A "functional alcoholic" huh? "High-bottom" too?
God bless you my friend. I understand. I can identify with going in BIG CIRCLES that last 30 months at a time then hitting the ground.
From what I've learned, there really is no such thing as a "functional alcoholic". I used to think I was a functional alcoholic too. But then I met someone and worked with her a little bit, and she was just like me.
Then I watched her crash and burn a couple times, then vanish, then reappear literally almost half-dead.
I could relate because she seemed so "functional".
But one day it occurred to me. She wasn't "functional". She was a hard-working super-motivated "go-getter" in everything except alcohol. When she crashed and burned the last time, it nearly killed her.
A "functional alcoholic" is really only an alcoholic that has a higher threshold for pain. I know it hurts you a lot more going back out after 30 months than it does the new man who is in and out maybe on a monthly basis. You probably hate failure. You probably hate yourself for "folding" so far into sobriety. You probably carry a big stick and beat yourself up regular when you think you're falling short on anything.
I'd just say you probably have a high tolerance for pain. Like me and several other alcoholics. I never had a real good sense of when to cut my losses and bail out. So I fought with alcohol a few years longer when I relapsed. I got my butt whooped, and I'm still paying for it 10 years sober.
I'm just now learning how to stop beating my own @ss. My problem has been accepting that I actually have limitations. I have a bum knee, a leaky stomach, and high anxiety. What in THEE HELL am I doing plastering walls and hanging drywall by myself at 2:30 AM while my ankle is swelling and my back is killing me?
Hell I'm 50 years old and know ER staff by name, can identify which I.V.'s you use for dehydration or low potassium, know which floor is for trauma, GI, and Infectious Disease patients - And I'm not even in the medical field - that's how many times I've beat myself up so bad that I ended up in the hospital.
So when you say you're a functional alcoholic, brother I feel your pain!
Welcome, and please put down that big stick!