Mar 23, 2016 | By Tim Powers

The Symptoms of The High-Functioning Alcoholic

Addiction Resources Alcoholism

High-Functioning Alcoholic

When people think about alcoholism and those who are caught up in alcohol abuse, the scenes that are painted in their mind are bold and dramatic. Images of people who are destitute with no money, no jobs, and estranged from their families come to mind. Additionally, more drastic images can come to mind such as failing health, homelessness, jail, institutions and death.

Indeed, these outcomes can definitely occur as the result of alcoholism, but the definition of alcoholism itself isn’t so cut and dry. In reality, alcoholism can be seen as existing on a continuum and there can be those who struggle with alcohol abuse but appear to have it together on the surface.

You may know people who are the picture-perfect parent or employee. They take the kids to school, work a dream job, pay the bills on time and are successful multi-taskers of the highest degree. Beneath this seemingly flawless facade, however, there are things that aren’t adding up. You may notice that your friend or co-worker can’t seem to go a day without hitting up the happy hour after work. You may notice they seem to be preoccupied and talk about alcohol almost non-stop. No matter what the social or family function may be, they are always with a drink in hand.

If you are noticing these signs, they may be pointing to the fact that your friend may be a high-functioning alcoholic. The high-functioning alcoholic doesn’t fit neatly within the set stereotypes of a drunk. They are successful, well-adjusted and happy, but just beneath those first impressions they are waging a private struggle with alcohol, and they may be walking on the slimmest of threads.

The following are some of the most common symptoms seen in the high-functioning alcoholic.

A Change in Friends

Much like others who struggle with alcohol, the high-functioning alcoholic’s circle of friends may change. They may surround themselves with people who drink on a regular basis and will attend events in which alcohol is front and center.

For the high-functioning alcoholic, they may pride themselves on the fact they don’t drink during the day or don’t show up to work or family functions drunk, but in any social situation where there is alcohol present they are right in the middle of the action.

Alcohol Seems to Always Be On Their Mind

High-functioning alcoholics have a healthy obsession on when and where they are going to have their next drink. While at work, they may be counting down the hours and minutes until the work day is over and they can hit happy hour or get home and make a beeline to the liquor cabinet.

They may be rummaging through their wallet and taking inventory of their available cash wondering if they have enough to last the night. Additionally, those who are high-functioning alcoholics may know in their mind how much they can actually drink before they appear drunk to others.

They Can’t Stop At Just One Drink

Another symptom that the high-functioning alcoholic displays is the fact they don’t have the capacity to stop after just one drink. You may often see them refuse drinks in a social situation, but they are more than likely waiting to get home where they can continue drinking without further scrutiny.

If they do have a drink, chances are pretty good  they won’t stop until the night is done. The high-functioning alcoholic is a pro at hiding their problem and will deny they even have a problem.

Guilt and Shame

For those who are high-functioning alcoholics, they will feel tremendous guilt and shame if their alcoholic behaviors become noticeable to others. They go to great lengths to conceal their issues, and when they act inappropriately as a result of drinking they feel remorseful. While this guilt and shame should provide the impetus for the high-functioning alcoholic to take a deeper look into themselves, they will instead try even harder to mask their issues with alcohol.

Living Two Lives

The high-functioning alcoholic is the master of compartmentalizing their life. On the one hand, they have their everyday normal life in which they are the model employee, spouse and parent.

On the other hand, they have their drinking life where they can be a completely different person. As stated previously, the high-functioning alcoholic goes to great lengths to ensure these two disparate lives don’t intersect.

They Try to Quit On Their Own and Are Unsuccessful

Like others who struggle with alcohol dependence and abuse, the high-functioning alcoholic has more than likely made several attempts to quit drinking on their own. Left to their own devices, they return to drinking after a short period and they basically pick up where they left off.

Even though the fact they are contemplating quitting alcohol triggers at least some form of deeper thinking into their issues, the high-functioning alcoholic will continue to drink and rationalize their drinking by pointing out that it hasn’t affected their personal or professional life.

