Welcome to Addiction Treatment for Professionals December 2018. Firstly, from everyone at East Coast Recovery, we would like to wish you a Merry Christmas & a Prosperous New Year. In this edition, we are discussing the “functioning alcoholic”. Although this is the season of goodwill addiction is a problem that an individual will suffer from for a lifetime and without the correct recovery tools alcoholism is a deadly disease.

When we think of the label “alcoholic”, it is often thought that this means someone who has lost everything, is living on the streets and claiming benefits. It is important to remember that people are diagnosed as alcohol dependent and are extremely functional in society. i.e functioning alcoholics still have their homes, families, and jobs. This can be referred to as a functioning alcoholic.

A functioning alcoholic will seldom miss work and are able to attend most obligations because of their drinking, although on occasion it does happen they are usually a top performer at work and have a well-paid career. In general, they’re clever and witty people who are successful in their lives.

Coping Mechanism

Signs vary on a case by case basis. When someone can manage their drinking, they may drink once or twice a week in a social environment. If at any point drinking becomes a coping mechanism for stress in the work-place then this can escalate into a serious addiction. Functioning alcoholics use drink to mask; depression, anxiety, relationship problems and stress at work or in education. Alcohol becomes an easily accessible, self-medicated “anti-depressant” to cope with stressful situations, people tell themselves that their drinking habits don’t constitute as a problem, however, if people are drinking to cope with the stress of work and life then this is a red flag.

Heightened tolerance

Consistent drinking will naturally result in an increase in the bodies tolerance for alcohol, long-term this means that someone could begin to crave alcohol and cross the “fine line” of a heavy drinker and alcoholic. One of the main signs of this is; if the person drinking can stop once they have started. Buying eight cans of lager and feeling the urge to drink them all in one sitting is a sign of a high functioning alcoholic, this also builds up a tolerance towards alcohol.


We are excited to announce that East Coast Recovery were finalists for the Suffolk Chamber Of Commerce Business Awards 2018 , in the category of Commitment to Skills & Staff Development, sponsored and independently judged by East Coast College. We pride ourselves with the training & development we offer our employees/volunteers, and are pleased to be recognised for this.
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Questions for Martin

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If you would like any questions answering over the Christmas period, then please submit here.
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Too much too often

Problem drinking doesn’t necessarily result in an individual facing problems at work, even as an alcoholic people may be able to complete daily tasks, work at a productive level and not be perceived as negative. i.e depressed and angry. There is a difference between a heavy drinker and an alcoholic; heavy drinking consists of too much on a daily and weekly basis. For women the recommended limit is seven drinks per week; for men, the recommended limit is 10 drinks per week. If someone drinks more than this on a weekly basis then there is a heightened risk of alcoholism.


One of the main reasons why alcoholics seek help for their addiction is because of the eventual result that alcoholism has on the mind, body, and life of the individual suffering. When the feeling of; guilt, shame, embarrassment, and loss of control are accepted, they no longer deny that their drinking is a problem. For a functioning alcoholic, the denial is buried because they’re worried about the outcome. It is very common that the loved ones of an alcoholic are fully aware and enabling behaviour, one of the reasons is because of fear, they’re worried about the financial and emotional impact it could have to the family if the individual suffering is out of work.

Is this you or your employee?

Is it possible that you’re, or an employee is an alcoholic even though functioning in society seems ok? It is important to state to the professional, that help is available. East Coast Recovery will work with both the employer & the employee. In this newsletter there is a very interesting video from Lester Morse & Matt Coe explaining the brain of an addict, we would be happy to discuss this on a one to one confidential basis. If you would like to get in touch please do by calling 01502 587269, via email; martin.bartlam@eastcoastrecovery.co.uk or complete the form at the bottom of the page.

Living with alcoholism at Christmas

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If someone is a true alcoholic, they will know deep down that this is a lifelong illness. We often make excuses at Christmas and normalize having a drink, sometimes in the morning by saying “it’s Christmas” or “It’s a family tradition”. The true reality for anyone suffering from alcoholism is that temptation around the festive period is heightened and is far more noticeable. Particularly as we do our shopping and there is discounted alcohol in supermarkets, or we’re walking through a market where mulled wine is handed out by the glass. If you’re a professional suffering from this illness, it would be a good idea to engage with the fellowship and meet like-minded people with a view to seeking help. 80% of our employees at East Coast Recovery are in recovery themselves and enjoy Christmas with their friends & family without needing alcohol. If you would like to talk to one of the team who can understand first-hand what you’re going through, then please call the admissions team on 01502 587269 for a confidential chat. We would be happy to talk to you and discuss what help is available

Do your friends say this about you?   

He can hold his drink… He can drink far more than anyone else in the group but doesn’t seem to get drunk. He very rarely slurs his words, I would say he’s just a “happy drunk”.

First to the pub … She is very good at work, but as soon as the working day is over she goes to the pub or drinks to unwind. I would say that she drinks quite quickly and if she must work late she finds herself angry.

Drinking is daily … He loves to have a drink, and is always suggesting office parties and social gatherings, he is always saying “I went out at the weekend” or “my friend came over last night and we had a couple of drinks”. One of the biggest things he jokes about is that he couldn’t be in a relationship with someone who doesn’t drink.

The boss is drunk again… The boss is drunk again but we all like her and she is fun-loving, also we don’t really want to address it with her as she is the boss. We all laugh though as she tells stories of what she has done at the weekend. Even though she is our boss, she is friendly with us all. We all know she has a problem and it is often the talk of the staff room.