How To Help A High-Functioning Alcoholic

A high-functioning alcoholic is a type of alcoholic who works full time and maintains family life while struggling with alcohol use disorder (AUD). According to one survey of people with AUD, about 19.4% of them were high-functioning alcoholics. Although this kind of drinking problem is often glorified in movies and TV shows, high-functioning alcoholics are vulnerable. Below, you can learn more about how to help a high-functioning alcoholic.

How To Help A High-Functioning Alcoholic in Indianapolis, IN

Express Concerns About Their Drinking

While this is the most difficult part, you can’t help someone unless you express concerns about their behavior. They need to know how you feel and what you think.
Since high-functioning alcoholic maintains a great deal of personal and professional success, they tend to deny the existence of a problem. So, you can expect them to be argumentative at this point. For that reason, it’s crucial to talk about their drinking when the person is sober.

An intervention specialist can help you approach and express your concerns in the best way. When talking about someone’s drinking problem, you need to be honest and clearly describe how their alcoholism affects them and you alike. In the process of doing so, you need to avoid a judgmental and condescending tone.

Avoid Common Mistakes

As you’re trying to help a high-functioning alcoholic in your life, make sure to avoid common mistakes that would undermine your efforts and further enable their alcoholism. For that reason, you need to avoid making excuses for their actions and drinking behaviors.

Additionally, make sure to pay for their expenses, fines, traffic tickets, and legal fees. It’s not uncommon for people with AUD to engage in risky behaviors that lead to legal troubles and financial difficulties. Offering to pay for these expenses would enable their drinking problem.

Other things you shouldn’t do are manipulate them into changing, resolve their messes or problems, control their drinking, and act as if your needs don’t matter.

Family and friends usually make these mistakes because their heart is in the right place and they want to help, without realizing this could worsen the problem. As you stop making these mistakes, you’ll be more equipped to help a high-functioning alcoholic.

Offer Your Support

The biggest obstacle to helping a high-functioning alcoholic is the lack of understanding. Their personal or professional success may seem like they’re perfectly able to overcome AUD once you express your concerns about this problem. That’s not entirely correct. As mentioned above, high-functioning alcoholics are still
vulnerable and they do need your support. So, when talking about their drinking problem, make sure to emphasize you’re going to be by their side every step of the way. Don’t act like you’re doing them a favor. Offer genuine support and help so they know they’re not alone.

Break Free From Addiction!

You have options. Talk about them with a treatment provider today.

Be Persistent

The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. High-functioning alcoholics are usually in denial and refuse to admit they have AUD. That’s why you shouldn’t expect them to agree to get help immediately. You need to be persistent and always discuss the issue when they’re sober. The more persistent you are, the harder it will be for them to deny the presence of the problem. You may also want to recruit other friends and family members to express their concerns too by staging an intervention.

Encourage Them To Visit The Doctor

Your efforts to help with high-functioning alcohol should lead to them getting help for their problem.
Although the process can be challenging, with a proper approach you can help them make it happen. A person with AUD needs to be encouraged to get help. Encouragement comes in the forms of motivation, love, support, and honesty.

Sometimes, in an attempt to make someone realize the extent of the problem, people tend to judge high- functioning alcohol. Others often insult. All these approaches are wrong and won’t do anything to help them.

Instead, you need to show a person with AUD that you understand them and are there to help. Be proactive and do a little research to find doctors, detox centers, and rehabs that specialize in treating AUD. It also helps to find support groups or 12-step programs in the area. You can also go one step further and find what these treatment options offer and how they help. Not only should you encourage them to visit the doctor, but offer to accompany them to the appointment.


Inpatient rehab is most suitable for patients with severe alcoholism or drug addiction. These programs provide medical supervision and regular therapies that help patients improve their physical and mental health and wellbeing.