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define a "functioning" alcoholic?
July 31, 2005
10:31 pm
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I C Gold
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Is there such a thing? Someone who can drink a lot-not everyday but does sometimes do too much-and get up the next morning and work all day like nothing ever happened...

Can you have a sucessful relationship with someone who may "binge" once a month or so but still can pay the bills, go to work, doesn't get angry or violent.
He just sometimes drinks too much?
HELP! He's the love of my life and we've waited 12 years for the timing to be such where we can try again. I don't want to make any more mistakes so that's why I need you guys to help me out!

July 31, 2005
10:53 pm
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lollipop3
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I C,

Yes, there are alcoholics who can drink and still work, pay bills, etc. However, I wonder why it is that you ask this question. It seems as though there are issues that you have with his drinking that brings you to this question.

I suppose the question really is, can YOU have a successful relationship with someone who binge drinks....because it depends on whether or not you can accept that you cannot change him or make him stop drinking.

Does his drinking cause problems in your relationship?

Lolli

July 31, 2005
11:25 pm
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In the past I had a problem with it, but I was VERY codependent with him and now that I'm healthier and have set my boundries I will not put up with what we did back then. He assures me that he's not drinking like that anymore-health reasons more so than wanting to quit I'm betting-
I want so much for this to work with us and am guessing I feel a little insecure about enforcing my boundries and limits with him because of how I feel about him. Thats why I want to take it SLOW so I can see if I can or can not stand up and be strong for me.
I refuse to caretake or rescue him anymore. I know I can't change him, I don't even want to try, it's not MY problem but I have some questions about the "forever" thing we both want. Especially when I have to consider my daughter will be coming and visiting. I've already told him if she's visiting and he shows up drunk or even drinking
~DEAL BREAKER~ I'm gone. No questions, no excuses.

July 31, 2005
11:31 pm
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exoticflower
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gold, that is my ex. It was functional in every way except that I couldn't be happy, he was two different people, and eventually I dodn't know which was the real one...I think the negative side of him is what ruled him eventually, the kind loving him was just a tool after a point. ((((gold))))I guess I think functioing allows for happiness, and I don't think you are happy.

August 1, 2005
8:59 am
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SexySadie
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That was what someone told me was the difference between an alcoholic and an alcohol abuser. Abusers were not able to function when they binged. They were likely to call in sick to work, get DUIs etc. I do know of one alcoholic that is totally functioning and runs a very successful business. My EX is an abuser. He's been a binge drinker. His GF is an alcoholic.

August 1, 2005
9:29 am
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frayedknot
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Gold

My ex is a functional alcholic. Did her job just fine.. But, she makes a lot of bad choices.. She isn't trustworthy.. She didn't sleep well at night because of her drinking.. She had to get platered to fall asleep or take prescription drugs..

My counselor says alcoholism is progressive. My ex is 41. The counselor said she will either die, become unfunctional, or have an event that causes her to stop drinking.

It bothered me when she drank too much.. Her pesonlity changed. She was very slutty, etc. It put some strain on our relationship..

Frayed

August 1, 2005
10:33 am
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Hurts_so_bad
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My father was a "functional" alcoholic. He went to work every single day, never had a sick day, but at nite and on weekends, all he would do is sit, drink and watch TV. Left my mom being a very bitter woman. He never took her anywhere, spent quality time with her. How lonely that must have felt.

Anyway, my father had a stroke several years ago and now is taken care of 24/7 by my mom. I feel bad for her because not only did she sacrafice her "younger" years but now she's sacraficing her retirement years as well taking care of him.

August 1, 2005
11:01 am
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lucyndesi
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Dear Ic gold, I believe there really isn't such a thing cuz, my functioning ex b/f is going down now..Yes, he was but, at one point I knew he would have an event that would make look at his life and say what the hell am I doing?? He just got a dui, and now he is w/a girl alcoholic...He is losing business cuz, he can't function now..But, I beleived he was a functioning alcoholic but, there WILL come a point when it controls them and they star to go down and you don't want to be there when that happens..It is IMPOSSSIBLE IN MY EYES FOR THEM TO STAY STAGNANT..THEIR DRINKING INCREASES AS THEIR ANTICS AND OUTBURTS..I found it impossible to keep up with an unhealthy relationship like that. I did it for 6 yrs...Now I have peace..I wish you strentgh and peace..lucy

August 1, 2005
11:15 am
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CAMER
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i have had contact with functioning alcoholics, with a few of my ex bf's.....their dads, being functioning alcoholics.

