The classic picture of the alcoholic is that of someone who has career, financial and relationship problems. He or she doesn’t turn up at work reliably, can’t pay their bills and ends up in abusive relationships, either as abuser or victim. But are these factors really the only symptoms of addiction that you should consider?

The truth about functional alcoholism…

You can have a fantastic life and career, get on well with friends and family, maintain a reputation as someone who reliably meets financial commitments, and still be an alcoholic. You may even feel proud about your ability to maintain your drinking habit while still being a highly functional member of society. Not sure if this is you? Use this handy calculator to see what your risks are. You may be surprised. More than two drinks a day puts you in the danger zone!

Why should you even consider rehabilitation?

Do you want to live your life to the full? More than two drinks a day not only affect your liver, but also damage your heart according to a new study. And women may be even more vulnerable to this effect than men. Do you care about your family? Your premature death would come as a blow to them. Would they be able to cope without you?

Do you want to be at your best and brightest? Excessive drinking – even if you don’t actually get drunk – reduces your ability to remember, learn and solve problems. Worst of all, these effects aren’t temporary. Your brain can actually get smaller, and there’s less activity in certain parts of the brain too. Just three drinks a day can cause irreversible brain damage, and the longer you drink, the worse it gets. And binge drinking on weekends does even more damage.

Do you want to protect the innocent? You’ve heard the whole ‘hype’ about drinking and driving. You’ve heard that moderate drinking affects response times. You may even think that none of this applies to you. After all, you feel fine after a few drinks. You can hold your booze! The facts are scary. Apart from having a slower reaction time even when blood alcohol levels are low, you have 32% less ‘visual acuity’. Simply put, you won’t even see a dangerous situation coming. Scariest of all, the CDC reports that over half the children that died in road accidents in the US are passengers of an alcohol impaired driver. This could be your child!

Do you need rehabilitation?

If you routinely use alcohol and experience psychological or physical withdrawal symptoms when you don’t drink, you should consider in-patient rehabilitation. If you occasionally binge-drink or are a regular social drinker, you may be able to get by with a positive resolution on your part. Consider getting supportive counselling to keep you on track.

Symptoms that indicate your need for in-patient treatment:

If you suffer from any of the following symptoms, you should consider getting help as an in-patient at a rehabilitation center.

  • Inability to sleep when you stop drinking.
  • You notice that you sweat a lot when you haven’t had a drink.
  • You get anxious without alcohol.
  • You decide to stop drinking, but you can’t keep your resolution.
  • At the upper end of the scale, alcohol addicts can suffer from dangerous seizures and hallucinations when they don’t get their ‘fix’.

Should you be ashamed of yourself?

As long as you are willing to recognize that you have a problem and take steps to overcome it, you have no reason to be ashamed. Your (true) friends, family and your employers will respect you for taking the necessary steps to improve your life by quitting. If they don’t, the problem lies with them rather than with you.

If you are concerned about being stigmatized at work, you could consider using holiday leave to enjoy an opportunity to enhance your life and create a situation in which you can fulfil your true potential as a human being. What could be a better ‘holiday’ than that?

If you have an alcohol abuse or addiction problem, you are not alone! Up to 30% of Americans have alcohol abuse and addiction problems. If you take positive steps to resolve your issue, you should be proud of yourself! But if you don’t, you are endangering not only yourself but your family and the community at large.

Are you ready for change?

If you answered ‘yes’ to this question, congratulations. You have just taken the first step towards a better life. Don’t leave it there! Follow through!