understanding employer w/good insurance, and I got help before there were any real consequences. Still have the job, still get on a plane every Monday morning. Much easier now, much less anxiety, no more irrational sense of foreboding, no more sweating through my shirt. The thought of going back to that 'high-wire act', as August252015 so eloquently described it, fills me with dread so bad that I don't even think about drinking.
DesertDawg is offline  
Old 03-15-2017, 08:50 PM
  # 18 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 49
Physically exhausting work must be the worst type for hangovers, and or drinking everyday. I don't get how people keep that up.

I barely lifted weights this past 2 years, because of binging and then the hangovers, sober for a few days, then starting all over.

Thank god I'm back to barely drinking, and working out regularly. Lets just hope I keep to it.
WW2gamer is offline  
Old 03-15-2017, 09:52 PM
  # 19 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 1,981
I was a non or minimally functional alcoholic and functional alcoholics always baffled me. The odd thing is most alcoholics seem to be "functional" The only two alcoholics I know in real life are this way, hold down families, high stress jobs, yet drink like crazy.
How they do it is beyond me.
Forward12 is offline  
Old 03-16-2017, 01:56 AM
  # 20 (permalink)  
Member
 
Outonthetiles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 3,561
Most of us probably weren't fooling anyone and weren't as "high functioning" as we thought we were. It was just easier to keep us and we decided to quit before it all caught up with us.
Outonthetiles is offline  

Currently Active Users Viewing this Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off




All times are GMT -7. The time now is 06:31 AM.