They both went to work daily, did all the right things, except when coming home, they'd open up that bottle and start drinking, and passing out or falling asleep at nite. Caused lots of chaos with their wives, not giving them attenition and finding more from a "bottle"...they both have jobs, but
mostly their lives and intimacy with
their wives went wayyyyy downhill due to all the drinking, and the outbursts that come along with it.
Usually a functioning alocholic will
put booze 1st and people 2nd.

August 1, 2005
11:36 am
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addicts wife
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There IS such a thing as the functioning addict, BUT the line is fine, and often wavers.
IF the person/people involved with this person are effected negatively, emotionally, spiritually, etc. then that is ((in my opinion)) DYSfunction.
IF the addict somehow does their drug of choice and it hasnt effected anyone negatively, includingthem, their health mentlly and physically then they are very rare.
I believe the term to be used quite loosly. Just becasue they can still work, make ends meet and run the household, their lives etc.... does that mean it is healthy?? , "Okay??/
are they truely healthy?? I dont see how, But I am no doctor, or psychologist etc.
Logic and experience tells me that the only way it can be true to be "functional" and well balanced is due to somekind of serious denial, acceptance and manipulation with years and years invested into their false identity. Addicts are quite clever, and great at rationalizing even the most basic things to the most insane ways of living into what will work for them to keep poisoning their minds and bodies.
I think the term fucntioning alcohic is really BS, but if all that makes someone a functionig person is to be able to pay bills and keep a job, I guess we are all functioning, but what is the quality of life involved in that kind of function?? Is it going to inhibit true happiness, love, healthy ways of living and behaving??

Great question though..Im goingtothink about this some more before I go on with anymore ideas and thoughts .

August 1, 2005
2:27 pm
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kathygy
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The important question is how does it it effect you and your relationship when he is drinking? You can't have a relationhsip with someone while they are drinking. Then there's always the question, will it get worse? This would cause me a lot of stress. You'll never be free of worry even if he doesn't drink everyday. I would not enter into a relationship with this man unless he stops drinking completely and even then I would need reasons to trust that he won't start again.

love,
kathy

August 1, 2005
5:18 pm
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glittered when he walked
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There are two aspects to alcoholism, abuse and dependence. people who go out on benders and have their drinking cause them to get fired from jobs aren't functioning alcoholics as I understand the vernacular meaning of functioning alcoholic.

those alcoholics who are sober at work but drink every night and everyday when not working can hold a job, thus they can be considered functioning.

August 1, 2005
7:04 pm
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Anonymous
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I havelived with a man who is "functional" . and so proud of himself for making it to work! no matter. he was a very unkind person, verbally and emotionally abusive. IF he wasn't being outwardly mean, he pouted these ragingly silent pouts!

And I have worked with a couple of radiologists that are "functional". Same deal, sarcastic and abusive. It has taken alot of self-control on my part to stay professional with these individuals I have to work with- because of my personal experiences.

I guess what I'm trying to say, is whether they are employed or not, chances are good that they will be abusive, one way or another.

August 1, 2005
7:04 pm
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gingerleigh
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Yes, glittered, that is what it is. That is exactly what it is. It's a horrible state to be in.

August 1, 2005
9:40 pm
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Wow! What a bunch of great advice and input..Thanks,
Since he and I have been down this road in the past(12 years ago)I know what to look for and recognize. I've told him I won't make him quit drinking, that's his choice and demon to face NOT MINE. My choice is whether or not I'll live with what he decides!! When he drinks, and doesn't, he's in no way violent,aggressive, or mean spirited. He's got issues with his dad and things I don't think he's put to bed emotionally and mentally. He WILL drink less and even stop when we are together. He says when I'm there and he's happy he doesn't want to drink. CAN ANYONE BESIDES ME HERE THE NEEDY AND CARETAKING BURDEN HE'S PUTTING ON ME? I saw that and won't play that game. He either gets his head and heart right or I'm not coming back. I've made some good progress and don't plan to sacrifice my mental health for anyone!!

