A high-functioning alcoholic is a type of alcoholic who works full time and maintains family life while
struggling with alcohol use disorder (AUD). According to one survey of people with AUD, about 19.4% of
them were high-functioning alcoholics. Although this kind of drinking problem is often glorified in movies
and TV shows, high-functioning alcoholics are vulnerable. Below, you can learn more about how to help a
An intervention specialist can help you approach and express your concerns in the best way. When talking
about someone’s drinking problem, you need to be honest and clearly describe how their alcoholism affects
them and you alike. In the process of doing so, you need to avoid a judgmental and condescending tone.
As you’re trying to help a high-functioning alcoholic in your life, make sure to avoid common
mistakes that would undermine your efforts and further enable their alcoholism. For that reason,
you need to avoid making excuses for their actions and drinking behaviors.
Additionally, make sure to pay for their expenses, fines, traffic tickets, and legal fees. It’s not
uncommon for people with AUD to engage in risky behaviors that lead to legal troubles and
financial difficulties. Offering to pay for these expenses would enable their drinking problem.
Other things you shouldn’t do are manipulate them into changing, resolve their messes or
problems, control their drinking, and act as your needs don’t matter.
The biggest obstacle to helping a high-functioning
alcoholic is the lack of understanding. Their personal
or professional success may seem like they’re perfectly
able to overcome AUD once you express your concerns
about this problem. That’s not entirely correct. As
mentioned above, high-functioning alcoholics are still
vulnerable and they do need your support. So, when
talking about their drinking problem, make sure to
emphasize you’re going to be by their side every step of
the way. Don’t act like you’re doing them a favor. Offer genuine support and help so they know they’re not alone.
The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.
High-functioning alcoholics are usually in denial and
refuse to admit they have AUD. That’s why you shouldn’t
expect them to agree to get help immediately. You need
to be persistent and always discuss the issue when they’re
sober. The more persistent you are, the harder it will be
for them to deny the presence of the problem. You may
also want to recruit other friends and family members to
express their concerns too by staging an intervention.
Your efforts to help with high-functioning alcohol should lead to them getting help for their problem.
Although the process can be challenging, with a proper approach you can help them make it happen. A
person with AUD needs to be encouraged to get help. Encouragement comes in the forms of motivation,
love, support, and honesty.