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    Anyone see Oprah this Tuesday? About Diane Schular, the woman who was apparently drinking vodka and smoking pot while driving. She went into oncoming traffic and killed herself, her 2 year old, her three little neices and three other men in another vehicle. Her blood and organ samples came back with .19 alcohol and some really high amount of THC. They found a vodka bottle at the scene.

    What I cannot fathom is how everyone in her life claims they had no idea she was an alcoholic??!! How is that possible? Is it really possible this woman was able to hide it from everyone?

    Now, I understand High Functioning Alcohlism. I was one. I think I was able to hide it well by mostly drinking alone after work. I was extremely successful in my career. Plus, my sister and father were such obvious alcoholics, by comparison I looked like a normal person. No one ever, not one person, has ever told me I have a problem. But oh boy, I did! And deep down I thought everyone knew my secret. They just didn’t mention it to me because they thought I had it under control like everything else, I guess. Honestly, I don’t know why no one has ever said anything… and I still haven’t told anyone.

    On Oprah’s show they talked about high-functioning alcoholics (read below). In my heyday of drinking, I matched every single one of the check points. Every once in a while that alcoholic voice in my head tries to convince me I wasn’t an alcoholic and I can handle drinking again if I control the circumstances and limit the days I drink. I didn’t have the DWI’s or ruined careers/relationships so it’s easier to make that argument.

    BUT YOU KNOW WHAT? Neither did Diane Schular!!! If I continued to drink, I could end up doing something like what she did. I mean, I don’t think I ever would… but I know, under the influence, I can do lots of things I don’t think I ever would. Over time, too, I was escalate… My alcoholism won’t get better. It won’t continue to be “managable”, if you can even call what I was doing “managing” it.

    Some people’s rock bottom is death of themselves or others. It’s stupid to wait to quit drinking until you hit rock bottom. If you know your an alcoholic, quit now while your still ahead! That’s what I took out of this Oprah episode. When that voice tells me I can handle it, I hope I remember Diane Schular.

    Here’s the definition of a high-functioning alcoholic from Oprah’s website:

    A high-functioning alcoholic (HFA) is an alcoholic who is able to maintain his or her outside life, such as a job, home, family and friendships, all while drinking alcoholically. HFAs have the same disease as the stereotypical “skid row” alcoholic, but it manifests or progresses differently. Many HFAs are not viewed by society as being alcoholic, because they have succeeded and overachieved throughout their lifetimes. These achievements often lead to an increase in personal denial as well as denial from colleagues and loved ones. HFAs are less apt to feel that they need treatment for their alcoholism and often slide through the cracks of the healthcare system, both medically and psychologically, because they are often not diagnosed.

    HFAs can exhibit different drinking patterns and warning signs at various phases of their drinking. Common warning signs include, but are not limited to:

    – Experiencing a craving for more alcohol after having one drink, leading to a loss of control over alcohol intake
    – Obsessing about alcohol and the next time they can drink
    – Not being able to imagine their lives without alcohol
    – Feeling shame and remorse from drunken behavior
    – Having failed attempts to control drinking
    – Surrounding themselves with others who drink heavily
    – Compulsively finishing alcoholic drinks—even someone else’s
    – Being skilled at living a compartmentalized life in terms of separating their drinking lives from their professional/family lives
    – Making excuses for their drinking or using alcohol as a reward for their hard work
    – Thinking that drinking expensive alcohol or wine implies they are not alcoholic
    – Hiding alcohol consumption by sneaking alcohol before a social event or drinking alone
    – Drinking despite adverse consequences (either emotional or physical)
    – Experiencing blackouts or memory lapses

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