What are the downsides to being a functional alcoholic?

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  1. peeples profile image94
    peeplesposted 10 years ago

    What are the downsides to being a functional alcoholic?

    I'm doing a pros and cons list to determine the downsides to being a functional (as in only drinking at night, not while working, but dependent every night on alcohol) alcoholic. So what are the downsides in being an alcoholic if it does not interfere with daily activities?

  2. abetterwaytolive profile image61
    abetterwaytoliveposted 10 years ago

    The number one downside I see is the money you end up spending on the habit. I find myself in this category so I can relate.
    Another noticeable downside is the withdrawal symptoms you get if you don't have your alcohol on time every day.
    If you have loved ones around you that care about your health it could interfere with your relationship with them.
    Needing to operate a vehicle while impaired is an obvious problem.
    If you are in to physical fitness alcohol addiction can interfere with keeping up with your fitness routine.

  3. profile image0
    JThomp42posted 10 years ago

    Health. There are so many health problems that can arise from drinking alcohol daily. In fact, people would be very surprised what alcohol use can do to the human body. In fact, there are just too many to list here.

  4. billybuc profile image84
    billybucposted 10 years ago

    I'm trying to figure out what the upside would be? I've lived this....there is no upside....there is only an endless road to unhappiness.  But I welcome anyone to give it a try if they don't want to take my word for it. smile

    1. peeples profile image94
      peeplesposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      The upsides i see are insomnia relief and temporary stress relief.

    2. billybuc profile image84
      billybucposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Yep, I said that once too. smile

    3. Sue B. profile image92
      Sue B.posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Good points, Billybuc.   RE: insomnia and stress: alcohol disrupts the most important stages of the sleep cycle.  I wouldn't associate stress relief with this stage of alcoholism. Short-lived relief is followed by more stress and no solution.

  5. CraftytotheCore profile image75
    CraftytotheCoreposted 10 years ago

    An uncle died from alcoholism.  He was one of the greatest mans I ever knew. 
    The downsides were as he got older, his health started failing.
    He stopped eating.
    He was fired from his long-time job.
    I remember the phone call.  He was laying on the couch and couldn't walk.  I went to help him and there were beer cans everywhere.  Piles and piles.  It looked like a scene out of the back of a recycling center.
    His stomach was extended.  He couldn't eat anything, only drink.
    When he stopped drinking, he got the shakes.  The side effects of stopping were equal to the side effects of drinking for so many years.
    He could still function all right, he was just no longer healthy.
    The last five years he spent alone.  He didn't want to see anyone.
    He was hurting.
    His liver was failing.
    He passed away leaving behind children and grandchildren.

  6. Sue B. profile image92
    Sue B.posted 10 years ago

    A functional alcoholic is a person that fits the criteria for alcohol dependence yet is able to maintain employment, family, and home.

    PROS: I could only list pros in relation to having alcohol dependence and a full disruption in all areas of life.  The  pros are that the functional alcoholic still has a job, still has a home, still is able to maintain their family and social ties despite their use.

    CONS:  I don't think people aim to be "functional."  Our personal goals usually relate to being successful and excelling in our lives.  Being functional is another way of saying we are somehow able to "get by" or are somehow managing to continue to hang by a thread.  A functional alcoholic in time is suffering some serious medical issues related to alcohol abuse.  They may have embarrassing moments socially while intoxicated.  They suffer from withdrawal symptoms.  It is harder to actually get a buzz over time and they simply are nervous and unhappy when not drinking.  No one says being dependent on a substance is fun although many report having a lot of fun when first starting abusing a substance before it let to something more serious.  They use the substance simply to feel ok and not feel terrible.  That's not actually an uplifting goal.  A functional alcoholic is steps away from disaster.  Suffering medical issues, cognitive/memory impairments, damaging relationships, not getting a promotion or losing their job, and not being able to manage their finances.  Drinking more and more to get the same effect and feeling like you have to- this is no longer a choice and something that is fun and recreational- is more expensive every day, week, month and year.

    Being a functional alcoholic is not a good thing.  Being able to function longer while having a dependency on alcohol simply means the person has more excuses not to address the issue, more ways to deny the problem, and more time to damage their mind, body, relationships and life.

  7. DDE profile image47
    DDEposted 10 years ago

    The downside about being a functional alcoholic  communicating with others is a problem, and in this case one is using  alcohol to talk to others and without alcohol it is not possible to  have a decent communication.  Being dependent on alcohol  when with other people it can allow one to be rude, or argumentative. Sometimes  the individual  is controlled by the excessive drinking of alcohol  and fails to behave they can become violent and not  remember their behaviors the next day. Fall asleep while in a bar. The mind of the individual is blurred and thinking is weak. Speech can be unclear

  8. IDONO profile image60
    IDONOposted 10 years ago

    The down side is your days of being "functional" are numbered. First, keeping a job does not make you functional. Just showing up to work does not make you functional for a number of reasons. First, the obvious morning after. No way can a person drink every night and actually perform the duties of their job at an acceptable level. Also, you may be so preoccupied with that after work drink, you may be distracted from your tasks you need to do at the end of the work day.
         The part about numbered days. First of all, I'm a recovering alcoholic that been through every possible way to justify drinking. Mostly to myself. I could BS my way through a lot, but couldn't BS myself. Alcoholism is a progressive disease. Not just physically, but mentally. This means you can't and won't stay a "functional" alcoholic. We all are different, but the result is the same. Sooner or later, those drinks after work won't be enough. So then, it will get to where you think," Well, 1 or 2 at lunch will be okay. Then it will be that you'll get up early to slug down a couple before work. At first you'll call it an eye opener. And it goes on and on until one day you'll realize you are no longer a functional alcoholic, but have to have alcohol to function.
         It sounds like a scared straight story, but it's not. It's the way it works. I've been there and can only tell you my experience  and the common experiences of many that I meet at AA meetings. You'd be amazed at how much more it effects your life than you know. I don't know how many times I said, "I did that."
         You are lucky to question this now rather than later. An alcoholics bottom is where he or she decides when to quit digging. Hopefully, you'll stop digging now.
                                                              God Bless

