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To think my friend is a high functioning alcoholic?

120 replies

toohottoohot · 20/10/2018 22:45

My closest friend drink a bottle a wine a night, sometimes 2 bottles a night at the weekend. Works at senior level in a high pressured industry.

Has to be oncall couple times a month, where they can't drink and manages this ok. Doesn't get the shakes if they don't drink, nor do they drink during the day, just in the evening.

Are they a high functioning alcoholic?

How do I raise this with him?

OP posts:
Oswaldspengler · 20/10/2018 22:50

This reply has been deleted

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stopfuckingshoutingatme · 20/10/2018 22:52


And sooner or later the wheels will come off.

I think you can generally tell when people are open to discussing it . And when they are NOT Halloween Smile

stopfuckingshoutingatme · 20/10/2018 22:52

Wrong emoji - ergh

claraschu · 20/10/2018 22:54

He sounds like an alcoholic to me. That is way too much to drink.

I don't know how to raise the issue, or if it will do any good to raise the issue. Is he aware that he drinks too much?

Wolfiefan · 20/10/2018 22:55

Drinking every night is bad. Drinking to excess is bad. A bottle a night each night is binge drinking.
Your friend has a drink problem.
Oswald you can’t really think this is ok? It’s more than a sip. Two bottles will put them over the limit to drive the next day. It would make most people bloody ill. It doesn’t for this person because they have a worryingly high tolerance.

Wolfiefan · 20/10/2018 22:56

And raising the issue?
This person knows exactly how much they drink. Unless they are very stupid they know it’s bad for them. You can’t make them change.

VladmirsPoutine · 20/10/2018 22:57

A bottle of wine a night plus two bottles during the weekend is most definitely alcoholic / alcohol abuse territory. That's up to 9 bottles of wine a week. Given the advice is not to drink over 14 units a week your friend could be putting away up to 90 units.

Has he admitted this to you otherwise how do you know the amount and frequency? If it's something you suspect without him having admitted it to you then it would not be beyond the realms of reason to assume that others might have noticed too, or indeed that they soon will suspect 'something' is wrong with him even if they can't pin down the exact reason.

As you say, he's your closest friend so I wouldn't pussy foot around the issue at all. I'd address it with him upfront. This might result in him backing away as addicts don't change until they make a conscious decision to do so - before that it's all about circumventing, denying and avoiding the issue.

Holdingonbarely · 20/10/2018 22:58

Why do you care? I mean that genuinely. I know lots of heavy drinkers and lots of non drinkers. Unless they impact on my life, it’s really none of my business.
Lots of people can easily drink a bottle a night and be ok. Lots of people can’t.

lau888 · 20/10/2018 22:59

Yes, your friend is an alcoholic. You don’t need a third party to confirm that a bottle or more of any alcohol virtually every night is excessive binge drinking. You can’t raise this with him. (Denial is a symptom of alcoholism.) You just need to be there whenever he realises it’s time to stop - and hope that one day he will realise it. At the moment, his body is still coping quite well; he has a high alcohol tolerance from cumulative intake and he doesn’t appear “drunk”. As the years go by, you will start to notice the shakes during enforced periods of abstinence. It may happen sooner if he switches to stronger alcohol ie spirits.

Wolfiefan · 20/10/2018 23:00

Be ok?
It’s ok to be reliant on alcohol?

Storm4star · 20/10/2018 23:00

We can discuss whether they’re an alcoholic all night long but your question was how you raise it with him. Answer is, you can’t. They won’t change for you. I say this as someone who’s been there, and is still slightly there if i’m Being honest. My drinking affects no one but me. Therefore, only I can get the motivation to do anything about it. To be blunt there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.

Kr1stina · 20/10/2018 23:00

Do you think that he is open to discussing it ?

Perhaps you could say you are worried about his health. He’s drinking about 90 units a week compared to the NHS recommended maximum of 14.

He’s putting himself at higher risk of several cancers, heart disease, stroke, liver disease and brain damage.

Holdingonbarely · 20/10/2018 23:03

There is literally nothing you can do. High functioning means that exactly. They aren’t waking up in the gutter, there are no visible consequences.
Adrian childs did that documentary recently about drinking and it was very interesting.

elephantoverthehill · 20/10/2018 23:04

You don’t need a third party to confirm that a bottle or more of any alcohol virtually every night is excessive binge drinking.
So a bottle of Beck's, a bottle of wine or a bottle of vodka?

Aquamarine1029 · 20/10/2018 23:06

Keep your nose out. This is entirely their business.

Gingerrogered · 20/10/2018 23:10

Maybe approach it asking if he’s okay and ask if he has any stresses or worries as you’ve noticed he’s hitting the bottle a bit?

lau888 · 20/10/2018 23:45

elephantoverthehill, I was probably typing too fast because I was thinking more about bottles of wine or spirits; my apologies for the oversight. Although, apparently 9 bottles of beer would still exceed 14 units a week. (And rack up 1,237.5 calories! Shock)

In any case, alcoholism is the habitual need or desire to consume alcohol; the OP's friend partakes every night except for occasionally work-enforced abstinence. (The OP's post indicates up to 70 to 90 units per week when they are free to make their own choices.) The strongest "tell" is probably that they partake to excess whenever they have the choice.

lau888 · 20/10/2018 23:46

Although, there is also the special aroma that alcoholics exude... but, not everyone will necessarily pick up on it.

toohottoohot · 21/10/2018 10:24

I know how much he drinks cos he's told me. He is aware it's not normal and says he needs to do something about it. Which is never now cos he's always too stressed.

I'm pleased that you agree he's a high functioning alcoholic as I wasn't sure and was doubting myself, Altho not pleased he is one 

Guess I just need to wait until he decides he wants to change. Thanks

OP posts:
tiggerkid · 21/10/2018 10:39

Sounds like he can't live without alcohol, so, yes, I'd say he is an alcoholic. I probably wouldn't mention it directly but you can do it subtly. For example, say something like: have you seen that programme with Adrian Chiles talking about drinking on BBC recently? Or send him a link to the article he wrote on the topic. It's precisely about that.

Valasca · 21/10/2018 10:46

Please don’t send him any condescending links. He’s already confided in you, so he must see you as a friend who won’t judge him.

Be there for him when he asks.

If you two go out, suggest outings that don’t involve alcohol (physical activity/daytime outings or something involving driving instead of dinner with wine)

HoppingPavlova · 21/10/2018 11:01

He is aware it's not normal and says he needs to do something about it.

Given this why would you think you needed to ‘raise it with him’. He’s aware it’s not healthy and it’s up to him to do something about it if he chooses. What is there to raise? Odd.


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BigFatLiar · 21/10/2018 11:02

Drinking a bottle a night during the week, two at the weekend, does he drive? If so he's probably still over the limit in the morning.

TheShrieksShallInheritTheDeath · 21/10/2018 11:05

Why do you care? I mean that genuinely. I know lots of heavy drinkers and lots of non drinkers. Unless they impact on my life, it’s really none of my business

Yes, why would someone care about a close friend and their wellbeing? Confused

Tiredofit · 21/10/2018 11:10

My dad was like this and it killed him. No one would ever have believed he was an alcoholic as he kept his shit together in a professional job. It’s only in the year before his death it all started to unravel and I only see that in hind site. A sad waste of a brilliant and talented man.

He won’t change until he wants to but next time he brings up the subject you could let him know that you would support him if he’s ready.

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