Family members worry about how much someone drinks

Welcome to First Steps to Al-Anon Recovery. This is a series of podcasts to discuss some common concerns for people who have been affected by someone else’s drinking.

Today we’re going to ask Al-Anon members if they ever worried about how much someone else drank.

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  1. Dianne July 2017 at 7:22 pm

    I have always been the sober one. My family didn’t and doesn’t drink. I just wasn’t raised that way. Of course I went through the drinking years in my youth, but it got old fast. Then I met my ex- husband and was on the roller coaster ride of my life, not knowing what to do. I had two little girls and when the youngest was just three, I left him and got divorced.
    I raised my girls, not totally alcohol free, but in moderation, after I was now single. But the girls did visit their father every other weekend and when they did visit, although I never knew it, he would leave them alone at night and go drinking.
    Now my youngest daughter is 32 and has two boys of her own. They have to live with me because their fathers drink and just don’t really care. And my daughter is an alcoholic. She comes home every night and has a couple of “tall ones”. Her boys don’t see her sober ever. I am so sad and so disappointed.
    Yet I keep coming back to Al-Anon for support which is great. But I’m tired of it. Will there ever be an end to this cycle?

  2. Sherri M May 2017 at 1:16 pm

    I am very concerned about my son. He is getting married in one week to a beautiful girl that came from a home where both parents were alcoholics. Her mom left her to be raised by her alcoholic father. He’s been sober for the past 10 years. Her mom is still drinking, and their relationship is limited and the mother can’t make it to the wedding.
    My concern is this. My son has a few beers once in awhile not even once a month, and when he does this young women gets outraged! but she allows herself to drink whenever she wants to. They have talked this over with their pastor who asked her these questions.
    1. Is he drinking all the time? Her answer- No
    2. Is he becoming intoxicated and passing out? Her answer-No
    3. Is he verbally or physically abusing you when he has a beer or two? Her answer- No
    3. Does he drink and drive? No- her answer- No
    The pastor told her in front of him, that he is not your mom or dad and his behavior should prove that to you. He told her he should be able to have a few beers without her becoming angry and leaving the house. She said she agreed.

    Yesterday was a special day for him, and he wanted to have a beer to celebrate. She became outraged and they fought.
    He tried to reason with her that she would be celebrating with her bridesmaid’s soon and drinking , and asked her why that was ok. She said because she would only have a few glasses.

    Someone please help me understand why she feels she can drink, but he can’t! I really feel they should get this situation ironed out before they get married in just one week.

    I appreciate all comments.

  3. Lissa April 2016 at 1:44 pm

    I met this man when I was 14 and he was 21. I was his first girlfriend. We married and remained together for 5 years. 32 years later, we reconnected and reunited way too fast!

    I left everything for this man. He left everything for himself, but just doesn’t want to see it. I suppose I thought it would be seemingly romantic to start where we left off. Realizing I wish I left my memories just as that, memories! His parents were drinkers. My mother and family were drinkers. I even had issues in my early 40’s for a short time, consuming amazingly gross amounts of alcohol.

    We often forget the raw empty side of what caused a relationship to end. My thoughts and memories when we originally separated had been those of a still then teenage girl.

    I don’t fully understand why I turned into a drunk myself for a few years. However, I have learned there was really never a good enough “excuse” and during that time I was full of them.

    My now boyfriend of nearly 3 years. Glad not to have remarried at this time. This man that I to this day still love, adore and in some short-lived glimpses see that 21-year-old little boy I fell in love with, also feel so much hate for on a level I never knew was possible.

    My days and nights are routine. I always know what’s coming next and just how many he’s had to drink. He swears as all addicts do that it’s under some sort of control and that they are not the problem in any situation regarding life. The problem is he says the problem is all me! I’m tired. I’m so damn tired of this hell I can’t breathe. My anger has become so deep that I have lost my smile. I can’t remember enjoying anything in my past and can’t find what used to be my huge love of life.

    There are so many reasons to be happy that I’m surrounded by, but the alcohol stands in the way. We live on our sailboat (hard, but has wonderful benefits). We live in paradise. We should have each other. Our what should be routine and normal day to day obligations and responsibilities should be and could be pretty minimal, but even with that said it’s still a horrific situation to deal with!

