“Introduction of Al-Anon Meeting” podcasts: 2) Did we cause our loved one to drink?

If we are not the ones with the drinking problem, why are we talking about our powerlessness over alcohol? Can we control our loved one’s drinking? Can we cure our loved one’s drinking problem?

 

2017-07-27T16:03:31+00:00 February 28, 2017|Categories: First Steps|

75 Comments

  1. FacingTruth March 2017 at 12:46 am

    I have just found al- anon, as directed by a wonderful marriage counselor. I only wish it could have been many years ago. I had a maternal grandfather who was an alcoholic. Also, both of my dads brothers became alcoholics. Social drinking was considered socially acceptable by much of my family. Watching my mother worry about her single father…and riding many hours with her to go rescue my grandfather from crawling under an 18 wheeler to go to sleep…or staying awake all night before school, as she struggled with trying to keep him from leaving in the middle of the night, in his confused drunken state…and if he wasn’t leaving, he may sing all night long, or shout obscenities to the invisible people of his past. It was an awful feeling to hold my breath when he came near to hug me…not sure if it was the liquor or urine that was more repulsive. There were memories of his sober years that I am thankful for. Strangely enough, I knew that I feared the thought of alcohol controlling me…and vowed to restrain myself. It was just the beginning though. I married first to a husband who would drink, b sober a few months, drink again and tell me I was no fun. I became convinced I was to blame for his extramarital, promiscuous behavior…but stayed in that relationship over 4 years. Forward to the next involvement with alcoholism, and the abusive behaviors so common to the illness. I was determined to raise our two boys in a healthy environment…by now trust was an even bigger issue. The rejection made me grateful that my future husband would consider an automatic family. My husband is a very gifted, but hurting,man. The son of a recovered alcoholic father, and an alcoholic mother who left when he was at the tender age of four…she was never to b seen again for over 30 years. Believing this man to b an occasional drinker, I still failed to face the truth. My own sweet mother had been first thru an abusive, then an alcoholic marriage. She later revealed to me that my father had been a drinker also (when she married him,)but diabetes kept him from joining his brothers… allowing my grandma one sober son. Two years into the dating relationship with my husband, I should have seen the writing on the wall, so to speak. The wonderful feeling of spending time with this gifted, attractive, man melted my heart of hearts. There were many painful times ahead—as his secrets, and self destructive habits spilled over into all of our lives. I learned that his walking to work wasn’t just for health purposes, or thoughtful management. Ignorant young women can be lulled to sleep by the charms of a handsome man…who asks for a ride. He prided himself that his lies about alcohol would go un-noticed…as he had “just one” if asked. The distance between us grew as fast as the five children we raised. The drinking stopped for the most part with my husband…but addictive behaviors remained. We went to church all those years…but even after years of sober life, this disease calls us to face the truth. The unhealthy behavior patterns have given us three children who are challenged by either drug or alcohol addictions, or both. The bitter feelings, resentment, blame, power struggles, distrust and loneliness have been a challenge. I was sad that there is not an al-anon group for many counties away from our area. When I read the words…don’t talk, don’t trust, don’t feel…I knew that was the message our children had received. I can not change or save anyone from themselves. I have no power over all of the anger, rages or choices. I am learning how to stop taking blame and draw boundaries for myself. It is lonely separated from the man I love…but not as lonely as it was inside the marriage, not facing the truth. I pray for all these tender hurting souls…and thank God for guiding me here.

  2. Lantana August 2011 at 7:03 am

    What Lily wrote is what I would write, exactly. I have moved past the point of trying to control the situation and am now on the divorce fence. Should I do it or not. I have found through all this, I’m not as attracted to him as I once was and I don’t respect him like I used to. I’m wondering if these feelings come back or are lost forever.

  3. Karen C March 2011 at 6:37 pm

    In reading this title, Did We Cause Our Loved Ones To Drink?, I realized that question never resonates with me. I always felt that I was not the cause of someone’s drinking. Alcoholics and abusive people would like anyone to be the target and blame for drinking. I have been that target. When accused of causing the drinking, I will question the situation, review the circumstances leading to the accusation and I always arrive at the same conclusion: We had a disagreement, but that is not the reason to get fall-down drunk, or We were at a party, or We went to a sports bar to watch football… or however the initial statement begins, but that is not the reason for becoming drunk.

    Many people experience life without alcohol addiction. So, it is the alcoholic’s coping skills, life experiences, genetic predisposition, or some other issue that is at the root of the alcoholism, not me. It gives me great relief to hold the alcoholic accountable for his/her “choice” to consume alcohol and enter the stages of alcoholism.

  4. Lily March 2011 at 11:43 am

    My husband of 26 years has been a drinker since I met him. I have done the, “If ya can’t beat him, join him.” I have pleaded, argued, cried and left too many times to count. I have gotten to the point of just shutting down and not talking to him when he drinks. This is a very lonely life I have chosen to lead.

    My kids have moved out and we live together in a 4 bedroom house. We barely talk. Most of the time he is mad at me for whatever he finds at the time. He says he drinks because I don’t clean the house, make dinner, come home from work on time, talk about my hobby too much, or any other excuse he has for the day.

    I find myself sick to my stomach at the smell of the house and him when he drinks. I know I can’t fix him, change him or make him better. He has to do that for himself. I just want to fix me, change me & make me feel better. How does one do this and stay with the one person they love so much because when it’s good it is so good. It’s like waiting for the reward all the time.

    I love the man I married many years ago, the man that could make me feel secure, loved , beautiful in more ways than I could imagine. How does one separate that, decide to let that go, stop looking for that, and move on and away from this man who has come in his place, a man who finds nothing good in me, a man who resents me, says I am fat and ugly, stupid and no good, selfish and on and on, while slurring his words, falling down, staggering around and finally, thankfully, passing out.

    How do you move on? One moment, one day at a time. Looking at what you can do to help keep your head above the water and breathe. I try not to feel trapped in this lonely life I so willingly have accepted and made for myself. I want out. I want to change the rules. I want to find happiness. I am seeking the light and can’t seem to see it yet, but I will I have faith in me and I will find it.

  5. Exhausted February 2011 at 9:51 pm

    I am so happy I found this site, I can relate to almost all of these stories, especially Libby’s. I just did what she does. I left the family room because my husband just woke up from a nap and grabbed for his glass to get another drink again!!

    My husband drives me to work in the morning and picks me up after work. He is retired. He must start drinking about 1:00 pm because when he picks me up at 2:30 pm I can smell alcohol on him. He is not really drunk at this point, but on his way. When we get home he automatically pours himself a drink and doesn’t stop until after we have supper. 4:30pm until he is really argumentative and passes out on the sofa, which is approximately 6:00 pm. He sleeps there every night because he gets up about 11:00 pm and watches TV all night (not drinking alcohol at his point). He falls a sleep about 3:00 am and then I get up at 4:30 to get ready for work and then he gets up at 5:00 am to drive me to work. Then the day starts all over again.

    We have been married for 38 years. I am 57 and he is 60 years of age, no children, just a dog. I am trying to cope with the alcoholism as a disease, which I do know it is. I cannot attend an Al-Anon meeting because I work and I do not drive. I could take a bus but the service is not that great where I live, so this sight is really a help to me. Thanks so much!

  6. Broken Heart January 2011 at 11:28 pm

    My husband has a drinking problem. His mother had a drinking problem. His brother died from an overdose. His youngest brother has fetal alcohol syndrome. He does have one more brother, but I do not believe he deals with any addictions.

    We have been married for 13 years and together for 17. We have two young children together. He has always been a drinker, but really became worse once we married. He is very successful in his career, stays in good shape and is very attractive. I do not know if many casual friends would ever guess him to have an issue with drinking. Living with him has been like one very long roller coaster ride. He has his good moments, but he really has his bad ones too.

    I wanted to leave several years ago, but I did not want to break up my family. Back then, I really thought I could fix it. I felt strong. The more his issues bothered me, the more I worked on trying to take care of me and my two children. As of late, I feel really broken. I have finally let this disease take me.

    My children are old enough to start asking questions. If they see their father drink, they do not want to drive with him. They tell me they do not like the way he acts and why is he so moody? I am done trying to protect him from his children. I have started giving them insight. They are probably still too youg to understand.

    He has told me, I do not know how many times, he would get help. About two weeks ago, he told me he knew he needed help and he needed to take some time to try and like himself before he could talk to a doctor. Same old song and dance.

    Yesterday I yelled at him for a while. I believe all of my anger from the past years of our marriage came crashing down. Now he is mad at me for telling him how bad he is and that he has affected the children. How selfish he is with his drinking, and I believe he loves us the best he is able. I told him if he had to choose between us or a bottle of wine that he would choose the wine. I know it and it hurts. I am damaged goods.

