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Understanding the High-Functioning Alcoholic: Professional Views and Personal Insights (The Praeger Series on Contemporary Health and Living) Hardcover – February 27, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0313352805 ISBN-10: 0313352801 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: The Praeger Series on Contemporary Health and Living
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Praeger; 1 edition (February 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0313352801
  • ISBN-13: 978-0313352805
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,150,100 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Alcoholism has many faces and high functioning alcoholics are invisibly among us every day. Congratulations and thanks to Sarah Allen Benton for the courage she displays by showing her face and telling her story." --David L. Rosenbloom, PhD President, National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA)

"I hope this book will help to puncture the myth that alcoholism/addiction is a condition associated with those with less education or lower incomes. Too often, individuals in powerful or highly respected positions suffer much longer than necessary because they and those around them (including their treatment providers) are blinded by their social status. Professionals may delude themselves despite facing a higher-than-average risk, seeking help only after their careers are coming apart." --Jeffrey Fortgang, Ph.D., CAS Psychologist/Addictions Specialist for Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers

"Sarah Allen Benton's work brings to life and thoroughly examines the risks and challenges that confront one-fifth of our nation's alcoholics, an often seemingly invisible element of our dysfunctional adolescents and adults, the high functioning alcoholic. This work will be a useful resource for lay person, professional and trainee interested in a realistic and professionally informed understanding of high functioning alcoholics and the Twelve-Step recovery process. Those whose loved ones are suffering and living the effects of high-functioning alcoholism as well as HFAs themselves will find important identifying information and resources for hope and change." --Robert M. Klein, MD, MBA Director of Behavioral Health, Northeastern University Health and Counseling Services Assistant Clinical Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine

"Sarah Benton's book Understanding the High-Functioning Alcoholic is a gift to both clinicians and clients alike. It is a thorough and insightful discussion of an often misunderstood and mistreated clinical group that frequently does not respond well to traditional psychotherapy, or psychopharmacology, or simply Twelve Step approaches. Sarah presents an integrated treatment approach in a highly personal and engaging way that truly bridges the gap between research, clinical work and moving personal experiences. Despite 35 years of working with this population of substance abusers, I was delighted to see how much I learned from Sarah's book. The highest compliment that I can pay her for this accomplishment is that I immediately thought of many clients and therapists that I could give it to." --David Treadway, Ph.D. Addiction Specialist Author: Before Its Too Late: Working with Substance Abuse in the Family

"Through telling case examples, interviews with recovering alcoholics of all ages, accomplished professionals and executives, and through her own reflections, Sarah Allen Benton brings to awareness that the largest majority of alcoholics are high functioning and, too often, go undetected. Drawing on the experience of high functioning alcoholics, including her own experiences, this book is both instructive and inspiring." --Edward J. Khantzian, MD Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School at the Cambridge Health Alliance

"[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."

Fore Word

Book Description

This volume spotlights the thinking of millions of successful people who excel in other ways, but remain powerless against and under the control of alcohol.


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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Well written and well organized.
NyTex
This is an excellent source of valuable, first-hand information on alcoholism.
Darrell E. Fisher
"Understanding the High-Functioning Alcoholic" will change lives.
W. Fenner

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Lloyd R. Fell on May 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is an important book because it fills a gaping hole in the literature about alcoholism. High-powered executives, leading academics and successful artists and authors can all be alcoholics and the problems they face are not the same as those of a skid-row bum. The experiences they have as alcoholism intrudes inexorably into their lives and the choices they make about recovery programs have not been described before in the insightful way that Benton does in this book. Her use of interviews and personal stories complements the thoroughly professional approach she takes to what is a huge issue affecting health and productivity across the world. Alcoholism is not necessarily regarded as a disease by medical authorities, nor are twelve step programs the only kinds of treatment programs, but Sarah Benton has captured the essence of these two tried and trusted principles that have proven to be the most effective ways of dealing with alcoholism over the years. It is especially significant that this book challenges the traditional criteria used by clinicians for diagnosing alcohol dependence and abuse and provides enough information for these criteria to be updated in a useful way. I recommend it warmly to anyone who works in this field and also to people who may wonder if they have a drinking problem despite being a high-functioning person.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Tom on October 18, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Continued (intermittent) heavy drinking a decade into my professional career has left my career, home and family relatively untarnished, but myself increasingly devastated. After a year of unsuccessfully trying to conform my drinking, I explored some books about alcoholism. I read stories of people who triumphed after spiraling to the point of constant drinking and financial ruin. While inspiring, they left me in denial.

