Denials Of A High Functioning Alcoholic
Most of us cursorily associate stereotypes like “drug addict”, “alcoholic”, “junkie”, “drunk” and other assorted monikers with a demographic of people who more or less represent the underbelly of society. It is easy to bring up a mental image of someone destitute and homeless, or living within a community of other addicts, with no foreseeable hope of extrication. We know this to be, in part, a projected and ill-informed illusion; the scope of drug addicts encompasses a wide spectrum of people from a teenage neighbor struggling with prescription pill abuse to a crack addict who has lost everything. A situation easily overlooked, however, is that of the “high-functioning alcoholic.”
High Functioning Alcoholic: Watershed Moments On Wall Street?
The high-function alcoholic (or drug addict) is one who ostensibly, or too all external observation, leads a life of incredible success with little trace of the destruction endemic to those other stereotypes we referred to above. Distinguished Mental Health Therapist Sarah Allen Benton has penned a helpful book exploring this hidden class of addict. The disparity between an uncontrolled and destructive addict and one who runs a successful fortune 500 company is a narrow gap indeed. In fact, it is estimated that 20% of those afflicted with addiction/alcoholism are these high-functioning people. Benton also contributes to a very profitable blog on the Psychology Today website. Benton makes the astute observation that now, presently, “no one fits the typical alcoholic image.” How in the world do people like this continue on this path? Denial is a prevalent and effective device employed by these high-functioning people suffering with various drug or alcohol addictions.
Addictions Afflict Everyone
Denial is as serious as any addiction, and the denial of a person who still is able to preform life at a high level is very susceptible to exponentially increasing the problem. Conversely, those people who excel at success in general may a greater advantage to successfully recover from their addiction or alcoholism. They have proven capabilities to attack life with a vigor and profitability that transcends most other people, yet still are vulnerable to the insipidity of drug abuse. The great news is that professional treatment centers are equipped to medically assist those suffering in the throes of addictions, whatever their life experiences, life successes, or lack of success. Society and culture has grown so variegated and multi-faceted that the old stereotypes of two and three generations ago have gone out of vogue. This is also especially germane with the businessmen and women that are clinically diagnosed with a condition that requires some pharmaceutical drug which alters the mind (e.g. Xanax, Adderall, Ambien, etc.). Sarah Allen Benton’s work and research deserve special attention as the field of addiction counseling expands to help different people in all walks of life.