Dating someone who excessively indulges in alcohol can be a rollercoaster ride of frustration, anger, and anxiety. It is crucial to establish open communication, set clear boundaries, and seek professional help when necessary in order to navigate the challenges and foster a healthy relationship.
The Complexity of Alcoholism
Recognizing alcoholism entails acknowledging the loss of control over one’s drinking habits. This includes an inability to regulate the amount, frequency, or location of alcohol consumption, as well as the inability to stop once started. Signs of alcoholism may manifest as temporary blackouts, mood swings, irritability, making excuses for drinking, and prioritizing alcohol over responsibilities. However, it’s important to note that high-functioning alcoholics may not always display these signs.
The Destructive Nature of Functional Alcoholism
Before delving into the concept of a functional alcoholic, it is essential to understand the profound impact that alcoholism can have on the lives it touches. The seemingly put-together facade of a functional alcoholic can mask the potential for a marriage to crumble, a life to descend into chaos, or a career to be destroyed. Despite their outward appearance, functional alcoholics are susceptible to quick and gradual harm.
Being in a relationship with a high-functioning alcoholic who refuses to acknowledge their addiction and seek help from an alcohol and drug addiction rehab center is ultimately unsustainable. Often, it is the spouse who becomes aware of their partner’s alcohol problems, witnessing secret drinking and experiencing the emotional upheavals caused by alcoholism, which can lead to emotional abuse and distance.
When someone loves an individual struggling with addiction, they face challenging decisions about how to provide support. It may feel selfish to distance oneself from a partner, but it is crucial to prioritize one’s own well-being before attempting to help them. As the saying goes, “Put on your oxygen mask first.”
Unmasking the Functional Alcoholic
A functional alcoholic is an individual who outwardly appears to lead a typical life but secretly battles an addiction to alcohol. These individuals may hold stable jobs and maintain strong relationships with family, friends, and their community. However, they are dependent on, or even addicted to, alcohol.
In a relationship with a high-functioning alcoholic, their sobriety might not be visibly compromised, but they cannot go a day without consuming alcohol. Denial forms a significant part of the dialogue surrounding functional alcoholism, so questioning their drinking habits might prove futile.
Living with a high-functioning alcoholic can lead to emotional and psychological damage, even when their success and stability seem enviable. Identifying a high-functioning alcoholic can be challenging due to their own reluctance to acknowledge the issue. However, certain signs can help determine whether someone is a functional alcoholic.
Signs of a Functional Addict
In a relationship with a high-functioning alcoholic, common occurrences may include:
- Consistently consuming four to five drinks per hour on a daily basis.
- Drastic changes in personality, characterized by intense mood swings when drinking and when sober.
- Establishing limits for themselves but consistently failing to adhere to them.
- Prioritizing drinking over various aspects of their life.
- Rumors and comments circulating about their drinking habits.
- Breaking personal commitments due to their alcohol consumption.
- Experiencing aggressive mood shifts while under the influence.
- Engaging in excessive partying during social events.
- Frequent blackouts as a result of their drinking habits.
Additional Signs in a Romantic Relationship
When dating a functional addict, it becomes apparent through specific behaviors, such as:
- Requesting that you cover for them while they are intoxicated, including calling their workplace to feign sickness.
- Frequently needing to borrow money due to spending irresponsibly on alcohol.
- Maintaining a daily consumption of at least three drinks.
- Forgetting commitments and obligations due to excessive drinking.
- Preferring to drink alone to hide the true extent of their alcohol intake.
- Being tense and temperamental due to the effects of alcohol and the need to hide their addiction.
- Reacting defensively when approached about cutting back on drinking, often accusing their partner of attempting to control them.
Identifying a High-Functioning Alcoholic
Navigating a relationship with a high-functioning alcoholic can be an uphill battle. Understanding the signs and symptoms of their addiction is crucial for both parties involved. If you suspect that your loved one is a high-functioning alcoholic, it is vital to provide support and encourage them to seek professional help before irreversible damage occurs.
Remember, acknowledging the problem is the first step towards recovery. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol addiction, consider seeking assistance from a reputable addiction treatment center near you.
To learn more about the challenges of dating a functional alcoholic and how to overcome them, visit Six Minute Dates.