    My children do not understand what is going on. My marriage is ending. It is so sad. I have lost the battle. It hurts to have your dreams crushed. He was supposed to be my forever. I cannot take it anymore. My children and I deserve better than this.

  7. liz November 2010 at 10:53 am

    Just reading some of these comments makes me realise I’m not on my own, and the feelings I have are not unique to me and I’m not going mad!

    My partner binge drinks and sometimes doesn’t come home. On the occasions that he does come home, he is verbally abusive, pees on the floor etc. I’ve already had to call an ambulance as he fell off the top flight of steps to our door and cracked his head open, not to mention the broken collar bone he got after falling over after a drinking session 3 weeks earlier.

    I feel angry, but mostly so sad as it is heart-breaking to watch someone you love drinking themselves into oblivion. I don’t know what else I can do for him, but I know now especially after reading some of the above that I need to look after me and I hope to start by visiting a meeting x x

  8. Elena November 2010 at 12:27 pm

    Thank you for sharing your experiences and giving me the courage to seek the help I need.

    It is heartbreaking to accept that I cannot help my only daughter stop drinking; I have devoted my life to helping people solve their problems and always thought I was pretty good at it, and now it has become evident those skills are useless as this disease can only be conquered by my daughter’s actions and resolve.

    I grew up with an abusive and alcoholic father and having endured both physical and emotional abuse, I vowed that I would not become like him, nor would I become involved with anyone with a drinking problem. I never imagined that I would again battle the alcohol demons at home and yet, here I am trying to pull myself together as my daughter continues to self-destruct.

    I must focus on learning things that will help me to cope with her disease, while at the same time find the peace that I desperately need.

  9. barb August 2010 at 1:58 pm

    PS, we don’t live together anymore, so he’s not hurting me physically, but he’s still up to his old ways and has not gone to rehab.

    I am choosing to leave him behind because there’s nothing I can do for him anymore. It’s tough, but I have to, and I have to remind myself every day.

    He chooses to not get help. He may not choose to be an addict, but he chooses to not get help. He chooses to not get help and treat everyone that loves him, very badly.

  10. barb August 2010 at 1:54 pm

    Today. I made the committment to accept that it’s his life to save and he’s the only one who can.

    He had every excuse to drink. If I griped at him because he got drunk and hit me a night or two before, that gave him an excuse. My birthday was two weeks after the birth of our first child, my parents had come down and the day they were leaving I went to Walmart. I got groceries and I put the groceries away and accidently put the 5 pound block of ground beef in the freezer because I was spending time with them {It was important to me because I was working on a healthy relationship with my family}.

    That night after they left he’d been drinking already and wanted, I forget what to eat with the hamburger meat, even though there were other groceries. He threw a fit, called me stupid in every way he could, hit me with the 5 pound block of meat and proceeded to go get more beer because of my stupidity.

  11. Becky May 2010 at 1:56 am

    I was thinking about my husband’s drinking all the time–when I was at work, home, when I was with him or not with him. My thoughts are still focused on “what’s he doing” much of the time, but not all the time.

    I was going crazy thinking about this all the time. I realize this is part of my sickness. I was obsessed. I imagined him ”cheating” on me with another woman. Maybe because that would be easier to fight. I realized I couldn’t fight alcoholism, but I could find this other “woman” and DO something. After checking phones, emails, texts, every website he had been to for months–nothing. I had to admit the other woman was in the can. Or the disease. I’ve known this for 10 years. I also realized I had a problem. I’m sick and need help.

    In the last few weeks I have started to coach myself by saying, “ What he does is on him.” I can’t control him; I can’t control him; I can’t control him. I’ve tried. I tried yelling, crying, threatening, sex, leaving, embarrassment, all the usual.

    I am not focused on worrying about if he will: lose his liscense; kill someone driving drunk; lose his job; wreck and die driving drunk on his motorcycle. On and on and on–but not all the time.

    I want to stop punishing myself, blaming myself, secluding myself. I want to stop verbally abusing him and others around me. I want to be a nice person and happy.

    I am sick and need help. I’ve never said that before.

  12. Claire April 2010 at 8:42 am

    Wow. After reading the majority of these posts, I have seen so many instances of my own life, and I haven’t even listened to the podcast yet.

    My husband and I have been together for 6 years, and just last week celebrated our first anniversary. I woke up that morning to him continuing his binge from the night before. I’ve almost come to the stage where I just don’t care anymore. I mean, I love him with all my heart, that’s why I married him, but like so many of you, I didn’t marry the disease.

    At times I feel that my husband is in denial of his alcoholism because he holds a respectable job, has a comfortable relationship, nice house and car, loving wife, etc. I know you’ve heard it all before. He feels that his drinking doesn’t impede on his life (it does), doesn’t affect his work (it does) and is not the crux of our relationship dilemmas (it is). Yet, he admits that he has a problem! So why not get help?

    I have tried everything too. Emptying bottles, collecting a stash of his empties to try and embarrass him with the truth, yelling, crying, threatening to leave. The list goes on.

    Then I read about the three C’s. This is something that I know I will carry with me while I change the energy I have been putting into convincing my husband to get help into energy to help myself (a good friend calls this “good selfish”). I’m going to be “good selfish” in getting the help I need to heal myself, and hope that my husband does the same.

    Thank you, everyone, for sharing your stories and providing anecdotes that have and will continue to help others, including me. I wish you all the very best. xx

  13. Maddie February 2010 at 12:01 pm

    I am also married to someone who drinks. I was also abusing alcohol and now have stopped. It has been 6 months and every day I am struggling. The anxiety and depression I have now from the drinking is almost unbearable. Last night he drank and then drove home from his business. I have asked him before to not drive after even having just 1 glass of wine. I don’t even know how much he drank because I think he lied to me about that too.

    We are in marriage counseling, but I am even afraid to do be there with him. I am afraid of him and the anger he exhibits when he is drunk. Once he pushed me very hard on the ground and I hit my head and had bruises and a sprained wrist.

    I will try to work on the 3 C’s today and try to let go. But when do I say I need to leave him and move on? Why can’t I explain to him that being around people who are drinking a lot right now is really hard on me and I am desperately trying to stay on the right track and not drink.

    Thank you for letting me say me peace here – this is the first time I have found this group. I just wish I had a friend nearby that would support me, but I guess that is what a sponsor is for. I will try to find a meeting and move in that direction.

  14. Janice February 2010 at 9:13 pm

    Tonight I’m hearing my husband snore loudly in the bedroom, as he passed out about 6:30 p.m. I’ve been married to him for just a few years and It’s getting worse. As you all know, alcoholic lie extremely well regarding their drinking. I could tell within 5 seconds he had been drinking. Why do I ask him…it does absolutely no good…just riles me up.

    I’ve found it in his briefcase, basement and all the other stuff. The water bottle filled with Vodka on our vacation…was the best. Al-anon is so right…we can do nothing to control it…so I might as well not even look for the bottles. When am I going to learn?

    As above, I’ve been angry, I separated from him for six months, I’ve tried bargaining…that I will drink a glass of wine with him at a nice dinner, if he promises not to “sneak.” Well, now he gets the glass of wine at a dinner, and then he is also sneaking. I’ve been attending Al-anon meetings for over a year, and he also goes to AA meetings…(sometimes sneaking drinks after the meetings.) He goes quite often…because he likes all the people there…but he will lie at the meetings.

    He’s a charmer, “everyone likes him” type of guy, and very social. He goes to the meetings and lies (that he’s been sober..he even told me this.) He lies to his sponsor. I’ve asked him if he’s told him that he has a glass of wine with me. He said, “No, i just can’t.” I called the sponsor tonight and told him about his social drinking, sneaking, and about how he had been lying to him for over five months about his sobriety. I then handed my husband the phone to tell him. Another probably “NO” that I shouldn’t have done, but I did.

    I’m really at the point, “Would my life be better without him? I’m even asking, do I want to put up with this disease? (Yes, that is making me feel terrible. I”ve been looking up divorce lawyers tonight also.) I do know that I need to calm down and not overreact, but I’m seeing a night alone without a man slurring his words, as so nice.

    This is a good place to vent. Good luck to all of you. We all know each other’s pain. Someday, I hope I’ll recover myself. I just can’t seem to let go of my own emotional feelings when I see him drunk.

  15. olive November 2009 at 6:43 pm

    I first attended an Al-Anon meeting in July of this year when my husband finished 28 days of residential treatment. I felt very skeptical, scared, and angry as to why I should be going to these meetings as there was nothing wrong with me, sure it was my husband who had the problem. Well, since then I am finding out just how sick I am and have been for so many years.

