Have you ever felt really afraid?

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

Today we have Valentina with us. She is a member who is very actively involved in service for
Al-Anon Family Groups. Fear played a part in the experience that brought her to her first Al-Anon Family Group meeting.

How to locate a meeting

2017-07-28T08:57:37+00:00December 24, 2008|Categories: Alateen, Alcoholic Parent, Alcoholic Spouse or Partner, Common Concerns|


  1. Mary December 2010 at 3:19 pm

    Living with alcoholism has been a lifelong reality for me. My stepfather is an alcoholic, whose violence has scarred me for life, and I am married to an alcoholic. I know exactly how to live with an alcoholic. I was groomed at an early age. I don’t consciously look for these dysfunctional relationships, but they find me. I have allowed them.

    My fear is, am I grooming my 7-year-old daughter to find herself a nice alcoholic too? My fear is that she sees how well, or not so well lately, I deal with his drunken antics, the withdrawal from the family, the displaced anger and possibly the excuses for why Daddy gets drunk.

    I fear leaving for financial reasons. I fear separating our family, as detrimental to our well-being as it may be, it is our family. I do love him. My other fear is that my 23-year-old son is now showing signs of alcoholism. I hate this insidious disease with every ounce of my being!

  2. PJ September 2010 at 8:57 pm

    My husband has been going to AA for about 7 months, but has “fallen off the wagon” three times. He has been a functioning alcoholic for over the 41 years I have known/married him. He has also been taking vicodin, valium & antidepressants, but he swears he doesn’t take more than he should!

    The vicodin is for his back, which doesn’t bother him very often & I feel he should see a specialist to see if he truly needs it or something can be done for his back. However, he has & does drive with them in his system. He has even taken them with vodka or scotch & tells me they don’t affect him adversly. He slurs his words when he has taken a drink &/or meds & denies he is doing it, tells me “I don’t know what I am talking about.”

    I went w/him to see his new internist & asked her if he told her HONESTLY how much he drinks per day because I was concerned about mixing alcohol & drugs. She told me I was a nag, to leave him alone & let him do what he wants! I still feel, to this day, she had a medical obligation to take note of what I was telling her. Afterall, any meds she would give him could further his addiction, potentially cause major damage or hasten his demise.

    I should state that my husband is a very charming man, knows how to work with doctors, since his father was one and an alcoholic as well. I understand this is a disease that causes him to have anger management issues, blame me for his lack of friends, cause him to lie about his drinking & where he has been.

    Now he wants to buy a scooter or motorcycle because according to him “I just want to have some fun.” I see this as a way for him to get away from me, go to a bar & perhaps injure himself or kill someone else with his driving (which is scary now w/his tailgaiting, etc). I don’t want to lose everything we have worked so hard for so long because of his drinking.

    Now he is playing an anger/pouting game w/me because I haven’t gone to an Al-Anon meeting. I told him I may have gone in another city where his AA friends don’t know me & can’t report back to him about it. He is angry over this.

    I should state that recently I lost my mom, had major back surgery, had to deal w/contractors at the home because he wasn’t able to & then to add salt to my wounds I do the front yard upkeep & he NEVER says thank you or how nice it looks. He just sits in his big chair and mopes or naps for 4-5 hours.

  3. Kris August 2010 at 3:02 pm

    I have been living with my boyfriend for 5 years. I knew he drank, but never realized how much. It has gotten progressively worse over the past 2 years. He realized that he was going to lose the respect of me, his children and his family if he didn’t do something to help himself. He went to a 30-day rehab and did great. He has slipped up 3 times since he’s been home…once a week.

    I am fearful that he will just give up soon and start all over again. I cannot be with someone who does that. He started off going to AA meetings, faithfully..every night for 2 weeks. Then he started telling me he was going and come to find out, he wasn’t. He said they triggered anxiety in him. The nights he has such horrible anxiety about not drinking, are the nights he will take a sleeping pill, or Nyquil, and sleep the entire evening from 7:00 PM on. It’s taking a huge toll on our lives.

    I have gone to Al-Anon meetings…only a couple. I like the publications and the support I received there. I do realize that alcoholics are powerless against this “disease” per se, but I also feel that they have more control over their choices than they say they do. At least I believe that to be true in my experience. I wish blessings to everyone who has posted here…may your lives be filled with happiness…and it’s comforting to know there are others out there that are dealing with the things that so many of us are. God Bless.

  4. Ann August 2010 at 1:37 pm

    I have been married to an alcoholic and on/off again drug addict (mostly on) for 12 years. I have a wonderful 8-year-old daughter who is well aware of her father’s addiction. She plots and plans ways for him to stop. She is missing out on having fun and just being a kid and has school-related anxiety and stomachaches often. Just wanted to know if there is a way to live with this monster and keep myself and daughter healthy.

    He cycles through his use as he does some horrible thing, then is remorseful, quits, attempts controlled drinking which quickly escalates to full blown, out-of-his-mind alcohol and drug abuse. He doesn’t even realize the atmosphere of fear that he creates as during these bouts he is typically in a blackout state.

    I am afraid to go to work or leave my daughter alone with him. Last week she called me 4 times at work–She was watching the oven because her dad had put a frozen pizza in and was passed out. She later called and stated that the pizza was cold and was afraid she would get sick because she had heard that food needed to be thoroughly cooked. When I came home, my husband had changed the time on the oven and not set the temperature, (Thank Goodness), but had given her a frozen pizza.