91 responses to “The Symptoms of The High-Functioning Alcoholic

  • Thanks for sharing a nicely done article. I can identify with a lot of the stated description. However, until recently, I was unable to admit it. I will be 6 months sober on March 28th. The further I step away from that lifestyle, the more I realize I should not go back. This puts the struggle into perspective, and I will keep this in mind going forward. Thanks again.

    • The human psyche is very cunning. Don’t alow yourself to be put in a compromising situation. Better safe than devastated! 34 years in August.

  • Juanita Scott

    8 years ago

    and the ones that drink morning, noon, after work and all night in spite of working all day, ?

    • And i Still held down a job… the human system is amazing. I now regularly apologise to my ptsd liver… and brain… and kidneys…

      • How sick did u get? Hope you are better now, and stay better.

  • Spot on. Been there, was that, now sober since 2/10/12. “The high functioning alcoholic is the master of comprtmentalizing their life” – so true…. and exhausting.

  • This describes me. Exactly. I think it may have even been written about me. Its amazing how something that feels so individual is actually not.. I am truly a text book functioning alcoholic. Trying my hardest to live the sober life and learning as I go.

    Thanks for the read.

    • Congrats. I am in need of help, my fiance and I are having a baby in a few weeks how can I help themget sober? I want us to raise our baby together and sober. I don’twant to lose him. Please advise.

      • Try Alanon family groups. It won’t get anyone sober but the Alanon members family life is bound to improve!

      • Yes try Al-Anon. You cannot get him sober you can only take care of yourself and your child and set boundaries and invite him to come along but the work is up to him. Wasting your energy is in your life I’m trying to make him sober will only exhaust you can be detrimental to your child. Alcoholism is brutal it takes down not only the alcoholic but the family around her/him if they let it. Al-Anon can help you protect yourself on your new baby, and hopefully model a new lifestyle for your husband.

        • Sorry for the typos in the middle of the paragraph! Was supposed to read, “Wasting your energy on trying to make him sober will only exhaust you and be detrimental to your child.”

    • Vicki Rountree

      8 years ago

      I have now been sober since May 26, 2000. I did it on my own with no help from AA or rehabs. The guilt and disgust with myself was enough to make me want to be “normal” again. My biggest memory of getting sober was waking up and not feeling like hell….it was wonderful. I had a bowl of Cheerios. I felt human again – and have ever since. No turning back ever again.

      • That’s amazing.i hope soon I can do what u tired and sick from the grog.i want a different life without alcohol.

    • Renee Hamilton

      8 years ago

      Please feel free to vent to my I am Renee H, I’m in long term recovery and I’m also a recovery coach and I would love to hear from you and help you in your journey. Remember you are not unique in this recovery life and their are so many people that are living your life with alcohol. Yes you are unique in the sense that God made you and I different and that’s what makes us beautiful.Recovery is available to you if you want it. I used to compare myself to others and I couldn’t stay in recovery. Now I identify and my life is wonderful and trials and tribulations come about, today I go through them with out drugs or alcohol which made them worse and people know what is going we can’t hide it like we think we can. Okay I hope my experiences can help you on this beautiful sometimes awful journey!! God Bless 774-243-1266

  • This is me to the T! I wish I could share my professional triumphs, but needless to say, I excelled in my professional and personal life, but needless to say, I’ve lived every one of those symptoms. Eventually, I was able to get thru the mask of denial of being a functional alcoholic and address the darkness the followed me outside of my “public persona”.

    Sober since 5/27/15

  • Very insightful and well-written article. This fit my drinking to a T. I am so glad I finally got help. It took a few attempts and a lot of hard work but on March 16 I got my one year coin! Thanks again for highlighting alcoholism as sometimes I feel alone in being a (fairly) young person in recovery who’s drug of choice was alcohol.

  • Very good read. That was me. I have been without a drink for almost 6 years. I never missed a day of work, but I never missed a night at the bar and drinking at home. I am so grateful to be a different person now, before I did something that would have cost me or someone else a life. It is still a struggle, not with wanting alcohol, but learning to cope with life in a different way. Emotional sobriety is the hardest part for me. I would appreciate any advise on what to do with my life now. I am 57 years old.

