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The Best Ways to Detox from Alcohol 31 Jan 2020

BY: Lori Miles

Addiction / Treatment

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The Best Ways to Detox from Alcohol

Best Way to Detox and Recover from Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol use disorder, which accounts for drinking problems ranging from moderate to severe, is a disease that affected as many as 14.4 million Americans in 2018, according to the NIAAA. Alcohol dependence can change the body’s biochemistry and stopping alcohol use cold turkey can have devastating effects, known as withdrawal symptoms. In order to cope with these symptoms, medical detox is one of the best ways to detox from alcohol because it allows for the safe transition into sobriety. 

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Healthy tips for staying on track for the new year | Tangu.com 15 Jan 2020

BY: Lori Miles


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Healthy Tips for Staying on Track in the New Year

Tips to Keep You on Track with Your Recovery in the New Year

For those in recovery, resolutions for the new year will certainly include some sort of plan to help prevent relapse. A new year brings new possibilities, and it gives you a chance to change things in your life that no longer serve you or your recovery from addiction. Tangu has compiled some of the most notable healthy tips for staying on track in the new year with your recovery goals, which follow below.

Further Your Education About Addiction

Addiction is a complex disease that has many aspects that, once understood, can make it easier to control. While in our treatment programs at Tangu, you will learn to recognize the root causes of addictive behaviors and how to cope with triggering experiences.. Learning more about how substance abuse disorders affect the mind and body can help you better understand your own journey.

Join support groups and learn what you can through the many resources available online about addiction, such as the addiction resources that we provide on Tangu. These important insights can help you to better identify relapse triggers and emotional states that can lead to substance abuse.

Out with the Old, In with the New

A new year is an excellent time to make significant changes in your life that will benefit your recovery from drug and alcohol abuse. Old friends, places, and habits that you had that were built around substance abuse should be reconsidered. If something no longer serves your recovery, then it’s time to let it go and allow new things to replace it. 

Take an honest look at your routines, friends, and the places that you frequently visit and consider whether they will fit into your new drug- and alcohol-free life. By removing these relapse triggers, it can greatly improve your chances of recovery.

Find Support

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction treatment is effective as long as a person continues to use things such as support groups and a relapse prevention plan after rehab. A support network is perhaps the most important element of long-term recovery. 

Even in recovery, you are not alone. Through 12-step support groups, a social circle that supports your sobriety, and family that will help you to stay clean and sober, recovery in the new year becomes sustainable. 

Exercise Routine

Getting enough exercise is an especially powerful tool in recovery. One of the healthy tips for staying on track in the new year is to create an exercise routine that you can stick with. It provides a recovering person with unique benefits such as reduced cravings, improved emotional wellbeing, rebuilding the damage caused by an addiction, and promotes a healthier overall lifestyle. 

Once you’ve established an exercise routine, even if you start slowly, it can become a valuable asset in the maintenance of your addiction. 

All Things in Balance

A part of creating a healthy lifestyle after addiction is about finding a balance between all of the things in your life. It’s common for a recovering person to simply replace their obsessive substance-abusing behavior with something else, and even something healthy done to the extreme can be unhealthy.

This year, find the proper balance between all the things in your life. Try not to focus too much on any one thing as a well-rounded life can sustain a person far better than one that is all about one thing. 

With these healthy tips for staying on track in the new year with your recovery from drug or alcohol abuse, you can create the type of life you want to have. If you would like more assistance in preventing relapse, contact Tangu today at 844-297-8116.

Suicidal Ideation 19 Sep 2019

BY: Lori Miles

Addiction / Depression

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Suicide Prevention Month: Understanding Suicidal Ideation

It is a sad fact about modern society that mental health crises have become so commonplace. One in five people surveyed in 2018 admitted to having mental health issues. One in twenty-five people experienced serious mental illness. Considering the amount of people struggling with life, it’s inevitable that suicide would become a more pressing problem. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people aged 10-34 in the U.S. The overall suicide rate in the U.S. has increased by thirty-one percent since 2001.

