Functional addicts

No matter what substance or person the addict is addicted to, their primary purpose is to maintain a certain high during the day.  They are maintaining that high so they can function.  It does not matter what job they hold, they will be able to hold down a job, sometimes more then one job, and still drink, do drugs, have affairs, work, gamble, take risks and function at a capacity that will allow them to ride under the radar for a long period of time.  It will eventually catch up with them and their bodies will begin to show signs of the addiction.  Their emotional and mental health will give clues to the fact that they are no longer on top of their game.  Functional addicts can maintain and function at top performance for decades before anyone notices, however.  Throughout this period they are making decisions that can influence others and they are sometimes making them solely because they are looking for their next high.  If you get in the way of that you will be crushed.  No one will be allowed to get in the way to their next high.  Whatever addiction it is, maintaining it will become more and more difficult.  Even if the addiction is working, it will become more difficult to maintain that high.  Like all addictions, you need more and more of the same to maintain the high you are used to getting.  Pretty soon your primary function is getting the high and not doing your job.  People will notice.  Your job will be at risk.  That is how CEO’s of great companies become homeless and sleeping on the street.  At the top of their game, they worked their way up the ladder to the CEO position.  They maintained that position for years.  All of that takes time to achieve, even when you are an addict.

Addictions usually come in three’s.  There is usually one primary one and at least two lesser ones, sometimes more.  Giving these things up is difficult because they have been part of your life.  Sometimes they are socially acceptable and it will be even more difficult to change the behavior.  Changing any behavior takes 21 days or 3 weeks.  You will need to actively, consciously work on stopping the behavior and replacing it with another behavior.  You will then need to take another 21 days or 3 weeks to make that behavior a habit.  If you do not do the second part of this, when stress happens you will revert back to your old behavior and the temptation may be too difficult to resist.  We always fall back on old habits during stress.  The idea is to develop a new habit, something we will do without thinking about it.  Relaxing through this change and giving away old habits through guided imagery will help during this difficult change.  This video will help.  Enjoy!


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I became a therapist in an attempt to understand my own childhood and what happened there and how it made me who I am, exhibiting the behaviors that were not always positive, very often self-destructive. I used Art Therapy to help me understand things in my past that were stopping me from making better decisions in my present day. I used Behavioral Science to help me understand underlying causal factors, roots to the present day behaviors that I was seeing in myself. Both help me to change those behaviors/thoughts that were causing me to make self-destructive decisions that were causing pain in life. I have been a therapist since 1985 and have an undergraduate degree Art and behavioral science (double major) from the University of Maine. My graduate work was done at Marywood university and I have a degree in Art Therapy. I have certificates in Forensic Interviewing and Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavior therapy. I have 22 out of 30 credits toward a degree in Trauma Therapy from Drexel University. I started out as a Community Support Worker, Program Manager/Clinical Supervisor, Family therapist and Outpatient therapist.

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