    I have started to realize that I have very strong feelings–anger, resentment, loneliness, pain, but I now see it is ok to have all these emotions. It is how I deal with them that is important. Just today loneliness came up for me. I would have been annoyed with myself before for having such self-pity for myself, but today I felt it, cried, told myself that it was perfectly ok for me to feel this feeling, but then I wrote all the reasons why today I needn’t feel this feeling.

    My Al-Anon friends are there for me. I have taken up a new hobby (dancing). I have more friends there, and I was able to tell my husband how I felt and that it was ok for me to feel lonely but that now I had ways of dealing with it.

    I thank my Higher Power for helping me with this situation today, and I hand over my alcoholic husband, my son & daughter to him every day, and myself. In doing so, I ask him to be with me so I will do his will, as I now know without him my life would be definitely unmanageable. I know without my weekly meeting I would not be as well as I am. My story seems so less important than others’ in the room, but I must tell it as honestly as I see it, and in doing so I can move on. Thank you. “One day at a time” and the Serenity Prayer are my life lines, together with my meetings–just for today.

  16. StageLeft August 2009 at 1:50 pm

    Hello. My name is StageLeft and I am an alcoholic. I have been sober for 13 1/2 years. I never went to treatment. I just couldn’t do it anymore, because one of us had to be in control. God gave me the power and strength to resist the temptation and I have relied on Him solely, as I am powerless over this addiction.

    My husband entered treatment two weeks ago this coming Monday.

    He lives in a 3/4 house in our town, where he has to work and pay rent, attend counseling, classes about his addiction, and AA meetings.

    We are at odds. Having been married for 21 1/2 years and parenting 5 children, mostly together until the past few years, I feel he should go fully in-patient and he wants out-patient. He agreed to in-patient at first, but after seeing that they take your freedoms (like a cell phone and telling you when and where to be and at what time), he says absolutely no to in-patient.

    I am struggling to find balance. I want him to be in a program, and I feel him living at the 3/4 house and working isn’t ideal since he has tried all these years to quit over and over again, while living in a home with family and working and hitting the same aluminum can over and over. I don’t want him at home with us, either, because I feel that if he does slip again at this point that we will have to suffer through yet another episode of his wallowing.

    There is so much he has done, and now that I can look back at it all, I’m angry and don’t want him around. He feels the tension and says he should leave for good, then. I don’t want him to leave for good, just to give me time. I asked him to go to marriage counseling with me at some point and he doesn’t see the point. Yet, he wants me to make the decision to be there when he’s done with his treatment, right now–or forget it. It’s a power issue, in my mind. He’s trying to manipulate the situation, yet again. It’s also a result of faulty thinking from being under the influence of his addiction for so long. He has fallen into a terrible line of thinking that I won’t buy into and it’s hard for him to understand. He is very extreme in his thinking, which is very common from what I can tell. I told him he needs to work on his sobriety (2 weeks now!) and soon we can seek counseling as well, so we can try to mend what has happened and move forward.

    A few years ago I learned the three C’s in my first and only Al-Anon meeting. Since that day, I have had more control over how I think about his disease. I let him have power over what he did and no longer tried to make him change. I never went back, though, to another meeting because it caused a lot of contention between him and me. He accused me of having a boyfriend or conspiring to leave him and telling our business to others.

    I feel like I am strong enough to withstand anything at this point. The things we have been through have been horrific over the years. Nobody in their right mind would have stayed. I stayed because when things were good, they were very good. He is a great man and God has great things in store for him, should he decide to lay down his life and rely upon the arm of God. I know his potential is awesome. I want him in my life, sober. I am willing to stay and see if things can work out, without the alcohol, and with him having learned and seeking to educate himself as to why he is powerless over this disease.

    I am going to my second Al-Anon meeting this Tuesday. I heard it is small. That is okay with me. I met a lady who attends, when I went to an AA meeting with my husband the other night. Frankly, I felt very in sync with her. She is also an alcoholic. I feel like this is a new start.

    Monday I went to seek counseling for myself again for my depression and asked if we could all come as a family. The therapist said that would be good. I am feeling like I am putting things in order. I have to. I want to live a good life from this day forward. 21 years has gone by so fast. It could have been so different.

  17. Lisa August 2009 at 9:40 pm

    Hi. Every one of your stories has touched me in a very personal way, except for one thing. My husband was an alcoholic and died because of this horrible disease. He was only 41 yrs old. We were together for 26 yrs. He was the best person ever. He was kind, sensitive, loving, caring, funny and loved me with all of his heart. I know that .

    But he had a problem and knew it, but never had the courage to seek help. He did not get drunk – ever, but he drank a lot every day for the last 20 yrs. He knew that it was catching up with him but thought that he was young enough and had time to change his ways. It was too late. His body had enough.

    I miss him so much. We had so many great times. But I do not miss seeing him hurt himself, nor do I miss seeing him tortured by this disease. I cannot help but feel tremendous guilt for not being able to help him overcome this demon. I would have done anything for him and he would do anything for me – except stop drinking. He couldn’t. He was scared – of what I do not understand. I really need to accept the fact that it was not my fault, but it is hard. I feel like I failed my best friend.

  18. Heather August 2009 at 3:24 pm

    I hit my rock bottom about 4 weeks ago. I was so scared I was going to have to bury my husband. We have two very precious little girls who mean the world to both of us. A friend of mine suggested I come to this website because I cannot attend the meetings but at least I can find some peace of mind listening to the podcasts. I am struggling with the 3 C’s because even though I know I didn’t cause and I cannot control and I cannot heal his disease, I cannot help but be very angered over this.

    I am trying to be better and make better choices for myself and our children. I do not go off on him like I used to when I find empty water bottles that smell like beer in his lunch bag for work. Instead I take the debit card away from him that is solely in my name anyway. I figure that is something I can control. He gets mad at me when I do that. He says he feels like a child and maybe he is right. In my mind, though, that is something I can control because the bank account along with the debit card is only in my name and my name alone. I love my husband dearly and it’s very hard to see him go to this place that I don’t recognize.

    I have been doing a lot of praying and reaching to God for the answers and for the strength to get through the day. Some family members think I should leave him, but they don’t understand. I married him in sickness and in health, and that is what this is–a sickness. I mean, should a woman leave her husband if he had cancer or heart disease? I appreciate these podcasts so I can find some peace, and maybe slowly but surely and by the grace of God I will get me back again. I just hope one day my husband joins me.

  19. anna May 2009 at 11:05 am

    I don’t know why I chose to write. I have read most of the comments and see a little of myself in each. I just don’t know what to do anymore. I have always prided myself at being able to figure things out and help others.

    My partner is 48 years old. He is a wonderful man. He is the first man I have been with that I have truly felt loved me. I could go on; he is funny, sensitive. handsome, hardworking and caring. He is also an alcoholic. Last October, after a week long binge and many years of excessive drinking, he ended up in the hospital with liver problems. He has been diagnosed with mild chirrosis. Only recently has all of his blood work returned to normal.

    For the past seven months, he did not totally quit but drank much less then before. However, when he got the blood work back two weeks ago, I think he saw this as a green light to drink again. I have threatened to leave because I can’t watch him die. He says he will stop because he can’t live without me, but every time he says he will, usually in the morning, by later in the day he is sneaking beer.

    He won’t do anything to help himself. Only went to one AA meeting. Won’t see a counselor. In my head I know I don’t cause him to drink. I guess I do feel like I can make/help him stop, although as I re-read this it is apparent I can’t. The only time we fight is over his drinking. I know I need to talk to someone and learn more about all of this. I am just very scared.

  20. Libby May 2009 at 8:42 am

    My husband and I have been married for more than 30 years, and while he has always been a heavy drinker, it’s only been in the last two years that it’s gotten out of hand, and he’s become a sloppy drunk. He driinks every day, sometimes starting at 8:00 AM. I’ve blamed myself because he says I’ve never given him what he needs, sexually. We went to a marriage counselor 16 years ago, and he told her that he ate and drank compulsively because of me. I try, but it seems like he’s only happy when I’m doing something that I find really repugnant. I’m an educated woman with a career that supports us, and I don’t know why I let him play me like this. I still love him, but I’m really unhappy. When he’s sober, he’s my best friend, but that part of him has almost disappeared. Now, when he’s drunk, I just go to another room and get away from him. Am I doing the right thing?

  21. JANE April 2009 at 7:16 pm

    I am grateful for the Al-Anon philosophy and all of the sharings I have read.