This is a scourge that must be dealt with sooner rather than later. No one deserves this much anguish on a daily basis. The first step to dealing with any problem, regardless of its gravity, is to understand what you’re looking for. What causes someone to believe that killing themselves is the only way out? What does a suicidal person look like? Mental health disorders do not care about social status, popularity, money, or any of the other things that people incorrectly believe can be a simple panacea to a tormented soul. It’s vital to look past basic stereotypes and treat the person that needs help. 

It’s not always obvious that someone is considering suicide. Thoughts about self-harm, also known as suicidal ideation, can take various different forms, but typically fall into two main categories of suicidal ideation: active and passive.

Active suicidal ideation is easier to notice. This is when someone is intent on committing the act and has present plans to do so. But before anyone gets to that point, they engage in passive suicidal ideation. This is when someone intermittently imagines their death, or how they would want to die, but has no plans to follow through on the notions. In a way, this form is more insidious because it is often overlooked both by both health professionals and family members who don’t realize what their sibling or relative is going through.

It’s a terrifying thought: that frustrated thoughts about a person’s job or self-image could morph into something fatal. But there is a silver lining to this reality. Nearly everyone has struggled with their career, unsure about their connections to society, or been anxious about the future. Our personal plights are more relatable than we realize. We are more alike than we are different. We have the ability to take better care of each other if we try. 

There are dozens of factors that can cause a person to think about suicide, but no matter the reason, it all boils down to an unending feeling of hopelessness. Whatever treatment plan is used to help a suicidal person has to find a way to bring hope back into the suicidal person’s life. The first step to doing that is to discover what made them so hopeless in the first place. Every suicidal person needs a personalized treatment plan, but the most consistent ways to help are:

  • Therapy: Speaking to a licensed professional about your problems is a great way to view your pain from a different perspective and gain insights you might not be able to find on your own.
  • A stable support group: Let your friends and family know what you’re dealing with so they can lift you when you’re low and keep you from feeling isolated or lonely. If you are the friend or family member reading this, then make it a point to ask this person how they’re feeling (mental illness often makes emotional vulnerability feel more dangerous than it is) and tell them how much you care about them. 
  • Lifestyle changes: Ultimately, all substantial changes to a person’s life must be made by the person who needs the changes. Becoming more aware of harmful stressors, improving your eating and sleeping habits, and developing healthier habits will do wonders for your mental state. 

Helping people rediscover the joys of life is an immensely difficult job, but we have a moral imperative to help those lost in the abyss. 

All of this is easier said than done, of course. For those stricken with mental illness, it can often feel impossible to overcome them. Many disorders cannot be “beaten” or “fixed”. They are long term conditions that have to be managed. The path to self-acceptance is a winding road full of roadblocks. But if you approach the issues with empathy and patience for the victim you’re dealing with – whether it’s you or someone else in your life – the light will soon reappear. Everyone deserves to have that chance.  

8 Places to Have Fun in Atlanta When You Want to Stay Sober 02 Apr 2019

BY: Lori Miles


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8 Places to Have Fun in Atlanta Without Risking Your Sobriety

Finding ways to have fun in the city while maintaining sobriety can be a challenge for people living with substance abuse disorders. Fortunately, there are recovery-friendly things to do in big cities such as Atlanta, Georgia. Here is a list of places to have fun and stay sober in and around Atlanta.

1. World of Coca-Cola

At World of Coca-Cola, you’ll learn about the soft drink company in a fun way. Drink as much of Coca-Cola’s products as you like in the tasting room, which has more than 100 beverages sold around the world. Walk through and look at memorabilia, see how beverages are bottled, and watch a short film about Coke. Admission is $17 for adults, and $15 for seniors 65 and older. 

2. Segway Tours

Have fun in Atlanta touring the city by Segway. ATL Cruzers offers Segway tours in several districts around Atlanta. The cost is $49-$59 depending on the tour. ATL Cruzers also offers an electric car tour for $29.

3. Drive-In Movies

Take your family or friends to see a movie outdoors in your vehicle at the Starlite Drive-In Theater. Bring your own snacks and beverages, or visit the snack bar — no alcohol or drugs are allowed at the theater. Admission is $9 ($1 for children 5-9), which allows you to see two consecutive movies from your parking spot.

