Signs Youre Married to a Functional Alcoholic and What to Do About it

Some functional alcoholics actually have a better personality when they are consistently, mildly inebriated. In that sense the alcohol may act as an anti-anxiety serum producing an easy-going, affectionate spouse. When sober, the same person may be introverted, nervous or angry. The Functional Alcoholic may be highly-skilled, dependably-employed and well-regarded at the office. He probably fits in with the neighbors, enjoys hobbies and looks forward to the future. Physically, besides the perpetual beer can in hand and occasionally red-rimmed eyes, he probably shows no outward signs of addiction.

What are the four types observed in wives of alcoholics?

Whalen (1983) described four types of 'wives of alcoholics' viz. suffering Susan, controlling Catherine, wavering Winifred and punitive Polly, where the disturbed personality of the wife was a significant contributor to alcoholism in her husband.

These are people who care about someone in their life who is down on their luck, and just want to help them. To protect yourself from the alcoholic, it is suggested that setting boundaries and holding them accountable for their actions is often helpful for both you and them. RósGlas Recovery provides boutique luxury therapy retreatsfor addictions and psychological issues located in beautiful and luxurious settings in Irish countryside. John C. Umhau, MD, MPH, CPE is board-certified in addiction medicine and preventative medicine. For over 20 years Dr. Umhau was a senior clinical investigator at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Therefore, such experts can take this often contested, complex subject and help the spouses, the lawyers and the court better deal with it.

I Want a Divorce But My Husband Doesn’t

The deep-seated sense of denial keeps them trapped in addiction’s vicious cycle. A high-functioning alcoholic generally consumes as much alcohol as someone with a classic alcohol use disorder, but they never show the typical signs of intoxication. These individuals often project themselves as both physically and mentally healthy, but internally, they struggle with constant cravings, and they’re plagued with obsessive thoughts about their next drink. If your loved one is in denial or doesn’t want to seek treatment, they’re not alone. According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health,about 14.5 million people have an AUD, and yet only 7% received treatment that year. He was always the breadwinner and provided a good income for our family.

Is it OK to ask your husband to stop drinking?

Communication is the key thing

If you never talk about it, your partner may never know how disturbed and concerned you are by it. The idea is to make them aware of what is going on and how uncomfortable you are, also including how much you would love them to quit drinking.

Because you would like to travel, join a group and go without him. It could provide a much-needed break from the stress you are experiencing. You worry that if you leave, he’ll self-destruct, and you love him too much despite what he puts you through. You know that it’s a disease and that the things he does are a symptom, and you don’t want to give up on him because he’s sick. You could give up on it, on him, but you’d also be giving up on the wonderful times in between, the happy memories you’re building that almost make up for the rest. My husband is pretty close to perfect, the ideal that I dreamed of since I was prancing around in my mother’s lacy nightgowns pretending they were my wedding dress.

How do I deal with the high-functioning alcoholic in my life?

The Functional Alcoholic is probably aware that he drinks more than the average person, but not aware that it’s a problem. Typically the functional alcoholic is cognizant enough not to get caught driving under the influence or compromising his livelihood. The Functional Alcoholic may have started drinking to fit in with a social group or erase job stress. Whatever the reason, the Functional Alcoholic has crossed the line from wanting to drink to needing to drink. Another sign your husband or loved one is a functioning alcoholic is if they can’t “function” without drinking.

  • Anger and frustration can be tough emotions when supporting someone with AUD.
  • When talking to your spouse about going to treatment, they will be more receptive if you approach them in a calm and helpful manner.
  • All the focus shifts to your sick spouse, and you can get sucked into the mental health issues that an addict or alcoholic brings into your life.
  • In essence, codependent relationships feature one party who is the perpetual taker and one who is the over-the-top giver.

Luckily, no one has to face addiction alone – and that includes military families and the loved ones of vets. If you find yourself a functional alcoholic with a codependent wife, there are rehab programs that include couples counseling. Learn ways to heal all aspects of the alcohol use disorder, including marriage. The more an alcoholic can see their part in the problem, the more likely they are to surrender to alcohol addiction treatment. Blaming others allows the alcoholic to be a victim, and their focus is to make everyone else see what they did wrong and not themselves.

Dear Abby: Once I had compassion for my alcoholic husband, but now I’m just angry

For others, it takes a years of quiet abuse before the effects start to take place. Some people may appear to have it together while they secretly cope with high functioning alcoholism. People with alcohol use disorder can appear responsible and productive.They might even be a high achiever or in a position of power. The classic picture of someone with alcohol use disorder  is someone who always drinks too much and whose life is falling apart because of it.

  • However, many alcoholics manage to function effectively, holding down jobs and maintaining households.
  • If one of our articles is marked with a ‘reviewed for accuracy and expertise’ badge, it indicates that one or more members of our team of doctors and clinicians have reviewed the article further to ensure accuracy.
  • An experienced intervention specialist can help the participants prepare for these reactions so they can respond effectively.
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