    I know I’m rambling and I thank you for this place, this spot, this page to have if only for a few moments to have for just me.

    How is it he can be so charming and Mr. Social Butterfly, pleasant and likable by all when he’s drinking, but so damn rude and name-calling and lazy and uncaring and be so incredibly disrespectful, hateful, ungrateful and neglectful of the one person that we all in life look for, the partner, the love. The friend. The future. The past. The now. The soulmate we all want to find and share life with.

    I look at this man and wonder why am I putting up with this crap. I know better. I’m realizing that I’m more angry with myself for letting this happen to me, when in reality I know better!

    I can’t fathom being apart again with a man that I missed so deeply for all those years, but I can’t even find a reality of a future with the drunk man I’ve come to hate. I have passed my fine line long ago.

    Thanks, everyone, for letting me chat. I can only hope the best for everyone I see here. We all deserve to be happy.

  4. Kris February 2016 at 5:35 pm

    I came to Al-Anon over 20 years ago, when my ex-husband could not stop drinking and it was making me crazy. I was afraid how all this would affect our 2-year-old daughter.

    As I recovered in the program, the whole family situation improved, even if he kept drinking. 3 years later I could leave him on friendly terms.

    Now our daughter is 23 and has the disease of alcoholism. I fear for her life. I try to use every tool in the program to cope: meetings, Al-Anon literature, talks with my sponsor and other members, service in the program, you name it.

    This is the hardest detachment-with-love I ever did. I can’t even begin to imagine coping alone without the help of this spiritual program, which I am so grateful for.

  5. Lisa B October 2015 at 5:36 pm

    My dad has always liked a drink, but since my step mum passed away two years ago my dad’s drinking is out of control. It’s a constant worry now that he is on his own.

    I just don’t know what to do anymore. I got a phone call from my brother tonight to tell me that my dad had fallen trying to get into the house. My brother has had to put him to bed and sit and wait until he falls asleep.

    My dad’s neighbours told my brother that my dad is coming in drunk every night. I phone my dad about 7 every night, but he has been heading out after I phone him. So, so sad. He is 76 and I don’t think he can change.

    I dread getting a phone call to tell me has fallen and seriously hurt himself, or worse.

  6. Samantha D December 2014 at 5:23 pm

    I feel as though I have been dating two people for the last seven years. One with amazing memories, fun times and a deep connection. The other an incoherent drunk who needs more and more care until he needs drugs to come off the alcohol. The reality is that it is one really nice person, who happens to be alcoholic.

    I recognise the emotional roller-coaster comments, the blame, the never knowing, the ‘taking care’, the hiding, but most of all I recognise the misery that the sober one goes through.

    As I write this, it is 10 days before Christmas. A week ago my partner was the most loving, most caring, most fun man around.

    He has been in rehab three or four times and each time convinces himself that he can manage the drinking again by being just that extra bit careful. He is just about to head off to rehab again. He doesn’t know it yet, but I do. The cycle is the same each time and it crushes me to see it coming around.

    Slowly, the alcohol takes a hold. Instead of one glass on an evening, he has a bottle, then a bottle and a few cans, then he has an afternoon drink, then he sneaks out to buy extra drinks. He lies about his drinking, he’s drunk when he says he isn’t, he drinks during the night. He can’t get up, get washed, get dressed, go to work. He can only drink, sleep, drink sleep. Same cycle each time.

    My misery is in watching him suffer. In seeing families planning their Christmas and not even knowing how or where he will be at and therefore where I will be at. In having to do everything, and I mean everything when he becomes so incapable. We don’t live together, yet I find myself walking his dog, buying presents for his family, trying to make sure he doesn’t have a fatal accident on his steep steps. Worrying, constantly worrying.

    My own kids need me at Christmas, yet I feel I have an obligation to not abandon him and I have terrible guilt for even considering a night away from it all. He doesn’t expect me to do any of this. He tells me that he will cope and he apologises profusely. He is sweet and gentle, even when drunk. He just falls asleep, which is why I can’t leave him to it so easily.

    I know when I read everyone else’s comments I wanted to reply with support. I know I will read my own and probably give myself advice. Right now I am just wanting to rant and run away from it all and Christmas, as I really don’t want to deal with what I know is coming.

