What Are the Signs of a Functioning Alcoholic?

signs of a functioning alcoholic

When you think about what an alcoholic is, you more than likely paint a harsh picture. In your mind, an alcoholic’s life is falling apart, and they may be living on the margins of society. While there are people who fit that profile, there are people who struggle with alcohol abuse yet can live a normal life and can perform their work, school, and family duties with seemingly no issues. People that fall into this category are known as functioning alcoholics.

This article will further explore the high-functioning alcoholic and the signs of a functioning alcoholic. Do you feel that you are sliding further down the slippery slope of alcohol abuse? If the answer is yes, the Last House can help you. Our network of evidence-based sober living homes provides the clinical and peer support you need to stop drinking once and for all. Call us today to learn more about our Los Angeles sober living program.

What is a Functioning Alcoholic?

Also commonly known as high-functioning alcoholics, a functioning alcoholic can maintain a “normal life” by continuing to perform and succeed at their job and home. For the most part, the functioning alcoholic can maintain close family relationships and friendships. Additionally, the functioning alcoholic has avoided legal consequences. When compared to the classic definition of the alcoholic, the highly functioning alcoholic may not experience blackouts, display personality changes, or experience wide emotional swings.

What Are the Signs of a Functioning Alcoholic?

If you have read previous blogs, you know that the signs of addiction can be difficult to detect. Many addicts can hide their substance use from loved ones and can deflect concern from loved ones when questioned about their abuse of substances. With a highly functioning alcoholic, spotting trouble is even more difficult. Since a functioning alcoholic can perform at work and home and not get into trouble, it is seen they can “handle their cups”.

As we know, addiction is a slippery slope. While a functioning alcoholic can “keep it together”, it may only take an event or series of events to send them down the proverbial rabbit hole and into a full-blown addiction. Also, the amount of alcohol they consume can cause significant health issues down the road. The following are common functional alcoholic symptoms:

Can’t Have “Just One Drink”

One of the most common signs of a functioning alcoholic is they can’t have “just one drink”. Despite what they may say, they are unable to limit their alcohol intake. They may finish a drink at one bar and head to another, or they may finish other people’s drinks.

They Drink Rather Than Eat

Functioning alcoholics may replace a meal with a few drinks. While they may eat something during a meal, it may be just enough to have a “base” for the alcohol they will consume.

Having “The Hair of the Dog”

Other telltale signs of a functioning alcoholic are having a drink or two in the morning to take the sting out of a hangover. If someone needs to have a drink in the morning or at unusual times, this may be a sign of a functioning alcoholic.

Engaging in Risky Behavior

Alcohol is often called “liquid courage”, and people who consume alcohol may be prone to acting out and engaging in high-risk behavior. People who are normally quiet and mild-mannered may start engaging in drunk driving and having unprotected sex.

Unable to Curb Drinking

Functioning alcoholics may be able to go about their daily activities while drinking heavily, but they are unable to curb their intake or quit altogether. They may say they can stop whenever they want, but they are unable to follow through.

Need Help With Your Drinking? Call The Last House Today

Do you find yourself drinking more and more? Are you feeling that you are slipping away from loved ones? Do you fear that you are losing your battle against alcohol? Today is the day that you find the help you need. The Last House is Southern California’s premier sober living network. Our sober living homes feature experienced staff as well as top-notch clinical and peer support. Our sober living programs are personalized to meet your specific needs, and we will give you the tools to bring forth the transformation you desire.

Call the Last House toll-free today and begin that change.

Success Story: Dalton

My name is Dalton and I’m an alcoholic and a drug addict.

I’m not sure if I was born like this or if I somehow crossed a line, but what happened was that alcohol and drugs took over my life. It progressed quickly. When repercussions of my drinking and drug use would set in, I would invariably find myself in a program and with all the best intentions, promising myself and others that I was done. The ‘done’ part never seemed to be happen. Well I can still have a drink, it’s the drugs that are the problem.

