How-to Spot a High-Functioning Alcoholic

Every alcoholic can look different. Some may act and look like what you think of as a stereotypical alcoholic, but some do not fit that mold. It is estimated that about 20% of alcoholics are considered to be a high-functioning alcoholic. They are going to have different signs and mannerisms that you can pick up on.

How-to Spot a High-Functioning Alcoholic: Know the Signs

What is it?

First, what is a high-functioning alcoholic? It is considered to be a sub-type of alcoholism in which a person seems to be functioning normally but is abusing alcohol in private. These people usually have families or stable relationships and jobs. Additionally, they are oftentimes middle-aged and have a family history of alcoholism.

Due to their background, they these people do not appear to have any red flags of addiction. However, they are still at risk for serious health conditions and other consequences and should seek professional help.

Drinking at Unusual Times

One of the signs of a high-functioning alcoholic is that they will drink at unusual times. Day drinking is very common sign. This could include having a drink first thing in the morning, or even sneaking drinks at work. Because they are dependent on alcohol, they will have to continue drinking throughout the day to avoid withdrawal symptoms. They may often make jokes about day drinking, or even try and hide it.

Another sign is if someone often drinks alone. Even if they go and attend a party or festivity, they will often drink heavily at home afterwards as to avoid judgment.

Heavy or Frequent Drinking

Another sign of a high-functioning alcoholic is the amount of alcohol they drink. If someone can not seem to go a day without drinking, this can be an indication of a problem. This also applies to the amount they are drinking. Someone tends to drink a lot more than the average person could certainly be dependent on alcohol.

Denial

Most times, a high-functioning alcoholic will deny that they have a problem. They may not even realize that they have issues themselves. They will likely point to the fact that they are able to function normally on a daily basis as a reason as to why they do not have a problem. Since they feel that they have control of their lives, they will not think they have a dependance on alcohol.

Treatment

A high-functioning alcoholic will still need treatment. Even though they are able to function in daily life, they can still experience the negative long and short-term side effects of alcoholism. Additionally, this disease will progress if less untreated. Therefore, they will not be able to maintain being able to hold everything together forever. Whether you or a loved one are struggling with this, it is time to get help. If you are unsure of where to look for help, reach out to a support group or a treatment center.

How-to Navigate a Family History of Alcoholism

Our genes can pass pass down all kinds of traits. Sometimes, these are positive traits, and other-times these are negative traits. Studies have shown that alcoholism can be an inherited trait. This does not mean that just because you have a family history of alcoholism that you are going to turn into an alcoholic.

How-to Navigate a Family History of Alcoholism: Nature versus Nurture

Environmental Impact

While it is possible for someone to inherit alcoholic tendencies, there is also an environmental factor in all of this as well. It is true that some people who are born with the genes that make them prone to alcoholism are responsible drinkers or may never even have a drink in their entire life.

There are some of the environmental factors that could increase the likelihood that someone who has inherited these genes could struggle with alcohol. For example, physical or sexual abuse, or lack of parental supervision could all be a factor. Additionally, poor social skills, alcohol and drug experimentation, poverty, and the availability of alcohol are other factors. While some of these things are difficult to control, you can help by resisting peer pressure, drug usage and coming up with rules around alcohol use.

Positive Mindset

Know that even if you have an alcoholic parent, you do not have to become one too. Although it may be hard at times, try and have a positive mindset. Set goals and work towards them. Do not assume that you will fail just because of your family history. One good step to take is to find a mentor or an adult you look up to that will hold you accountable.

You will also have to hold your own self accountable as well. Stay away from situations that could lead to temptations. True, this is not always the fun or easy choice. This may mean skipping a party or choosing to not hang out with friends who are drinking. You will have to be in charge of your own destiny. This is true for everyone, but especially people who has a family risk of alcoholism. Know you are taking these steps to help keep you healthy and safe.

It is possible to inherit genes that make you more prone to alcoholism. However, that does not automatically make you an alcoholic. By making positive decisions and holding yourself accountable, you do not have to go down that path.

How-to Ask for Help With an Addiction

One of the most difficult things to do is to ask for help with an addiction. Many times, people struggling with addiction know they need help, but do not know how to ask for it. Learn more about the steps to take with asking for help.

How-to Ask for Help With an Addiction: Steps to Take

Write a Letter

In some cases, people find writing a letter easier than talking about an issue. Writing a letter allows you to collect your thoughts and lay them out in a way that makes sense. You may even come to some realizations about your struggle that you had not even thought of. Also, when you mail or email a letter, it is suddenly out of your control. Since you can not take it back, this can be a great way to ask for help with an addiction.