    I have learned that if I want to avoid any worry that new friends (male and female) might be alcoholics, I simply choose to not make friends with people who drink, who talk about going to the bars, who keep considerable amounts of liquor at home, for whom the consumption of alcohol is part of the web of their daily life. I have not one friend who drinks particularly; I only attend social events where alcohol is not the raison d’etre for the party; if I meet people who are inebriated, I do not get into lengthy conversations, etc.

    I know it sounds impossible, but it is what I do. I can safely say I would not dream of hanging out with any kind of crowd, no matter how small my social life is, if they are always interested more in drinking than in living a more well-rounded life.

  22. Confused March 2009 at 5:13 pm

    I have been married to a man for 6.5 years now who is a problem drinker. While he doesn’t get drunk “every” night he will go on a binge to the point where he is obnoxious. I have asked him to get help, he says he doesn’t have a problem. On occasion his mother has offered him a drink while he has been over visiting her, this despite me telling her about the problem I am having with him drinking, not to mention drinking and driving. That has fallen on deaf ears.

    People say go to Al-Anon. That is fine and not meaning to put this program down as I have heard wonderful things, on the other hand how does it stop his obnoxious behaviour, his drinking and driving? I can understand learning what this disease is all about, how I’m not responsible for the drinking and what to do or not do when he drinks but in the meantime he carries on with the obnoxious behaviour and nothing changes there. What kind of life is that? What about my son seeing this bad behaviour? I can’t see attending meetings for the rest of my life while he continues to be in the house drunk half the time and acting obnoxious.

  23. scared wife March 2009 at 10:43 pm

    Last week my husband got a DUI. For the past three years I have hidden my husband’s addiction. We have two small children and I am very scared. I am so angry because I tried stopping him from drinking. He now realizes that he has a problem and he has already started to go to AA meetings. It is going to be a long road ahead of court fees, working through our relationship as husband and wife, and loss of his driver’s liscence. I want to help and I know that this is a disease and it is not my fault. I am tired of playing the blame game and protecting him. I love him but I did not cause this. Yes, this is going to be a very costly money mistake but I believe that it will draw our relationship to a higher level.

  24. Confused Wife March 2009 at 11:01 pm

    Over the past 5 or 6 years I believe my husband has developed a drinking problem. His father had many many addiction problems. You’d think that would make him realize the pain this is causing our family. He does not drink all the time but when alcohol is in view or he feels as if he needs to drink to have fun, he cannot stop. Many occasions I have had to pick him up when he’s wasted, call security, or leave him behind due (he even got out of my moving car) to his drinking. He thinks that because he doesn’t drink all the time that he doesn’t have a problem.

    When a drinker doesn’t know when to stop, is he an alcoholic? I’ve threatened to leave many times but I have come to terms with this disease and I just want to help him. If he continues to drink I know it will ruin our marriage and effect our children.

    What do I do? Where do I start in getting him to admit he has a drinking problem?

  25. Vicki February 2009 at 11:45 pm

    In reading and listening to the online Al-Anon meetings, it has really helped me understand what my husband is going through. My husband just lost his licence from drinking and driving, lost his job, let everyone down and is trying to quit drinking. He has over 30 days sober. I am very proud of him, but when I say anything to him he says he does not want me to be proud of him and he has nothing to be proud of. My husband’s moods change hourly and right now he is not talking to me, he says that he is numb and angry and empty. He is even talking about splitting up as he said that he figured that once he quit drinking our lives would be wonderful. Our lives are almost worse now that he is trying to quit drinking. He tells me that he cannot feel anything towards me and that he needs time and space. I am very scared and feel very alone. I was feeling like it was something that I did to make him not want to be around me. I am starting to realize that there is nothing that I can do for him and I have to start looking after myself. I love him very much, but I think that this is something that he has to work through. I am going to try and find an Al-Anon meeting in my area and start attending. Thank you for listening.

  26. Lori February 2009 at 10:13 pm

    Our son had been living on his own for 2 years. He is 23 years old and 4 weeks ago a police woman came to our house to see if he was home. It seems he abandoned his car when he slid on the ice and went off the road into a ditch. The problem was that he had been drinking and didn’t want to get caught so he left the car and got a ride to his apartment. The police woman asked if he was a drinker. My husband and I both said ‘No, no way!” We were wrong. My husband went to his apartment to see the police handcuffing him. He was taken to jail. We bailed him out the next day and he confessed that he had had a drinking problem for 2 years. He began drinking to loosen up because he is terribly shy and had trouble talking to girls. He kept drinking because he craved the ‘I don’t care” feeling it gave him and eventually his body “needed” the alcohol. He asked for our help and to move back home so he could quit drinking. We said he could move back in if he no longer drank and got the help he needed. He even said he was glad he got caught because he had tried to quit on his own and failed. He knew he would not be able to drink at home. He is attending AA meetings and seeing a substance abuse counselor and hasn’t had a drink in 4 weeks. The problem is that today is the first day he isn’t allowed to drive (he got 30 days suspension of license and 5 months restricted license). Last night he became very angry and stormed out of the house and drove away. He was angry over such a little thing that we can’t help but think that it’s more anger over not being able to drive and having to rely on us to get around (he attends college 45 minutes away from home and has to go 4 times a week). Today he is depressed and hasn’t left his room. I asked if he drank last night and he said “No, I didn’t have any money.” I asked “Would you have drank if you’d had money”. He answered, “No probably not.” He won’t talk to us anymore. At first he was talking and making alot of sense. Today he doesn’t seem to care about anything. Is this just a period of adjustment or depression over losing his license? I am trying to not take it personally. It’s hard to know what to do. I want to control the situation but realize I can’t control him. I want to trust him but don’t think I can and worry everytime he leaves the house. This is making my husband and I very depressed too. I keep wanting to talk to him just to assure myself that he’ll be OK. He seemed so positive and happy just a few days ago. He’s gained weight, his color is better, he looks healthy for the first time in years. Yet, I worry constantly. I’m glad he’s here, but wonder what he’d be doing if he hadn’t moved in. I don’t know what to do. My husband get’s angry at his “feeling sorry for himself” and said after his angry rant last night that if it hadn’t been for me he would have kicked him out. If he kicks him out where will he go? His friends are all drinkers though he did tell us he has to leave those friends behind. He lost his job of 2 years that he had just gotten a promotion in. The boss told him to get cleaned up and come back. I find myself trying to hold everything in the house together. I feel like I will crack sometime. I don’t want the two of them to be alone together because of what might happen. I hope I can hold on until he straightens himself out. My husband and I have never drank so we don’t understand how he feels. Thanks for listening.

  27. Julie January 2009 at 3:55 pm

    I have been married for almost 24 years to an alcoholic(10 years he was in remission). For the last 7 years, he has NOT been in remission. I had to put my youngest son in an out patient recovery program last year and that is when I said enough. Then I found a book at the book store called Becoming Co-dependent. Now I stay home and there are many lonely days! Everyday I wonder what trick will he pull out of his bag? (to go out drinking)…… how will he get home? Will he come home? Now, I have found Al-Anon and at the same time I have found hope for my life to change! Now I have a list of people that I may call on for help that are in my similar situation that have the tool box that I so desperately am looking forward to using. Thanks to Al-Anon I can learn the new tools for the new year!

  28. REM January 2009 at 10:29 pm

    It was very helpful reading comments. I have attended a 12 step program in the past with OA. My husband was an alcoholic (working) but always denied it. Then one day he needed a heart operation and was told he had to stop drinking and he did. That was 8 yrs ago and he is still abstinent but he never attended a 12 step program. Now our adult son has a drinking problem and my husband is having a tough time dealing with it. I have suggested that we both go to Al-Anon but he does not want to. The 12 step has helped me deal with my son’s problem but I still feel sad that I cannot help him. I have given him over to my higher power. However I think I will still attend an Al-Anon meeting. Have to find one. My husband and I are both seniors and are frustrated by our sons’s drinking.

  29. Audi January 2009 at 2:56 pm

    I dont even know where to begin. I am looking for an Al-Anon group in my area, I know that i need it. I am married to a good man. One whom I fell madly in love with. After a bitter break rom my first husband due to physical abuse I swore Id never go down the ragged road again. My ex husband and I had a son together (he is now 6) who lives with each of us part time. So, my son is now around my new husband who drinks.

    Not just drinks but consumes about a 12 pack of beer each day. I cant control it, lord knows Ive tried, Ive pleaded, Ive cried, Ive threatened to leave. I am just now understanding, that this isnt my fault, I cant fix his problem and I certainly (as I hae tried) cant control it.