    • Maybe not the guy to give advise, just hit 2 months, 3 days. Same as you, never missed a day of work or a night of drinking. Lucky for me, I have a group of functioning alcoholic friends and a goddess of a wife who support me unconditionally. No peer pressure or jokes, just a lot of encouragement. I know they know, they have a problem and wish they could do what I’m doing. The emotional part was / is difficult. Had some of the best times in my life drinking, also had some of the worse, but either way, alcohol was there for me. It laughed with me and cried with me. Today (deep breath), I look more forward to feeling great in the morning than feeling great at night. The 7pm – 10pm is the devils time, he tempts me like I’ve never been tempted before. I’ve been able to kick his ass so far. I’m 53 and have an 11 year old that keeps me occupied. I’m also a hunter and cyclist, so that fills up my time too. Don’t be afraid to go to events where there’s alcohol, we are many and strong. I thought I’d be the guy with a sign on his back, but as it turns out there’s a lot of people who go to bars and events that don’t drink.

      • Don’t forget what a bunch of old timers told me when I first came in the rooms of AA. If you hang around a barbershop shop long enough you’ll end up with a hair cut! So grateful for 9 years last month. We are not a glum lot but I’ve found so much fun in being sober. Very blessed with a wonderful fellowship. There is always something to do.

    • Just put one foot in front of the other and do the next right thing.

    • I attend ACA Adult children meetings. we work on getting g emotionally sober. many in the group have been sober for years, and we are all ages!

    • I, too, can identify with the article. I quit on my own once for 15 months until someone handed me a WSJ article about alcoholics being able to drink in moderation. Right. I did drink in moderation until I didn’t–one week later. The things that helped me the most were an intensive outpatient treatment program, which met for 3 hours/day 3 days/week, since I didn’t suffer withdrawal, and the requirement to go to a recovery group meeting. I looked for non-AA groups, but settled on an AA meeting close to my home. They never pushed God on me (I’m a recovering Southern Baptist), and I learned that helping others is one of the best ways to stay sober. Fortunately, I got it quickly and celebrated one year on 5/11/15. Best of luck!

    • Renee Hamilton

      8 years ago

      Hi that is awesome you haven’t drank in 6 years. I have been in long term recovery since 1988 and I still get the urge but it goes right away, I fill my mind with the goodness I have in other words I play the scenario out and I become so grateful. You can fill your life with whatever makes you happy, There are so many things to do with people like us. I am about to be 57 and I enjoy my life even though I started late in life my life is good!! I am a Christian and that’s how I remain in recovery but that’s for ME!! It may nit be for you but I still believe in the process. We can’t compare our journey with another’s it will depress us and we then seek comfort and that used to be drugs and alcohol or it could be shopping,sex,etc. We must have a good support team that is going through the same thing . I don’t have all the answers but I do know I don’t have to use anything outside of myself. t to feel better. Feelings are emotions and they change constantly it’s what we do while in those feelings good and bad. No judgement zone here???????? 774-243-1266 call me if you want to talk. Take care and God Bless

  • That was 100% me. Good to read something I could really relate to.

  • i can definitely relate to the shame and guilt part. so grateful to not have to live that way anymore

  • GoodHappens

    8 years ago

    Spot on and well said. I might add that functioning alcoholics will attend their first meetings and hear the “low bottom” stories and use the “I never” rationalization to talk themselves out of an alcoholic description.
    I would encourage folks of that ilk to define their own “bottom.”

    • SoberMelissa

      8 years ago

      I’m a “Yet”, too. My “nevers” haven’t happened YET….mostly due to luck. The 12 & 12 discusses “raising the bottom” & how it has spared millions from continuing to dig toward a lower bottom. Joining AA has been one of the best things I’ve ever done. It keeps my nevers AS nevers. One day at a time.

  • Unfortunately, this is still me to the T, I have tried to quit more times then I can remember without succeeding. I am always yup for suggestions ado that I can live a well balanced sober life.

