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a man in distress learning how to talk to a high functioning alcoholic

How to Talk to a High Functioning Alcoholic

Knowing someone who is a high-functioning alcohol can be a challenge. For many illnesses such as substance abuse, the substance abuse becomes a notable problem when an individual can no longer tolerate their day-to-day life. But a high-functioning alcoholic may be performing just as well with the substance as they would without it. Do you know how to talk to a high functioning alcoholic?

Focus On What’s Wrong

A high-functioning alcoholic may be doing a lot in their life right. They may be performing well at work, an excellent partner to their spouse or a great parent to their children. But with alcoholism, it’s not likely that they are doing all those things at once. There’s always some area that will be impacted. It’s important to focus on the actual impact that alcohol is having in their life.

No matter how functioning an alcoholic is, they are still doing physical damage to their body. Even if they are working hard, they may not enjoy that hard work because they may not survive until retirement. Even if they are doing good at work, they may be spending all their money on alcohol. By focusing on the elements that are wrong in a person’s life, you can show them that there is a problem that needs to be fixed.

Start an Intervention

Because someone is high-functioning, their first impulse will be to assume that you’re exaggerating or misunderstanding things when you tell them they’re an alcoholic. In the case of high paying, stressful jobs, it’s easy for them to point at their work and show that they’re a success, and thus don’t have a problem.

An intervention can be a good way to get a group of people together who believe that the individual is an alcoholic, and who will be able to attest to this fact. This will show the alcoholic that you’re not the only one “conspiring” against them, and that you genuinely want to help. Before the intervention, gather evidence that speaks to the alcoholic’s issues. And listen to them when they defend themselves: You may not understand everything going on.

This introduces the next stage.

Let Them Know What to Do

You can’t confront someone with a problem unless you give them an answer, too. During interventions, people may tell someone they’re an alcoholic, but that leaves the alcoholic with no usable information: They may know they’re an alcoholic, but not know what to do about it. When you confront a high-functioning alcoholic, you should have resources for them, and understand the next step that they should take.

Don’t make directives, but give them suggestions. Tell them where to go for help, and give them several options, depending on how serious they feel their problem is. When approaching how to talk to a high functioning alcoholic, it’s important they feel in control.

How to Talk to a High Functioning Alcoholic: Five Palms

Often, things like high functioning alcoholism don’t just happen in a vacuum. Instead, they’re really the manifestation of a deeper issue that either wasn’t addressed or couldn’t be addressed. One of the best ways to manage this is to make sure that the individual you care about get helps from addiction treatment programs. You may not know how to talk to a high functioning alcoholic, but a therapist does.

Therapy can reveal quite a lot about a person, including the origins fo their substance abuse. With new coping skills, someone with drug abuse issues can feel empowered to conquer them. Therapy can also address underlying issues that may have led someone to become a high functioning alcoholic, or simply show an individual that they do have a substance abuse problem, even if it hasn’t quite become a problem yet.

Many people find themselves becoming alcoholic slowly because it’s easy to have a few drinks, especially with friends. Consequently, a high functioning alcoholic often doesn’t realize they’re a high functioning alcoholic. This is especially true if they don’t do much work.

A high-functioning alcoholic needs to be treated differently. High-functioning alcoholics are often successful in their own right. And consequently have difficulties listening when they’re told that their strategies aren’t working. But with patience and care, you should be able to get your loved one into specialized care. If you want to know more about how to talk to a high functioning alcoholic, contact Five Palms at 1.844.675.1022.

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