Functioning Alcoholics

 Functioning Alcoholics

It is difficult for you to accept that your partner’s drinking has become a part of their lives. Can they maintain sobriety?

It is possible that you will see it first, before your partner. You may have noticed an increase in drinking frequency and quantity. A spouse who hasn’t had a drink for a while may seem angry or apprehensive. This could be the result of your partner’s alcohol-related memory loss. They might do things that are risky or out of character when they are under the influence.

The word “alcoholic” invokes images of people who can’t seem to get their lives together rather than people who are successful in their careers and relationships due to how it has been portrayed throughout popular culture over the years.

The disease of alcoholism affects both men and women equally. A study published by the National Institutes of Health indicates that about 20% of those with alcohol addiction are functioning alcoholics. Most of these individuals are well-educated and have steady careers and families.

Alcohol Abuse Discussion

For someone to be motivated to seek help, the negative consequences of a problem must be evident to them, and the more functioning someone is in the face of alcoholism, the more difficult it is for them to recognize their need for treatment.

Most likely, you are aware that your spouse isn’t performing as well as they think they are and is suffering from unintended consequences. Providing assistance is a kind act, but it isn’t always interpreted as such by the person being assisted. Think about how you approach the discussion. Here are some ideas:

  1. Keep your primary objective in mind.

Your partner’s actions may irritate and anger you, which is entirely natural. If, however, you primarily want your partner to receive therapy, it’s better to avoid communicating defensively.

  1. Use the word “I” when making a statement.

You are more likely to be met with defensiveness and argument if you begin your statement with “you” (“You always…” or “You make me…”), rather than stating your own experience (“I was really scared when I heard the phone ring late the other night because I was afraid it was the police telling me you’d been in an accident”).

  1. Prepare a list of therapy options to give out.

If your partner is an alcoholic who is willing to seek help, it is a good idea to formulate a potential strategy. You should conduct your own treatment research to support them when they are ready.

  1. Keep in mind the effects of alcohol on the mind.

Alcohol damages parts of the brain involved in judgment and memory, making it hard for people to link their behavior with alcohol consumption or even remember what they’ve done.

A participant in Al-Anon has noted that alcoholics may experience blackouts. It appears that he is functioning, but he frequently forgets what he has done or said. Since he believes something did happen, his worry and unnamed guilt almost overwhelm him. If you feel sorry for him, you could think it’s unjust to subject him to the consequences of his drinking. But it’s better to calm his nerves and give him straight what he needs to know. After all, he deserves to know what drinking will cost him. If you approach him without anger or reproach and gently tell him what happened, you’ll be helping him see himself as he is.

Contact our alcohol treatment experts at Taylor Recovery Center to learn more about how you can help your functioning alcoholic friend, spouse, or relative.

Robert Desauza