    • It’s a simple program but also one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. Like all things that are difficult the harder you work it the bigger the rewards. May 27th I’ll have 13 years without a drink or a mood altering drug. I’ve been blessed with two grandchildren that have never felt the pain of my alcoholism and I pray they never do. You’ve already done the most difficult part and that’s admitting that you’re powerless over alcohol and that your life has become unmanageable. If not unmanageable yet, trust me it will become that way sooner than later. Find a meeting you’re comfortable in. Get a sponsor. Go to as many meetings you possibly can. “HOW” HONEST, OPEN, and WILLING. Trust me when I say that you are worth it. Never give up on yourself, I wont. Trust me when I say that getting sober is liberating. If the sorry assed SOB that I was can do it I know you can as well. Don’t let the number of times you’ve tried and failed define you. Define yourself by the number of times you get back up! My email address is, phone # is 316-461-6830. I know you will be successful if you don’t give up! If I can help feel free to call. I wish you the very best and will not give up on you or any other suffering alcohlic!

  • Thank you Tim. I perceive this as a very worthwhile article, that I will share with my clients.

  • For me it’s the comfort of drinking I miss. I didn’t need to plan my days, I just drank and went with the flow. Today I’m conflicted. I choose not to use alcohol. For the last three months I have been sober and my life is much improved as a result. It is not easy to make this transition, but most certainly rewarding.

    • Bless you rob! It is people like you and those who came before who helped give me the strength to keep trying. Aa is the reason I have 2 beautiful children today who have never had to see there mom passed out on the floor. The reason I can look in mirror and look others in the eyes. Today I have a choice to drink or not, and today I choose life. I hope Zach calls! You made my day!

  • Jolene Mitchell

    8 years ago

    I’d love to FB meet Tim Powers, how can i get in touch with him?

  • This describes my oldest and best friend to a T although a bout with breast cancer and the necessary chemo and radiation treatments did keep her off the booze for about a year. Once she thankfully successfully completed her treatment and was deemed to be cancer free, she went right back to the booze. Although she had a reasonably successful professional life and is now retired, she was not and is not now always so high functioning. When she has a number of vodka and tonics she will start to repeat herself and slur her words. Despite sometimes becoming what I deem a sloppy drunk, she makes sure she has a drink in hand at each and every social event or every time she visits me. As we now live in different states, we often speak on the phone to stay in touch and every time I call in the evenings I always hear the ice cubes clinking the sides of the glass. I can’t tell you how many times over the years we’ve argued about her drinking, but to no avail. The last time we got together it was for a long weekend with another close friend who has spent his life as a social worker counselling people who have alcohol and drug abuse problems. I was so upset about her drinking that I turned to the other friend for advice – not the first time in all our years of friendship. He again suggested I attend ALANON meetings to help me deal with the anger, frustration and sadness I feel every time I get together with my Alcoholic Friend and learn how to avoid further enabling her drinking when we are together. I am planning on attending my first ALANON meeting on April 4th in anticipation of a visit to my home state in late April during which I will again see my Alcoholic Friend. Hopefully, the ALANON meetings will help me learn how to cope with her drinking and provide me with a clue as to how to help her .

    • SoberMelissa

      8 years ago

      Sharon, it’s so hard to see it when you’re still an active drinker. I, too, suggest Al-Anon. It won’t help her get sober (only she can do that), but it certainly will help You. Best wishes for you both.

  • It wasn’t until I stopped drinking that I could see how much and how often I drank and that others did not drink like I did. I never got a DUI, lost a job, ruined my credit, ended a relationship (I thought) because of drinking, yet in the end drank every day. When I went into treatment, no one including family members could believe I was alcoholic. No one knew and I was exhausted keeping it that way! 31 years sober I have the peace of mind, the career and most important, the kind of relationship(s) that nourish me. Life is Good.

  • Yes! Thank you for speaking to this. I have a little over a year sober and I was this person you describe. I would add another symptom that I found nailed me to become honest with myself is trying to control one’s drinking- only at parties, only when I have water in between drinks, I won’t keep it in the house ….. All the mind games that go along with control.
    Thanks again. I think more people need to truly understand alcoholism .

    • Wow 5 days well done. I remember my first week that was nearly 11 years ago. Keep it up its worth it. Regards Peter email me when you have two weeks .