Over and over, I repeated this pattern in different ways, with different chemicals, different circumstances, and in different cities. It was never easy to stop drinking and using, but it was significantly more challenging to stay stopped. Eventually, reality hit me as I reached yet another bottom. For the first time, I had some clarity.

During the course of my inpatient treatment, it was strongly suggested that I find a structured sober living. I wasn’t sure what that meant, but I was willing enough to do what was suggested to me. When faced with the gravity of my situation and the reality that I would likely end up back to what I always do, drinking and using drugs until I reach an even lower low, I was willing to give anything a shot.

Willing: that’s how I walked through the doors of The Last House and how I started my journey of recovery. My experience in The Last House was profound. I was certain it was the intensive outpatient therapy I attended that would be the catalyst for change, but in retrospect it was the The Last House. It was a community that supported me, challenged me, and most importantly guided me into the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, where I found a solution to my alcoholism and drug addiction.

However, that solution requires work and I don’t believe I would have been able to maintain the concerted effort needed for it. Willingness for me tends toward the ephemeral; it’s here and then it’s gone. Had it not been for The Last House providing the community, structure, and time for me to nurture that willingness, and holding me accountable to the work required for the 12-step program of recovery, I would not have the life I do today.

My sobriety date is July 17th, 2013, and I am 31 years old. I graduated from The Last House in August of 2014 at the age of 22. I live in Paris, France. I have a career path, a wife, and two degrees now. I have healthy relationships with my family and friends. I have stability, freedom, peace, and my life looks vastly different than it used to—inside and out.

I was promised a life beyond my wildest dreams. As Disney and fanciful as it sounded at the time, it turned out to be true, only in a different way. Life isn’t going to be perfect and material successes aren’t guaranteed, but what I have is a life that I didn’t know was possible. The idea of spending even one day free from that aching feeling to alter my state of consciousness with alcohol or drugs seemed impossible — that was beyond my wildest dreams. It’s not always easy and life gets vastly more complicated. I am not perfect, not even close; however, I have tools, people, and a program of recovery to help me walk through whatever comes my way.

If you’re just coming to The Last House, I hope you make the best of it. I hope you get to see things from a different perspective and I hope you get to meet people that challenge you. No mater what, I hope you find the freedom that you deserve, and I hope that you get to help others find it too.

Dalton F.

April 20th 2023

Success Story: Aaron O

When I entered the Last House, I was a very lost angry and selfish person. Everything was my way and everything was everyone else’s fault. I was not a good person to be around and my defects were at an all time high. It wasn’t until I started going through the house and actually learning to open up to the people around me, which in itself took much time and effort, but when I gave that effort I started to notice changes. I was so angry all the time! The house gave me a place to work on all of the anger and depression in a safe environment. I had many trust issues and the house taught me to learn to trust people again and realize that there were people that cared about me. Today because of the house I can say that my patience is at an all-time high my relationships are better than they have ever been and I am actually happy with my life all around. I wake up with a positive outlook every day and the house taught me how to overcome every day life’s problems. I am so fortunate to have learned all of the wonderful things I have learned, and to have the experience I have had going through the house. I am seriously blessed and thankful for all the people at Last House.

Success Story: Keegan K

Entering the last house, I was consumed with ego, jealousy and resentment. These defects of character caused me to be extremely uncomfortable in a sober state, but my mind continued to play games with me, telling me that drugs and alcohol were not an escape but a way for me to have fun. I saw nothing but differences in those around me, my roommates and members of AA. My anger and resentment pushed me to isolate from others, silently judge, then blow up on those around me, in an effort to control my situation and remain in power, through my time with the Last House and through the steps of AA, I no longer feel a deep misunderstanding with the world. My resentment towards others doesn’t fuel my anger and ego, but instead is questioned, and I am able to examine my part on almost everything I do or experience day today. I know full heartedly I am an alcoholic and without God, AA and a group of supportive men in my life I will be miserable, which will lead me to relapse. My honesty and integrity was put on front stage at the Last House. I have been able to see how living to the principles of compassion, integrity and selflessness, not only create more meaningful and deeper relationships with others, but also with my self. I have faith in spirituality in my life, which allows me to not feel that I am going against the grain, but with the correct path I was always supposed to be. I have begun to have a full change in perspective.

