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How To Be A High-Functioning Alcoholic

Updated on February 4, 2016
Raffael Fiano profile image

Raffael Fiano is an Italian-Brazilian writer and musician from Rome, Italy.


Alcohol is great. Anybody that says the opposite is either a loser who thinks he's better than everybody else because he "doesn't need alcohol to have fun", or an alcoholic. It's easy to become the latter, since life is pretty terrible, so the question is: how to keep drinking and still (appear to) be a functioning member of society?

To answer that question, it is first necessary to look at the importance that alcohol has had, and still has, on humans throughout history. Some say dogs are man's best friend, because they keep you company and love you despite the terrible things that you inevitably do. That is false. Man's best friend is man himself. Man's best friend is his drunk self. A real man does not need other people to enjoy himself and have a good time. Drunk, a man can enjoy (the meaninglessness of) life at its fullest, relishing in the moment and in the thoroughness of the one-way journey that is life.

Famous Functioning Alcoholics

Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway | Source

Many notable and glorified men have dabbled in the art of extreme alcohol consumption. Men of the likes of Vincent Van Gogh, Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemingway, and so on. Sure, Van Gogh cut his own ear off, and later committed suicide just like Hemingway, but that's beyond the point. The point is that these men changed the world and gave us invaluable works of art. Despite spending innumerable hours a day consuming alcohol, they found the time to create masterpieces which are lauded to this day. Alcohol was the one constant throughout their life. This is proof that it is possible to abuse alcohol in order to escape the brutal reality of the world and, at the same time, not be deemed a superfluous member of society.
The question is: how?

5 Steps to Successfully Achieve High-Functioning Alcoholism

1 - Have a Job

This might seem counterproductive at first glance, since being drunk could easily affect productivity in most jobs and lead to termination. That's why it shouldn't be just any kind of job. A job which requires creativity is perfect: writer, adman, filmmaker, musician, and so on.
However, the best fit are jobs which from the outside seem as though they require great skill and effort, while in fact they consist of basically sitting behind a desk all day and signing papers without reading them. These offer a great deal of spare time, which can easily be dedicated to drinking, and are usually well paid. Nobody will think you need to go to rehab if you make $200,000 a year.

Don Draper
Don Draper | Source

2 - Dress Well

This is key. Being a high-functioning alcoholic is all about keeping up appearances. The goal is to trick people into thinking that everything is okay and that you are doing what you are supposed to be doing: contributing to society. The goal is to hide the fact that you have figured out how pointless it all is and that you are drinking excessively so that you can find some sort of interior peace and calm, things that don't exist in the real world.
If you dress like a bum, or even casual, people will immediately focus on the bottle of Jack Daniels that you are holding in your hands. However, if you are wearing a nice suit, the bottle of whiskey will magically become invisible, and you won't be ostracized from society.

3 - Increase Your Drinking Tolerance

In order to be a high-functioning alcoholic, you have to drink copious amounts of alcohol. That might be a problem if you are an unexperienced drinker. The goal isn't getting drunk and feeling sick. The goal is altering your state of mind in a way that you retain just enough semiconsciousness in order to appear "normal" to the rest of the world. The goal isn't getting wasted and pass out: it's to keep drinking. All day long.
In order to do so, you must follow a few important guidelines.

  1. Avoid red wine and sugary drinks. These will lead to headaches and tiredness. They also fill you up, preventing you from keeping drinking. Whiskey, vodka, rum, gin, and beer are ideal. Avoid mixing them, though;
  2. Eat and exercise. A good diet and frequent exercise are good ways to train your body to resist throwing away the precious liquids which you have ingested;
  3. Drink a lot. The best way to train your body to follow you in the binge drinking adventure that is high-functioning alcoholism, is to practice. Sure, you might fail a few times in the beginning, feeling sick and questioning your life decisions, but if you stick to the plan and follow the guidelines, you will soon see the results.

4 - Drink Alone

Drinking with others is fun, but drinking alone is underrated. As previously said, a man does not need other people to enjoy himself. A true high-functioning alcoholic has few friends, who are preferably high-functioning alcoholics themselves. That is preferable because being high-functioning alcoholics themselves, they know when to leave and have a clear notion of personal space.
Drinking alone, a man get in touch with his subconscious and find out more about himself. It is a great exercise for the mind and soul. Binge drinking in solitude helps in the important process of building walls against the external world, making you stronger and less dependant on others. It is a display of independence.

5 - Deny Everything

The first step in solving a problem is acknowledging that there is one in the first place. In order to succesfully be a high-functioning alcoholic, it is extremely important to live in denial.
YOU DO NOT HAVE A PROBLEM. Repeat it. Again. Louder. EVERYTHING IS FINE. Perfect.
Not only must you convince yourself that there is no problem, because there isn't one, you must also convince others, especially the people who care about you, that everything is okay. The best way to do so is to, again, drink alone. To do so, you must strategically hide your bottles in the office, and at home if you live with others. Treat your bottles like an invaluable treasure that you must protect from the dangerous claws of the world.


If you follow with attention and dedication these easy five steps, you will become a high-functioning alcoholic. You will be able to lead a life of excesses and despair, and hide it from the world. Nobody will know your true self, only knowing your outward appearance, which will display pride and composure. You will achieve the ultimate goal, which is living within the boundaries of your own mind.
Nobody will be able to decipher the cryptic persona that you have carefully built on the outside. Your thoughts and emotions will finally be safe from the dangerous influence of others. Nothing and nobody can hurt you if you don't let anybody in on your feelings and thoughts. Through isolation and alcohol abuse you will be able to reach goals that you thought were impossible to reach. Nobody will bother you, because nobody will know who you are. You will finally be whole.
You will finally feel nothing.

© 2016 Raffael Fiano


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