I have read some moving posts recently about the concept of the high-functioning alcoholic, in particular this one from Unpickled and the podcasts on Lou’s blog about the tragic story of Rachel (if you only have time for one thing, and if you haven’t already, please listen to the podcast of when the presenter visited Rachel when she was doing well in her recovery, and hear what hope sounds like… so, so sad.)
I thought of myself as a high-functioning alcoholic for some time. I was in no denial about it, but as I think I’ve said before here, I focused on the ‘high-functioning’ bit and closed my eyes to the implications of the rest. Jean at Unpickled put this so well, it gave me shivers. she says:
‘Someone who can perform reasonably well despite a growing drug or alcohol problem can only balance the scales for so long. Eventually one of two things happens: the addict either stops using or stops excelling. “High functioning” is nothing but a snapshot – a timeframe of suspended animation. The addiction trajectory will eventually escalate and the function will eventually decline – the paths merely intersect briefly in a temporary state of competency despite impairment.’
if we think we are competent, when we are drinking heavily every night – we are almost definitely deluding ourselves. even if we are meeting our responsibilities to outward appearances, we are impairing ourselves at every step.
if you think this could be you, or could have been you, you might find this article on the four stages of being a ‘high-functioning alcoholic’ useful. I found it painful to read, because it told me so plainly what I used to try and hide from myself.
there is no way back, for me. which is OK, because I don’t want to go back!!!
it can seem almost impossible to break those chains, which can come from so many places in our past, in our pain. but this is not my legacy. this is not my destiny.
yesterday does not define me.