    • Kelly Wynn

      8 years ago

      Keep it up. We are all here cheering you on! I have 2 1/2 years of sobriety after 20 years of being an alcoholic. You are in our prayers. Xoxo

  • Thinking you should quit and wanting to, wanting to very badly, are two different things. I have 13 years and two months now. Over. It’s over, and I don’t get cravings because I don’t have a sense of entitlement.
    I can see where it would be difficult for a high functioning alcoholic/addict to stop or even ameliorate their problem, their situation.
    They’re making it work. They’re getting away with it. They are walking the tightrope.
    Towards the end there I was picking up bindles of meth on the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. And seeing that mess down there, the unbelievable degradation and despair — seeing that — I took a cold, hard, honest, SOBER look at where I was heading and I made a choice.
    Because recovery always involves a choice. Not, “It’s a disease. Mama didn’t love me. My grandfather was a booze ghoul…”
    No. It doesn’t matter because the only way to stop is to make the commitment and when you do that the inner resources will manifest.

  • No name this time

    8 years ago

    From a former high-functioning pothead (weed don’t kill MY ambition, thank you very much!) with 10 years off the bong, congratulations to you all.

  • bil murphy

    8 years ago

    Hey Tim I’m a guitarist drummer and singer ya think its harder in the industry ?

  • Been sober for 7 Years and this article is my life prior to giving up alcohol. I especially relate to the guilt. Life is so much better sober. Toughest battle I ever fought but so happy I did. I continue to work in a brutally honest way with myself to keep it real

  • The high functioning alcoholic is a testament to the human will and what it can accomplish, as well as our ability to deceive others as well as ourselves. I was one for many, many years, but felt so tired and sick all the time. At the end, I was no longer high-functioning , but barely functioning–it will eventually come to that. I’ve been clean and sober since Nov; 23, 2013. I’m still grateful when I wake up after a good night’s sleep and feel physically well, regardless of the pressure I’m under or what “terms” life is dealing me. Anxiety is no longer a reason to grab a bottle, but a challenge for me to meet head-on—you gotta go through it! I’ve got a good, strong recovery network, people I love and who love me. I couldn’t do it without them. It’s great to be free!

  • I just want to express to everyone with even just a few hours or days sober that I know it’s been hard, you are very brave, and all journies start with just a few steps. I hope you continue on your journey to escaping from being slave to alcohol or another substance.

  • I can relate. I struggle everyday with this unfortunately..

  • David Hall

    8 years ago

    Nice article. I did this for many years knowing someday I would have to quit drinking. Always able to work, pay bills, play gigs with my band, but alcohol was also a priority through all of it until it left me living in my car, broke, terrified. My friends finally gave up on me and my family was out of patience. I had to sink or swim and got sober in 2010 for good. I finally focused on doing everything sober and have succeeded. Alcohol ruined my ambition and self esteem, but I learned how to get those things back., and got everything else back too the hard way. I am glad I survived myself.

    • You survived good deal. The ups don’t mean a thing without the downs. Stay sober and live on!

  • I am a 61 year-old female who has been drinking since I was 19. There is a very strong predisposition for alcoholism on both sides of my family. Drinking was the way my parents dealt with life, and I chose the same route. Reading this article finally brought home the truth…I am a high-functioning alcoholic. This is the very first time I have finally admitted it. It’s time to find my way out of this dark and lonely place.

  • I wish that I could stop. This article is me, at this very moment I’m laying here next to the love of my and I’m hungover again. I have had some incredible memories while drinking and some pretty horrible ones. I enjoy the escape the bottle offers me. I’ve been to a couple meetings, I need help. Just got married and I need to do this not just for me but my family.

    • Steph I am in the same situation. I have been doing it since I got married as well. 2 years now.

      Try to get help. Maybe you’re stronger than me

  • Great article! I’m an alcoholic myself, so I totally relate to keeping it “functional” for a long time. I also notice these symptoms in a lot of my friends.

    What I don’t seem to get though, is what makes them an alcoholic? Where’s the harm? The unmanageability? Where’s the PROBLEM? What makes them an alcoholic in the sense of the word that it implies some defect/limitation to their lives?

    These are rationalisations that they would use if they were to be confronted. And to be honest, I wouldn’t have an answer to them. How is it different to smoking cigarettes? Or not being able to go a day without 8 cups of coffee? It’s unhealthy to the body and clearly a mechanism for coping with something, but that’s it?

