The Functional Alcoholic Test (Results From My Alcohol Challenge)


Are you a functional alcoholic?

Perhaps even a high-functioning alcoholic (for those of us who prefer to be the best at everything we do)…

It’s ok if you are.

I am, was, were, and still constantly struggle with how much alcohol I drink.

Two things that seem to get me in the most trouble with alcohol are these two mindsets:

  1. I don’t think I have a problem because I’m so productive, I never miss work, and I don’t feel like alcohol is getting in the way of me being a good husband, dad, and worker
  2. There is always someone I can point to who drinks WAY more than me (making me feel better about my choices)

The truth of the matter is that I enjoy drinking… and it enjoys me (or at least that’s what I tell myself).

And I don’t want to kick it out of my life.

But in all seriousness, I recently began to think I had a drinking problem…

  • There was always an excuse for a “celebration”
  • There was always a reason to “have one more drink”
  • And there was always one more drink within close range of my drinking hand…

So I decided to try an experiment (a test if you will) based on what a mentor of mine had shared with me many years ago.

It goes something like this:

“Nothing good ever happens after 3 drinks… and if you don’t have the self-control to stop yourself after 3 drinks, then you have a problem…”

So these past few months I haven’t had more than three drinks in one day.

Yes, that even includes a guys weekend, where in the past there have been many more than three drinks in a day.

And it also includes a Garth Brooks concert (where there was free alcohol and a party bus).

Want to see how it’s been going?

Listen to the podcast below.

You can listen to it by clicking the play button, or on iTunes or Stitcher.

(P.S. don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or Stitcher!)

The Alcohol Challenge Results [PODCAST]

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Note: Don’t forget to subscribe to the Fish Strong podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.

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Although there have been some tough times, capping myself at no more than three drinks per day has been great.

I’ve been feeling excellent, getting up early, I’ve had less of a temper, and in general, I just feel like I have a lot of momentum in life.

And the reality is, the hardest part about not having more than three drinks in a day is thinking about it, not actually doing it.

For example, I was nervous before the Garth Brooks concert that it was going to be tough to limit myself to just three drinks, since this is a time where I would usually have more.

But in fact, I had more fun at this concert than I have had at a concert in a long time!

And same with the guys weekend.

I was nervous about the three drink cap in the days leading up to it, but I had a great time with my friends, got up early the next morning, felt great and even went for a jog before everyone else had woken up.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this challenge and if you would’ve done anything differently.

You can shoot me an email at, and I promise all emails to me are 100% confidential.

And if you know someone who is struggling with this, please SHARE this episode with them!

You could be saving their life.

P.S. If you like episodes like these, and want to support us, you can do so by joining our Insider Club.

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Mark Ethridge
2 years ago

Thank you Joe for sharing your struggle. I share the same as you and needed to hear this tonight.

Jeffrey Honeycutt
2 years ago

I just came across this post for the first time and had no idea this had been discussed. I am part of a bar-owning family who (combined) has around 45 years of sobriety and I promise you it’s because at some point each of our choices were institutions, death, or get sober.
If anyone ever needs to just talk with someone about their drinking (or even drug use, rx abuse is common as well) please don’t hesitate to send me a private message . Everything we discuss will be kept private. 10 years ago I didn’t think my life could get any worse, now I didn’t know it could get this good!

Kevin Boland
2 years ago

I actually really enjoyed this and can relate to it. Thanks for sharing.

Last edited 2 years ago by Kevin Boland
4 years ago

Hey Joe
I know exactly how you’s tough especially if you function at a high level …like I do!
I restrict my myself to a first drink at 5 pm and try not to have more than 3 drinks before’s not the drinks it’s the “ pour”…one drink and an 8 ounce pour doesn’t solve the challenge…I look at alcohol as a “challenge” not a problem.
You guys at Salt Strong are incredible and my hope is that one day I get to meet you both and fish some!

Norm Gregoire
4 years ago

You have a good thing going, about fishing that is. Don’t screw it up! This is billed as a fishing podcast. Please stay on topic.

Paul Sloop
4 years ago
Reply to  Norm Gregoire

I actually enjoyed the Podcast and the candid talk. Maybe it’s not on a fishing topic, but others in our community may have gotten something out of it and thats important. I applaud the honest and sincere words. 99% of us would not have been brave enough to put that out there Norm. Nice job guys, it makes you genuine.

Bruce Somers
4 years ago

I don’t think I’ve had 3 drinks In 6 months. But that’s because I’m too cheap to buy it. (I really like the good stuff.) Well that and a family history of alcohol issues so I tend to not over imbibe. Joe thanks for sharing your story and congrats on your successes.

Steven Free
4 years ago

Even though I did 20 years in the navy and then retired I only drank to be social in other words I don’t drink alcohol I never liked the bitter taste of any alcoholic beverage beer whiskey wine whatever thanks but no thanks is my motto I have been a retired veteran for almost 17 years now and that’s about how long it’s been since I had any alcoholic drink I guess I’m just lucky to have a non alcoholic pallet!!!


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