Signs Of A Functional Alcoholic

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What is a functional alcoholic? We’ve all known someone we would describe as a functional alcoholic, and we’ve all heard stories about really successful functional alcoholics.but what are the real signs of a functional alcoholic? What are the criteria for functional alcoholism?

In this video, addiction specialist Amber Hollingsworth tells us 5 signs that your (or someone you love) is a high functioning alcoholic.

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My Story:
Hi. My name is Amber Hollingsworth. I’m a Licensed Professional Counselor and a nationally certified Master Addiction Counselor. It’s my mission to help empower as many people and families as possible to take their lives back, conquer addiction and alcoholism, and use their talents for the betterment of themselves and others.

Here’s how I got here:

My first job in the mental health field lasted for almost 10 years. I worked in an acute care psychiatric hospital. During those 10 years, I saw A LOT! I did lots of different jobs in the hospital. I developed and ran an Intensive Outpatient Program for adolescents. I worked on the adult detox unit, adult psychiatric unit, and even worked with the severe and chronically mentally ill patients. The place I worked was a pretty decent facility as far as mental health hospitals go, but after seeing the same patients come in and out of the hospital for years, I decided I had to do something differently.

Most addiction and mental health facilities are more like factories. People are shuffled in and out, and the focus is paperwork and CYA! Much of the mental health systems we have in place are about filling out forms to collect someone’s insurance or documenting things to make sure and keep the facility out of trouble. This takes such a precedent, there is almost no individual therapy that happens, family evolvement is nothing more than a phone call to make sure there are no guns in the house, and aftercare plans are just a checklist.

I don’t really blame the facilities or the people that work there (I was one of them for almost 10 years myself!) It’s just an overwhelmed broken system. Sure, all these places use verbiage like “Individualized Treatment Plan” and “Relapse Prevention Programs,” but these are nothing more than buzz words that staff is taught to use regularly.

If you’ve dealt this system as a patient/client or family member of a patient, then I know you know what I’m talking about. Ever just feel like you’re being read a script? It’s not because these people don’t care, it’s because their hands are tied, and they truly don’t have the time or resources to give patients/clients/and families the attention they really need.

In 2011, I left the hospital and started my own outpatient addiction treatment center, called Hope For Families Recovery Center. I designed the program specifically to actually meet the needs of the clients and families we serve. We don’t answer to insurance companies, and because of that, we spend 95% of our time in direct client/family care. We have the time to listen and the flexibility to be creative in our solutions.

My practice was growing and growing. In fact, I had to move to a bigger office building twice in 5 years. Our clients loved our family approach to treatment! But I will have to admit doing things the right way is VERY TIME consuming and not economical for all clients who need our services.

I wanted to figure out how to serve more people and help educate families on how to access the help they need. I figured the internet was the best way to reach the most people. I did some research and what I found was a lot of people sharing their stories, and a ton of people talking about the problem, but there is virtually no one out there actually telling people how to solve these problems.
That’s why I started this YouTube channel: Put the Shovel Down! In this channel, you can access all the information as if you were actually a client in our private practice.

Please help support my mission to reach as many people as possible by Subscribing to this channel and sharing relevant content with others.

To learn more about Hope For Families, you can check out our website at


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