"High Functioning Alcoholic"

Old 10-04-2016, 03:18 PM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by wpainterw View Post
Have yet to experience death, but I'm in no particular hurry about that.

Yeah looking at how I wrote that I should have worded it differently. Haven't experienced that one yet either! I got up to the point where that was my next progression.
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Old 10-04-2016, 04:10 PM
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Great thread that really has me thinking. I'm not moving along so well, but sober today (and the last couple before that).

What occurred to me when reading this, is I go through thinking I'm 'high functioning ' by day 2 of withdrawal because I can actually hold down water and maybe even a few calories.

Insane thinking. Thanks for the thought provoking thread. It inspired me to actually log in tonight.
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Old 10-04-2016, 06:39 PM
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I agree with what many of the other posters have written. I used to consider myself one. I was able to hold things together at work, avoid major problems, and keep up appearances. However, the more I thought about it, I wondered how "high functioning" I really was. During my drinking career, I gave up all of the activities I used to enjoy, didn't develop any new hobbies or interests, isolated myself from friends and family, didn't make any new friends, never got married, etc. I came to realize the going to work and drinking does not make for a high functioning life. I stopped trying to label myself and just accepted that I do not have a normal relationship with alcohol and that alcohol was a problem for me. That realization put me on the path to try to change.
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Old 10-04-2016, 07:18 PM
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High Functioning Alcoholic is just a way to describe Denial, using big words
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Old 10-04-2016, 07:19 PM
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The more time I spend on this side of the fence, the more clearly I see how dysfunctional I was.

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Old 10-04-2016, 07:22 PM
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High functioning alcoholic is such an alter state of consciousness and impacts negatively on almost all the corners of your life.
I come from a long line of "high functioning alcoholics'......and I was one for many years before I rolled over into hardly functioning alcoholic...not in denial now!
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Old 10-04-2016, 07:35 PM
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Great post and thread. Describes me to a "t". I am a pretty successful professional. But over the years I went from a martini or two at night and then quit for a while. And then within the last year I have gone from drinking heavily in the evenings and weekends to now. Now, wine in the am to avoid jumping out the window from Anxiety and doing everything I can to drink less than 2 bottles (or the equivalent) of wine a day.

I really do not enjoy alcohol at all anymore. And that is why I am going to detox at the end of this week.

And my profession is filled with heavy drinkers and are in fact alcoholics. I just don't want that life anymore.
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Old 10-04-2016, 07:47 PM
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[QUOTE=MovingForward1;6160762]Great thread that really has me thinking. I'm not moving along so well, but sober today (and the last couple before that).

What occurred to me when reading this, is I go through thinking I'm 'high functioning ' by day 2 of withdrawal because I can actually hold down water and maybe even a few calories.

Insane thinking. Thanks for the thought provoking thread. It inspired me to actually log in tonight.[/QUOTE

This thread helped me a lot today as well. I thought I was a high functioning alcoholic too, since I was still employed, no money problems (yet) and no legal problems (yet). There was just that SMALL issue of constant diarrhea and dry heaving many days.....

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Old 10-04-2016, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Dee74 View Post
The more time I spend on this side of the fence, the more clearly I see how dysfunctional I was.

This makes a lot of sense. It's amazing what you can rationalize, justify, deny and ignore when you are in the thick of a life circumstance
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Old 10-04-2016, 08:41 PM
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One thing that really throws sparks for me is, now that I am actually committed to my recovery, I can look back and tease apart some of my thinking and language choices while drinking. For me, being a "functioning" alcoholic, was basically just another way to say that I was a really good liar. I knew how much I needed to drink to be able to drive, while riding that line between withdrawal and intoxication. I knew what words I could use that would minimize my slurring. I knew how to sneak a glass of liquor into the bedroom after my wife put her foot down about my around the clock drinking. I knew how to respond to questions to direct the thinking of other people to think that I wasn't drunk. But most importantly, I knew how to convince myself that after this one last drink, things would be different. Instead of saying "I can't sleep without this next drink, that might be a problem." I would say "I can't sleep without his next drink, so I'll have three to make sure I sleep through the night, and I'll work on tapering tomorrow."

That was one of the most horrible things about drinking for me, finding ways to rationalize my deteriorating morals, pride, discipline, health, etc... I started a recovery group within my graduate program, and while we have not started formally meeting yet, every person who is interested in being involved has the same goal: to never live with that shame again.
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Old 10-05-2016, 04:49 AM
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I think the "high functioning alcoholic" is a mythological creature. Some people function highly, some don't (although it is hard to even know what that means). Alcohol doesn't imbue anyone with special powers. If someone is functioning well while drunk I just assume they have a very high tolerance (learned and/or physiological) and were probably functioning well to begin with. I agree with the sentiment that it is sort of the manifestation of a defense mechanism.
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Old 10-05-2016, 06:09 AM
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P.S.. Let me put it this way. The illness is relentlessly progressive. My body didn't care what I called it. It could have been that by "high" I meant that I was drunk and by "functioning" that I could make it to the bathroom and back. It didn't care. It just went on building "tolerance", modifying its neurotransmitters and uptake receptors to accommodate and "need" more and more alcohol just to feel "normal", increasing its liver enzymes and accelerating down the slippery slope. The progression was relentless and inevitable. A runaway train with an engineer who was under the impression that he was still driving it, who sat there saying to himself and others, "I'm all right Jack!"

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Old 10-05-2016, 06:20 AM
  # 33 (permalink)  
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I think there are such people who can be considered "high functioning." They never lose their jobs, they keep it together more or less in their personal affairs, and the train stays on the track. They function. But they're still alcoholics.

Some people stay that way. Some people don't, an fall into "non-functioning" status at some point in their drinking. That's not to say that the people who's lives don't run off the track are not harmed by alcoholism. But they can still function.

I'm not sure I can say that they don't exist, or that the "high functioning" thing is a myth- because I've known plenty of people who are patently alcoholic who pretty much keep it together. I've known others who were the opposite of high functioning, and whose lives were train wrecks because of alcoholism.
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Old 10-05-2016, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by saoutchik View Post
OK I made to work and paid the bills etc, I functioned, but that is what my fridge light does, it functions by switching on when I open the fridge. As humans we aspire to something more than functioning
I like the analogy to a fridge light. Another nugget I saw here was that a high functioning alcoholic is a drunk with a good job. I suppose I was a 'high functioning alcoholic' as I held down a good job and was successful in what I did. I did not drink on the job, never got a DUI and felt like I was handling my drinking successfully. I did not generally drink in bars, I drank at home. Sometimes I could stop after a few drinks, sometimes I drank until I was smashed. I never hurt anybody, right?

Wrong! While I was self-medicating on alcohol, I was not present for my family. Over time,my drinking became worse and worse and I lost the respect of my wife and four kids. Eventually I lost it all. Fortunately, i found AA and after several abortive attempt, got sober and stayed sober. On this coming Friday (October 7) I will celebrate 25 years of continuous sobriety.

The bad news is that I lost my wife, my home, and the respect of my kids. The good news is that I moved to another town and started over. It was tough, but I built a new life for myself, eventually remarried and am now in a very good place. I have plenty of regrets, but am now able to be grateful for what I have. It is hard to imagine what would have happened to me if I had continued to drink. No doubt I would have died a long time ago.

I think God for second chances, and I thank God for AA.
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