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Functional is not a "type" of alcoholic

Old 02-22-2011, 09:19 PM
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Functional is not a "type" of alcoholic

Functional is not a "type" of alcoholic, but rather a "stage" of alcoholism. How long it takes to progress is anybodies guess and it varies greatly by individual, but no doubt it will progress if not addressed.


Wow. I had no idea. I thought my AH was functional and would remain that way forever because he has been drinking for so long.

He struggled there the last few months with attendance at work and came very close to losing his job.

I guess I would have been supporting him in the end probably.

I think he progressed tremendous amounts in the 2 years we were married. I am amazed at how much so. I never considered it could get worse than it was.

How scary is that?
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Old 02-22-2011, 09:36 PM
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You know, I experienced the same thing - a very quick progression from functional to almost on the skids...starting to miss a lot more work where people were actually complaining (it wasn't just me complaining about it!), driving drunk too often...just going downhill fast. Seems to me once they go past that "functional" stage, the slide just gets faster to bottom.

I also watched my friend slide downhill quickly, but that functional stage lasted a long time - almost a decade for her.
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Old 02-22-2011, 09:45 PM
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My AH used to "brag" about being a "functional" alcoholic. As if it was some sort of feather in his cap. Only after I found this forum did I realize that he was fooling himself (and me).

L
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Old 02-22-2011, 10:29 PM
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Yeah I agree. In my case I went from a functional alcoholic, to a mostly functional alcoholic, to a sometimes functional alcoholic, to a rarely functional alcoholic. Finally I got help. It is nt easy but it can be done.
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Old 02-23-2011, 05:22 AM
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my AH went from functional for at least 20 years alcoholic to non functional in the space of a few weeks it was scary to watch as his memory lapses became so bad he would literally ask me something I had just finished telling him and he became increasingly angry and frustrated.I asked him to leave after I had to call the police on him ,he had not previously been violent ,he left and is now sober for six weeks and seeking recovery.
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Old 02-23-2011, 05:28 AM
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Yup, same here. Anyone looking at me would say "functional" but I was hanging on by the skin of my fingernails. I could feel that everything was about to totally fall apart, and that was what scared me sober. It wouldn't have taken much longer, I don't think.

And even the "functional" part was pure exterior. Inside I was a complete mess and had been for a long time.
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Old 02-23-2011, 06:02 AM
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My XAH is still, as far as I know, "functional", in that he's not raving drunk every day. However, having lived with him, I remember just how difficult it was for him to simply get through the day. It's like he simply did not have the capacity to deal with the usual stresses of life, and instead medicated himself with alcohol, sleeping pills, codeine, video games, and junk food.

In a sense, "functional" was just this facade he showed the outside world. In reality, he was being held up by a number of things, including me.
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Old 02-23-2011, 06:26 AM
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my story is exactly like noday's. It wasn't just the alcohol at the end - he couldn't deal with anything. And he drank every single night to passing out.

After probably 10 years of heavy drinking that I thought meant he had a high tolerance.
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Old 02-23-2011, 06:28 AM
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Yeah, what noday said, my AH is functional in that he usually shows up to work on time, and sober at that(a few times I have questioned the sober part) but everything else in life is crumbling around him. And he has called in sick/been late a few times directly related to his drinking.
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Old 02-23-2011, 07:35 AM
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Great topic. The term "functional alcoholic" (or even "high functioning alcoholic") seems a bit problematic. Does this mean, one can wake up, go to work, perform his/her roles & responsibilities at work & then go home? I guess it meets some criteria of the definition for being "functional." However, in order to be a whole human being, there is more to life than merely functioning in one area of one's life. (This doesn't pertain to just addicts).

I like the reframing of the "functional A" as a stage, not a type.
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Old 02-23-2011, 07:51 AM
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My ADP seems to use the fact that he 'goes to work every day' as a banner for being functional, when we discuss his addiction. He's also mentions that he doesn't hit me and doesn't cheat on me. So does he get a medal for that? What he fails to recognize is that his drinking turns him into a sloth who lays around watching tv on his days off, only getting sober enough to drive to the liquor store, doesn't fix stuff around the house and is not someone I feel that I can count on in case of an emergency. I don't even trust him to care for our dog when he's drinking. He's been talked to by his superior at work twice about stinking of booze (um, yeah...vodka does have an odor, especially when it's permeating your vital organs and skin) and trys to play it off like he was drinking the night before so this is why he smells like booze. He looks 10 years older than he should and cares nothing about his appearance. His supervisor could require him to get help provided by the gov't (he works for the DOD) but hasn't. Some of his co-workers have expressed reservations about working with him. They rotated his company vehicle to someone else, so now he's partnered up with someone else who drives, although he is allowed to drive if necessary.
So this is 'functioning'? Not in my book.
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Old 02-23-2011, 08:36 AM
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According to the MacMillian Dictionary, functioning means "the ability of something to work correctly". That definition does not apply to any alcoholics I know.
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Old 02-23-2011, 12:29 PM
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I get more confused by the term functional alcoholic every day.