    My husband has experienced more than normal trauma (extreme) since the age of 3. His father died from cancer, mother kicked him out of the house at age 15, and 30-year-old double bypass surgery. Just this past year a sister committed suicide and murdered a grandchild. However, he states that he has always used alcohol to cope, knows he has a problem and is destroying relationships, but isn’t sure that he is willing or wants to change.

    Leaving him and starting a new life sounds like bliss, and I hold so much resentment and anger and distrust, but pity him at the same time. I think there was a time that I really loved him, I just can’t remember when. I feel totally ambivalent about our relationship, but at least have been taking measures to stop lying for him. When someone asks what’s wrong, I say that he’s drunk or on drugs. I call a spade a spade. I’m done sugarcoating and explaining away his actions. He’s been through 3 treatment programs, and of course he knew more than them. He says you couldn’t pay him to go to AA. All programs were court ordered for his 3 DUI’s. He knows not to call me for help with the 4th. What a mess!

  5. Lawrence August 2010 at 11:28 pm

    My best friend of 30+ years is a classic stage-3 alcoholic; he’s been drinking for 25 years. Alcohol consumes his life, and every time I see him he’s always running off at the mouth about the latest pub-crawl; the best new bars; always the same spiel.

    He’s a binge drinker and has carefully structured his life so that he sticks to a prescribed regimen; so much time for work, so much for sleep, and all the rest for visiting bars and pubs. At least I think that’s what he does. Truth to tell, I can’t stand to be with him much anymore. I, and all of his old friends, have tried an intervention at one time or another, but to no avail.

    After I stopped enabling him–a direct result of his consuming 18 beers in one night–he quickly made other friends who would. Now I only see him a few times a year, and at such gatherings I always drink water. Perhaps in contrast to him I have become a nondrinker, and a health nut. But every time I see him, the damage to him is becoming more visible. His eyes have taken on a glassy sheen, he stoops a bit when he walks, his body fat is increasing, and I shudder to think what his liver is like. The only bright spot is that he relies on public transportation and doesn’t drive.

    After the 18-beer night (several years ago) I decided to abstain from alcohol personally; partly in reaction to him, and partly to test my own resolve. Maybe I thought that if I could do it, it might inspire him. It didn’t, but my own experience galvanized my health and strength of will. Today, the mere smell of alcohol sickens me, and when I’m out with friends I will calmly sip water or fruit juice, and I feel fine. If only my buddy could follow my example!

    I know that until he hits bottom he will continue to deny that he is falling. So, after much thought and talking with friends, I have come to the conclusion that Al-Anon might be best for me. Perhaps there amongst other survivors I can come to terms with my buddy’s suicide-by-installment plan.

  6. Carollyn June 2010 at 4:08 pm

    First of all, thanks to all of you for sharing your stories. Second, may God Bless each of you. My son will discharge today from his second rehab stint and fear has me in its clutches. Every day I hear of more famous stars dying of the same drugs my son is addicted to.

    I tried to find a meeting today but will have to wait till tomorrow. But God helped direct me to this podcast and after reading all your comments and listening to the podcast, I feel so much better already. I am going to “stay in today” and make the decision to “let go and let God” just for today. That I can do.

    Tomorrow I’ll make it to a meeting and this time will make an honest effort to work my own program so that I’ll be able to survive if something doesn’t work out with my son. I just don’t think people can understand when the “alcoholic” in your life is your child. As their parent, you spend your life making sure your child is safe and happy, being their guardian. Then they grow up and you are helpless when they hurt themselves. It’s horrible!

    I have 2 other grown children who want their momma to stop letting this drive her crazy and a poor husband that just stays out of her way until she needs him. This has affected all of us and hopefully my son will find his way back to sanity and hopefully the rest of us will get better as well. Al-Anon, here I come!!

  7. Cheryl May 2010 at 9:30 pm

    I thank all of you for sharing. I have a brother who has been a functional alcoholic for about 15 years. I just realized it, though, when he had a heart attack at the age of 56 and preferred drink to food after his bypass surgery in 1/2010. That is my fear too, that he may die. I don’t want to lose him. Yet, his personality is chaotic and stressful and is making me ill. I have blocked phone calls recently until I can cope with contact. Fortunately, he lives 4 hours away in another city; yet, like you all, I feel this abiding fear and sometimes anger.

    This week I found myself at various times bursting into tears, unable to concentrate, and fatigued, and I am 4 hours away. At least I know that others like you know these symptoms. Thank you all for sharing, and thanks to Al-Anon for these podcasts. I needed these so much this evening. This week has been a difficult one. At least, I have an idea about what is going on with me because of all of you. Thank you all again.

  8. Ellen May 2010 at 8:59 pm

    Everyone above talks about being afraid. Where does the fear come from? The fear to leave may arise from a fear that the world out there is more dangerous than the life in your own home. “The devil you know…” This is one of the first times I have ever heard the honest words of other people who have had alcoholics in their homes or lives.

    I went to one Al-Anon meeting a few years ago. Everyone sat in a circle, stated some “beliefs” and then we went home. At the end of the meeting I asked why we weren’t talking about what this monster was and how to get rid of it – how to stop the disease and person from hurting us. In other words, “Accept what is.” I walked outside of the building, looked up at the sky, humorously said, “I’m cured,” and went home.