August 3, 2005
5:11 pm
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glittered when he walked
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it's sort of an oxymoron isn't it? "functioning alcoholic?" Isn't being an alcoholic a dysfunction? It's one of those terms though that most folks have an idea what you mean when you say 'functioning alcoholic'

August 3, 2005
5:54 pm
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Rasputin
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I think ICGod, the definition of Functioning Alcoholic is someone who is in denial about his alcoholism, who is wearing mask and convincing everybody including himself that he is normal, sober, decent when he is not. It is deception, dishonesty & lie.

August 3, 2005
6:14 pm
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Anonymous
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You sound like a woman with her mind made up. I'm proud of you!

My father was the best walking, talking definition of a functioning alcoholic I've ever met.

Most people saw him as a charming, professional, dashingly handsome, gentleman.

He saved things like falling UP the stairs, hugging the toilet bowl, sluring ugly things, and getting abusive to let off steam just for the family.

August 3, 2005
6:51 pm
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Wood Sorrel
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Wow! Sounds like my husband. And sounds like you know what is what.

Someone pointed out here that what matters is if you will be happy with his drinking or not.

This is very true. I have come to realize that I cannot be happy with my partners drinking. Mine is maybe what you call a 'functional' acoholic. But really he does not function that well, it's just that he is able to hide it from a lot of people. Still he is not very responsible, ends up late to jobs and definitely doesn't sleep well and wakes up late and groggy. He also goes for the aspirin pretty regularly in the mornings.

What I can say is that his drinking has gotten worse over the years. He binges a lot more than it sounds like your man does. He binges a few times a week (with at least one very heavy night) and drinks more than he should on the other nights. He has maybe a couple of nights off a week from drinking. But even then he drinks secretly and it took me a long time to realize he was drinking more than I had thought and more often than he let me know about.

Also he has put the burden on me in the past to control both his smoking and drinking saying that he always did it less when I was having sex more often with him!
This is simply not even true! He drank plenty and smoked plenty when our sex life was more active. He is just thinking of the times when I insisted he didn't do either on the nights he wanted to be with me (because I wanted him to really be there with me and because the taste and smells were a big turn off!). But then he would end up basically choosing to have a night boozing instead of being with me but still blaming me for our lack of love life!

The one thing I would worry about in your situation is how honest he is being with you. If he is an alcoholic and truly addicted to the drink than he really does not have control of the drink, it has control of him. And if there is one thing I have learned, its that addicts lie about how much they use! And they do it to everyone!!!

BTW, mine doesn't get abusive when drunk either. Just incredibly stupid (while he thinks he is being hilarious). I find I have a hard time respecting him during this time. But if we do have a fight while he is drinking, he is definitely more aggressive than when sober and more weepy too. The thing is being drunk means you are drugged and not very in control of yourself and emotions.

Good luck with this! It sounds tricky. But as long as you are firm in your self-respect and know when to draw the line and how to protect yourself, then things should be good... Also maybe you want to read more about alcoholism to get an understanding of behavior patterns (maybe you have already, I don't know) and also got to an Al Anon meeting. It's been suggested to me here and I'm gonna try it out!

August 3, 2005
8:09 pm
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lollipop3
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I hope noone gets offended by this because that is certainly not my intention, however, I think what needs to be realized here is that it is not for any of us to determine who is or is not an alcoholic, functioning or otherwise....unless we are talking about ourselves.

No one can determine who is or is not an alcoholic except the alcoholic him/herself.

As long as we continue to try to decide what is or is not functioning....we are keeping the focus on them instead of ourselves.

The question should not be whether someone else is an alcoholic, but is that person's drinking having a negative effect on my life? And if so, what can I do to improve my OWN life.

(((hugs to all))))

Lolli

August 3, 2005
9:01 pm
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lulu0204
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I think an alcoholic is an alcoholic
regradless if they can pay the bills, get up the next mourning and work. My mother is an alcoholic has been on now for 10 or more years. Everyday when she came home she drank until she passed out.

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