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3 Things To Know If You Suspect That A Loved One Is A Closet Alcoholic

Not only is an addiction to alcohol a major problem to have, but keeping this type of addiction secret can make the problem even worse. Closet alcoholics are more prevalent than you think, and those that have this problem can appear to be normal people. People with this problem are called high-functioning alcoholics, and here are three things you should know if you suspect that one of your loved ones might secretly be addicted to alcohol.

They can lead a normal life

Most people view alcoholics as individuals that cannot hold a job, manage a family, or keep their cool during conversations, but this is not always the case. A high-functioning alcoholic is often able to keep a good job, manage finances, and act like a normal person. This is why it can be difficult to detect this problem and address it.

There are red flags to look for

If you truly believe your loved one is struggling with this issue, there are several things to look for. Here are the common signs people may show when they are secret alcoholics:

  • They drink vodka – Vodka is clear and odorless. This makes it the perfect drink for a secret alcoholic, because they can pour it in other drinks and no one will know, and they can drink it without anyone smelling it.
  • They drink first thing in the morning – If you see your loved one taking a shot of booze first thing in the morning, this may be a good sign that he or she has a drinking problem.
  • They disappear often – A high-functioning alcoholic must find a way to drink without anyone knowing. Because of this, they often show up late to things, or they may disappear often without having a good reason to leave.

These are just a few red flags to look for. If you notice these signs, it might be time to approach your loved one about your suspicion.

You should expect your loved one to become defensive

When you make the decision to approach your loved one about this issue, he or she is likely to become very defensive. This person, first of all, is probably not willing to admit there is a problem. Secondly, he or she might be angry that others know about this "secret" addiction. This is something you should expect, but it should not stop you from talking to him or her about it.

Before you bring it up, make sure you know what you will say. Here are some ideas of points to discuss during this type of conversation:

  • Your love for him or her
  • Your concern about the issue
  • The fact that you know what is going on and others may too
  • The damage this problem will lead to

If your loved one will admit to the problem, you may want to suggest that he or she seek professional help. Breaking an addiction may be easier to do with help, and you can contact a substance abuse treatment facility or places like Headwaters Counseling to learn more about this.