    I wasn’t being flippant. I knew that there was no possible way that I was going to just accept what was. There was an invisible line forming in the sand around me. It was there to protect me – and it was staying where it was. I was going to stop him from hurting me anymore. That was 5 years ago.

    Sometimes I think, “He still gets to hurt me only when I see him once a month,” but as long as you are connected to this person in any way, he still hurts you every day, because every day the ridiculous lifestyle that the two of you are leading is affecting you. This alcoholic/abusive situation isn’t a life, it’s a nightmare.

  9. Nancy May 2010 at 6:59 am

    My mother was an alcoholic and my father violent. My son who is 35 is now in rehab for alcoholism. I had a startling revelation last week. I have been living with or involved with alcoholics for 60 years. I am close to being paralyzed right now with fear and until I read this post. I really had no idea that it had to do with alcoholism and its effects on me. I do not know what to expect when my son leaves rehab, which personality he will display, or how he will act toward me. It has been a very traumatic time the last few months and I feel at my wits end.

    Fear has essentially ruled my life for its entirety. Thankfully I came to know the Lord 16 years ago and I really thought all of my fear had been removed, but the last 6 mos or so I have seen it rear its ugly head and try to control me once again. Until I read this post I really had no idea it was related to the alcoholism in my family. Just knowing that has given me a peace and an understanding of who I am and what makes me tick.

    Fear has been the hardest thing for me to overcome. It is an issue most people cannot relate to because it is so irrational.

    I am so thankful for all of the posts. I no longer feel alone and realize there is hope for me yet.

  10. dee May 2010 at 1:49 pm

    Well, now I’m even more confused. My doctor suggested that I try Al-Anon, but I’m not sure it is the right thing for me. Both my father and mother were alcoholics. They have both passed away. I am 48 years old, twice divorced. The first man that I married was an active alcoholic and has just passed away last year from the drinking. I’m not sure I should be going into all of this.

    This is my question, I have been suffering with anxiety and depression for most of my adult life. I do take medication and it helps, but not much. I’m not sure if I belong in Emotions Anonymous, maybe. I have fear constantly, but it is a fear of being around people. I have isolated myself for the most part. Everything I do I have to force myself to do. I am not a happy person 95 percent of the time. I feel stuck and don’t know what to do about it.

    I’m very sad almost all of the time and I don’t want to feel like this for the rest of my life, which is what I fear is happening.

    Thanks for letting me pour out my problems.

  11. Nicole April 2010 at 9:16 pm

    I came to know that new level of fear when my alcoholic boyfriend took off–didn’t know where–along with alcohol and a whole bunch of medication. It was so hard for me to let him go and give him the freedom to make his own choices, however much it scared me. For three days I waited for a phone call from the police telling me they found his body. Instead, I got a call from him telling me he needed help. I told him he could come clean up at my place and then he could either go on his way or I would take him to a local facility for help. Amazingly, he asked for help, and for the past several weeks has found a program for his own recovery. I hope I am getting a step closer to detaching with love, and not hate.

    If you are in fear, I know what works for me. Go to a meeting, share with others who have been in your shoes. I have learned to let go enough to give someone else their freedom, but also to love enough to still find compassion. Thank you, Al-Anon Family.

  12. Cant Let Go April 2010 at 9:45 pm

    I have been with an alcoholic for 16 months. I had never experienced a loved one who had a drinking problem. I know the fear so well. Last summer he almost OD’d twice! That did get his attention and he went on Antibuse (the alcohol pill) and almost had 7 months sober until this past week. He ran out of his pills about a week prior and didn’t tell anyone, and just thought he could have a few drinks after work and then drive my new car home.

    Didn’t make it home; flipped the car and had to be cut out by the fire department and taken by helicopter to the hospital. Luckily, and Thank God, he was the only vehicle involved. He is okay, but my heart is in a million pieces. We were living together and I gathered up all his stuff and took it back to his parents’ home (who blame me, by the way). But I love him so much, I FEAR I may go back to him. My counselor told me not to go back, but how do I live without him?

  13. Kat April 2010 at 3:24 am

    I think I’m finally facing the truth of my husband’s drinking. Every night and in the last 14 months only 8 days without alcohol and these were forced on him. The first time because I was so angry he missed an appointment at the hospital for our 5 week-old-baby (March 09) and a colleague took me. Husband was so guilty he stopped for a couple of days. Second time December 09 was when he had an operation to remove a lump from his mouth. Consultant warned him to cut down on drinking and smoking as the lump was pre-cancerous. Guess what he drank whilst on the antibiotics.

    He goes to the pub at the same time every night on the pretext of walking the dogs. He only walks them for about 15 minutes because his bank statements show him withdrawing cash at the pub. He’s gone every day between 5.45 and 7.45. He comes home and straight away has wine. Or if he’s had less than 2 pints he has a beer first before the wine. All in all, he drinks 70 to a 100 units a week and it scares me.

    Our gorgeous 14-month-old baby hardly sees his dad and everything revolves around husband. He wouldn’t let me have a baby sitter at the house recently and instead asked me to take the baby with me to my mum’s because he was “going to get messy.” His way of saying he’s having a binge.

    I’m fed up with the money going. He hasn’t given me a penny hardly since the baby was born and I have had to go back to work (don’t really mind that but it’s just extra pressure on me).

