Am I Abusing Alcohol? Am I an Alcoholic?

The classic image of an alcoholic is someone who drinks too much and has a life that is falling apart as a result. They smell like alcohol. They look like hell. They get into random fights when they’re drunk. But not all alcoholics fit this mold. In fact, assuming that someone has to fit this picture can cause you to miss an alcohol problem in yourself or a loved one.

Delusion of Being a Functioning Alcoholic

Some people are under the delusion that they function just fine when they abuse alcohol. These people are called functional alcoholics or high-functioning alcoholics. They often have a great life on the outside. They may have a good job, a nice home and a committed family. They are probably in denial about their drinking and its prominence in their life. And it’s very easy for them to make excuses about it. When someone is able to maintain their job, their home and their relationships, society has us believe that they are doing just fine. The reality is that there are always consequences to our behavior.

Signs of a So-Called Functional Alcoholic

Here are some of the most common signs of a functioning alcoholic.

  • Needs alcohol to relax or feel confident
  • Gets drunk even when they don’t intend to
  • Usually ends up drinking more than they plan on
  • Plans their day around the drinking
  • Prefers to go places where drinking will be present
  • Not drinking makes them irritable or anxious
  • Drinking during the daytime

Alcoholism is Progressive

Like other diseases, alcoholism is progressive. Just because someone is a functioning alcoholic today doesn’t mean that they will be tomorrow. At any point in time, the disease can get the better of them and start wreaking havoc on their life. How long it takes for this to happen varies on a number of things such as the individual’s lifestyle, self-confidence, family support, and mental stability.

Drinking heavily and maintaining normal functioning do not go hand in hand. Eventually, the drinking will catch up to a person. Before it does, take action. Talk to a medical professional about the relationship between alcohol and yourself or a loved one. It’s possible that an outpatient treatment program will be recommended as a line of treatment.

The River Source is a holistic treatment center that works with substance abusers. We have a safe, supportive community with alternative therapies, wellness, and nutrition. Call us today to start your path to sobriety with our alcohol treatment programs.


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Welcome to The River Source, the place where new beginnings are created. We commend you for taking the first step in your recovery, and we want you to know that we are here for you.