    Is this all down to the implication that it will inevitably become a massive problem at some stage? If that is what is implied, I understand. But this should be made clearer though.

    If my drinking had no real consequences, I would still be drinking

    • kim james

      8 years ago

      What if your child or parent or spouse or someone you love needed you during your time of drinking? What if they had an issue they needed to talk to you about honestly and they needed a rational answer? What if they were in an accident or for some reason needed you to drive them to get help or just be there for them at a hospital or somewhere that you needed to drive to? If you didn’t help them and something awful happened you would never forgive yourself. How many times do people not let their children do things that would help them better their lives because they don’t want to have to drive them somewhere? How many times do parents let their children do as they please because disciplining them would kill their buzz. I see what you mean about them being able to function and financially take care of their family. But are they there for them emotionally? Are they embarrassing their children by doing or saying inappropriate things?

      Those might be some things that limit them. As well as what they are doing to their body. I’m sure their children worry all the time that if they need them they won’t be able to be there for them whether it be emotionally or physically.

      Those are some arguments you might consider. It’s not all about the individual, there’s always others that it affects whether they want to admit it or not.

      There’s always some type of consequence when you partake in controlled substances.

  • This is me. This is my current reality. I am a successful professional. .. and a mom to a lovely 2 year old. Through the tough times in my marriage I drank. Now it’s a habit. When I’m stressed, when im anxious, or when I have too much on my plate I drink.

    I want to stop but then I get urges ( like right now ) and I take a shot. I don’t want to stop drinking completely so I haven’t went to AA. I wish i could drink in moderation. It wasn’t until recently I realized I drink about 2 pints of tequilla a week. I know its not healthy but I just want it.

    I hope that I get help soon. I feel so helpless and weak. Like I’ll never be able to stop and eventually ruin my life.

    • Cindy Walker

      8 years ago

      I hope the mother urge in you will overwhelm your urge to drink. Use your daughter as excuse not to drink. Your relationship with your daughter will pay off hundred fold, and will last and support you your lifetime. It is all a choice. Choose your daughter. She is worth it, and You are worth it.


  • What about the alcoholic that feels no shame or remorse for his drinking. In fact when asked to tone it down he gets furious. He knows he has a problem with alcohol yet has no desire to stop. He was raised with both parents being alcoholics. We are pregnant with our first child and he has made it perfectly clear he has no intention in changing. I guess I should have known better as a nurse.

  • I recognize I am a highly functioning alcoholic and haven’t had a drink for a week. I believe I can keep this going on my own with counseling. My husband, who I argue often with,,,, insists that I go to an inpatient rehab. I keep telling him that Insurance won’t cover the cost because I don’t need detox…. (I’ve investigated 4 facilities so far.) The only outpatient facility I can find is 1.5 hours from my house. Any advice or suggestions?

  • Tim, want a Victrola with a bunch of 78’s? I have one for sale soon to go on Craig’s list.
    Moderation is what differentiates an alcoholic,
    AA can help to control the urge;
    The environment that you live in is also a key.
    What ever the reason, I don’t think that it can be classified as a “disease.”
    It’s more of a want. Like coffee. Or nicotine. Or sweets..
    Those are not diseases,They are desires.

  • Wow , I thought they were writing about me, I have only been sober a few months but will not go back

  • Laura Wright

    6 years ago

    This was me for 15 years. Then I began to lose everything. It tookthe loss of my marriage and other things to get me to really look at myself. I am sober now and my life gets better every day. Alcoholism is a insidious thing that will rob the alcoholic of everything including their life if it gets the chance. I attend AA but there are many other ways to seek the help needed to stop. I was terrified of the thought of stopping the booze but terrified of continuing. I am a very lucky alcoholic today because I found a way out and will be eternally grateful for that as will all of the people who love me and had to watch while I slowly destroyed myself

  • A Blessing. I was “functional” for 45 years. I was finally defeated by desperation 3 years after my blessed wife Ritty died. I was 68 when I surrendered. Thank you Bill W and Bob S for giving me the keys to the Kingdom! I did the work! And now live a life filled with joy and gratitude, while giving back to others, that which I was so freely given! I’m 75 now!