    I wish I was strong enough to leave, but like all you others the fear holds me back. The fear of hurting the person I love but who appears to love beer and the pub more than me and our baby. It’s all so ridiculous but I just don’t know what to do. I’m only 37 and people keep telling me I have a future ahead. I feel so worthless all the time.

    He can be so verbally aggressive. He’s never hit me but because he’s volatile and angry so much I live in fear that one day he might. Today I was worried because he had to leave home early to go fishing and I knew he had 14 units last night and was probably still over the limit.

    This is no life but the fear holds me back from getting a new life.

  14. Stephen M April 2010 at 7:34 pm

    Find and attend all the Al-Anon meetings you can in your area. There you will hear from other members who have had many of the same experiences you are going through now. Tell them your concerns.

    They will share their experiences – what worked for them and what didn’t. You will hear about choices, boundries, and causes – among many other things. If you keep coming back – you may learn as I have – how to take care of me.

  15. Angela A. April 2010 at 12:25 am

    I have learned a great deal about all of my emotions since I began attending Al-Anon meetings — especially about fear. I have learned to identify fear and how to move completely through fear to come out on the other side — to serenity.

    First, I must figure out when I am feeling fear, where I am feeling fear, and how I am feeling fear (tightness in stomach, rapid breathing, wanting to run, etc).

    My motivation to face my fears comes from the patterns I identified in my Al-Anon Fourth Step Inventory. I learned that when I am fearful, then I become angry and I lash out at others, usually the people I am most afraid for. This behavior made it difficult for my children to trust me. I was always yelling at them!

    I learned to stop as soon as I felt anger bubbling to the surface. I learned to see the anger as a sign that I was actually feeling fear — yes, fear!

    Then I learned that if I could trace my fear to its root, I could speak my fear out loud (to someone safe; often to an Al-Anon friend who wouldn’t use that fear to manipulate or hurt me) and just speaking the fear or journaling about it often diffused it to the point that it was no longer controling me and I could think and act more rationally.

    I learned in Al-Anon that I had a choice: I could stay stuck in the fear, anxiously worrying about what might or might not happen tomorrow and how the worst-case scenario might play out — OR — I could choose to pick up an Al-Anon tool such as a piece of literature to read or make a phone call to a friend in the program or write a list of things for which I am grateful today.

    Choosing an Al-Anon tool helps me stay in the moment, where most often I am not in imminent danger. Taking an action that gives me comfort is a way of literally “taking care of myself.” It didn’t feel natural at first, but I kept at it and eventually I began to do it automatically.

    Al-Anon recovery is great! And life still keeps happening. There are some very scary things going on in my life today. However, it is rare that I waste more than a few minutes of my day engulfed in fear — much less the weeks and months that I lost to fear before Al-Anon. I am powerless over alcohol and over most of the situations going on around me. So I am much better off choosing to spend my emotional energy cultivating serenity and leaving fear behind. Because of this, MY life is better.

  16. mama kris March 2010 at 9:44 pm

    Fear–I know it well. I have been with my fiance 5 years. We have full custody of his 2 children. One was 4 when we got him, the other 2. Now they are 8 and 5. I have been the only mother figure in their life. I love them with all my heart and can’t imagine life without them.

    Now what brings me to my point–their dad has a drinking problem. He is a wonderful provider and dad, but when he gets “on one” my house does not sleep. We don’t keep alcohol in the house, but as soon as the kids are asleep he can easily drink 30-plus beers himself. I wake up early to find him passed out, with bottles everywhere to clean up before kids can see.

    He also is very verbally abusive to me during his blackouts. He never remembers anything he says or does. I’m so afraid he will soon hurt me and not remember.

    I can’t leave, because of the kids. I need to find Al-Anon meetings or something. This week has been harder than usual. He was fine for a few months, but as soon as the weather warms up he starts. I hate spring and summer because of what he has done every year at this time. I’m so afraid..

  17. Laura March 2010 at 12:48 am

    Right now fear dominates my life. I have been married over 20 years and for the last 15 years to a functional alcoholic. It started with a couple of beers a couple of times a week and now it is every day. He goes to work ok, but as soon as he walks in the door at night he opens the first beer. On the days he does not work, he starts drinking before noon. I resent him so much and feel so much anger towards him. He has more days off than I do, yet I feel I do the bulk of the work.

    At the workplace he is very responsible, but at home he prefers to spend time on the computer, playing games or viewing porn. Lately, at any disagreement he blows into a violent rage. He looks like a monster, face distorted, foam and spit spewing. I hate him, yet I have also loved him, so I am stuck.

    Lately he has broken doors and put holes in walls because he resents my expectations. He is doing a good job of teaching me I should not have any expectations. When he rages I feel this deep hatred towards him and then I start to feel that I provoked him. He comes from a family of alcoholics. My father was a weekend drinker. So many scary memories of my father’s drunk episodes and now I’m living with it again. We don’t have kids and given what home is like now, I consider it a blessing. I am praying as I have never prayed before for the courage and wisdom to leave him.

  18. Paul March 2010 at 7:38 am

    Fear is finally gone for me. Al-Anon was my first program and it saved my sanity. But as I grew in the program, my sponsor kindly shared a wonderful insight, “Some of us need both programs.” It was the first time that I had ever thought that MY drinking could be interfering with my Al-Anon program. I have been sober for 2 years now. Peace finally is in my heart that I now have Al-Anon and AA as part of my life. Both mean the world for me.