  9. fpherj48 profile image59
    fpherj48posted 10 years ago

    I will only address your comment on the "upsides" you see, in being a "functional alcoholic," (which I must gently tell you is an oxymoron.)   Medical statistics and years of aggressive study, have proven beyond all argument, that alcohol in one's system at bedtime, disrupts sound, healthy stages of a good night's sleep.   In place of the toxic effects of alcohol, however, there are numerous products available to aid in sleeping well. 
    Continual stress and anxiety are real disorders with many symptoms, side effects and consequences galore.  "Temporary relief," by use of alcohol, is senseless, destructive to the entire body and depending on the amount of alcohol consumed, may be seriously dangerous in terms of amplifying one's depression.  Blunt and to the point, peeples, 7 of every 10 suicides are due directly to the use & overuse of alcohol by individuals with mental and/or emotional instability to begin with.  Please re-read that documented info again & again.
    Finally, just as with acceptable and beneficial sleep aids, there are innumerable ways and means for dealing with and possibly eliminating stress/anxiety disorders.  Because you are an intelligent and loving woman, I know that you will do your research, come to an acceptance of the need to take action.....and ultimately do the right thing for yourself and your family.   
    You may safely delete the entire "PRO" side to that list you're creating.   Only the "Con" side exists.   ....Peace.

  10. DzyMsLizzy profile image85
    DzyMsLizzyposted 10 years ago

    My mother was by no societal definition of any kind an "alcoholic."  At least not the definition back when. 
    She did enjoy a single cocktail every evening before dinner.  Just one.  Every night, but only one.  She was never drunk, not even once, She never smelled of booze, and I might add, she only began this practice well after I was grown and married, and she was working again after my dad retired.  She continued her tradition once my dad passed away.

    Just one cocktail.
    Every night before dinner. 
    For 31 years.
    She died of jaundice from a cirrhotic liver.

    You don't have to get drunk, or be obnoxious, or have any outward symptoms that would allow any other person to be aware that you drank on a regular basis for it to have a very bad effect on your health.

    I don't see an "upside,"  only downsides.

  11. GeorgeAllen0 profile image61
    GeorgeAllen0posted 10 years ago

    You can smoke your worries
    You will ruin your health

  12. PoeticFailosophy profile image57
    PoeticFailosophyposted 10 years ago

    I get your need for a quick insomnia cure.  However, I think you should wean yourself down to where you don't need it, or only need a nip.  Force yourself to jog around the block 2 or 3 at the end of the day and it should help you drift into sleepy land.  Not everyone will experience long term health effects, but it's always a risk, plus it can be an expensive habit to maintain.

  13. SmartAndFun profile image94
    SmartAndFunposted 10 years ago

    My dad was a functional alcoholic and the only up-side was that despite this huge problem (yes it was huge), he was a good provider and a good dad and was there for his family. Like you suggested, he used alcohol for stress relief and to sleep at night --  and also because he was to totally physically dependent upon it.

    Over many years, all that alcohol affected his health. When he would stop drinking, he had terrible bouts of insomnia and of course intense craving. When he was drinking he became clinically depressed and it ruined his liver. He ended up falling in the middle of the night (fell because he was drunk) and hit his head. He was never the same. In addition to having a pickled liver, he had scrambled eggs for brains and was admitted into a nursing home, where he eventually died from cardiac arrest due to many, many years of drinking "only after dinner."

    He also taught us kids that drinking every single night, night after night, was normal. As you can guess, some of my siblings are now alcoholics. Luckily a couple of us didn't get caught in that cycle, but some of my siblings were not so lucky.

    He tried his best to overcome it but couldn't, and killed himself with alcohol, despite being perfectly able to function during the day. Horrible, sad memories, especially for my mom. sad

  14. The Stages Of ME profile image82
    The Stages Of MEposted 10 years ago

    Well, not to be preachy, but the term alcoholic is interesting here.  In this reference it is referring to a crutch of sorts.  It is used as an end to a means.  It is covering something up and allowing for something else to occur.  It makes it a secret somehow, somewhere, even if only in ones mind.  Any crutch does this and I assure you there is no judgement as we all have a crutch or two, often we just don't recognize its power over us.  Maybe test the issues of sleep and stress without the crutch and get a solution for those in a more healthful way, perhaps mediatation or exercise or explore your options.  In the reference made here of functional alcoholic, aren't you saying I use it as a bandaid?  Bandaids fall off and often it takes someone other than ourselves to even notice the bleeding.  I guess what concerns me is, if one does not look at the why of the use, and if they are not aware that the problems are not actually goig away.  well, then you have three issues instead of one.  Sleep problems, stress and using alcohol to be functional.  I hope for a better way for all of us to put down our crutches and walk freely into all that we can be at peace or homeostasis, if you will. Take Care


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