4. Alcohol-Free Restaurant

A Hawaiian-style restaurant that doesn’t serve alcohol can be hard to find, but that’s what Truett’s Luau is. About 45 minutes from downtown, this restaurant was started by late Chik-fil-A founder Truett Cathy. The restaurant has island-inspired decor like tikis and ukuleles. The menu includes Chik-fil-A’s famous chicken sandwich and nuggets, along with dishes like fish tacos, steak, and shrimp.

5. Stone Mountain

East of Atlanta is Stone Mountain Theme Park. Hike up the dome of granite and quartz, or take the Summit Skyride to the top, where you can see for 60 miles in good visibility. The park also includes a museum, petting zoo, mini golf, ropes course, and a train ride that takes you around the base of the mountain. In the winter, man-made snow offers a chance to go snow tubing. There’s a lot of fun here without alcohol. Admission prices vary based on the season and which bundled attraction pass you choose.

6. City Parks

Get outdoors in one of the Atlanta-area parks. Centennial Olympic Park downtown is an Atlanta landmark. The park sometimes hosts events with vendors, but when no events are taking place, it’s a great area to just walk around and look at the surrounding cityscape. In another part of the city, take the trail around Clear Creek Basin at Historic Fourth Ward Park. Bike or walk around the scenic 200-acre Piedmont Park, which offers bird-watching walks and fitness classes.

7. Carriage Rides

For something different, take a horse-drawn carriage ride of downtown Atlanta. The carriage tour is $100 for 30 minutes. Reservations are recommended.

8. Coffee Shops

Visit one of Atlanta’s popular coffee shops like Ebrik Coffee Room, East Pole Coffee Co., Dancing Goats Coffee Bar, Condesa Coffee, Hodgepodge Coffee House, and Brash Coffee. 

These are a handful of places that show you can have fun and stay sober in Atlanta. There are enjoyable activities out there that are conducive to recovery.

National Kidney Month: Alcohol Abuse and Kidney Damage 27 Mar 2019

BY: Lori Miles


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National Kidney Month: Alcohol Abuse and Kidney Damage

March is National Kidney Month, meant to raise awareness about Chronic Kidney Disease and remind the public to take proper care of this vital organ. Kidneys perform several important functions including:

  • filtering the blood
  • removing waste and toxins
  • maintaining fluid balance
  • stimulating the production of red blood cells
  • producing hormones for bone health
  • regulating blood pressure

Although kidneys are so important to everyday life, it is estimated that about 30 million adults in the United States have Chronic Kidney Disease. 

What is Chronic Kidney Disease?

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) occurs when the kidneys are damaged and cannot filter blood properly. Excess fluid and waste that would normally be filtered remain in the bloodstream, and this can cause other problems including heart disease, stroke, increased risk of infection, or anemia. CKD can be treated to slow its progress, but it will get worse over time and can eventually cause kidney failure. In these cases, dialysis or a kidney transplant is necessary to survive.

How Does Alcohol Affect the Kidneys?

One of the main risk factors for developing CKD is high blood pressure, and regular alcohol consumption can play a large part in this. Binge drinking is defined as drinking enough to bring a person’s blood alcohol concentration over .08%. While infrequent occurrences of this will only cause temporary blood pressure elevation, doing so consistently can have long-term negative effects. Frequent heavy drinking can cause chronic high blood pressure, putting the kidney at a higher risk of being damaged.

The kidneys are also affected by heavy alcohol consumption because of the strain that it puts on the liver. It is well known that chronic drinking can cause liver disease, and if the liver is not functioning properly, the kidneys have to work much harder. Damage to the liver impairs its ability to regulate blood flow going into the kidneys, and without this regulation, the kidneys cannot filter the blood properly. Because of this, liver disease and kidney disease often go hand in hand.

How to Prevent Chronic Kidney Disease

There are several things that can be done to help prevent kidney damage including: 

  • eating a healthy, low-salt diet
  • exercising regularly
  • monitoring and treating high blood pressure
  • refraining from smoking tobacco
  • limiting alcohol consumption

Alcoholism or frequent heavy drinking can cause a multitude of health problems, including kidney damage or disease, but treatment or rehabilitation can help prevent this from occurring. Make your health a priority and live a longer, fuller life by contacting Tangu Recovery for a free consultation and assistance with treatment.

