Wednesday, November 11, 2015

No Such Thing as a "Functional Alcoholic"

There is no such thing as functional alcoholism, just as there is no such thing as functional cancer. Both are chronic potentially fatal illnesses that grow worse over time. The term functional alcoholism allows the enabler (that's you if you ever use this term) to continue the advantages of the relationship they have with the alcoholic, even while their role as an enabler grows worse. Functional alcoholism assuages your guilt for doing nothing but help the alcoholic get worse. The defense mechanism is akin to “minimizing." Functional alcoholism means “his or her drinking problem doesn’t bother me.” Those labeled as functional alcoholics by others often demonstrate middle or late stage alcoholism characteristics including blackouts (memory loss while drinking), DUI arrests, and dysfunction within their homes, including relationship problems with the spouse and children. You don't hear about or see evidence of these things in your workplace relationship because evidence of acute, chronic alcoholism shows up there last. The most enabling statement--the real killer--is helping alcoholics to the grave by calling them functional. Translation: The drinking problem doesn't bother me. This video explains more.