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This powerful sense of denial also prevents the loved ones of HFAs from intervening.
HFAs may provide the main source of income for a family and therefore, the spouse or partner may not feel that they have the leverage to persuade the HFA to get help.
In addition, these loves ones will report that while the HFA may provide for the family financially, that they are not able to be supportive emotionally for their romantic partner nor for their children.
Alcoholism corrodes relationships and this can happen in a subtle manner over time, but can ultimately damage and destroy families. Any conversation with an HFA about his or her drinking should occur when the alcoholic is NOT under the influence of alcohol and can often be most effective when the HFA is hungover and possibly feeling guilt or remorse.
This distorted thinking is part of the denial that HFAs experience and that enables them to continue drinking, despite the harm to others, risks, and negative consequences that they may experience (hangovers, drinking and driving, health risks).
Sometimes an HFA many become defensive and express that they are unwilling to seek help for their drinking.
He or she may not believe that they are alcoholic and believe require more concrete evidence of being alcoholic in order to even consider getting sober (you can refer to my last blog "Social Drinkers, Problem Drinkers and High-Functioning Alcoholics: Differences and Warning Signs" for help in determining what type of drinker the individual is).
He will consume on average 8-14 beers every single night! It's tougher than AA, but it is possible to stay in a relationship with an alkie, and most importantly, with yourself. My partner will drink at least 12-18 beers every, single, night - sometimes an entire carton of 24. I have even recorded it and played it back and he still denies it.
He looks normal, is kind, loving, respectful and a great dad to his 9 year old son. In the last two years he has not gone without for a day. I have been reading this but not considered commenting until I saw your comment is so recent. I am at the same stage after suffering my (female) partner of nearly 20 years' "secret" drinking over the last two years.
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You can also suggest finding a recovery program support group such as A. (org), SMART Recovery® ( ) or Women for Sobriety ( that have meetings online and in person throughout the country and internationally.