    I dont want my son to be around this, he doesnt see that my husband drinks, my son is happy go lucky and at least to this point hasnt been effected. My husband wont get drunk when my son is around, but will be drunk soon after he goes to bed. Its deception, a concious decision I feel to avoid hurting my son, while not caring about himself. He has actually come to me before stating he had a problem, then within the same 24 hours, changes his mind, says he can control it, and “cut back”. He has recently told me, that we wont change for anyone or anything, that he likes his beer, it is part of who he is and he wont stop.

    Im at a loss, though I know this isnt my fault, and I cant change it, I also have a hard time walking away. My son is in the home, yet I try and shield him from the influence that is there. Part of me wants to leave, the other part of me (the part that is still crazy about my husband) wont go. I dont know that I can live with this disease. Some may be able to, but the turmoil it has placed on me, and wont go away is just so hard. I am working on taking care of myself and my son first and foremost. While I do that, only god can help me make the decision if I should walk away. I dont want to watch him get sick, which is already happening, I see the signs, I notice the difference in him physically, there isnt anything else I can do for him but pray, love and set boundaries.

  30. Luella December 2008 at 10:49 am

    Ursula,
    I could have written what you have written, your story sounds so like mine.
    Before I even found Al-Anon I had learned not to have any ‘meaningful’ conversations with my partner when he has been drinking – I would often end up very hurt and upset, and he would not even remember the conversation the next morning!
    I know that if I asked him the same question he would also choose alcohol.
    I am struggling at the moment to know how to set boundaries – it appears to be controlling.
    I want to set not drinking and driving as a boundary, but if I told him that he would be very angry and accuse me of not trusting him and trying to control him.
    I am struggling with my reactions to his drinking – he is very conscious of my reactions – when I came home from work, determined not to let his drinking ruin my evening, I couldn’t stop my gaze falling on the open bottle as I entered the room – he noticed and was angry at my implied criticism and I had lost my good intentions for the whole evening. He always makes me feel like it’s my fault for not accepting – and the more I read, the more I realise it probably is!

  31. Ursula December 2008 at 2:22 am

    Gosh, I have so much to learn! This website has been so enlightening for me; I really must start attending local meetings so I can truly begin the healing process. I have come to realize that I am so ANGRY because my husband is an alcoholic! When I come home from work at night (he gets home about 2 hours before I do), the first thing I do is look at him to see if he’s been drinking (I can tell just by looking in his eyes), and I set my mood accordingly. His drinking = my anger. What kind of life is that??
    My husband and I have been together for 14 years now, and he has been an alcoholic since day 1 (although not nearly this bad in the beginning). Two days ago, we had a ‘talk” about what he needed to be happy. I asked him point blank what will it take for him to be happy. He of course wants both me in his life, and to drink. Well, that might make him happy, but it would make me miserable. So, I asked him what if he couldn’t have both of those things? What if he had to pick. He asked me if I wanted an honest answer, and I said yes. So he told me he would choose alcohol. That hurts, but I guess I wasn’t surprised. He asked me to help him find a place to live.. (typical). Eventually, the conversation petered out, and he went to bed to pass out. I’m not sure if he even remembered the conversation the next day… Sigh.. I love my husband, and want only the best for him, but his drinking stresses me out so badly; I crave peace in my life. So, I decided after the holidays, I would bail him out one final time and help him find a new place to live…
    But then, last night I googled “Al-Anon” and found this site. I read the chapter from the marriage book, and was so relieved to read the part about not letting alcohol control my life. I ordered my copy of the book right away, and can’t wait to get it and read it cover to cover. Tonight, I came home, and did not let his drinking affect my mood (well mostly!). I know I can learn how to take control of me and put the focus back on my life. I need this. I think this might just save my marriage. I know I can’t control his drinking, but if I can control my response to it, perhaps I can still be with him and have that peace I crave so much..
    It’s been really enlightening reading everyone’s comments. We’re all so similar in our experiences. I pray each of you finds the courage to get well in your own spirits. Merry Christmas!
    Ursula

  32. Donna November 2008 at 2:16 am

    I’ve been an Al-Anon member for many years, first because of an alcoholic daughter, as an adult child of an alcoholic. I was grateful for the podcast message when I missed my meeting tonight. The postings provided a great substitute. I’ve been married many years and still fell under the “illusion” of control as my husband and I have weathered his workaholism, our daughter’s problems, the loss of his business due to a head injury from a severe car accident and now his drinking. I was convinced that after I’d hung in all these years that we’d have it all figured out and my “Golden Years” would be a coast. Needless to say, when he started to drink alcoholically I was angry. I had to get back to meetings that I thought I didn’t need anymore. It was a necessary reminder that I didn’t cause his drinking, and can’t cure it or control it. I got on the site for Al-Anon and read an excerpt from the Al-Anon book entitled The Dilemma of the Alcoholic Marriage and it helped me so much. He is presently sleeping off his drunk for the night and the message from the book is to do what I want to do. I needed what I read… I still feel anger, disapppointment, and resentment but with the help of Al-Anon I cannot let those feelings interfere with my real growth as a person spiritually and emotionally. What a concept! A life of my own! The message that I got and need to repeat as my mantra is “I refuse to let his drinking be the most important thing in my life…I REFUSE TO LET HIS DRINKING BE THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN MY LIFE! The best gift I can give him is to turn him over to his Higher Power. As they say in the program, I can’t, God can, I’ll let Him. Thanks for sharing. For those who are afraid of meetings, don’t be. It’s a safe place to share your grief over this disease.

  33. clo November 2008 at 8:27 pm

    Today my husband found out that his mother (my mother in law) is a secret drinker and has beeen for years. I am so shocked and just can’t get my head around it. I feel betrayed by her and all the lies. She looks after my 2 little girls while I work and drives them to and from school etc. I can’t say I’ve noticed her drunk but as I now re-analyise the situation maybe she does and I just think she’s being funny towards me……

    As my husband only found out today, I haven’t spoken with her yet and don’t know what to do or say. She will deny it I know because her husband says she has an answer for everything, but I have to protect my children and need advice as to where to start. I don’t want to make things worse.

  34. Stacy November 2008 at 9:52 am

    I just got through reading the comments. I love my husband and finally understand: I am not the cause, I can’t control it and I can’t cure it. I have to start attending some meetings because I know I am going into a depression. I don’t know what to do for myself right now and I think the first step is to attend meetings and read. everything I can get my hands on. My husband will not go into a program and just continues to drink. I refuse invitations from friends. He rather sit at home and drink. He hides bottles and drives. My stomach is constantly in knots. I put on brave face when I walk outside my door but I’m crying with despair on the inside. I need help for myself and I hope that going to meetings will help. We will see?

  35. Debbie October 2008 at 5:28 pm

    I feel like I was led here. I understand things more now. I also understand I am not alone. My son has had 2 dui and still drinks and drives. He lost one family (a wife and son thur divorce), now he has a girl 11 yrs old and just found out another one on the way. This wife has tried everything but as you know it doesn’t work. H strightend up for a while and joined the church worship team and is involved in a childrens ministry. Now I am not sure if I should ask him to step down or what. However I do know I didn’t cause it and I can’t stop it. He is 34 yrs old.

  36. annie September 2008 at 1:26 am

    I feel better after just reading all your comments. I first came to Al-Anon after my husband and I had separated. My husband was the alcoholic in my life and I was filled with despair. After continuing to go to many regular meetings, I started feeling better . The love and support that I received from fellow members was amazing and helped me heal. I drifted away for a few years. I have just recently come back as now I have a grown daughter who I have been trying to save from herself since she was 14. She doesn’t see any problems with her life, even though her friend’s are dropping her fast and she has been kicked out of 3 places to live because of her drinking. I find myself consumed with worry and fear. It takes everything in me to not call her and ask questions. I pray for her a lot but I still am having a hard time of letting go. I have bankrupted myself in trying to get her to see the light and now I have no more money to give her and I have become sick physically myself. I have hit my own bottom now and I am willing to grasp everything that this program has to offer once again. It’s just too bad that I had to let it get to this point for me. My daughter knows how much I love her and want her to be happy and well. However, I know that it has to be her decision, not mine and the more I don’t enable her, the better chance she has. Thankyou all. I will keep in touch.

  37. chip September 2008 at 9:19 am

    Hi – thanks for the comment. It’s a struggle not knowing what to do with a drinker as a spouse.

    I’ve read all the comments on the board. Many of us have a lot in common. But most cannot help any other in this room except to give a brief reassurance that we are not alone or crazy.

    I’m going to attend an Al-Anon meeting today. It’s time to take the next step to find some solutions.

    Good luck everyone.