Medical Professional

Another way to ask for help with an addiction would be to seek help from a medical professional. Doctors have seen and heard just about everything before, so you telling them about your struggles will not faze them. They will be a safe place to confide in. Plus, alcoholism is a disease, and doctors are experts at dealing with diseases.

Someone Who Could Relate

You could also look for someone who could relate. The best advice could come from someone who has been through been through a struggle similar to yours and has come out the other side. Additionally, people who have been in the same position as you will not be judgmental, so they will feel safe to talk to. At some point, they too likely asked for help with an addiction. Therefore, they will also be more open and willing to talk, and remember what it felt like when they were in your position. You can find out what worked, and what did not work for them. They would also be a great source of accountability.

Someone You Trust

Most people have at least one person they know and trust. However, these can be the people you do not want to let down the most. Put those fears aside and talk with that person that you trust. Even if they have no history with addiction themselves, they can still listen to you and do what they can to help you.

Not everyone struggling with an addiction will ask for help because it may be too difficult for them to do that. However, if you have any desire to get help, ask for it. This will help to lift a weight off of your shoulders as you move in the right direction.

How-to Throw a Party Without Alcohol: Alternatives

Are you wanting to throw a party without alcohol? Perhaps you do not drink, or you just do not want the temptation to be there. Whatever the reason, there are plenty of alternatives to alcohol. You do not have to have alcohol there to have a fun party. Here are some tips to how to have an amazing time without having to worry about hangovers.

How-to Throw a Party Without Alcohol: Alternatives to Consider

Drinks

As a good host at a gathering, you will still want to provide beverages, even if they are non-alcoholic. There are many options for this. For example, you could make a punch or even lemonade. If want to still stick to a party-vibe, make some mock-tails, non-alcoholic sangria, or even grab some non-alcoholic beers and sparkling grape juice. Also, make sure to still have plenty of water to keep guests hydrated. If you want to get fancy, you can make frozen drinks like a frosted lemonade, slushies or even milkshakes. These will be some refreshing options for your guests if you are going to throw a party without alcohol.

On the other hand, if it’s a cold weather gathering, some warm drinks would be a good option. You could offer coffee, hot chocolate or even a hot apple cider. These drinks will be both warm as well as delicious.

Prepare Your Guests

If you do not want your guests showing up with alcohol, make sure you set the expectations before they arrive. Especially if you are wanting to stay away from any temptations of drinking, let your guests know this is a party without alcohol. It is up to you to decide if you want to let your guests know why you are wanting to have a booze-free party. If anyone gives you a hard time about the party being dry, do not let it bother you. If they are not interested in just coming to hang out with you and just looking to drink, you do not want them at your party anyways.

Games and Activities

If you would rather spend the entire time just socializing, that is okay. However, you could also plan some sort of game or activity as well. There are plenty of games you could play without them having to be drinking games. Try a round of charades or even download the Jackbox.tv party game to have your whole group laughing the entire night. Or you could still have some music playing and encourage people to dance. You can basically do any activity that you would have normally done, just without the booze. Follow these steps and you will have a really run party without alcohol.

Treatment Excuses: Common Types

If you have a loved one that’s dealing with an addiction, you’ll want to encourage them to seek some help. However, when you bring this up to them, they may give you some common treatment excuses. These excuses are meant to be a way for them to get out of going and getting the help they really need…

Treatment Excuses: What To Expect

“I can quit whenever I want”

Perhaps the most common of the treatment excuses is when someone says they’re not really addicted. Instead, they claim that they can stop whenever they feel like. For some, it’s pretty obvious that they’re lying. Others, though, seem to be able to still live functional lives, which can make you second-guess yourself.

What’s important is that you can’t let yourself be fooled. An addiction is a serious thing, no matter how successful they appear to be. Rather, they’re in denial about the situation they’re in. When they go to treatment, they’ll realize the reality of what’s going on.

“It won’t work”

Other treatment excuses will try and discredit the successfulness of treatment programs. For instance, the person you’re trying to help may say that they knew someone who relapsed after they got treatment. As a result, they believe that it isn’t effective, and will instead be a waste of time.

However, situations like these don’t mean treatment is useless. Instead, they show just how hard it is to kick an addiction. In fact, many experts believe that a relapse isn’t a failure, but just a part of the recovery process. Those who return to treatment after a relapse are much more likely to keep sober than those who don’t try in the first place.

“What about my friends?”

One of the toughest treatment excuses to deal with is when someone says they’ll lose their friends or social life. Odds are, many of their friends are dealing with addictions just like they are. While this does encourage their unhealthy behavior, these friends also understand how tough it is living with an addiction.

