It can start early or late in life. It can start with binge drinking or with just a couple of drinks after work. They can make it through the day without losing track of responsibilities or seeming drunk. The functional alcoholic is just that. Functional. In order to determine if someone is a functioning alcoholic, you first need to know the signs of alcohol abuse, which are:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Sudden bouts of anger
  • Growing financial difficulty
  • Socially withdrawing
  • Emotional problems
  • Difficult relationships with friends and family
  • Sexual dysfunction



It is perfectly natural for a person to develop a tolerance to something over time if they continue to ingest it. This is the reason that doctors do not like to prescribe antibiotics to people very often. If the time comes and you really need them, there is a chance they will no longer work. In regards to a functioning alcoholic, the amount of alcohol consumed on a daily basis is substantially higher than that of the average social drinker. They therefore have to drink more throughout the day in order to maintain their buzz. At this point the functional alcoholic still has a relatively normal life and has no trouble hiding their drinking from family and friends.


The real danger of any drug or alcohol use begins when the substance has gone from being something that was fun to something that you must have. It has become a tool. In this stage, the functional alcoholic will feel FOUR COMMON STAGES OF A FUNCTIONING ALCOHOLIClike they need a drink just to get themselves headed fair in the morning. Some of their scheduling might start to revolve around when and how they can get their next drink into them and alcohol becomes an elevated priority. This is because alcoholics drink to feel better. In this stage, they are starting to realize that nothing makes them feel as good as a drink. Their day to day may still appear relatively normal and they are still keeping up with MOST of their responsibilities, but alcohol has become a noticeable priority.


During this stage, alcohol has made a noticeable impact on the functional alcoholic’s life. They will downplay and even excuse the role that alcohol plays in their lives. Responsibilities they have let fall through and financial problems that have developed will all magically have non-alcohol related origins no matter how much you prove to the contrary. They may even begin to withdraw from social situations so that they can hide how much they are drinking and at the same time avoid questions about their drinking from those who are concerned.


Cirrhosis of the liver is the number one disease talked about when referring to alcoholics. Before this sets in though, there is a marked overall decline in the drinker’s physical and mental health that should be noticeable to those around them as the drinking takes its toll on their body and as they suppress their feelings with drink and continue to isolate themselves. At this stage, the functioning alcoholic may even be ready to stop drinking but they don’t know how to reach out for help.

That is where the staff at Asana Recovery come into play. During any of these stages, if you or a loved one are in need of help, we will be here for you. We offer both detox and residential treatment for your convenience. We have a highly trained staff that stays up to date on all the latest medical and therapeutic detox procedures. We know that this is a tough and critical time in your life and Asana Recovery wants you to know that you do not have to go through this process alone. We are here to help you in any way that you need.