    Sending you all peace and love, xxx.

  7. Kathy November 2014 at 9:57 pm

    This topic really hit home with me. I actually never realized the extent of the drinking my partner was involved with. I was running around trying to control everything, trying to hide it from other people, etc. Until now I never considered focusing on myself and not fixing other people.

    These podcasts are very helpful. I hope I come to a place where I can actully start going to Al-Anon meetings. I keep making up excuses and never finding the perfect meeting at the perfect time.

    I’m going to keep trying, even just listening to these podcasts is helping.

  8. Antonia L. March 2014 at 9:40 am


    This is my first time on this site and I am glad that I am not the only one struggling with someone with alcohol issues. I am 26 years old and he is 29 years old, so we are young. We have a 4-year-old daughter. I have been married for about 5 years to my husband and known him for 7 years. When I met him, he had an alcohol and anger problem. However, after a year it disappeared. The alcoholism addiction returned and it is getting out of control. I am worried for his life.

  9. Machelle G August 2013 at 11:35 am

    My qualifier is my husband who has been sober since April 21, 2013 without a program. Every day I feel as if I’m waiting for the drunk Rob to walk in the house. I try to leave it up to God, but sometimes it’s so hard for me to let go and remember I am not responsible for his actions.

    I am trying my hardest to change my way of thinking, to remember that I cannot control the alcoholic. It’s difficult.

  10. Karen June 2013 at 6:02 am

    I can’t stand even the smell of alcohol anymore. It comes thru my husband’s skin pores as well as his plastered lips. I’m so sick of beating this dead horse–never violently, but mentally, just looking at his fish-eyed face, staggering like half of his head is weighted down. If I dare ask how many he has had, it’s an argument.

    The same one always–“Oh my GOD, Karen, are you kidding? I’m fine, you just hate anything to do with alcohol because your dad was a drunk. He’s right too, I do hate it and I hate him. I have to leave him and find out what happiness really is. I’m spent, burnt out, don’t drink, and sick of being his driver.

    How much time have I spent sitting and watching people turn into just completley different entities, and the great thing about it–the drunker they all get, the more they want to talk to the sober one. Why, and I’m sure you all know this one, because they start to bicker and argue because they all think they are just brilliant and right! Even better, when they argue drunk and ask you to be the idiot tie-breaker.

  11. Mary G. March 2013 at 2:04 pm

    Hi. Thanks for sharing. I am very new in Al-Anon, and all this time I thought something was wrong with me, as far as my husband passing out in any place besides with me, and in that I felt he was drinking to cover up negative feelings towards me. Even being new in Al-Anon, I have already learned that he does indeed love me and his alcoholism is not my fault. It would be like my giving him diabetes or some other illness, if you know what I mean.

    Hang in there. I have to learn to Let Go and Let God. Today, I discovered that this also requires footwork.

  12. Paola March 2013 at 9:49 am

    I met Brian a year and a half ago. We were classmates, then we began dating. I am 44 and divorced with 2 kids, Danny 12 and Julia 9. Brian is 40, recently retired from 20 years in the Air Force, legally separated from his wife, who used to be an addict of both drugs and alcohol.

    I never noticed him drinking before, but as soon as he started staying with me and the kids more often, I saw him drinking in the am. I am at a point in this relationship that I am not sure I can handle the stress that comes with this. Part of me wants to go somewhere and live in peace. I hate to wake up in a room that smells like a bar–that is when he decides he wants to lay in bed with me, meaning when he doesn’t pass out in front of the TV, which is more often.

    I grew up in Italy and there the drinking is somewhat different. My dad used to drink at mealtimes. I only saw him drunk at a couple of weddings, but we thought it was funny and we teased about it to laugh. I have been exposed to alcoholics before, but I bailed out when I decided that it wasn’t worth it.

    I guess I am saying that Brian is worth it; he is because he is very good with my kids, he listens to them (my ex only likes to pay for stuff, he avoids any issues), and I find myself torn between my happiness and theirs. I already hurt my kids when I divorced my verbally abusive husband. Now they love Brian, they confide in him and haven’t noticed the drinking, yet.

    I am a woman, and even though I am 44 I want a man who treats me like a woman. Brian can only make love when he is totally full of alcohol, and I don’t know if he has to drink to make love to me because I am ugly (he denied that) or he has to be drunk to finally let go of his issues (did I mention he is also in denial for PTSD?).

