Those who consider themselves professionals are often the hardest to treat when it comes to their alcoholism. These high functioning alcoholics face unique challenges when they begin treatment that require a specialized approach. The following is a guide to the specific challenges that high functioning alcoholics face during recovery and the ways that they can overcome them.
1 . Denial.
Every addict and alcoholic struggles with denial at some point during their recovery, but for a high functioning alcoholic this can be an especially tough hurdle. This is because professionals with alcoholism are often intelligent, successful adults who are accustomed to having things go their way.
Their lives may seem to be going well on the surface, with a career, family, and social life that are perfectly average. All of this makes it harder for them to admit that they have a drinking problem.
Oftentimes, a high functioning alcoholic will use their intelligence and confidence to lie about or rationalize their behavior so that whoever is confronting them ends up feeling like the crazy one. It will take the help of an experienced addiction specialist to get a professional to fully realize they have a problem.
Only through realizing that their drinking has serious consequences on their life and on the people they care about will a high functioning alcoholic begin to break through their denial. An intervention guided by a professional, along with group and individual therapy will help them see their addiction for what it is.
2 . Egoism.
Many high functioning alcoholics also have narcissistic qualities that make recovery a challenge. Many of them view having an addiction as a sign of weakness or failure, so they will go to great lengths to hide their problem or avoid asking for help.
During treatment, it will necessary to address this unrealistic view of addiction by reinforcing the idea that addiction can strike anyone from any background. A high functioning alcoholic will learn about the concepts of humility, service, and surrender during the course of their recovery. This will help them see past their egotism and work toward becoming a better person.
3. High pressure careers.
Many high functioning alcoholics have demanding careers that have them work 40 or more hours per week, allowing them hardly enough time to get into treatment. They will often use the pressures of work as an excuse to avoid going into rehab that lasts 30 or more days. Many professionals are afraid that leaving work for that long of a period will cause them to miss out on important developments at work and damage their careers.
Even if they do agree to treatment, it may be hard for a professional to leave their work demands behind to fully focus on recovery. The truth of the matter is that many companies will make exceptions for an employee to take time off for pressing matters. Alcoholism will inevitable create conflicts at work, so avoiding treatment to continue a career will only make matters worse down the line.
Professionals with a drinking problem often feel an entitlement when it comes to their habit. Because they have worked so hard to get where they are in their careers, they feel they deserve the right to drink in order to relax, have fun, or put aside their worries after a long day.
Many professionals have also faced challenges and have had to make sacrifices in order to get to where they are. The emotional pain left behind may be what's driving them to drink. A high functioning alcoholic will say that drinking is their way of rewarding themselves after all they've been through.
It's important to address this sense of entitlement in recovery and be sure that a professional learns new, healthy ways to deal with stress and pressures from work. Therapy that addresses mental health issues is recommended as well.