Is it possible to be a “functional alcoholic”? Yes, but it depends on many factors, mainly economic status and the culture that you live in. However, the cost in human relations is high, and the ending is painful.

What people call “alcoholism” is a condition known as “chemical dependency” (a person’s organism becomes dependent on a substance to function normally.

Most of the time it comes from a combination of genes and environment: a person is pre-disposed to become dependent, and live in an environment where substance use is prevalent, and supported.

So, once the person is dependent (alcoholic) can they still be functional? Yes. If they have the financial means to escape the consequences that come from substance abuse, they live in a culture that accepts substance abuse as “normal”. If you have millions of dollars, don’t have to work, and can hire drivers to take you everywhere, you can escape losing jobs and careers, going to jail, and losing your drivers license for life. You would only have to deal with the consequences of losing relationships, physical ailments, mental impairment, and eventually dying painfully from late-stage alcoholism (chemical dependency).

So, life as a “functional” chemical dependent (alcoholic) is possible. If such a life is attractive to you, and you have the means to pull it off, it’s a real-life choice. But, perhaps you could explore what a substance-free life would be like before you commit. We are open to helping you explore the options and find your true answer.

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