  38. Molly September 2008 at 12:40 pm

    There is no Al-Anon meeting today, so forgive me as I try to work this out.
    My husband has been an alcoholic for 6 years, as long as we have been married. I met him 13 years ago and he was my life.
    He finally went to rehab and came back to me as the person I once loved. He has been out for 3 days and did not come home last night. it is 10:32 am and he is not in jail or in a hospital. I can safely assume, he binged.
    I have been to Al-Anon but not as often as I should. I partcipated in family week and we had a good deal of therapy. My dissapointment is great. The rollercoaster of my life is weighing on me this morning. Do you finally put the foot down and kick him out, or is a relapse acceptable?
    My confusion, hurt and dissapointment is overwhelming and I feel cheated. I hate alcohol and everything it has brought to my life. How can I not look at him and just think he doesnt care, he lied about everything and the whole thing is a sham.
    I am so angry. I am so angry. I cant control it, I cant cure it and i didnt cause it. But this morning, i dont think I want to live with it any longer, despite it being tied to some one i love. He is not the same peson, and seeing fleeting glimpses of who he was doesnt help, it only creates more dissapointment. I think love is about trust and safety with some you you have chosen to be with in this big wide world. I need to learn to forgive myself for not choosing the right one. I made a big mistake and have tried to make the most of what I had. Come to find, I have nothing.

  39. Marissa September 2008 at 10:57 am

    I met and fell in love with the man of my dreams – He swept me off my feet, treated me like a queen, courted me and wooed me – Completely head over heels I fell, wanted to be with this man all of the time, love him and cherish him..

    When we first met he gave the appearance of being a social drinker. I was working as a bartender in a pub and he came in to see me often – I thought he was interested in me and not the booze.. As he courted me and I learned more about his family history of alcoholism and alcoholic tendencies I actually quit my job at the bar because I thought it would be helpful for him long-term.

    He always made comments like ‘ I’m warning you, you don’t want to be with me, I’m trouble..” .. But young and in love I ignored this disclaimer and continued on in the romantic tryst that I had painted. He loved me more than anyone ever had, he wanted to know everything about me, trusted me, valued my strength and opinions and cherished my feelings and emotions.

    Fast forwarding to us now, my outlook is completely changed. He would trade any night with me to stay out late drinking until he is sick with his lowlife friends. 2, 3 times a week – He drinks while we drive, in the truck in the cup holder and yells at me if I argue with him about it. If I ask him to spend a quiet night home with me he makes up an excuse, about helping out a friend so he can leave – tells me to call him but doesn’t answer the phone and is gone for 6, 7 hours at a time leaving me at home worried, trying to find inner strength so I don’t collapse under the pain and frustration. He convinces me that its my fault, that I’m not helpful, I’m selfish , I put too much pressure on him, I don’t let him go out enough, I smother him, I nag him too much, I’m a bitch all the time, I expect too much from him, etc.

    On our anniversary one of his friends supposedly needed help so he decided instead of the dinner I planned with my nice table setting and rib eye steak to go out to a bar, then a strip club with his friends – leaving me alone with my soul broken in two. The night passed, I watched some television then fell asleep with tears stained on my cheeks.

    He can be such a wonderful man, but scares me – he really does. He seems completely out of control, and malicious, manipulative. But I feel hes started to convince me that I am always the problem. I know this isn’t the real him. The real him stands up for me, loves everything about me and protects and takes care of his family and me, his soon to be wife.

    And finally, the part that scares me the most is that I’m pregnant – just found out about a week ago. I don’t want to tell him because hes told me in the past that he would love to raise our children, love to have kids as soon as we can. I’m only 21, though – and I don’t think I’m ready to have a child in this turbulent situation. I can’t do it – He, himself was raised by an alcoholic father and it has left irreperable damage – I can’t continue the cycle.

  40. Annette September 2008 at 11:15 am

    It has actually taken me a long time to realize that I did not cause any of the alcoholics in my to drink. I had always thought that I had did something to cause the person to drink, like I was not a good enough wife, niece, cousin,and mother or friend to the alcoholic but Thank God and Al-Anon I finally found out that I did not cause any of the alcoholics to drink or to do whatever their drug of choice was or is. There is still times that I ask myself what could I do to help this or that one and I know that I can not help them but I can help myself. And I can make myself a better healthier person and still love the alcoholics in my life with out feeling guilty for their problem. As long as I keep going to Al-Anon meetings every week I will get better myself. I think that some of my self-esteem is coming back and some self-respect which I lost many years ago is finally back and that feels really good for a change. But I would also like to find an on-line meeting because of my work schedule changes every week so that way I have a back up for if I have to miss any of my regular meetings for work and maybe I’ll be able to keep myself sane and serene until I can get back to my regular meetings. So if anyone can help me that would be appreciated very much. Thank You.

  41. Sandy September 2008 at 1:23 pm

    I am writing this because I have an adult daughter, who is the wife of an alcoholic. She is at the stage in her life where she is now living with me because of her husband’s alcoholism.

    She has a seven year old son who has special needs and yet she is drawn to her husband even though he is now homeless and will do nothing major to help himself.

    How do I help her to see that she is living in a fantasy world. She feels that IF he gets major help, and goes through rehab and gets a job, they will have the family she wants.

    However, he does not see the need to support his family by getting employment and keeping it, and by doing something about his drinking==he drinks every day.

    HOW DO I HELP HER?

  42. Annette September 2008 at 12:54 am

    I’m in my second marriage to an alcoholic. I thought that after the first marriage ended that I knew better than to let myself fall for another alcoholic but I didn’t and that was disappointing to me because I feel like I let my children down because I told them that I was not going to let another alcoholic come into their lives. And now I am struggling with making amends to the people that I may have hurt but most of all the biggest struggle is making amends with myself, I have not figured out how to or what I have to make amends to myself for but I know that in time my higher power will let me know and then I will be on the right track. I am grateful that I have found an Al-Anon group that I feel comfortable with because I have felt alone for so long and now I know that I am not alone and I know that there is a light at the end of my dark tunnel but I have to get there on my own with the help and guidance of my higher power and the Al-Anon group that I attend weekly. I am learning everyday how to live with the alcoholic in my life and learning how to detach with love which I never thought possible. So I am very grateful for Al-Anon. I know that I still have a lot of work to do but I can only live one day at a time. I also relized that I have actually had alcoholics and drug addicts in my life my whole life so I am also coming to understand that being around that stuff my whole life that I basically only knew that way of life so that is why I am in the situation that I am in now. Do not get me wrong I do ” LOVE” my husband but I DO NOT LIKE OR LOVE HIS DRINKING but I Do Not Want To Get A Divorce. Because I know that he is actually a good person who has a disease that I can not cure and that I did not cause and I sure can not control it like I tried to do so very often. Living with it everyday can take a lot out of the non-alcoholic and the rest of the family who sees it everyday. I had an oppurtunity to talk to my husbands older sister with out my husband knowing what we were talking about and told her that her brother is an alcoholic and that I am going to Al-Anon meetings weekly to help myself because I can not help her brother with his disease. I also told her that he is good at hiding it from the rest of his family. She asked me when his drinking started to get out of control and I told her that it was after the deaths of his father and mother three years ago because their parents died with in a month of one another and it was difficult on all eight of his brothers and sisters and the rest of his family. My husband is A depressed alcoholic. So I have found it difficult to watch him deal with his grief with the alcohol. I am hoping that one day he will seek help for himself before he lets the alcohol kill him.

  43. tamara September 2008 at 10:33 pm

    My mom blames me for her problem, but i kno i did not cause it. She has been drinking since before i was born. i got her to admit that she drank while she was pregnant with me. drinking turns my mom into a completly different person. My dad recently passed away, and as young as i am(15) i need my mom. But drinking causes her not to be able to do so.she just keeps pushing me futher away. she would rather be able to live in her car and spend the money that my dad left behind for us on her problem then to get a house. this past summer i have had to worry about where i am going to sleep that night, but thanks to my sister and friends i didnt. she manipulated me my whole life and i am not dealing with that n o more. now i have moved in with my friend her husband and daughter and the are going to try to get gaurdianship of me. without them i would have dropped out of school and would be in lots of trouble. I have learned from my moms mistakes. i want to make sure my kids do not have to deal with a manupulating acholic. she has lied some much she doesnt kno the truth from lies. i see my self acting in ways she does, and it drives me crazy. i think the best thing to do is to give her all the space she needs and let her realize what she has done to me. Then for her to get help. i love my mom to death but drinking has always been the problem and for are relationship to get better she will have to stop.

  44. SA September 2008 at 5:20 pm

    I have finally come to a point in my life where I finally cannot handle my alcoholic anymore. I am 28 years old, just came out of a divorce about 2 years ago and entered into a, as I thought, wonderful relationship with a new person. About 6 months into the relationship, I saw alcohol taking more and more of him and I kept finding more and more excuses to avoid it in my head. I grew up the child of an alcoholic so avoidance was easy for me. I never addressed any of the issues I had with my dad, so when I started facing them as a partner in a relationship, my first instinct was to avoid.

