It all started with one drink. One drink turned into two drinks, which became one drink with dinner, which was one drink during happy hour. All in a week.
Our bodies can handle small amounts of alcohol, but what’s the difference between a social drinker and a functioning alcoholic? It may have seemed like one drink on day one, but after a few weeks, you may find you’re unintentionally becoming an alcoholic.
So you think you’re a functioning alcoholic? Keep reading to find out the common signs of a functioning alcoholic so you can stop drinking before it’s too late.
1. Constantly Needing Alcohol to Relax or Socialize:
A functioning alcoholic is someone who is able to maintain their daily lives while also consuming alcohol to the degree that is at least detrimental to their physical and mental health. This could be anything from having a glass of wine to take the edge off after a long day at work, to only wanting to hang out with friends if there is alcohol at the gathering.
Over time, the amount of alcohol needed to relax or socialize increases and can become more frequent, leading to alcohol dependence. It’s important to be aware of how much you’re drinking and how it’s impacting your daily life and relationships.
2. Drinking When Upset or Anxious:
Having drastically changing moods or emotional states when drinking, including becoming overly calm or relaxed after a few drinks is an alcohol problem. You may experience strong cravings for alcohol in times of distress and have a sense of ‘needing’ to drink in order to cope. Those with alcohol addiction can rationalize their addiction, denying the effects and consequences their drinking is having on their lives.
3. Drinking While Alone:
A functioning alcoholic often does not realize that their behavior is a sign of a problem. Drinking while alone happens when a person isolates themselves in order to drink without others knowing. This sign can be easily missed but is especially problematic when it interferes with a person’s regular day-to-day activities.
Drinking when there isn’t a social gathering or special event is also a red flag. It’s a sign that drinking has become a frequent, habitual part of life.
4. Drinking to the Point of Blacking Out:
People with this issue consume too much alcohol, too often, and sometimes in a very short period of time. It can put a person in dangerous situations, as they do not remember putting themselves in such a precarious situation.
Aside from blacking out, some physical disruption signs also include trembling hands, an alcohol puffy face before after, and difficulty speaking clearly.
5. Denying Being an Alcoholic:
Denying and justifying excessive alcohol consumption is the hallmark of a functioning alcoholic. Though they may claim to be able to “handle” or “control” their drinking, they will spend an inordinate amount of time, energy, and money justifying why they drink so much.
Reach Out Now!
If you think you may be a functioning alcoholic, reach out to a healthcare provider or friend as soon as possible to discuss your potential issues. Try to be honest and open-ended, as this can help you identify the next steps and resources available.
With a supportive network and a willingness to take action, you can start building healthier habits and begin the journey to recovery.
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