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High Functioning Alcoholics

September 2, 2010

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The Meadows

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Published in last Sunday’s New York Times (May 4th) is an excellent article titled High Functioning, But Still Alcoholics.

Chronicled by Times writer Jane Brody, the piece reviews a new book from author Sarah Allen Benton, “Understanding the High-Functioning Alcoholic” (Praeger Publishers), and describes a familiar scenario:

“High-functioning alcoholics are able to maintain respectable, even high-profile lives, usually with a home, family, job, and friends. That balancing act continues until something dreadful happens that reveals the truth – to themselves or to others – and forces the person to enter a treatment program or lose everything that means anything.”

Toward the end of the article, Ms. Benton reveals a list of characteristics that can help people recognize themselves as high-functioning alcoholics, notably:

  • They have trouble controlling their intake even after deciding that they will drink no more alcohol than a given amount.
  • They find themselves thinking obsessively about drinking – when and where and with whom they will drink next.
  • When they drink, they behave in ways that are uncharacteristic of their sober self. They experience blackouts, unable to remember what took place during a drinking bout.