Are you worried about your spouse or partner’s drinking habits? How can you tell if it’s “just partying” or if they need help? When is it really “rock bottom”? And how much longer can you take it? If you’re asking yourself these questions, chances are your partner may be a functioning alcoholic.
What is a Functioning Alcoholic?
You’ve probably seen how TV portrays a “drunk”: always stumbling, slurring their words, and probably living under a bridge. In reality, there are plenty of people who have good jobs, dress well, make a lot of money, and are raging alcoholics. These people are sometimes called “functioning alcoholics,” or someone who can function in their everyday lives while still drinking excessively. The definition of “function” is a loose one, though.
They might think they’re fine because they’re showing up to work every day, for example, but their boss probably would say otherwise. They might think that their friends think they’re the life of the party, when actually, they haven’t been invited to major events because of their drunken shenanigans.
The bottom line is, if your spouse’s drinking is causing issues, then it’s time to seek treatment — even if other parts of their life are fine. So how can you tell if your spouse needs to get help? Here are a few warning signs to look out for:
Excessive Drinking or Drinking Alone
Maybe you notice your husband has a few cocktails every night. Even if it seems as though your partner’s drinking isn’t affecting their daily life, excessive drinking and a tolerance build-up are a major sign that they may be an alcoholic or struggling with addiction.
Also keep in mind, you may not be aware of your partner’s excessive drinking if they drink alone often. Drinking alone and secretly is often a sign of depression and addiction. If you discover that they’re hiding alcohol to minimize their use, that’s a big sign of a problem, too.
Not Functioning Well Without Alcohol
Another sign to look out for is if your partner finds it hard to function well when sober. Maybe they feel they need a few drinks to have a successful work event. Maybe they need a glass of wine in order to write or answer emails. Maybe your partner doesn’t want to do anything when they are sober, but once they have that drink in them they are up and about getting things done. This is a perfect example of someone building a dependence on alcohol. While your spouse is drinking, but still functioning and getting their responsibilities done (for the most part) it may not seem like it’s a big problem at first. However, the tolerance build-up and dependency on alcohol will only escalate. The “functioning” way they lived will crumble as issues caused by their drinking will burden your relationship and your lives.
Denial & Secrecy
If they deny having a problem or are lying about how much they drink, it’s a red flag! That’s not just for functioning alcoholics, but any alcoholic. Maybe your spouse gives excuses to justify their drinking habits, such as, “I drink to relax,” or, “Socializing with clients is part of my job, so I have to drink with them.” News flash: They are not only lying to you, but lying to themselves.
Accepting addiction is difficult for everyone involved, but you can help break the denial by bringing it up in a kind way. When talking to your spouse about going to treatment, they will be more receptive if you approach them in a calm and helpful manner. Accusing your partner will only build up the defensiveness and denial. For more information about how to approach your loved one about addiction, click here.
Rehab & Support Groups
If your spouse is showing signs of alcoholism, it will only get worse and lead to more problems. “Functioning” can turn into “nonfunctioning” really quickly. That’s why it’s so important for your partner to go to residential addiction treatment (aka rehab) as soon as possible.
At Transformations Care, we understand your spouse’s struggles because we’ve been there too. Encouraging your spouse to go to residential treatment is the solution that can bring your husband back to you. It may even save your marriage!
If you’re still not sure that your partner’s a functioning alcoholic or has a substance abuse problem, reach out to us for the answers to your questions. At Transformations Care, our admissions team will help you figure out the best path to recovery for your spouse.
Know you’re not alone and there are MANY other people struggling with their spouse’s addiction. We can help you find Al-Anon or alternative support group zoom meetings for you as an outlet. For more information on Al-Anon and even teen support groups for kids of alcoholics, click here.
Are you frustrated watching your husband drink their life away? Call us today at 424.339.0965 for a no pressure, no BS conversation. Or chat us on the homepage! We’ll give you the straight answer on what your spouse is facing – and help you find help.
Getting Clean & Sober at Home
Today, more than 75% of hospitals and healthcare providers offer access to telehealth treatment, with 29 states having gone so far as to enact telehealth parity laws, which force insurance companies to reimburse patients for telehealth at the same rates as they would for in-person treatment.
If you’ve been thinking about getting clean and sober, or if you’ve been wanting to work on and strengthen the recovery you already have, it’s never been easier to do it through telehealth.
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