What are Common Addiction Triggers? 28 Jan 2019

BY: Lori Miles


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What are Common Addiction Triggers?

Navigating sobriety is more than resisting the urge to use. Addiction recovery is active, not passive. Each day we choose to avoid known triggers, practice mindfulness, and use positive means of coping with life’s challenges. For people in early recovery, recognizing common addiction triggers is vital to long-term sobriety.

What are Common Addiction Triggers?

Emotional Triggers

Substance abuse often stems from underlying emotional and mental distress. We use drugs and alcohol to cope with the things we don’t want to feel or deal with. Self-medicating for depression, anger, anxiety, or stress does nothing to quell the problem, only serving to compound the issue. If you are experiencing urges due to overwhelming emotions, remember: turning to your drug of choice will never make things better. Practicing mindfulness and continuing to participate in outpatient levels of care can help you manage the emotional challenges of recovery without relapsing.

Physical Triggers

Underestimating the dangers of physical triggers is a common misstep in early recovery. We make the mistake of wanting to prove ourselves recovered by returning to the places and people we once frequented to test ourselves, consciously or not. Going back to the bars, street corners, or drug dens we used to know is only tempting the devil forward. The friends and people we knew in active addiction can also serve as triggers. Part of the recovery journey is letting go of that which holds you captive to your past. It’s okay to let these things go.

Unanticipated Triggers

The most dangerous triggers are the ones we don’t consider. Unanticipated triggers can blindside us, quickly leading to relapse and related dangers. Some common triggers people often overlook include:

  • Celebrations
  • Holidays
  • Seasonal changes
  • Lack of sleep
  • Use of substances other than your drug of choice
  • Relationship troubles
  • Boredom

If faced with sudden urges, it’s important to stay focused on the reasons you choose sobriety over active addiction. These thoughts and feelings are temporary and never worth the distress and shame that comes with relapse. Take a moment to ground yourself. Distract yourself with your favorite hobbies or self-care techniques. Contact your sponsor, go to an extra meeting, or surround yourself with supportive family and friends.

What to Do if Relapse Happens

Relapse doesn’t have to be the end of your recovery journey. It doesn’t have to lead to dangerous benders. If you experience a relapse, the more important thing to do is be safe and get back on track as soon as you can. We can help.

05 Dec 2018

BY: Lori Miles

Addiction / Featured

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December is Impaired Driving Prevention Month

December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, designated as such in response to the irreparable damages impaired driving causes during this time of year. According to the Mothers Against Drunk Driving organization, about two in three people will have some sort of involvement in a drunk driving crash. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed over 10,000 people lost their lives in drunk driving incidents in 2017. For that reason, National Impaired Driving Prevention Month is more than a month to spread awareness but one for personal change and action. Here are a few ways that you can make a difference this month for the sake of ending drunk and high driving.

Know Your Limits

One of the most important things to know is just how much alcohol impacts your ability to drive safely. The legal blood alcohol concentration limit is a concentration of .08% for general licenses and .04% for commercial drivers. The amount of drinks it takes to stay under or go above the limit depends on your body chemistry and it’s best to never gamble with the numbers. Overestimating your limits could result in legal consequences, or more detrimental results. Needless to say, there are tools and resources on the internet that could help you determine what your BAC might be based upon your weight and other factors. Knowing an estimate of your drinking limits may be an effective way of preventing yourself from over drinking before taking the wheel.

Educate Yourself and Others

Another great way to make a difference on National Impaired Driving Prevention Month is to educate yourself and others on the facts and statistics about impaired driving. Many people might be unaware of how drugs and alcohol will affect their mind before driving under the influence, especially because alcohol lowers inhibitions and distorts one’s perceptions.  The personal stories and tragedies of the people affected by drunk and impaired driving illustrate the devastation of a momentary lapse in judgment. Overall, the more you learn and share, the better. Even if you impact one person’s mindset, you could potentially save the lives of others down the road.