    Eventually, I started kicking his friends out, pouring out bottles, yelling, screaming, crying, begging….anything to try to make him love me more than the bottle. Finally, after my 2nd therapy session (yes, I finally started seeing a therapist to help myself), I had the courage to leave him alone for a weekend and try to learn to be happy with myself for a little while. Three days into my “plan to be away,” he called me to come over at night because he was “messed up.” When I got there, he was so drunk and high of drugs that he needed to be taken to the hospital. I convinced him to go and when we got there, I found out how bad his addiction really was. I had no clue about the drugs and blamed myself for not seeing how bad the situation really was. I finally broke down and called his family and they admitted him to the hospital for a few days.

    He listened to all the treatment options and said all the right things. He’s a very charming man and can convince an Eskimo to buy ice, so everyone saw he was getting better but me. I went from anger to tears in a matter of seconds. I stayed by his side the entire time he was at the hospital. I finally went to work today and he also got released today. His father dropped him off and I went by after work and he was already drinking. He said he wasn’t and that he’d “found” it and was going to dump it out later. He left angry and I called and told his parents everything.

    I don’t know if I’ve done the right thing or wrong thing, but I do know that I’m scared to death. I’m so scared that he will die and I will feel at fault because I wasn’t there to save him. I know I can’t do this on my own and started researching Al-Anon and saw the postings on this site. I wanted to write my story because I don’t have anyone who can understand me right now and I feel so alone, hurt, mad, scared, and I believe every other emotion in the book.

    Please pray that I can find the strength and courage to get myself help and learn how to help him the best way I can, even if it is no help at all. I love you all and thank you for writing your stories. It has given me comfort to know that I’m not alone.

  45. bec September 2008 at 10:51 am

    i just need help. i don’t know how to think of myself first. i recently asked my husband to leave and he did. we live in the same apartment building but in different apartments, which still allows me to see him drunk. after he left, i realized how much time i spent worrying and being scared because he was an abusive drunk. i never knew when he would come home drunk. so i was always filled with anxiety and still am, i think i’m going crazy. we were married 26 years, and i was always taking care of him……….ALWAYS. and i took care of everyone else, my son, my mother, and was so busy i didn’t have time to dwell on his problem. all i knew was that he wasn’t stepping up to be the provider that he should have been and as a result we lost our house to foreclosure, and because he was in and out of trouble so often, we had no money, and had to sacrifice a lot. now, i have a mouth full of bad teeth because i can’t afford a dentist, i never go to the doctor and i need to. i don’t have any friends or close family i am totally alone. i don’t know what to do with myself now, i worked in the medical profession for 25 years, and am now on disability due to several illnesses that i acquired. how do i focus on myself instead of him and all the heartache he has caused me over many years.

  46. Doris September 2008 at 12:30 pm

    Marriage is complicated even in the best of times. Add alcohol addiction, and the entire family is involved in chaos, insanity, and confusion. After about one and a half years in Al-Anon, I understand that I didn’t cause the disease, I can’t cure it, and I can’t control it. But even armed with that knowledge I continue to react to the alcoholic behavior too much. Hardest for me is the lonliness, and loss I feel, because even though I have a husband, I don’t have a partner. I know it takes time, I know I’ve gotten better. It takes lots of planning to keep out of the mess created by someone elses drinking, I’ve heard it called ‘Plan B’ in some meetings. Little by little, I find ways to set up boundries that protect my emotional, and physical well-being. Slowly, I’m making friends and finding activities to fill some of my time. Things to make me smile, things to make me think. Al-Anon is helping me to learn to focus on me, and to take care of myself first, because I was the one heading for the insame asylum, not my spouse. I have children, what good would I be to them there.

  47. lorie&patti September 2008 at 9:53 pm

    No we didn’t cause our loved one(s) to drink…we didn’t Cause it, we can’t Cure it and we can’t Control it..all we can do is work on ourselves as we both have found out by regularily attending Al-Anon meetings at least once a week! at first we were confused, afraid and blamed ourselves..but now we know to “Keep the Focus on Me”!

    If you are new go to at least 6 meetings and you will slowly begin to feel better about yourself even if your loved one is still drinking. No one can change another person. The disease worsens as the person continues to drink..if they want to continue I don’t want to continue being sick with them. We believe it’s a family disease …it’s our turn to get better. There is hope…Al-Anon works if you work it! So Work It Your Worth It!

  48. chip September 2008 at 3:18 pm

    i love my wife. i’m not sure if she’s an alcoholic or not. this is new to me. i do know that her drinking bothers me.

    how do i determine where she falls in the spectrum of drinking? what resources can i read?

    she doesn’t drink every day but she does drink herself to the point of being sick 1x per month…..this past week, she drank until she was drunk 4x (a new high)…..

    we are having marriage issues. she has blamed me for the drinking in the past….and since we have started having more significant issues, she really blames me. Yes, i’m not easy myself…..but i don’t think her binging is my fault.

    lately, i’ve realized that her actions may have a negative effect on our kids so I know it’s my job to step out and figure out what to do.

    confused & guilty – i feel like i’m betraying my trust with her posting this message!

  49. Debra September 2008 at 10:50 am

    I have had to live with alcoholism my whole life, first with my father, I lost my mother at an early age, which I believe the stress of his problem put her in a early grave. Then a few years later I lost him too. I have two brothers both alcoholics,and one I have not seen for several years, but his problem is drugs, now I’m married to an alcoholic. I just don’t seem to know how to stop this cycle. I don’t want to see my children turn out like my husband. I have hated alcohol my whole life, but when I was a kid it wasn’t talked about at all, so for some years I had to just live with it. Now I don’t want to. I love my husband, but our ideas are not the same. He wants to be the life of the party at a bar and I want to be a normal family, you know get up early, go to work rested, come home, make dinner, watch some tv and go to bed. But my whole life revolves around alcohol. Is tonight a drinking night, because if the answer to that question is yes, then all of us are up until my husband passes out. He is a very angry drunk, and right in your face when is his drinking. I tried the I didnt cause, I can’t cure, and I can’t control it. I guess maybe I need a sponsor and some meetings before I can put that in everyday life. Because I find myself slipping back in to old patterns. I really want to break this hold alcohol has on my life, and my childrens’ life.

  50. Jen September 2008 at 9:25 pm

    Just a note to Chris that she has told my story! I’m glad to see I’m not the only one! I find the comments people leave helpful, however I am to affraid to take the next step and attend a meeting.

  51. Tracy September 2008 at 2:21 am

    Thanks to all of you for your posts, Chris, I have a very similar situation as yours just with out the full time children. Sadly there seems to be a huge community of those of us, I guess that this is the first step in getting help for ourselves.

    I will keep reading, make sure that I remember that I did not cause it, I can’t control it nor can I cure it. I want to thank all of you for your words, we are all not alone.

  52. Amy September 2008 at 1:05 am

    I can relate to much of what was said in this podcast. I have lived with Alcoholism my entire life. Al-Anon has brought me hope and choices. I don’t have to be affected my someone else’s drinking unless I choose to do so. I am very glad to have found Al-Anon before I start a family. I was terrified to treat my husband or children like I was treated. I am breaking the cycle, with the help of other members and my higher power. Serenity is slowly making a place in my life and I will keep coming back! Thank you!
    Amy

  53. chris September 2008 at 10:29 pm

    I clearly am not as enlightened as the rest of you. I guess I am jealous. I have read CoDependent No More and even got separated for a few months. It feels so borderline for me, my husband is not someone who gets drunk everynite but needs to drink every nite. There are also these God awful nights of bingeing. That is what I cant stand. Our children see it and it’s only a matter of time when its one of them. I love him so much and when we are good we are great! But when its bad I just wanna call it quits. But then what..watch my kids suffer because we are apart and they don’t understand.

  54. audrey August 2008 at 3:08 pm

    where i live there is no Al-Anon close by but i think i really could use it. i finally divorced my alcoholic husband after 3 years. i thought it might make him “straighten up”. now i feel this enormous guilt that has driven me into a deep depression. he is now homeless, still drinking and recently earned his 3rd dui in texas. (probably headed to prison for awhile). he was so successful and handsome when i met him. i am grieving so much and i just dont know where to go from here.