    This is my first step. I need to find serenity and I need to take care of me in this relationship.

    Thank you all for listening.

  13. Darl February 2013 at 8:04 pm

    I never dated an active alcoholic before. I dated a fellow once, 30 years back, who drank in his past but was sober for 10 plus years ongoing. This is only the second I have had any relationship with, and the first who was drinking.

    Anyway, I knew this fellow when I was 12 and remembered how sweet he was then–the only reason I agreed to date him now. I am now in my 50s and we reconnected and began dating. He never was drunk flying to visit me in another state, but binged when he got home. He really is sweet and very lovable sober–easy to love, generous financially too, but it is a roller coaster ride emotionally–Will he say in AA? Is he really going to stick to the progam since he recently had a seizure and almost died?

    I worry about the effects on my special-needs son–two edged sword–we all adore him sober, but he’s argumentative and paranoid drunk. He has stopped drinking now for his first week so far ever in AA and everything, but I have never experienced such constant lack of peace, and anxiety worrying if he will relapse and eventually kill himself.

    I find myself doing research, sending him vitamins. I hardly sleep anymore. My peace is gone even when I try to relax and let God and know he must make his own decisions. I feel almost like a worried mom now, instead of a happy girlfriend just being courted by a great guy–which he is when sober. And another fellow likes me too, and does not drink and likes to tell me to give up on this fellow–I feel pressured constantly.

    I have been so stressed without realizing it, fearing my hard-drinking friend from years back could die, even though I guess he has hopefully now quit. I feel like I have been in a car accident where you feel all the after-effects now. I do not want to let anyone down, as I feel very serious about supporting those in need, but sometimes I wish I could disappear and reclaim peace inside, run and hide from wondering did he attend AA today or not?

    My house was calm before this and I never constantly worried if a person would consume poison or not before. I do not drink. I did not live with it growing up either. And I have deep, sincere worry and love feelings for him, but not knowing how he will be from day today is very hard.

  14. lue January 2013 at 9:58 am

    My daughter, 34 yrs old, drinks daily. She has 2 kids – it breaks my heart to see them emotionally turned off. My daughter and I used to be so close – now we barely talk. My heart is breaking and I do not know how to separate the pain of her drinking and what it is doing to my baby grands and my day to day reactions – especially emotionally. I am not allowed to ‘help’ because according to her, there is no problem.

  15. Rita December 2012 at 3:41 pm

    I had been married nearly 25 years and watched my husband’s disease progressively get worse. The holidays were a perfect excuse to drink, and I spent all that time trying to figure out how I could have some influence, “control”. Meanwhile the rest of the family were celebrating the holiday that I totally missed out on.

    It was extremely difficult to gain the courage I needed to free myself from the alcoholic. After a year and a half in Al-Anon, I made this difficult decision.

    Al-Anon helped me to value myself. I started to “grow up”. Getting a sponsor who understood my situation, going to meetings where I didn’t feel alone, reading Al-Anon Literature daily helped me to see a whole new world.

    After six years I remarried my husband, who has not had a drink in twelve years. He does not have a program, but I do. I have choices, and I choose to enjoy the holidays–one day at a time.

  16. Dianne December 2012 at 2:42 pm

    I’ve been married to my husband for 24 years and totally hear what was said about broken for a long time and he doesn’t get it. Was thrown in jail a year ago and was sober for a year but became obsessed with me instead and so controlling, let him back in way too early. Now he’s back to drinking and even worse. I am scared of him. Having to make some decision, I don’t even know where to start.

  17. Natalie B. November 2012 at 9:36 am

    I never experienced drinking like my Husband drinks. Although he doesn’t think there is a problem, I do. We have two children and after 12 years, and growing questions and concerns, it is becoming apparent that the situation will not change.

    I have so many hard decisions to make, and my heart is broken. Although it has been broken for some time now, the crack seems deeper and colder and harder to ignore.

  18. Janet M November 2012 at 1:44 pm

    I came from an alcoholic father and also married an alcoholic, been married for 12 years. He is my first love. I am 49, been with him since I was 21 years old. We also have a 12-year-old son with A.D.D.

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