Get Involved

Getting actively involved during National Impaired Driving Prevention Month can be done in a few different ways. There are plenty of powerful organizations that work endlessly to put impaired driving in the past and safety in the present and future. Many of them have volunteer opportunities in which you can get involved and dedicate part of your time to the cause. If that’s not your thing, then another great way to get involved is to take a pledge of honor to not drive drunk, drowsy, or high. Altogether, taking action is a very effective way of making a difference in your own life and the community around you.

Take Care of Yourself

This month may be designated for national awareness but it’s also the perfect opportunity for you to reflect on your relationship with drugs and alcohol. Remembering the countless lives that were taken due to impaired driving accidents will remind you of the dangers that abusing alcohol and drugs can bring. If you’re struggling with an addiction, getting treatment will save your life and may prevent you from ever getting into an accident while drunk or high. You are never alone nor do you have to suffer in silence because your life is worth the time and patience. If you have any questions about our treatment programs, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are here for you and all the questions you may have!

5 Facts You Need to Know About Alcohol 21 Nov 2018

BY: Lori Miles

Addiction / Featured

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5 Facts You Need to Know About Alcohol

Did you know November 19th through the 25th is Alcohol Awareness Week? This year’s theme is change, with an emphasis on correcting misconceptions about alcohol and alcohol abuse disorders. Despite being considered one of the most acceptable illicit substances to use, alcohol is still dangerous and can lead to serious consequences. In fact, during the holiday season drunk driving attributes to 40 percent of fatal road accidents -nearly double the rate for the rest of the year (28 percent). 2.3 times as many people die in alcohol-related crashes between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day alone.

If that’s not enough to make you seriously reconsider your drinking habits, here’s 5 facts you need to know about alcohol:

#1: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Can Be Attributed to Both Parents

Most people correlated Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) with a mother’s drinking habits, specifically during the course of her pregnancy. But did you know, the father’s alcohol consumption can also have negative effects on an unborn baby? A 2013 study showed paternal alcohol exposure could contribute to low birth weight, abnormal organ growth including the brain, and heightened neonatal mortality risks. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome also causes delayed mental development and behavioral issues including aggression, antisocial behavior, and impulse control issues.

#2: Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms Can Be Fatal

While most assume the main danger of alcohol abuse involves getting behind the wheel, the physical effects alcohol has on the body are just as damaging. Long-term abuse causes liver damage, potentially leading to a serious health condition called cirrhosis. This condition causes scarring of the liver and life-threatening liver failure. Alcohol withdrawal can also cause seizures and heart issues. Because of these risks, attempting to detox from alcohol ‘cold turkey’ can be incredibly dangerous and is not advised. Clinical supervision through a sub-acute detox program is the safest means of alcohol detox.

#3: Functional Alcoholism is a Hidden Problem

Alcohol abuse disorders aren’t always as obvious as the movies portray them to be. Functional alcoholism lurks beneath the surface and is often ignored because it doesn’t necessarily disrupt one’s ability to function in society. Symptoms like lying about or hiding one’s drinking habits, being defensive, or struggling to keep up with one’s responsibilities may point to an alcohol use disorder even if things haven’t reached a critical point. Don’t wait to hit rock bottom– early intervention could literally save your life.

#4: Alcohol Abusers are More Susceptible to Prescription Drug Abuse

Where marijuana is often portrayed as the ‘gateway drug’, studies show a stronger correlation between alcohol use and the development of polysubstance abuse disorders. That is, people with alcohol use disorders are 18 times more likely to abuse other substances, most commonly prescription drugs. While sometimes the interactions are unintentional, they are often used as a means to intensify or prolong the effects of either or both substances.

#5:  1.5 Million Drunk Drivers =$52 Billion Tax Dollars Annually

Hate when your tax dollars go to stupid things? Well, thanks to the 1.5 million DUI incidents each year, $52 billion is siphoned away from important public resources. These funds cover emergency response teams, equipment, and property damage repairs. Fines for drivers can be up to $10,000, not including court costs and insurance penalties. Legal ramifications include jail time, alcohol monitoring, court mandated counseling, and drunk driving awareness courses.

Struggling with alcohol? We’re here to help! Call us today.

What to Say When You Think Someone Has a Drinking Problem 07 Nov 2018

BY: Lori Miles

Addiction / Featured

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What to Say When You Think Someone Has a Drinking Problem

You don’t really want to ask.

