A Clearer Picture

I thought I was so perfect, so I didn’t know why I was so sad and miserable. I grew up in a family with two parents who had a good marriage. My mother spent a lot of energy trying to teach me how to make the perfect pie crust and how to clean tile with a toothbrush. My relatives and family friends never drank except for an occasional beer or wine on holidays. To me, an alcoholic was a drunk on a bar stool or on the street. Then I met my husband, and for the first month, I never saw him sober. He was angry and violent. I was afraid and tried to be the best wife and mother I could be so he wouldn’t get so angry. I didn’t know what was wrong with me—or him. As I approached my 25th wedding anniversary, I couldn’t decide whether to throw a party or get a divorce.

We tried counseling for a while, but my husband stopped going when the questions got harder. Several people recommended Al‑Anon to me, but they didn’t tell me how to stop the misery I felt. However, I decided to try it. I have been coming for several months, and I am happier. I’ve started to look at myself and my life without blinders on. I like myself more than I ever have and have started mending my relationships with my kids. Although I don’t like to look at my shortcomings, doing so has helped me make peace with myself. I never felt good enough as a child or in my marriage, but through Al‑Anon, I am learning that I am me—with all my faults and talents.

By Betty B., New Hampshire

The Forum, September 2018

2018-08-30T15:37:52+00:00August 30, 2018|Categories: Alcoholic Spouse or Partner, The Forum|


  1. Jessica October 2018 at 4:40 am

    Thank you for sharing. I needed this, as I sit and wonder “how can I fix this” “how can I get him to change” “how can I get him to be honest” “how can I get him to value me, our relationship, and our family enough to stop drinking”? I need to accept that he has a problem that he needs to work through. I can’t change him. I can only change whether or not I will accept the behavior, the lies, and the disappointment.

  2. David September 2018 at 5:01 pm

    Thank you all for sharing your difficult circumstances. I can relate to something everyone has said. My wife and I have been Married for 12 yrs this November. I never in my wildest dreams would could have imagined that I would be in this situation with this woman. And having to make the difficult decisions that have learned to make. She was so independent, so health conscious, love to garden and cook, and travel, spontaneous and adventurous. I felt immediately comfortable with her the first time we held hands at a farmers market I invited her to join me at. She began to have a drinking problem (white wine)about five years ago and progressively got worse. The past two years have been the worst. This is her third time in in-patient rehab. This has been such a roller coaster going from doing really great after the first 30 day rehab. Sober for almost a year, back to healthy, enjoyable living again To damaging her vehicle three times, in and out of the hospital at least ten times this year alone. This is not the wonderful life we once had. I have given her so many chances and ultimatums . At first I did not follow thru and just neglected what I would have liked in the relationship. Then, thru my book readings, al-anon meetings for the past two years, I have become stronger and more decisive. I don’t accept the chaos and insanity, that had started to make me feel ill and not being happy . I have created boundaries, and accept that I don’t have to be co-dependent and enabling any longer. That I can’t fix the woman I fell so deeply in love with. that her sobriety is her responsibility and that my peace and happiness is mine to regain.

  3. Sue September 2018 at 7:34 am

    Find an Al-Anon meeting in your area and keep going back

  4. Marge September 2018 at 8:15 pm

    You may want to put off making any major decisions until you have had some help. There are Al-Anon meetings everywhere for families and friends who are trying to cope with situations just like yours. You will find people who understand and can share with you how and what they did.
    I have been going to these meetings for years and it has helped me learn so much about my situation . It has helped me to heal from all the pain that alcoholism creates.

  5. Ella September 2018 at 12:14 am

    So I am frustrated, angry, sad and so disillusioned. My 31 year old son, which is my youngest one, has changed so much due to alcohol. He used to be kind and caring…now he is abusive, verbally and started the same physical. He came home so drunk and went after me, then hit me with big pillows. I did not retaliate, but felt the shame. I need to move out and don’t have the money for it. Whoever reads this, please pray for me. I need to get out and I am so stuck….need God’s miracle on my finances….what can I do??? It rips my heart out to see my son like this… I told him we are done you don’t hit your own mother….guess what? It is my fault according to him…

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