  19. Anne March 2010 at 12:33 am

    I appreciate everyone’s sharing. I wish to mention that, even though my father’s drinking was decades ago, and I’ve not attended Al-Anon meetings for about 10 years, all it takes is some major crisis to discover that the ‘crazy behavior’ (obsessing, isolating, etc.) I learned in my family of origin can erupt and cause trouble and pain for me even now, years later.

    Those old patterns can be quite compelling! I gotta get back to my Al-Anon meetings – the problem is that, medically, I am confined to home and don’t have any current contacts in my previous Al-Anon group. So I am very grateful to have an on-line forum. Take away message – keep going to meetings, even if you reach a point where those old patterns seem so remote! Thank you, and best wishes!

  20. Joyce February 2010 at 5:05 pm

    It has been too many years since I’ve been in the rooms and now am finding my way back, thanks to your sharing. My clue was the fear I felt in the pit of my stomach whenever I was with my daughter. It has been years since we lived with her alcoholic father (my husband) and I have since moved on to a wonderful relationship with a loving husband. Thought everything was good! But now my daughter is living with an active alcoholic and I witness that which I had lived through years ago. My fear for her well being has triggered my crazy behavior. I am grateful for this great way to communicate (thanks to technology) and my Al-Anon family.

  21. Rosalie February 2010 at 9:39 pm

    Try going to a few Al-Anon meetings. It is very scary at first, but the support and caring that you will find is truly wonderful. It is a safe place to figure out how to cope with insane situations. Fault and criticism are NOT part of the Al-Anon program, but support and and caring are.

    I live with an active alcoholic and can definitely say that I have learned a great deal about myself and alcoholism–and have learned “new ways” of coping that have improved my life a great deal. Everything is not perfect, but I am a lot happier and so is my alcoholic. Al-Anon works!

  22. EJ February 2010 at 3:27 pm

    I have been married for 25 years. God knows why I am still here. You see, I did not know my husband was alcoholic. We did all the partying together before our son was born. Drinking and drugging, that was the norm. Until one day I woke up and I did not want to live that way anymore.

    So, needless to say, he is still back there twenty some years ago. The disease was taking the life out me, trying to force a solution. We have lost homes, cars, jobs. Somehow we manage to get the material things back, but not the love, respect, sharing. The disease is cunning and baffling. I have so much fear. I fear going to the store, the doctor’s office, shopping, working. It has taken my faith from me.

    I went to the doctor and he said my blood pressure was sky high. He would not let me go home until it went down. Why would I make a sick person my safe person, when they have made me so sick? I only feel safe around my husband and son. The disease has made me sick. I need my life back where I can take care of myself. I don’t know what to do. When I go to Al-Anon that helps a lot. When I stopped going to Al-Anon and church for two years, I got very stick again.

  23. Karen S February 2010 at 8:35 pm

    I will pray for you. Take care of yourself. Remember, your husband is very ill. There are others in Al-Anon just like you and can talk with you. You can let the love of the program grow in you one day at a time, and keep coming back. Blessings to you and your family.

  24. hopelessly devoted February 2010 at 11:14 am

    I have never been to any meeting and I have never spoken to anyone about my situation. I am a person who has always kept things ‘behind closed doors.’ Honestly my husband is a wonderful man, for our kids, our community, & our kids’ school. He is a volunteer fireman and a football and basketball coach. He is also an alcoholic. He likes fine whiskey. He drinks at least a pint 3 nights a week. Which is far better than the gallon he started with, then went to liters. So he is getting better about the amount he consumes, it just took him 12 years to get down to a pint a night.

    He isn’t physically violent, anymore. Occasionally he may throw things or punch a door/wall, but not me. He has NEVER hurt our kids. But I still live in fear, because once you have been repeatedly hurt by someone, especially the person who vowed to cherish you, it’s very hard to trust or even look at them the same anymore. I have received mostly mental and emotional abuse. I believe, but am not sure, that he has insecurites and it subconsiously makes him feel better to make me hurt. Like: 1) My dad was also an alcoholic, but he was a womanizer along with it. He left my family when I was 7. My husband enjoys telling me (only when he’s drunk) that it was my fault that my dad left. 2) A boy from the football team spent the night with our son. And my husband was drinking that night. He got into a rage and acted a complete fool. He was yelling at me, calling me names.

    My son and the other boy had no idea it was going on because they were upstairs playing guitar hero very loudly. But he screamed at me that I have embarrassed him in front of one of his star players and I have ruined everything he has worked for in just one night. And then he left with his whiskey, came back hours later and slept in the car.

    And you know what I did to start his fit of rage that ‘ruint everything he worked for’ (which it really didn’t cause nobody even realized he acted that way)? I was sitting on the couch reading a good book. That’s my addiction. 3) He will tell me ‘Dance for me.’ ‘Take off your clothes’ ‘Dress up for me’ and beg for me. Then when I build up the confidence that he has shattered and he talks me into it, he gets hateful and says ‘Put your clothes on, I don’t want to look at you.’ And will go watch dirty movies.

    The thing is, I know all these things are not my fault. But he makes me feel like they are. And he only does it when he’s drunk. So half the week I have a wonderful husband and the other half I have a creep. And for the few days after he acts this way I feel so hollow and hurt. And he doesn’t remember anything he has said or what he has done and doesn’t believe it when I tell why I’m not myself when he asks.

