There is no such thing as a functional alcoholic just like there is no such thing as functional cancer. This term is an example of enabling. It is a term of convenience created by enablers. In a sense, all alcoholics -- if they’re alive -- are functional. It’s a matter of degree. This term is destructive because it helps the alcoholic avoid being confronted and it works for the enabler quite well.
Functional alcoholic means the coworkers behavior doesn’t bother you. Indeed, others may see the same alcoholic as quite dysfunctional -- particularly family members. Don’t use this term to describe alcoholics.
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