Why can some people drink alcohol daily and still be functional? Because everybody that uses any substance is somewhere on a road between experimentation and addiction. We call it the substance use spectrum. Where are you in this road?

Imagine you are on a road. The road of substance use. You start at Experimentation: drinks at parties, a little weed, etc. You continue to travel down the road, drinking, drugging, consistently, you reach a place called Habituation: you need the drink/drug for the occasion to be good. If the drink or drug is missing the occasion is not as good or fun. You continue traveling, the use increases: grows from weekends and special occasions to every day. If you stop using you feel bad, physically and mentally, this means you arrived at a place called Dependency (what people call addiction).

The people that can go to work the next day are in the first phase of the spectrum (Experimentation)… They drink a few drinks, go to bars, party, and then wake up the next day (maybe a little hungover) ready for work.

The people that developed a habit (Habituation) need a little “something” between the weekends and the parties. They function, work, and perform well, but need the support of the drink or the drug to really function well, or at least not feel bad. This use becomes almost daily, or daily.

The use becomes daily, the brain chemistry changes, and the person moves into Dependency—they become dependent on the substance—to function, not even to get high anymore, but just to FUNCTION normally. If they stop, they go into withdrawal and feel sick.

So, who are the people that can drink and function freely? People in the first stage. Those that are in the second and third stages will be less successful in pulling it off.
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