Addiction is a lonely disorder, and as people fall deeper and deeper into alcoholism or substance abuse, the more likely they are to isolate themselves from the people around them. This is especially true for the lone wolf entrepreneur, whose introverted nature may make him more susceptible to alcoholism, and which may, in turn, make him more withdrawn and isolated. These individuals are at risk of becoming functioning alcoholics. If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, contact Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today to speak with a knowledgeable substance abuse counselor about your options. With the help of a professional rehab facility, you can get the treatment you need, develop a reliable support system, and overcome your addiction for good.
Why Do Alcoholics Isolate Themselves?
For most people, drinking alcohol is a social activity. Whether we are on a romantic date for two or surrounded by hundreds of people at a wedding or another big event, we find pleasure in drinking in the company of other people. Alcoholics, on the other hand, often like to drink alone, either to avoid being judged or because they feel like isolation and secretive use is imperative to protecting and prolonging their addiction. As their substance abuse progresses, they may become increasingly isolated and withdrawn, which is a huge red flag for addiction. Even if they continue to drink with friends and family members on certain occasions, alcoholics still tend to feel like they are separate from everyone else, or like they are somehow cut off from the rest of the world. This is when substance abuse can do the most damage – when the alcoholic feels like he has to face his addiction alone – and that is the main reason recovering alcoholics are encouraged to attend group therapy so that they can benefit from the connections made with like-minded people dealing with similar difficulties and challenges.
Signs of Functioning Alcoholics
When an alcoholic manages to keep his drinking a secret while convincing the rest of the world that he is a happy, healthy and productive member of society, this is considered high functioning alcoholism. Functioning alcoholics are people who do not fit the typical stereotype of an alcoholic, which we think of as someone who can’t hold down a job or support himself financially. A functioning alcoholic engages in secretive use, often to a devastating degree, while maintaining what appears to be a “normal” home, work and social life, with a happy family, loyal friends and a successful career. Despite the fact that everything may seem okay in this situation, a functioning alcoholic is still putting his health in danger, perhaps even more so, because this particular type of substance abuse is more difficult to spot. Some common signs of functioning alcoholics include:
- Isolating from friends and family
- Being in denial about their drinking
- Setting strict drinking limits for themselves
- Asking friends or loved ones to help them cover up the consequences of their drinking
- Consuming alcohol to cope with their problems
- Drinking alone and in secret
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when they don’t drink
Functioning alcoholics can go years without being confronted with their problem or without being discovered, even by friends and loved ones. However, as time goes on, the risk of suffering the consequences of high functioning alcoholism increases dramatically, and the façade the alcoholic has worked so hard to build up will begin to crumble. A functioning alcoholic may, for example, be arrested for drinking and driving, or may suffer a failed marriage or some other tragedy before it becomes apparent that he or she needs help.
Entrepreneurs and Alcoholism
An entrepreneur is someone who creates and operates a business or businesses, and while this type of person often seems successful and powerful to the rest of us, many entrepreneurs subscribe to the idea of “fake it till you make it.” Entrepreneurs often have to juggle many different roles in their businesses and may face countless setbacks before becoming successful, including staffing problems, lost customers, increased competition, decreased revenue and disputes with partners, all the while eating poorly, sleeping too little and neglecting their health. This takes a significant physical, and emotional toll on the body and drinking becomes a way for them to keep themselves going. After all, running a business is risky and stressful, and a common coping mechanism for people who are stressed out is to drink.
Successful, high-powered entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk achieve a sort of hero status in our culture, but what many of these entrepreneurs don’t show the world is the silent struggle they are experiencing on the inside. They want the people around them to think they are successful and have it all together, but in reality, many entrepreneurs continually find themselves on the brink of a breakdown. Recent research has drawn a strong link between entrepreneurship and certain mood disorders, like depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts, indicating that many successful business owners who are very visible and charismatic are harboring secret demons that they feel they must hide from the outside world. Rather than show their vulnerability and risk their professional reputation, they keep it bottled up and turn to alcohol to cope.
Contact BRS Rehab for Help
Statistics suggest that roughly half of all alcoholics meet the criteria for high functioning alcoholism, which means they can maintain a career, support their family and have a strong social network, all while drinking to excess in secret. Furthermore, research shows that entrepreneurs experience more anxiety and stress than other workers, which puts them at a higher risk for mood disorders and substance abuse. It may be more than just a stressful job that puts entrepreneurs at risk for developing addiction though. Researchers have found that many entrepreneurs share certain character traits, like high energy, motivation, and creativity, that predispose them to mood swings, strong emotional states and possibly even addiction. If you recognize the signs of functioning alcoholics in a loved one, contact Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today to find out how you can help. With the help of an individualized treatment plan and an experienced addiction recovery counselor, your loved one can finally overcome his or her addiction and get a fresh start in life.