It’s rude.

It’s the elephant in the room no one’s given voice to yet.

But you have to because 88,000 people die from alcohol-related deaths every year in the United States.

Each one of those deaths was preventable.

Alcoholism doesn’t remain the sleeping beast forever. Alcohol use disorders cause significant physical and psychological damage; alcohol-induced brain damage appears in loss of memory, nerve cell damage, measurable cerebral changes, and a decline in brain mass.

You get the picture.

But how do you do something about someone else’s drinking problem?

Here’s an ingenious way to talk about someone else’s drinking problems everyone overlooks:


Talk Impact: “Hey Joey, I noticed you’re not working anymore.”

When broaching the subject about how someone’s drinking problem is affecting their life, talk impact. There’s a good chance they’ve heard it before, and they won’t want to hear it again.


Your voice may cut through even the stubbornest of “enthusiasts” if you offer tangible evidence about how one’s drinking is impacting the lives of the people they love around them. Use examples from how their children are affected, significant others, and progression of one’s aspirations.

Chances are if your loved one is in the throes of a full-blown alcohol substance use disorder, your words won’t cut through the psychological and physical need of alcohol. However, if your loved one is experiencing early warning symptoms of alcoholism, this tactic may work well.

Alcoholism (full-blown or not) impacts every facet of daily life including:

  • Parenting ability
  • Work ethic and professionalism (Do you go to work hungover?)
  • Have a healthy self-image
  • Measure of fatigue
  • Lags of memory (Blackouts)
  • Drinking binges


Some Conversation Starters Include:

“You don’t seem happy anymore. Is there a particular reason why you’re drinking so much? No judgment, I just want to understand what you’re going through.”

“I remember when you loved working on _________. Is there a reason why you haven’t pursued it? Is that one of the reasons why you’re self-medicating so often? Is there anything I can do to help? I’m always here to just listen.”

“I noticed you and (significant other or child) don’t spend as much time together anymore. I haven’t heard any new stories! What’s going on? I’ve also noticed you’re drinking a lot more— and I don’t say that out of judgment, I’m just genuinely asking if you’re doing well.”

The key here is to be earnest, be genuine, and be ready to help.

You don’t have to be a therapist to lend someone an ear. Although alcoholism (or symptoms of abuse) are concerning, there’s always an underlying cause for one’s self-medication.


What You Need to Know About Self Medication with Alcohol

Self-medication is the unconscious or conscious use of an addictive substance to blot out the discomfort of emotional unrest.

This may be generalized depression or an undiagnosed mental health disorder. Self-medicating is not limited to addictive substances, and may extend into abusive or dysfunctional romantic relations, an unhealthy relationship to food, or binge-watching.

Self-medicating has no bounds.

And if someone you love has found temporary solace in alcohol, don’t crucify them for it— try to understand why it happened.

Why does alcohol help you feel better? What don’t you want to feel anymore?

Self-medication is a classic way to escape pain.


The Takeaway

Alcoholism or alcohol abuse is serious, but there’s always a cause.

Your job is to let your loved ones know you’re there for them and that you’re ready to help— no matter what that means. If your loved ones are ready to get help, check out listings for local treatment centers and start asking the right questions about getting help. Open the conversation with an opener that 1) emphasizes something that has happened (or has been lost) as a result of one’s drinking problem and 2) firmly establishes your inquiry has no strings of judgment attached.

Alcohol Abuse in Georgia 25 Oct 2018

BY: Lori Miles

Addiction / Featured

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10 Signs of Functional Alcoholism You Shouldn’t Overlook

Alcohol: the most socially accepted addictive substance in the United States. Drinking and sometimes drinking to excess is seen as a social norm, almost to the point of being an expectation. Alcohol consumption is part of everyday American culture. Mourning, celebrations, relaxing, and even dinner gatherings seem to circulate around drinking. Alcohol is in our movies, television shows, and music, too. The normalization of alcohol abuse in all aspects of our lives makes it easy to miss signs of alcoholism, especially when they aren’t blatantly obvious. This gray area allows people- often labeled functioning alcoholics- to slip between the cracks, harboring addiction just beneath the surface.

What is a Functioning Alcoholic?