What Are the Types of Support Groups For Families of Addicts?

What Are the Types of Support Groups For Families of Addicts?

It is often said that addiction is a family disease. While the focus of drug treatment is to help and heal the addict, the family must also be part of the recovery process. Each family member has a role in the development of a loved one’s addiction. For the addict to have a supportive environment, the families of addicts must come together and learn how to grow and heal from the ravages of substance abuse.

Support groups for families of addicts provide the tools and support needed for families to understand their role in a loved one’s addiction. This article will explain the role of drug addiction support groups of families in an addict’s recovery. If your loved one is losing their battle with addiction, call the Last House toll-free right now. Our sober living programs are specifically created to help addicts and the families of addicts move past addiction and grow stronger.

Call us today to learn more about our Los Angeles sober living program.

What Are Addiction Support Groups for Families?

In simple terms, support groups for families of addicts allow people with similar experiences with addiction to share their stories in a safe and non-judgmental environment. These groups focus on supporting families of addicts and encouraging them to be active in their loved one’s recovery. Additionally, families of addicts support groups to provide resources that help families find the help they need to heal the entire family unit. Recovery support groups for families are an essential part of an overall recovery plan during and after formal treatment has ended and as the newly recovering addicts return home and resume their normal daily activities.

What Are the Types of Support Groups for Families of Addicts?

When a family struggles with a loved one’s substance abuse, they often feel alone. Fortunately, there are many family support groups available that can provide the encouragement and support they need. Some examples of family support groups are the following:

Alanon and Alateen

Alanon is a worldwide fellowship that provides a recovery program for families and friends of people addicted to alcohol. Alanon encourages families to provide support for someone with an alcohol addiction. If the person addicted is a teenager, families of addicts can turn to Alateen.

Parents of Addicted Loved Ones

Parents of Addicted Loved Ones is a Christian-based support group that provides hope through education and support to the parents of addicted loved ones. These meetings are open to all people, regardless of faith or background.

Families Anonymous

Formed in 1971, Families Anonymous is a 12-step group for family members of loved ones addicted to drugs, alcohol, or related behavioral health conditions. Like other family self-help support groups, Families Anonymous encourages attendees to share their experiences and struggles of a family member’s addiction in a safe and supportive environment.


GRASP (Grief Recovery After a Substance Passing) is a support group for families and others who have lost loved ones due to substance abuse. GRASP was created to offer understanding, compassion, and support for those who have lost someone they love through addiction and overdose.

The Benefits of Support Groups for Families of Addicts

The benefits of family addiction support groups are numerous. As already discussed, these groups bring together families who share similar situations. In these groups, people can work through the stress and guilt associated with a loved one’s addiction together. These groups also teach families how to set healthy boundaries and eliminate the enabling behavior that allows addicts to continue using without consequences. Thirdly, family support groups help members let go of anger and resentment. Most importantly, drug addiction support groups for families give family members education and knowledge about addiction itself and how it impacts the user and those they love.

Does Your Family Need Help and Support for an Addicted Loved One?

Having a family member struggle with addiction creates heartbreak and hopelessness. While you may feel your loved one may never get the help, the help they need is just a phone call away. The Last House is Los Angeles County’s premier sober living program for men. We understand that family support is crucial to a loved one’s long-term recovery. Our sober living facilities feature family support meetings in addition to clinical and peer support. These programs and services give clients the tools they need to overcome addiction for good.

The Last House is Southern California’s premier sober living network. Our sober living homes feature experienced staff as well as top-notch clinical and peer support. Our sober living programs are personalized to meet your specific needs, and we will give you the tools to bring forth the transformation you desire.

Call the Last House toll-free today and begin that change.