    He has recently been diagnosed with liver disease. He was told to change his diet, take medicine & stop drinking. He has changed his diet, but he will not stop drinking & will not take his medicine.

    I worry constantly about what will happen each night. This is the first time I have ever turned to anyone besides the good LORD for support or an ear.

  25. wantinghappiness January 2010 at 8:59 pm

    I fear every day that my loved one will od and die. He almost died about a week ago. He won’t take the help they offered. He is severely sick right now from the complications from the od. but he wouldn’t stay in the hospital. He signed himself out. He has no where to go but to a drug house to live right now. I can’t force him to get help, can’t help him! I’m in fear every waking moment of my life right now, and been scared for past 3 yrs!

  26. Sara January 2010 at 8:35 am

    Yep, to the above. I have had so much fear in my life that I could write a book on how to survive it.

  27. Linda January 2010 at 1:31 pm

    I made a very difficult choice to leave my marriage 3 years ago. I married a dry alcoholic and a sex addict. I chose at that time to just continue what I had seen for so many years, though I thought for some reason he was different and this was different. This is an insidious disease.

    I did love him dearly and he was a great provider, but the verbal, emotional, and psychlogicial abuse became so intense that I lost all self-esteem. My God-given skills were quickly disappearing and I was working less and less, really unable to cope with the constant rage and secretly acting-out sexually.

    I had been attending regular Al-Anon meetings and found some solace there. When it comes to guts, it did take everything I had in me to be brave and make a choice to not be abused. It was very difficult afterwards, financialy and emotionally. I had a nerveous breakdown, but I have found myself again with the help of Al-Anon, and I am starting to climb out of the financial situation. I lived in a state of fear for 2 years as it got progressivly worse, and the anxiety and sleepless nights were frequent. I am learning to gently start to walk through my fears and start a new life today. One Day At A Time, with the grace of God.

  28. BF January 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Thank you to everyone for posting. I don’t feel so alone in my fear. My dad is an alcoholic, dying of cancer. So many days I wake up wondering if this is the day my dad will die. I let go and let God, hoping I don’t regret anything after he’s gone.

  29. Andrea January 2010 at 3:40 am

    My husband is a functional alcoholic. He goes to work, does chores, is a great father. But he drinks. Not every day but most days. Not as much as he used to, but he still does. He is not abusive or a womanizer or causing financial difficulties. He is not out at the bar. So I feel like I have no right to complain and should just look the other way.

    Our therapist has said some things that I believe releases him from the responsibility of what his drinking has done to our family. Now he is angry all the time, feels not respected and unappreciated. He has said that he does not want to be with me and yet I am afraid to leave. Afraid of what that will do to him. Afraid to admit I have failed at my marriage. I am starting to think that there is no way I can be any more unhappy without him than I am with him. And sometimes it takes more guts to let go.

  30. rosie January 2010 at 10:00 am

    Growing up in an alcoholic family has affected me much and of course I picked an alcoholic, drug addict to marry and fix. I have missed many good things, opportuniites in my life due to fear. I have done online meetings but have not had the courage to go to a f2f one yet. I am planning to try one tomorrow morning. I am sure HP will help me get there. If nothing changes, nothing changes. At least I have to try! Thank u all!

  31. T January 2010 at 12:28 pm

    Thanks for sharing, everyone. It helps. I am totally in fear all the time. I am most afraid of making the wrong decision about staying or leaving my husband. I love him and feel like we can work through our difficulties when he is not drinking. He drinks every night though.

    So when the sun goes down, I start to worry about everything–what he is going to say, how I am going to respond, our daughter, our future, etc. He is a good man and follows through on all his responsibilities. I feel full of guilt because I know my coldness and indecision is hurting him. I just don’t know what to do. I have been in Al-Anon for a year now and it has helped tremendously. I know I am not alone and that I have a Higher Power who is looking out for me. I just wish I knew what to do. I relate to the point about having the guts to stay instead of leave. I feel this way too, sometimes.

  32. Vivian January 2010 at 10:40 am

    My husband doesn’t drink anymore, but I continue to live in fear of his ‘neurotic temper.’ I find it difficult to share in my home meeting coz everyone there seems to have much ‘harder’ lives than I have, and I don’t feel qualified to bring up my feelings. It seems so trivial compared to theirs, particularly ones who still have active alcoholics in their lives. All I have been told by my husband is that he is not the only person in the relationship who is mad, and that I don’t have the guts to leave. Sometimes I do wonder if this is true, but I thought I have the guts to stay rather than just leave. I do have a lot of fear and uncertainties, and I am trying very hard to work through, but also take one day at a time.

  33. snowflake January 2010 at 11:04 pm

    I can so relate to your post, because I, too, worry about my son and his drinking and drugging. I am so sure that we are going to lose him because he is out late at night and returns only after we have gone to bed. I know that he is addicted to alcohol and has lost so much ambition because of the pot. I just started with Al-Anon and it has helped tremendously, especially listening to the podcasts. I can only hope that I will reach out to a sponsor and continue to read the Al-Anon literature because it is already helping me make better decisions. Being physically and emotionally exhausted is what brought me to Al-Anon. “There, but by the grace of God, go I” is my mantra these days. I only hope that I will find a regular meeting at least once a month so that I will not feel so isolated. My sister is going to Al-Anon and we have networked via email, etc. So hang in there, and take care of yourself. That’s all you can do is take care of you!