Scientifically, alcoholism is a long-term chemical change within the brain caused by alcohol consumption. In layman’s terms, alcoholism is an addiction to alcohol, typically resulting in excessive drinking. Because alcohol affects men and women differently, the guidelines for sensible drinking differ. The typically accepted limit is:

  • Men: Two drinks per day or 14/week


  • Women: One drink per day or 7/week


Functional alcoholism is a form of alcohol abuse which is not readily recognizable. Whereas alcohol abuse disorders are often characterized by clear dysfunction and instability, functioning alcoholics are better able to conceal their addiction symptoms. People living with alcoholism who fall into this category are often viewed as not having a problem or still being in control; they maintain employment and continue tending to other responsibilities, so we often overlook the warning signs.

We shouldn’t. Functioning alcoholism is just as dangerous as any other type of alcohol abuse disorder. It may even be worse since without being properly addressed, alcohol abuse can have life threatening consequences.

10 Signs of Functional Alcoholism You Shouldn’t Overlook

1: Getting an Early Start

People who are functioning alcoholics may not drink all day everyday, but beginning the day with alcohol may be a warning sign of deeper lying issues. Weekend mimosas first thing in the morning or spiking your coffee to make it through the workday could signify physical or mental dependence, especially when habitual.

2: Working Hungover

Going into work hungover is often viewed as a sign of a good time the night before. But regularly toughing it through the day while nursing a migraine, fighting back nausea, or struggling with vertigo should be a wake up call. Alcohol abuse can also lead to missing work days, excessive sick days, and other employment issues.

3: Secretive Drinking

Having to drink in secret to avoid judgement or raising concerns is a red flag. If you have to downplay your drinking habits in order to not arouse suspicion, it’s time to re-evaluate your relationship with alcohol.

4: “Pre-Gaming”

This common tradition among the partying crowd is a harmful habit which could indicate alcohol abuse. While many view it as a means of avoiding inflated bar prices or ensuring a good time, pre-drinking before going out to drink could be an indicator of an elevated tolerance brought on by excessive alcohol use.

5:Exceeding Set Limits

Going out with a specific boundary set only to exceed your self-imposed limit may be a sign of impulse control issues. The inability to stop drinking or follow a reasonable pace is significant in terms of identifying warning signs of functional alcoholism.

6: “Blackouts” and Memory Issues

Getting drunk to the point of blacking out is dangerous for everyone involved. It leaves one vulnerable to malicious intent and raises the risk of life-threatening situations. Missing hours or days’ worth of memories due to alcohol abuse is a sign it may be time to seek help.

7: Drinking Instead of Eating

Making choices to purchase alcohol over food or lacking an appetite in favor of drinking is not only damaging to one’s health, it could implicative of functional alcoholism. Pay attention.

8: Defensiveness of Drinking Habits

“I’m just a social drinker!”

“Come on, I don’t drink that much!”

“I’m an adult, I can drink however much I want! I’m not hurting anybody!”

Often, the people closest to us notice changes within us long before we do. Deflection and defensiveness when they express concern for one’s alcohol consumption can be telling of the true depth of alcohol abuse.

9: Joking About Alcoholism

They say behind every joke is a bit of truth, which may ring true for jokes about alcoholism or being an alcoholic. Joking about excessive drinking may be an attempt to receive validation or convince yourself or others that the problem isn’t as bad as it seems.

10: Binge Drinking

Of all the invisible symptoms of functional alcoholism, binge drinking is perhaps the most ambiguous. While binge drinking alone is not necessarily a sign of alcoholism, a pattern of doing so may be. Binge drinking is defined by the CDC as “a pattern of drinking which brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 grams percent or above.” This typically translates to five drinks or more drinks for men and four or more drinks for women, but may vary.

While no single item on this list is absolutely demonstrative of functional alcoholism, patterns of addictive behaviors should not be overlooked. Alcoholism in any form is too often ignored unless it has harmful or tragic consequences. By opening the conversation about alcohol use disorders and recognizing potential trouble in our own habits, we can help to reduce the harm of alcohol on our families and communities.

If you or someone you love is struggling with alcoholism, Tangu Recovery can help. Contact us today.

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