Gena Lazelle / Sober Life Victory
I’ve heard the term high-functioning alcoholic. I’ve read people describe themselves as that. One would possibly describe me as one. I have a family, a career. No major life trauma from my drinking. But, was I really high-functioning?
I certainly didn’t feel like I was high-functioning. I felt like I was barely functioning. Stuck in a loop of self-hate in my head. Beating myself up for my lack of will-power and self-control. The fact that I let alcohol rule my days, my nights and ultimately my life. My entire day felt like it revolved around alcohol.
I’d wake up, my head aching, needing water. Snoozing through my workout alarm. Hating myself for my lack of discipline to maintain an exercise program. Failure on the health front. Take a shower, wash away the grime that alcohol exudes from your skin overnight. Look in the mirror, see the washout and dark circles. The culprit, alcohol again. Not tonight, tonight I won’t have wine. Tomorrow, I’ll be refreshed. I’ll workout. There won’t be any wine tonight. It’s not even 7 am, and I’m not functioning all I’m doing is thinking about alcohol. What it’s doing to me, what I’m not doing, how I’m failing.
“It’s not even 7 am, and I’m not functioning all I’m doing is thinking about alcohol.”
It’s 7 am; I should be treating my kids to snuggles. Helping them get ready for the day. Making breakfast, not throwing them a granola bar and some applesauce. But, all I can think about is my lack of will power the night before. Defeated, annoyed and irritable. Alcohol in the front of my life once again.
I make it work. Feel like crap. I wouldn’t feel like crap if I didn’t have to have that wine last night to relax. There it is again, that voice of failure and defeat. Beating me up. Alcohol front and center. Can’t focus on the work at hand. Overwhelmed by the day's tasks. Oh, the length of the day. Eight hours sitting at my desk. Making decisions, coaching people. Defeat. I’m not functioning as a leader; I’m meandering through the motions. Knowing I’m not my best. Knowing I can do better. If only I hadn’t drunk that bottle of wine last night. Alcohol making it’s appearance in my mind again.
Finally, time for my day to end. Off to start my second shift - motherhood. Disengaged, going through the motions. When can I go lay down? So tired, so hungover. Three hours to bed time, wine will help. It will take my mind off how awful I feel. It’s too early for wine. How long before I can pour a glass? When the Husband gets home. Then, then I’ll have my glass. Alcohol, there it is again. I’m not functioning. I’m not a mother, not a wife. I’m functioning as an alcoholic.
It’s hard for me to see myself as a high-functioning alcoholic because I never felt like I was functioning when I had alcohol in my life. Alcohol always front and center in mind. Alcohol blocked me from my family, my work and my life. I certainly wasn’t high-functioning when I was drinking.
Whether you are still going through the motions of your life, it's hard for me to see it as high-functioning. When your life revolves around alcohol, when your mind revolves around alcohol, then you have a problem with your relationship with alcohol.
This post originally appeared on Gena’s site, Sober Life Victory.
Gena is a wife, mother, and marketing executive and in her quiet moments she writes about sobriety and recovery at Sober Life Victory.
She writes “for those living the sober life, for those exploring an alcohol-free life and those with a curiosity about what life without alcohol can be. Bringing together those of us who see the joy in sobriety and to remove the shame from alcohol dependence.”