  34. dd January 2010 at 9:25 am

    Since my son became addicted to both alcohol and drugs, fear has become part of my life. Since attending Al-Anon meetings, I have learned to let some of it go by Letting Go and Letting God. However, it is always still with me. At first, I feared losing my son to the streets or to death. Now, I sometimes think death would be a blessing for him. I fear that he will not conquer this disease, but go on for years, ending up in jail or staying in institutions for the rest of his life. Thanks so much for your comments. It truly helps me start my day off thinking more positive.

  35. Ida December 2009 at 4:51 am

    I have a 21-year-old son who drinks excessively 2-3 times a week. I fear that he is going to die from this. He came home staggering again. Right now he is sleeping but I sit here watching him to make sure he is okay. A few kids have died from excessive drinking that I worry he will stop breathing in his sleep. I get sick to my stomach thinking what may happen to him when he doesn’t come home all night. I don’t get much sleep and I go to work the next day emotionally and physically exhausted. People tell me I have to let go but they don’t understand that as a mother, I love my son and will go crazy if something bad happens to him. I don’t know what to do. All I know is that I’m tired of living like this, in fear all the time.

  36. Ricardo A. December 2009 at 12:29 pm

    ¿Have I ever felt really afraid?
    Yes, I have. At those moments I feel the freezing effect of fear, how my God-given talents and blessings are put aside -seemingly disappearing- because of this challenging emotion. Fear is also a human feeling or emotion, and in some moments it’s ok and even heallthy at some point to react in that way, e.g.: Avoiding a car accident while traveling; preparing my mind, soul and heart to have a surgery because of my lymphatic cancer; not wanting that my father should die if he didn´t follow the medical directions when I was a young teenager, very aware of the damage his addiction was causing him, etc. Feeling afraid at some logical and reasonable point, I think is normal.

    My problem is that I’ve felt really afraid beyond the manageable point, reaching that mood in which you are paralyzed and can´t function in a logical and healthy way. Let me share this: When I started attending school, from kindergarden (6 years old) to 2nd grade (8 years old), I remember functioning normally at school and even feeling clear-headed when I did my homework with the warming guidance of my mother. After I was in 3rd grade (9 years old), important and traumatic events happened -my older brother’s alcoholism, my father’s intense neurotic temper, emotional, verbal, and physical violence at home, etc. I began to develop the psychological trauma related to living in such a family environment. As a consequence my grades and overall school performance were negatively affected, sometimes to the point I couldn’t even write a word in my notebooks–just sitting holding a pen or pencil, and not capable of thinking, reading, and writing. Later, when I was a teenager I began to develop my sexual identity and orientation, and things got emotionally worse. Fear and sexaphobia affected my life, being subconsciously aware that I wasn’t a 100% “straight” young man. It led me to living really afraid when I was among other people, at school, at home,etc. Therefore, isolation became useful but eventually painful.

    Al-Anon is helping me to understand this and to become aware of my need to look for a closer relationship with my Higher Power, a deeper faith, a courageous opennes to interact with people, my sponsor, at work with other employees including my boss, but most important to interact with myself, in a positive and healing way.

  37. Kristen December 2009 at 8:33 pm

    I also feel ashamed of my family’s alcoholism. Thank you for this podcast- it is helping me feel less alone.

  38. Diane December 2009 at 8:44 pm

    I’m so touched by everyone’s stories. It’s a terrible thing we have to witness. The ones we love so deeply are literally drinking their lives away. That’s less time we get to spend with them, the sober them that we love so much.

    My husband goes on binges. I can have him totally sober for a few days and it’s absolute bliss, but then before I know it, he’s drinking and it’s a scary situation. I fear him and his behavior. I never know what he’s going to say or what he’s going to break. The home we worked so hard to put together has been broken down, one door at a time, one hole in the wall at a time, etc. It’s frustrating and lonely. I made a commitment to love him through sickness and health. What a difficult road this has been.

  39. Tara September 2009 at 10:32 pm

    I am very new to Al-Anon. My husband’s drinking is spiraling out of control. He drinks straight vodka (about seven liters a week that I know of). A few years ago he started pouring a full glass on his way to work. On the weekends, he drinks from 5 a.m. until he passes out, wakes and starts again.

    He failed a life insurance exam due to signs his liver is starting to fail. His doctor/friend warned him and he has not done one thing to cut down or quit. His hands shake until he’s had a few. He’s becoming insecure and depressed. He hasn’t gone to visit his children in 10 months. He drinks when he’s sick, so on and so forth. The only good thing is he’s not mean or violent. If he were, I’d be out the door. I have tried to help him, but I do believe he’s killing himself and he won’t listen to anyone. He actually believes he will live a long time, so he’s in denial big time.

    I need some guidence. I have two daughters, 12 and 14, who know he drinks a lot, but they don’t know the gravity of the whole situation. They just think I’m a depressed unhappy person with no real cause. Thank goodness they go stay with friends on weekends and sleep late so they don’t see him pour the vodka before sunrise. Thanks for letting me vent.

  40. Carrie September 2009 at 5:06 pm

    I am desperate. My Mom died 3 yrs ago, and my father is slowly committing suicide with alcohol. We have had to cut him off from our children and from my life, because I cannot continue to enable his behavior.