When I had that counselor call for my xah in rehab the counselor made a comment that 'S' came to us pretty functional to start with. Huh? He drinks all day every day, anxiety is so high he can't leave the house or sit still, had a complete meltdown when his sister left for 3 days and called the hospital to come and get him, quit a job he's been applying to for *years* after two weeks because he just went off the deep end, hasn't worked full time in years, goes to the ER on a regular basis for panic attacks and pills, lost his marriage, has no place to live, doesn't see his kids half the time for one lame reason or another.

How low do you have to go before your are no longer 'functioning'.

And even when I was providing the home, the car, the meals, the food, the utilities, completing the paperwork, yadda yadda yadda it didn't seem to functioning to me. I mean, I guess he wasn't sleeping out in the yard by the tree or getting his knee caps busted at the local dive or anything but sheesh.
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Old 02-23-2011, 12:56 PM
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Thank you. I learned something today...

I never thought of it this way. I always thought of it as a label. While some people sustain "functional" for impressively long times, I think I agree that it is, in fact, simply a stage.

Gracias.

Cyranoak
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Old 02-23-2011, 06:17 PM
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claim it!

I didn't think of it. I read it on another post and copied it thinking I had the name with it when really I didn't!!

I don't know how to quote from one thread to the next! :rotfxko

So whoever wrote it, you are welcome to claim it!!

I was too tired to dig through all the posts I had read to find who did it!!

Sorry!
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Old 02-23-2011, 06:24 PM
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I said it on oneilshome's thread. I remember it was a huge lightbulb moment for me when I came to the realization.

L
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Old 02-23-2011, 07:10 PM
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Just to mix it up a little bit, i will say my dad is very functioning.
He has cut back since his A wife died last year, but he was drinking bottles of wine a night and has drank every night for as long as I can remember.
He never missed a day of work (that I know of)
He never got in a car accident (that I know of)
He has never had any medical issues related to it (that I know of)
He never had a problem with his partners (that I know of, my mom excluded...not that it was the reason they split).
My sis and I avoid calling him in the evening cuz he'll be drunk-sappy and it is annoying. But other than that, it has never slowed him down!

Either I am missing things or he is the rare 1 in a million that has weathered alcoholism without falling apart!
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Old 02-23-2011, 07:44 PM
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Still, you thought to share it..

...so I still say thanks. Much of what I know and/or post here I heard from somebody else. It's powerful when somebody thinks of, or observes it, but it's the sharing it that makes it most powerful.

Cyranoak

Originally Posted by passionfruit View Post
I didn't think of it. I read it on another post and copied it thinking I had the name with it when really I didn't!!

I don't know how to quote from one thread to the next! :rotfxko

So whoever wrote it, you are welcome to claim it!!

I was too tired to dig through all the posts I had read to find who did it!!

Sorry!
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Old 02-23-2011, 07:46 PM
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FindingPeace1, my dad has a similar record. However his 1st marriage did end because of the alcoholism, but it took him less than a year to find a new wife who supports his drinking (Don't get me started on her...)
It amazes me when I think about it: that he could go this long (a good 35 years), drinking that much, without "side-effects" to himself... No DUI either.
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Old 02-24-2011, 05:21 AM
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Originally Posted by FindingPeace1 View Post
Either I am missing things or he is the rare 1 in a million that has weathered alcoholism without falling apart!
That is exactly what my AH says about himself!!!

However, I could see how it was affecting him in ways he denied to himself.

On the other hand, he was on his job for 26 years. {He also knew every union rule and manipulated them til he could no more, and then walked the line until he was out of trouble. None of his issues at work were related to alcohol.} I never saw him go to work drunk.

He did drink and drive every single day, though, after work.

In the last 6 months he was diagnosed with gout, diabetes, yeast infection skin rash, and high liver enzymes--all related to his drinking. Prior to that, he had no health issues, other than hangovers, related to it.

I think the functional part comes from an outside perception. They appear to be normal from what people can see.

Keep in mind, however, most people cannot see inside the A's real life. Until you spend a great deal of time with someone, you don't really know them. My AH spends time with noone, except for a few hours at an outing very rarely.

Noone EVER came to our home. When I invited someone over, my sister for example, he still got passed out drunk, but even, she, in the beginning attributed it to his "deep sadness he carries within him."

While I know mine is not remotely normal, as a matter of fact he is probably the most abnormal person I personally know, the people around him consider him, "normal, just drunk too much."

They don't deal with him enough to know who he is. That is by design on both parts, I think. He intentionally keeps his distance and they kinda know but don't want to know and keep their distance.

I was married to the man 2 years, and met his mom one time, and 2 of his 4 siblings one time each. What does that say? He spoke on the phone to them all a total of 6 times in 2 years.

When I did meet his mom, she asked me, "Why does he hate me so much?"
I couldn't figure that one out myself, then. Now I suspect, it is because he hates himself so much, he has no room to love anyone.:*******:


Anyhoo........
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