In this case, make sure you remind them that those in the treatment center also know what that’s like. Therefore, they’ll be able to have a familiar support system even when in treatment. Knowing this can encourage them to give it a try, and in the process, make new friends who will support them getting sober.

Beauty Benefits: Sobriety and Your Appearance

Did you know there are beauty benefits associated with sobriety? You will start to notice them once you stop drinking. Alcohol can really take a toll on your skin and your appearance.

Beauty Benefits: What are the Effects?

Inflammation

Alcohol can cause skin to be inflamed. One of the beauty benefits of sobriety is a reduction of inflammation. When you are sober, you will look less puffy and bloated. Alcohol brings the blood up to the tissue, which can start to cause damage. This can result in redness, blotchiness and inflammation.

Weight

Another one for the beauty benefits of sobriety is weight loss. Alcohol is packed with calories. For example, a large glass of white wine (250ml) has approximately 190 calories. A doughnut has just about the same number of calories.  Therefore, a bottle of wine would be equal to 3 doughnuts. Likewise, a pint of beer would be one doughnut. Would you ever be willing to sit down and have 3 doughnuts at one time?

Cutting out alcohol will really cut out calories. This will help keep you from packing on unwanted pounds. This is just another benefit of getting sober.

Toxic Byproducts

First, the body metabolizes the alcohol from an enzyme in the liver. The liver releases a byproduct that is toxic to body tissues. Then, this causes the body tissues and skin to become dehydrated. This can result in premature aging of the skin, such as wrinkles. The dry skin that resulted from toxins can also lead to acne breakouts.

The way that the body processes alcohol can cause cosmetic nightmares. Ridding your body of toxic byproducts and their side-effects is yet another one of the beauty benefits that come from sobriety.

Beauty Rest

Alcohol negatively impacts your sleep. After drinking, you do not get a restful or deep sleep. Sleep is important for cellular turnover and repairing your skin. This can lead to you looking tired, with red eyes and dark circles. Your skin won’t look as refreshed or radiant either. You get a lot of beauty benefits from a good night of sleep.

Cutting back or stopping your alcohol intake will significantly impact your appearance. You will look more refreshed and radiant. You also won’t have to worry about unnecessary calories or alcohol-induced inflammation.

Recovery Apps: Useful Tools

Modern smartphones have become a part of everyday life for many people. With so many apps available, it isn’t surprising that there are some recovery apps you can use as well. These apps tend to be the most popular among those who are in the process of recovering and trying to stay sober…

Recovery Apps: Popular Picks

SoberTool

SoberTool is one of the recovery apps which aims to help people struggling to keep sober. In those early days and months, the chances of a relapse are at their highest. SoberTool aims to help people stick to their plans by keeping track of the total days you’ve been sober, as well as things like how much money you’ve saved in the process.

The app also offers support for those times of crisis where you feel you may relapse. For example, if you select an option that you’re worried about relapsing, the app will pull up helpful info and advice. Plus, the community feature makes it easy to meet people who are in the same situation as you and can offer assistance.

Sober Grid

Social media is a bit tricky when you’re in recovery. On the one hand, it lets you get in touch with people all over at nearly any time. This can be handy if you’re trying to connect with support networks. At the same time, it may also create unreasonable recovery expectations. That’s why it isn’t too surprising that some recovery apps are trying to work around this.

One of these apps is Sober Grid. This app presents itself as a “sober social media platform” for those who are recovering from addiction. The app heavily focuses on encourages people to reach out, make connections, and build a healthy support network without the risks of regular social media.

AA Big Book App

Other recovery apps look to provide you helpful info whenever you need it. This is what the AA Big Book App attempts to do. While not an official Alcoholics Anonymous app, it effectively takes the content of their Big Book and puts it all in one location on your phone.

This makes the app great for those who are beginning recovery or have been doing it for some time. It also comes with extra features like personal stories and podcasts. There’s even a built-in meeting finder, so you can find a group that’s close to your location!

PAWS: Extended Withdrawals

When you’re getting sober, one of the toughest things to deal with are withdrawal symptoms. Still, usually these symptoms are only temporary. However, if they last longer than they should, you may be dealing with PAWS. This syndrome can make a real dent in your sober plans…

PAWS: What To Know

The basics

PAWS stands for post-acute withdrawal syndrome. The term refers to when someone is still experiencing withdrawal symptoms, despite being months or even years since they quit. In general, these symptoms tend to be more related to a person’s mood and emotions. They may also experience physical ones, like fatigue or nausea. Many people who have experienced the syndrome describe it as a “rollercoaster” of symptoms. One day they may feel fine, and then the next they feel downright awful. This will end up continuing for months and years, which quickly takes a toll on the person. Those dealing with this syndrome tend to have high rates of relapses, as they look for a way to stop it.