    He is having an affair with a married woman, who is my age. She is using him for money that my mom left for him. He thinks he is in love, and we all know he is not.

    He has a permanent port in his stomach with an insulin pump dispensing it as he needs it.
    It’s so sad for his grandkids to see him this way. He is a diabetic. First pills, next shots, and now he drinks an 18-pack a day, then straight rum and a splash of water.

    I am so sad.

  41. MB September 2009 at 6:16 pm

    In regards to Joyce – Boy, did you touch me. I just did an intervention on my husband last weekend. His best friend committed suicide and he was in such despair and on a drunken binge (all week) that he threatened it too. Now I fear the intervention I did will put me in danger. He has tried to leave the rehab (last night) once, but went back when I said I would leave him if he didn’t. Yes, these are scary times.

  42. LS September 2009 at 3:26 am

    I can really relate to being consumed by fear. It is such a relief to be able to connect with others who also struggle with fear. I find the group meetings really helpful and have made my life a lot more manageable. I can live one day at a time with Al-Anon.

  43. Chris August 2009 at 2:45 pm

    Your podcast on fear really helped me. Last night, I was forced to be driven back from Sedalia, MO with my drunken husband behind the wheel. I had tried to take the keys, and to no avail. He would not let me drive and we almost crashed. I screamed, and he tried to make me get out of the truck, but I had to work today, so I did not want to be left 150 miles from home out in the middle of nowhere. I have been crying all day and found your podcast. I’m so glad to know there are other people out there.

  44. Mary March 2009 at 10:12 am

    In regards to Joyce…I got chills when I read your story. It could be me writing it except I need to start believing in the 3 C’s that you spoke about.

  45. Joyce March 2009 at 5:58 am

    I know that I have to face the fear that is in me but my biggest fear is losing the one person I have loved and counted on for many years as he tumbles deeper and deeper into the pit of alcoholism and slow suicide. Suicide has probably been a pall over my entire life from someone I never even knew. My father’s father killed himself when he was fourteen. My husband talks about not wanting to live and shows it by his drinking and refusal to get treatment for his deep depression. I believe the 3 “C’s” now…I didn’t cause it, I can’t cure it, I can’t control it” but in spite of knowing those things I feel an overwhelming sadness and fear. I don’t want him to die.

  46. May March 2009 at 2:37 pm

    Thank you for your sharing everyone! Wow, I love that the posts come from other parts of the world! It really is a worldwide fellowship. I am so thankful for the existence of Al-Anon and to the wonderful members I have met who have changed my life through their honest and heartfelt sharings of hope.

    On the subject of fear, I have come to realize that fear plays a huge role in my life and that my lack of faith in a power greater than myself fuels this fear.

    I once heard an Al-Anon speaker at a convention refer to fear as an acronym for Face Everything And Recover. This really struck me. Because I realize that sometimes I have to move forward through the fear in order to be rid of it. It also allows me to think of fear as something I can use. Sometimes my feeling of fear is an opportunity to try and deepen my faith. I find that in times of real fear and despair I do turn to a power greater than myself, so in a way, fear forces me to look for help.

    A grateful member from Virginia.

  47. Beth February 2009 at 6:14 am

    Fear was one of those hidden things I didn’t realize I had at first. I had convinced myself even that I was confident, successful, everything was OK. Despite an inner voice asking: “Is this as good as it gets?” Then I found Al-Anon. And boy was I surprised what I found. My sponsor always has said that awareness is where it all starts, and suddenly — and thankfully slowly — I found out how afraid I really was. It has not been an easy part of the journey, but Al-Anon has held my hand as I gently worked through many different kinds of fear. My sponsor has also said you actually have to feel it to let it go. And afraid of feeling has always been pretty high on the fear list. At times it has been frightening, but a most worthwhile experience. And life is much lighter, carefree and serene where I am today. (notice afraid is not on my list!)Thank you Al-Anon!

  48. Bernie December 2008 at 9:45 pm

    I have to do a paper for a class I am taking. It is in reference to feelings of fear and anger. While I was reminded through some of the questions asked to answer in the paper, I went back to specific feelings of anger, fear and anxiety, just to name a few. I could not help but go back to my days in Al-Anon. After browsing some of the websites for Al-Anon and its philosophy, I was reminded of two slogans on the table at one of the group meeting places I frequented. One stated, “You may not like all of us, but you’ll love us in a special way.” Another read, “Take what you like, and leave the rest.” A true fan and veteran of the Al-Anon, AA, NA, and Alateen programs, I hold the highest regard, respect and admiration for all and any affected by this most devastating and growing disease. I have moved on since those days…many, many years ago, although I never forgot all that these programs, steps, traditions and the overall philosophy have contributed in my ever-changing life. Anonymity is key as well! To all that blog, this being my first, listen and share as you grow and come to truly understand how to move on in your life through the help and courage of those before you! Hats off to all of you! A Blessed and Happy 2009

  49. Monica December 2008 at 1:46 pm

    Good evening, may I introduce me. I am Monica from Catalonia in Spain. Sometimes I read some of your podcasts. I feel better when I read them.
    I go every Thursday evening to the Al-Anon meetings near my town, Sant Feliu de Guixols.
    I only want to agrre you this blog, I think it is very useful!

    Many greetings from Spain and have a Happy New Year 2009!


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