    • Kiersteen

      6 years ago

      How do you help your partner? I’ve been living with a functional alcoholic for 2 years darting for 4. He has tried to quit 5 times he has had seizures 4 times. Any. Suggestions would be appreciated.

      • I’m sorry for your torment. You are not alone. My wife lived with my “worrisome” drinking for 30 years. She could do nothing other than worry. Nobody can “help” an alcoholic stop. It can only come “from within” when the drunk admits they are powerless over Alcohol and their life has become unmanageable. AA is a Spiritual program (not religious). God, “as you understand Him” is mandatory. One must have the capacity to be totally honest with themselves. Down to the deepest recesses of ones soul. He should detox under medical supervision where antidotes can be administered for his DT’s. There are numerous 30 day residential recovery centers that provide medical support and intensive programs to introduce the patient to their disease. Many insurance programs cover these costs. For you, I recommend Alanon, an organization for spouses and family’s in your situation. They teach you about alcoholism and how to support the alcoholic in their sobriety. Alcoholism is never “cured” and millions of anonymous drunks (some you may know, but least expect) live vibrant sober lives far exceeding their wildest imagination. Buy the book titled “Alcoholics Anonymous” at an AA meeting or Central Office. Search the web for locations.

      • Holly Corroon Robinson

        5 years ago

        Leave and tell him you cannot watch him kill himself. Tell him you will be there to support him when he is ready to get professional help. He cant stop on his own.

      • He will need medical
        assistance to detox, so that they can monitor his health and well being during the withdrawals.

      • Grania Haigh

        5 years ago

        I am speaking as someone who is 23 years sober. Best thing you can do for him is to take yourself to Al anon, get a sponsor and work the programme. You cannot stop him from drinking, except to get emotionally well yourself, stop enabling and rescuing, let him live with the consequences of his drinking. You can love him while doing all this, in fact, to enable him is the opposite of love, no matter how you feel that doing so is an expression of positive support. Model what emotional health and self care looks like. It really is the best and only thing you can do.

        • Maureen Freeborn

          5 years ago

          My sentiments too Grania,for 27yrs I`ve been advising partners/families that they can`t make the alcoholic “better” and should get themselves well

      • Maureen Freeborn

        5 years ago

        Either leave him or go to Al-Anon for your own sanity

  • Two other traits of the HFA are blame and manipulation. Those two behaviors start early in the process. Because they are high functioning their requests are not suspect but upon deeper examination they lead to more drinking. Once the addiction begins all roads lead to drinking in the guise of something else. Best defense is very strong boundaries and no matter what the request and how benign it is say “NO” especially if it something he or she can do for themselves.

    • Bruce Wickizer

      5 years ago

      “All these and many others, have but one symptom in common. They cannot start drinking without developing the phenomenon of craving , As we have suggested , may be the manifestation of a allergy Which differentiates these people and set some apart as a distinct entity

  • Ruth Baldwin-Staggs

    5 years ago

    High-functioning alcoholics have a healthy obsession – This statement in the body of this article really bothers me….I don’t believe that there can be a “healthy” obsession and seems to me to be misleading for anyone who is dealing with a true obsession that can now label it “healthy”.

  • Tony Garcia

    5 years ago

    As a recovering alcoholic I’d like to say this article was me to a tee. The article was great, but there so much more to write about on the professional alcoholic.
    Keep in mind he is a very sick man. He has an underlying problem as to why he/she is drinking.
    I learned at a very young age that alcohol could mask pain from beatings. So, I would steal wine out of the wine cellar. I didn’t quit drinking until I was 58.
    I like the professional turned into a lier, hater, deciever, cheater and the list goes on…
    I go to Alcoholics Anonymous once or twice a week religiously and I’m happy, joyous and free today.

    • Good for you! ❤️❤️❤️ I wish my ex have done that?

  • Kalon Kupo-kupo Specht

    5 years ago

    Aside from that guilt and shame paragraph I feel this article is spot on. I’ve embraced the fact that in my non-drinking life I do better because I live the two separate lives. I’m also better at managing my finances when I have social events coming up. As for denial, I beg to question if high-functioning alcoholics even have a problem besides shorter life expectancy.

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