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How to Cope with a High Functioning Alcoholic

A man drinking at a happy hour after work.
High functioning alcoholics can be difficult to spot. Find out how to cope with a high functioning alcoholic.

There’s always this façade with your loved one when in public. From the outside looking in, your spouse, child, parent or other loved one has it all. They have a great career, beautiful home, loving family and friends and they are comfortable financially.

Or at least, that’s what your loved one’s public persona suggests.

Behind closed doors, you know differently. When at home, your loved one isolates themselves so they can drink in peace. They’ve made more and more excuses about where they go after work and who they’re spending their time with. They’ve even asked you to cover for them while they recover from a hangover.

Your loved one is a high functioning alcoholic.

You know it. They know it (even though they deny it). So, what are you supposed to do?

Living with a functional alcoholic is challenging, painful and heartbreaking. Luckily, there are some things you can do to cope with a high functioning alcoholic and get them the help they need.

4 Ways to Cope with a High Functioning Alcoholic

1. Don’t Protect Your Loved One’s Behaviors

You love your spouse, parent, child or sibling and all you want to do is help them. That’s why you’ve made excuses for their drinking or even tried to accept their behaviors by drinking with them. All this does is enable your loved one’s drinking problem.

Instead, stop telling yourself they’re just drinking because of stress. Don’t help them financially or protect them from the consequences. And don’t sacrifice your own needs to keep them happy. To truly help your loved one, you need to face the reality of their drinking problem.

2. Don’t Let Your Loved One Manipulate You

As you try to talk to your loved one about their drinking, they’ll most certainly deny that they have a problem. They’ll say they only drink on weekends or that wine is actually good for them. They may try to claim that the stress of supporting you and the family is a lot to handle and they need a way to relax.

When your loved one makes these excuses and tries to make you feel guilty, remember that their drinking isn’t your fault. They’re struggling with a disease and need your help to get appropriate treatment.

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3. Seek an Intervention

If talking to your loved one about their alcoholism isn’t working and they refuse to get treatment, it may be time for an intervention. An intervention gives you and other family members and friends a chance to confront your loved one about their alcoholism.

Since interventions are moderated by a professional, this gives you a safe space to be honest and open with your loved one, convince them to get the treatment they need and warn them of the consequences if they don’t get treatment.

4. Seek Help for Yourself

Whether or not your loved one gets treatment for their alcoholism, it’s important for you to seek help for yourself. Alcoholism takes a toll on family members and friends, and you’ve sacrificed a lot for your loved one. Now it’s time to seek help from a therapist or support groups like Al-Anon.

This gives you a place to ask questions about your loved one’s alcoholism, connect with others who are going through the same thing you are and heal from your own pain your loved one’s addiction has caused.

Addiction Treatment for Functioning Alcoholics at The Raleigh House

At The Raleigh House, we offer premiere alcohol addiction treatment in Denver, Colorado. At our wellness lodge called The Ranch, we provide evidence-based and holistic treatment that can help your loved one recover from alcoholism and co-occurring disorders.

We know how difficult it can be to get your loved one to agree to treatment, which is why we also offer intervention services. Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about our treatment programs.

Call Now: 720-891-4657

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