Here’s something many of us might not have thought about before; some people are proud of their alcoholic status and their ability to balance it with the rest of their life. There might actually be more people with this attitude than we think.
The Balancing Act of Functioning Alcoholics
A functioning alcoholic is a person who is able to hold a job and carry out their normal responsibilities, while being dependent on alcohol. Many people may not even know the person has an alcohol problem. Someone who is a functioning alcoholic may routinely sneak alcohol to work in their coffee mug, may be drunk while eating dinner with the family, or under the influence while watching their child’s basketball game. Their body may even require some amount of alcohol constantly to avoid dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Given the chance, and often at home at night, the person will get completely wasted and drag themselves to bed, before beginning another day of work and drinking.
Some might ask what the problem is with this kind of life. Functioning alcoholics themselves have been heard to argue that they are not hurting anyone but themselves, so what’s the problem? Some are even proud to be functioning alcoholics. They are happy to be the ones having a good time at parties, they have learned the art of sneaking alcohol into places that don’t allow it, and they have no intention of stopping.
Problems with Alcoholism
The problem is that alcoholism is unhealthy and it does hurt people. Someone who is impaired by alcohol is not as productive as someone in their right mind, so it affects their employer. A functioning alcoholic who drinks while driving has the potential for ruining lives with an accident.
It is not just the violent alcoholics that have a negative impact on their family. A person always under the influence cannot carry out their duties as well at home, or have as close of a relationship with their spouse or children, so it affects the family. A father who is emotionally withdrawn from his kids because he is frequently drunk is negatively impacting his kids. Someone more focused on drinking than helping around the house is putting extra pressure on their spouse to fill both roles. An alcoholic spends a great deal of money on their drinking, which can financially affect the family.
Drinking to excess does indeed affect everyone close to the alcoholic. Someone who sees nothing wrong with their dependence on alcohol is not looking closely enough. It is harmful to their own bodies, and looking beyond their own health, alcoholism affects many people around them. Someone struggling with alcoholism should get help, not just for themselves, but to benefit those around them.