Understanding the High-Functioning Alcoholic: Professional Views and Personal Insights

Overview

Who is the typical alcoholic among the 12.5 million living in the United States now? Many, if not most of us when asked that question, would envision a skid row bum or someone at least out of work or with little education locked into a low-skill, low-paying job. But that is not accurate, according to the results of a national study released in June, 2007 by the National Institutes of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. The NIAAA determined that alcoholics in the United States really fall into five subtypes, including ...

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Understanding the High-Functioning Alcoholic: Professional Views and Personal Insights

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Overview

Who is the typical alcoholic among the 12.5 million living in the United States now? Many, if not most of us when asked that question, would envision a skid row bum or someone at least out of work or with little education locked into a low-skill, low-paying job. But that is not accurate, according to the results of a national study released in June, 2007 by the National Institutes of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. The NIAAA determined that alcoholics in the United States really fall into five subtypes, including nearly 20 percent who are highly functional alcoholics, well-educated with good incomes. They include corporate presidents, powerful politicians, police, lawyers, doctors, scientists, and other highly-skilled, highly-educated people who are middle- to high-income and by most accounts successful. In this unprecedented book, mental health counselor Sarah Benton takes us into the worlds and minds of so-called high-functioning alcoholics, to understand how people so intelligent and achievement-oriented get drawn into states in which they secretly cannot control their liquor consumption but still manage to excel in their careers.

The book includes a look at celebrity alcoholics like singer Eric Clapton and actor/comedian Robin Williams, as well as alcoholics in high positions including Chris Albrecht, former Chairman and CEO of HBO. Other high-profile people included in this book are Miss USA 2007 Tara Conner and football legend Joe Namath. With her own story of alcoholism and her recovery woven into the text, Benton takes us into the lives and challenges of these well-educated and successful people, seeking to understand how, when, and why they became addicted, as well as the reasons their alcoholism is, for most, so hard to admit, cope with, and recover from.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"[E]xplores in depth a hidden class of alcoholics that are professionally successful; topics include High-Functioning Alcoholics (HFAs) in high school, college, and as emerging adults."

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ForeWard Reviews

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Product Details

Meet the Author

SARAH ALLEN BENTON is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Boston, where she is co-leader of an alcohol skills training program directed to help problem drinkers. She previously held several counselor positions at McLean Psychiatric Hospital, which is affiliated with Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. In an earlier career, in television, Benton produced segments for the Disney Channel in California, a CBS affiliate in Denver, and an NBC affiliate in Boston. Benton is a member of a 12-Step Recovery Program and has remained sober since 2004. She earned her Master of Science in Counseling Psychology from Northeastern University.

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Table of Contents

Part I: Active Alcoholism

1. Introduction: High-Functioning Alcoholics

2. In the Beginning: High-Functioning Alcoholics in High School

3. Freedom: High-Functioning Alcoholics in College

4. Adrift: High-Functioning Alcoholics as Emerging Adults

5. Falling Uphill: Professional, Intelligent and Alcoholic

6. Attempts to "Cure" the Problem: Out of Control and Hitting Bottom

Part II. Recovery

7. A New Start: The Paths to Sobriety

8. Spirituality, Religion and the Bottle: Filling the Void

9. Transformation: The Twelve Steps

10. The Challenge: Life in Recovery

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 21, 2009

    It's about time!

    I feel like like this book has been needed for so long! Just because you only drink on weekends doesn't mean you're not an alcoholic. I found the personal stories, the authors as well as the others in the book, so insightful. I could relate to them and I could relate others in them too.

    The book goes through different age groups as well (high school, college, grad school, working) that it's easy to identify with in different life stages and how drinking is involved in all of them.

    There is also a great section toward the end that shares many resources about how to get help and all the different options out there - I never there were so many!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2009

    Filling a gap in alcoholism literature

    This book is a much needed contribution to the current literature on alcoholism. Many books address more dramatic and tragic stories, but the topic of high-functioning alcoholics is one which so many readers will relate to. This book has a great balance of research, stories of sober alcoholics and the author's own story. So many people can benefit from this work including the general public, students, families of alcoholics and those who are in recovery or questioning their own drinking.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews

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