How it happens

What makes PAWS even more strange is that doctors still don’t know exactly what causes it. Currently, it seems that any sort of addictive substance could cause it to develop. However, there are a few types it does appear more commonly with than others. For instance, those quitting alcohol tend to have high rates of the syndrome. Some doctors think it may be due to the impact heavy drinking has on a person’s brain. It’s also does occur a lot in those who are quitting opioids, for similar reasons. Overall, though, there’s still much more research to be done.

What you can do

Due to PAWS symptoms being more emotional and psychological, most treatment involved meeting with a therapist. Having this ongoing support is key for keeping sober despite the constant struggles. A therapist will help you understand what may be going on and how to best respond. Also, they can give you some much-needed support. Your friends and family may not fully understand what you’re dealing with. Meanwhile, your therapist will be better equipped to help you and encourage you to keep going and stay sober.

Substance Abuse Misconceptions

Like with many things, there’s a lot of substance abuse misconceptions out there. Unfortunately, these misunderstandings can make it harder to understand substance abuse and its treatment. Therefore, it’s key to know what the realities are…

Substance Abuse Misconceptions: What’s The Facts?

Rates of abuse

People are more aware of how dangerous things such as opioids are now more than ever. Still, they may not fully grasp the extent of this ongoing crisis. That’s why one of the most common substance abuse misconceptions is related to just how many people struggle with this kind of addiction.

In the U.S., nearly 21 million people over the age of 12 have a substance abuse disorder. That’s nearly the same as the amount of people who have diabetes in the country! This number doesn’t even include those who struggle with binge or heavy drinking, which researchers estimate to include over 30% of those over the age of 12.

Misuse vs. abuse

Other substance abuse misconceptions are related to the supposed difference between misuse and abuse. A lot of people believe that they might mean different things. However, they actually both refer to the same kind of general addiction and improper use of drugs and alcohol.

However, according to the Surgeon General, only 10% of Americans who need treatment for their abuse actually get it each year. A large part of this is because of the stigma behind “abusing” a drug. Misuse is not as “harsh” as abuse, which is why you’ll see many places use the former instead of the latter.

Uptick in overdoses

In a lot of the news out there, it seems that rates of overdoses have been increasing. This in turn has given rise to new substance abuse misconceptions. In reality, the truth is a bit more complex than just more people overdosing on their own.

Instead, what’s been seen is that these overdoses are a side-effect of efforts to crack down on the illicit sale of prescription pills. Back in the 1990’s, doctors prescribed these pills at high rates, making them easily available. Now, authorities have been cracking down on these doctors, along with makers of “imitation” pills. While this has led to less pills being available, it’s also caused many to turn to heroin in an effort to get their high, which then leads to these overdoses.

Medication-Assisted Treatment: Finding What Works

When you want to try and get sober, there’s going to be a lot of options for you to consider. One of those options could be medication-assisted treatment. This type of help could help you keep safe and successfully stick to your sober goals…

Medication-Assisted Treatment: How It Works

What it is

Medication-assisted treatment, like its name implies, is a form of treatment which makes use of special medication. These medicines will help you deal with withdrawal symptoms, which is key during those early days. They can also help subdue cravings, which are another potentially difficult area to deal with.

Still, this type of treatment isn’t just done on its own. Many facilities will use it alongside other treatment options, such as counseling. The combination of medical and personal help can be very helpful for those trying to get themselves clean. As a result, this method has been growing in popularity.

Effectiveness

Unlike other options, medication-assisted treatment is rather new. This does cause some to question just how effective it truly is. However, several types of studies have shown that this type of treatment does appear to be rather successful.

For example, one study showed that use of this treatment dropped heroin-related admission rates from 35% in 2002 to 28% in 2010. Another study showed that this method helped lower the rates of relapses for those recovering from opioid addictions. Similar results have occurred for those recovering from alcoholism as well.

Pros and cons

The biggest advantage of medication-assisted treatment is how a doctor can set it up to personally match your needs. Plus, by reducing the chances of a person relapsing, it also helps to prevent overdoses in the process. Those with things such as depression may also benefit from this treatment when used with something like counseling.

Still, it will require you to keep track of daily doses and intake levels. It also works best when it’s part of a wider treatment plan. Other may worry about potential stigmas they feel this sort of treatment brings. If you’re willing to stick with the treatment though, then it can end up being very helpful as a part of your recovery.