I was a functional alcoholic for most of my adult life, aside from the half of my pregnancy that I knew about. I would drink when I got home from work to unwind and get ready to sleep, and it wasn’t just like a beer or two. I’d stop at the liquor store 5 or 6 days each week, and that was totally alright by me. When I lost my husband and daughter because of my drinking, I was even alright with that. I never realized what I was missing.
Being a Functional Alcoholic Doesn’t Work Well When You Care for Others
After about ten years of complete solitude other than the few friends who thought my drinking was perfectly fine, like me, my drinking started to become a problem for everyone. My work even began to notice that I was a functional alcoholic who would come to work buzzing from the night before. It didn’t cloud my judgment to me, so I didn’t think it was an issue. I was a nurse at the time, and always did what was best for my patients.
One night, I got into a fight with a doctor who wasn’t listening to a necessary request I was making to help my patient be in less pain. The doctor called me out on being a functional alcoholic, and blamed me for starting the fight, even though it was what I thought my patient needed. The problem was, my patient didn’t need it, I just thought he did, so I started the fight over nothing. All I wanted to do was go have a drink, and almost walked off my shift at the hospital so I could do so. That’s when I realized just how much I depended on my drinking to make it through the day.
I eventually went into a specialized rehab center for functional alcoholics like me, so that I could bypass some of the misery that accompanies coming down from alcohol, because I knew what to expect. Being a functional alcoholic plus a nurse gave me insight others are likely happy not having before they start the process. I have been out of rehab for nearly a year, and I am now spending time with my daughter and my grand-kids for the first time in years. I am not about to miss out on more of their lives than I already have. It is a shame it took rehab for me to see that, but I am grateful that I had the awakening that I did, or I may have gone on being a functional alcoholic for another decade.