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“Never drinking again caused me more anxiety then beginning to identify as a functional alcoholic. I still drink but have greater control, in all aspects of my life.” H. S Edmonton

Hank is a 54-year-old semi-retired married man who describes himself as an alcoholic who has “tried everything to quit drinking.” This has included addiction treatment options such as AA on and off for years, several stints at residential rehabilitation facilities, conventional therapy and “cold turkey.”

While he recognized that drinking was creating conflicts in his life (spouse and health) he could not begin to imagine a life without alcohol. With absolute honesty, he admitted that he had no real desire to quit drinking.

Past addiction treatment had focused on abstaining from alcohol completely and for him, this caused extreme anxiety. Each time he emptied the fridge, bar, and cupboards of alcohol to “make it harder” for himself to drink, he experienced a level of discomfort that he described as “panic attacks.”  Each time he “fell of the wagon” he became less certain about his ability to quit drinking.

Despite excessive drinking and despite his daily routine centering around alcohol, Hank was functioning relatively well on some levels. He believed that he had exhausted traditional addiction treatments and was tired of feeling that he had failed. 

A customized private program was designed for Hank after an intensive assessment, which allowed him to view himself in a new empowered manner. Beginning to identify himself as a functional alcoholic was a “game changer” for him and he made excellent use of the program designed for him. He had chosen to continue to drink, was supported in this decision, and has begun to feel a greater sense of self-control and self-esteem.

The conflicts that drinking was creating have subsided as he became increasingly committed to the custom addiction treatment program. Hank still drinks but his “game plan” leveraged specific strengths and specific interventions around both spousal and health concerns.

For Hank, being the CEO of his life did not include total abstinence but it did include feeling more in control of his drinking, and addressing marital and health concerns. 

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