The Closet Drinker

“Functioning Alcoholics”

There is no ethnic barrier, type of job, background, or personality type more prone to alcohol addiction. The fact it is so widespread is of course largely due to the fact it is legal.

Both young and older alcoholics go to the ends of the earth to hide their addiction from all, even other alcoholics.

Here are some signs I had as a closet drinker. Maybe these will help you better detect your loved one or friend who is drinking to excess.

I was an alcoholic for over 35 years; a professional, functioning, closet drinker. No matter what activity, event, or job I was doing, there was a pint or soda bottle spiked with whatever looked natural, to hide its 90% alcohol content. My personal favorite was the water bottle replaced with Vodka. I could do almost everything and go anywhere hiding my blatant habit.

Some people are ashamed of their drinking or think they will get caught, so go to great lengths to hide their drinking or drug use. They will lie about how much they’ve had or if they’ve had any at all. I used to have a bottle of beer stashed all around my house, in my vehicle, at my work environment in addition to having access to alcohol in my social life. I would even buy it in random spots so people I knew would not see me buy it every day.

The closet drinker keeps alcohol in strange or creative places. While most social drinkers keep their alcohol refrigerated, in a wine rack, or a specific cabinet, I hid it everywhere. I even hid the empty bottles, putting them everywhere. I kept a full or half full bottle in my closet and not just in my bedroom. I was like a hoarder worrying that someone might take or find them.

I also hid the legal issues I had from drinking too much, and all the personal and professional relationships I had fell apart.

If I wasn’t able to drink, for no other apparent reason, I would get anxious or irritated over things that were no big deal or unimportant. I would constantly leave early or show up late to work and other events. I took unneeded breaks, went to the bathroom excessive amounts or out to a car, all just to take a quick shot.

I told small, inconsistent lies to hide my drinking problem, dozens of small lies, like what I did during the day or where I’d been or what I’d been doing. It can be tricky to catch these small lies, but if you see many of them or the stories don’t match up, it could be a good indicator the person has something to hide.

I was also the king of disappearing, it was common for nobody to know where I was for any period of time. Relatives, co-workers and close friends had no idea where I was and I would be gone for days without returning calls or texts or maybe not ever returning them.

These and many more, are signs of alcohol use. I know since I went through these more common and telling signs.

I believe if my family and friends would have had more awareness and education of my sneaky behavior, I may not have drunk the bulk of my life away.

Don’t turn a blind eye on yourself or another. You can literally change a life around you for the better. Take action and if necessary set up an intervention. Above all, get professional long-term treatment like I did. It’s never too late. I’m living proof.

- Ray C.


Ray Clauson

Ray spent years raising a family and working as a fisherman in the Pacific Northwest. He changed his career path and has now dedicated his life to drug education and spreading the word that there is a way to live a successful, drug free life.