This book hit home like nothing else I've read. Benton includes her personal journal entries from various stages of her battle with alcohol and recovery. I literally gasped as I so clearly recognized my own denial, circular thinking and bewilderment. Benton then shares her experience in recovery. In addition to describing her journey through the 12 steps of AA, she gives a comprehensive, objective and evidence-based description of alternative (non-AA) treatment strategies and methods. She is clearly not only a recovering alcoholic, but also a compelling writer and treatment professional. Her combination of warmth, insight, and objectivity is unique and highly effective.

Before finishing the book, I attended my first 12-step meeting. Without this book, I never would have anticipated or recognized the denial that accompanied me at that meeting. I remain in early recovery. I refer to this book often. It reads as a survival manual--real, to the point--but with a deeply caring and personal voice. I highly recommend it to anyone who is contemplating sobriety, especially to those who look outwardly to deny an inner battle with alcohol.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Darrell E. Fisher on July 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an excellent source of valuable, first-hand information on alcoholism. The author, a high-functioning alcoholic in her own right, has the intestinal fortitude to "tell it like it is." I found her grasp of the subject material to be outstanding, and her knowledge, courage and ability to describe in detail what a high-functioning alcoholic looks, acts, and functions like to be fascinating. She describes characteristics and traits, which paint a vivid profile of the high-functioning alcoholic, and draws personal parallels from her own history to close out each chapter. This book is a must read for any leader, manager, supervisor, treatment professional, legal professional, or law enforcement officer.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Teresa Meyers on May 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I read about this book in the NYT and kept shaking me head, yes. Yes, I know several people this could apply to. So many friends and family are leading highly successful lives so think they are invisible to disease and/or addiction. They say, that's not me! I make 6 figures, have a big house and kids etc. They are high-functioning! I've shared this book with one of them and they are definitely seeing the light - and getting help! Thanks, Ms. Benton.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By stratfordfirenze on June 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A good book on a difficult subject-what is the alcoholic like who still functions at a high-level. What does (s)he have in common with other alcoholics who have not done so well and lost so much more? What are the similarities between the HFA and the "Bowery-bum". It serves as an useful introduction to the topic. Very helpful book. A good read for people of diverse backgrounds and experience approaching this subject for the first time.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By ToughGirl2 on October 8, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this book to try to better understand what my husband was dealing with as an HFA. The author weaves in excerpts from her personal journal that she kept for many years providing valuable insight as she talks about the more physiologic effects of the disease. The HFAs have been given very little attention because they are hard to identify. This book helped me understand more about my husband and what was happening in our lives. I strongly recommend.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Will on May 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
With Understanding the High-Functioning Alcoholic Professional Views and Personal Insights Sarah Allen Benton adds an important new voice to the discussion and examination of the curse and conundrum of alcoholism. As an accomplished (highly functioning . . . sorry!) researcher and scholar, Benton offers an array of what I call "stats `n facts" (Benton's "Professional Views") which will amaze and alarm any reader with any interest in the topic of alcoholism. But Benton goes beyond providing a compilation of "stats `n facts." She adroitly uses these "Professional Views" as a framework or structure to support what I feel is the heart and soul of her book: her "Personal Insights." These insights, culled from years of her personal journal entries, recount her own experiences as an increasingly self-aware HFA (Highly Functioning Alcoholic). A gifted and painfully honest memoirist, Benton recalls Caroline Knapp (whom Benton, appropriately, cites throughout) whose seminal Drinking: A Love Story (1996) chronicles another HFA's journey.

By sharing her "Personal Insights," Benton illuminates the "Professional Views" and vividly reveals her growing awareness as she moves, over time, from denial to acceptance and from recognition to recovery. Her honesty is profound and profoundly moving. I found myself reading this work very deliberately: I was torn by my desire to devour the narrative, while also wanting to savor and reflect upon each revelation. In Understanding the High-Functioning Alcoholic Professional Views and Personal Insights, Benton successfully and courageously crafts an astonishing and deeply personal scholarly treatise.
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