Every individual has a different journey from addiction to recovery and each of them are fraught with their own difficulties. The truth about addiction is that it’s a deeply personal process that impacts you and those around you in a range of profoundly different ways. Many people believe that their addiction is a minor problem and that their habit is under control. To these people, their compulsive drinking or substance abuse is a minor blemish that they’re successfully hiding from the world, where in reality they are the ones who are oblivious to just how serious their problem is.
These people are high-functioning or high-bottoming addicts, who suffer with the same terrible addictions without losing it all. While this may seem like a blessing, it’s often a curse, with a high-bottoming alcoholic justifying their behaviour and avoiding help until it’s too late. If this might be you or someone you know, there are important facts you need to hear.
- Hiding and Controlling are Very Different Things
When you’re a high-functioning addict you tend to believe that you have greater control over your habit but this is typically untrue. Many high-functioning addicts are characterised by their failed attempts to control their drinking. If you are someone or know someone who sets out to have a single drink and can’t stop, this is a sign of addiction. Just because it hasn’t impacted every aspect of your life yet, it doesn’t mean you don’t need help.
- The Emotional Impact is Genuine
While your addiction might not stop you from attending work or spending time with your family, it will usually impact you on an emotional level that people will notice. Changes in your behaviour will have people asking “are you okay?” and similar questions. Not only does this show that you can’t always hide your symptoms, it also demonstrates that below a typically calm exterior, high-bottoming addicts still experience emotional damage.
- A High Bottom is Still a Bottom
High-bottoming addicts often find it easy to justify their drinking because they’re “not like those people in rehab”. This is a dangerous attitude that allows people to fall further into their addiction. A high-bottom – or one that isn’t overly traumatic and life-changing – is still a bottom and still a sign that you need help. Many high-bottoming alcoholics won’t realise that they’ve hit their bottom at the time which is where an organised family intervention can help.
- The Damage is Still Being Done
To write off the behaviour of high-functioning addicts as someone who just likes their drink as a bit of a stress reliever is ignoring the physical and mental damage that substance abuse is still doing. Whether its alcohol, marijuana, methamphetamines or another vice, a high-functioning addict is still inflicting the same level of damage on their body. They simply don’t know – or can’t accept – how bad it really is.
- There Are Still People There for You
For many addicts, it’s a fear of being alone or a feeling of unworthiness that stops them from getting help. They may believe that they don’t deserve professional support and that the people around them won’t understand why they are seeking help. You need to know that your support group will be there to help you and that your struggles are legitimate. For the support groups of high-functioning addicts who might not know why they quit, remember to always be understanding. To learn more about the challenges for high bottoming addicts, read this personal account from a recovered alcoholic.
The dangers of high-bottoming addiction are just as real and just as dangerous as any other. If you need advice and treatment in Melbourne, contact the Ray Hader clinic on (03) 9804 5757 now.