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4 Ways Alcohol Rehab Can Help the High-Functioning Alcoholic

4 ways alcohol rehab can help the high functioning alcoholic

There are many different types of alcoholics. One of the most common is the high-functioning alcoholic. Functioning alcoholics are good at hiding their alcoholism, so they seem normal on the outside but are struggling with crippling alcohol addiction on the inside. They are often middle-aged, highly educated, well-off financially, and able to maintain a successful career and home life.

Since they are not battling financial instability, isolation, or legal issues, they generally don’t fit into the stereotype that the general public holds of an alcoholic (someone who is unkempt, jobless, older, or even homeless). Instead, they blend in with everyone else. Functional alcoholics may also be less likely to seek treatment because they don’t experience the same struggles and consequences that average alcoholics do.

When a high-functioning alcoholic finally decides it is time to get help from an alcohol rehab center, they must come to terms with their unhealthy relationship with alcohol and learn how to remain high-functioning without using alcohol as a crutch.

Here are 4 specific ways an alcohol rehab center can help the high-functioning alcoholic recover.

1. Intensive, Individualized Therapy to Acknowledge the Seriousness of Alcoholism

Some people who struggle with alcohol use disorder know just how serious their drinking problem is. They know that they are harming their physical and mental health, destroying relationships, and suffering numerous difficulties. However, they still have a hard time getting sober.

Functioning alcoholics, on the other hand, often make jokes about their drinking because they haven’t experienced serious consequences. They may even minimize their behaviors because they have gotten away with alcohol abuse for such a long time. The problem is that having this attitude toward alcohol can make it easy to justify a relapse or not get sober at all. Fortunately, alcohol rehab can help the high-functioning alcoholic understand just how serious their drinking is and how bad it can get if they don’t stop now.

Using highly intensive therapy and an individually-tailored approach, counselors can help patients recognize just how serious their drinking is and why it is no joking matter. By changing one’s attitude toward alcohol, the person can adopt healthier thought processes that are supportive of recovery.

2. Stress-Management

Many functioning alcoholics have important careers, families, and a lot of responsibilities. Having all of these responsibilities can be stressful, so using alcohol to cope may seem like an effective tool. The truth is, using alcohol to cope with stress is dangerous as it can pave the way for alcoholism and increased stress in the future.[1]

Alcohol rehab centers offer stress management and aim to educate patients about the importance of stress management in recovery. They also help patients develop healthy coping skills to deal with stress so they are less tempted to turn to drugs or alcohol. By learning to cope with stress, a high-functioning alcoholic can continue carrying out his or her responsibilities without leaning on alcohol for stress relief.

3. Encourage a Lifelong Commitment to 12-Step Recovery or Other Support Groups

Functioning alcoholics are often confident in their ability to handle all kinds of situations and hardships. While confidence is an important quality to have, overconfidence can be harmful. If a person doesn’t think relapse will happen to them or that they are strong enough to never drink again, they could fool themselves into thinking they don’t need to continue working on their recovery after rehab ends. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Rehab helps people understand and address the root causes of their drinking. It also connects them with the resources they need to stay sober. But, it’s up to the patient to follow through with recovery, continue practicing healthy coping skills, and remain committed to the idea of sobriety.

Alcohol rehab centers can help prevent a high-functioning alcoholic from becoming too confident in their abilities to stay sober by promoting the idea of 12-Step recovery and sober support networks. People who participate in 12-Step fellowships or alternatives after treatment are more likely to remain sober in the months and years to come.[2]

4. Educate About the Disease of Alcoholism and Modify Thought Processes

One of the goals of alcoholism treatment is to educate patients about the disease of alcoholism and the way it affects one’s thought processes. When it comes to high-functioning alcoholics, they are prone to trying multiple different methods of controlling their drinking.[3] What they are failing to identify, though, is that alcoholics cannot control or moderate their drinking no matter what approach they try. Instead, abstinence is the only way.

Using educational workshops and behavioral therapy, alcohol rehab centers can teach high-functioning alcoholics about the disease of alcoholism, how it drives unhealthy thought processes, and why it’s important to modify those thought processes into healthier ones. Patients work closely with their therapist to identify maladaptive thought processes, analyze why they aren’t true or realistic, and change them, accordingly.

alcohol rehab help high functioning alcoholic

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Woburn Wellness Addiction Treatment is a leader in the addiction treatment field, with proven success in facilitating long-term recovery. Our team of top clinical & medical experts specializes in treating addiction coupled with mental illness, ensuring that each person receives individualized care. Call us – we’re available 24/day, 7 days/week.

Find Alcohol Rehab for a High-Functioning Alcoholic Today

When it comes to the alcohol rehab and recovery experience at Woburn Wellness Addiction Treatment, we incorporate 12-step immersion, the careful development of a personalized treatment plan, and an effective combination of therapeutic and holistic treatment methodologies. Our alcohol rehab program in Woburn, MA combines proven therapeutic methods of healing with effective holistic modalities, making for integrated and highly individualized care that cannot be found anywhere else in the area.

If you or a loved one are struggling with alcoholism, don’t hesitate. Call now to speak with an admissions specialist about starting your recovery journey.


Inessa Maloney, MS, LMHC
Clinical Director

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