  55. H.S August 2008 at 1:06 pm

    I finally found the courage to admit to my father about my husband’s drinking. This came under the banner of courage to “change the things that can be changed, and the wisdom to know the difference”. I cannot control my husband’s drinking, and even now I have problems accepting that he is an alcoholic, because he has periods of sobriety even though his binges cause huge problems for me. I could choose not to let the secret fester any longer, and I did. Of course I have no control over where this will take me, but I will try to let my Higher Power take care of that. I can honestly say that I feel a bit of weight lift off my shoulders tonight, and I want to thank all of you and Al-Anon for enabling this to happen. When I get home, I will try and go to my regular meeting as soon as possible and do my first formal sharing, in order to be of service to others.

  56. sandladyvb August 2008 at 12:35 pm

    I had to accept that the drinkers in my life were alcoholic. It doesn’t mean that I have to “like it.” I had to get out of denial by admitting to myself that their drinking was causing me problems. It is not hopeless. Alcoholism can be arrested but it cannot be cured. If an adult relative or friend had diabetes, they would need to take care of themselves instead of thinking everyone else is responsible for their condition.

    Once I started admitting the drinking was causing me problems and great discomfort, I stopped trying to control or stop the alcoholics’ drinking. No amount of threatening (divorce, “I’ll never speak to you again,” ” I hate you” kind of stuff) works. When someone wants to drink, they will really drink whether or not I want them to do so.

    I tried being nice about the drinking (buying it for him so he’d stay home and not drive), ignoring it hoping it would go away, and then I tried being nasty about the drinking. None of these approaches worked. I just became an angry, enraged, fearful, and depressed person. But what I can do is to let the drinker experience the consequences of their actions. I had to stop trying to protect the alcoholics who were all adults – my father and my husband. They were not children.

    I had to learn to get the focus on myself and my own behavior. As an outcome, I was not only helping myself but also the alcoholic as I was no longer enabling them.

    I urge you to keep attending Al-Anon and you will come to understand how the principles of our program will help you.

  57. grieving mother August 2008 at 10:48 pm

    The younger of my two sons died July 29 at age 33. I am grieving and feeling guilty. I have 16 years sober and about 6 mos in Al-Anon. In 3 days I will begin working the steps with a sponsor. And I am stuck on step 1. When my son was 6 years old, I left the two boys with their father. I was looking for someone/something to fill up the void that I now understand was the God Shaped Hole. I was such a failure as a wife, mother, and child of God, I just up and ran. And fell into the bottle. Now, having lost my baby, I think of how much I loved him when he was little. I wonder, how could I have left such a beautiful, innocent child? My years as a practicing alcoholic were hell. I did make my amends to my sons. The one who died was deeply into booze and drugs and his life was hell, also. He leaves 2 beautiful children whose mother is absent because of drugs. He lived the last 6 six years 8 hours from me. I would try to visit, but he always had ‘the flu’ when he was just plain messed up and couldn’t face me. I pray my higher power will help me let go of this incredible guilt and sadness. I sponsor other ladies in both programs. We live in a very small town. Only have 4 ladies in Al-Anon, so the choice for women sponsors is very limited. I am afraid to be gut level honest with a long term member of Al-Anon. I am used to being the caregiver and perceiver of control. I worry that I won’t ‘get it right’ and she will call me on it. And I will never get the chance to help my son live a happy life. God is in control. He knows what He is doing. He will help me get past this awful time. He will use me to help others, and I am willing. I hurt something awful, but that is normal. Somehow, asking for the guilt to be taken away seems like a copout, as tho it is too ‘easy’ that I deserve to be punished for not giving my sons the upbringing they deserved. This is so hard. Please pray for me. And my grandchildren who are being taken care of by the ex-husband I treated so badly. I made my amends to him after our son’s funeral and I could see the peace in his face. So, already there has been some good to come of the terrible tragedy. Thanks for letting me vent. GM

  58. CAl August 2008 at 1:51 pm

    Dear Amanda
    Reading your comment hit me right between the eyes. I could have written that when I was 14!
    I can understand how it must hurt you to see someone you love, hurting and drinking.
    As I am an alcoholic myself – and as my mother is an active alcoholic – I can share with you my own experience.
    The truth about alcoholism is that it makes us extremely selfish. Alcoholism is a disease. It tells the alcoholic that she/he HAS to drink – it is vital – and once they drink – they are allergic to it and become someone else. Its kind of like a deamon that sits in the alcoholics head and whispers “have a drink come on” the voice can be so loud that the alcoholic doesnt feel they can choose not to drink.

    The important thing for me when seeing my mother has been to seperate my mother from the alcoholism. In glimpses, my mother would be loving, caring etc – but when the disease had taken over she would be so selfpitying, demanding, impossible, insane, angry, crying and wanting me to listen to her, comfort her fix her feelings of guilt.

    I moved out when i was 13, at that time she already really wanted to just die – I have tried everything with her, until i started drinking myself – to disseapear from the responsibility i FELT i had. The truth is, it is noone’s responsibility to “save” the alcoholic!

    My mother loves me i know – but she cant show me because she is so sick. I need to look after myself – and that means seeking help – for instance in Alateen which is a group of teenagers that help each other to live a life free from guilt and shame.
    I can learn how to live a life where, its not that i dont care, but i can have a happy life even though the one I love is drinking and hurting. I dont have to feel guilty for being happy – or for not saving my mother.

    I wish you all the best – and remeber the 3 C’s (look above)

  59. gin August 2008 at 2:41 am

    i am so grateful for Al-Anon my husband is a dry drunk very angry and my life was awful before Al-Anon it is teaching me to take care of myself and to not except unexceptable behavior.

  60. Ruth H August 2008 at 8:50 pm

    I married a man who had a problem when I met him. He had been married before and said that his wife didn’t understand him. I felt sure that I could help him. For several years I felt that things were ok and we had lots of good times together with our two sons. As time went on the drinking got worse but I still felt that the biggest problem was the lack of money that he brought home. I worked full time and made sure that the rent was payed etc and that there was food on the table for all of us. I was very resentful that he wasn’t doing what should be done.

    It took some time in Al-Anon for me to realize that the alcoholic had a disease and had no control over his drinking. It isn’t easy to watch someone drinking themselves to death and not being able to do anything about it. He was in and out of many facilites with the intention of trying to do something about the drinking- all to no avail. He was not abusive to me but I put up with an awful lot of torment. I kept thinking that if he would only stop drinking then everything would be ok.

    I did learn that we do not have to accept unacceptable behaviour.

    Al-Anon taught me that I have to learn to look aftermyself first. If I am not healthy then I am not going to be able to help the alcoholic if they do ask for help.

    My higher power has been with me all of the way and I have learned to ask him for help and be prepared to listen for the answers. Al-Anon has saved my life in so many ways. I will be forever thankful for all of the help that I have gained from the program and my very large Al-Anon Family.
    Keep coming back>

  61. GB August 2008 at 9:29 pm

    If it hadnt been for AB, my sisterinlaw who kept saying that
    the two of us needed to go to Al-Anon I probably still would be without Al-Anon. Her & I married brothers who had came from an alcoholic background, but it didnt show up until after we both were married for some 7 or 8 yrs., then it happened.
    About the same time for us both. Thru the years, we have
    been there for each other and seen our children go thru so much pain and anger. Now with the help of Al-Anon (3 months so far) I have hope. The wonderful people at the meetings listen and show their concern like I’ve known them for a lifetime. The Al-Anon literature, especially, “Alcoholism, A Merry go round Named Denial” is wonderful. I look forward
    to my Tuesday meetings and learning all that i can from these wise and helpful people.Of course my Higher Power
    has been my #1 guide in all that I do and I rely on Him each and every day to keep me focused “One day at a time” and to stay ”FOCUSED ON MYSELF”. My only regret is that I didnt attend these meetings sooner!

  62. lise August 2008 at 2:40 am

    I came to visit my 80-year old parents who are caring for my chronic-alcoholic sister.She had been sober for 12 whole days(a long time for her!) before I came. As soon as I arrived, she began drinking, and when I confronted her, she sad that she just had to drink if I came to visit(she feels unfavorably compared to me). It is just tearing our hearts out. We have been considering what would happen if we ask her to leave(she has no job or money),but it is so hard to let someone go, to feel that we might cause her death by putting her out on the street.Are there shelters for people like this? We keep reminding ourselves of the three C’s, then we play Scrabble – at least it’s the one thing we have control over – which letters to play and when.Thanks for this meeting!

  63. Judy August 2008 at 1:27 pm

    Through Al-Anon I came to believe that I had to accept alcoholism as a disease, and that I could not control, or cure the alcoholic. Nor was it my place to do so. This was difficult for me to accept, but, I had tried the alternative, fighting it, and trying to control other people for years, and all that did was to make me really sick. I finally got sick enough, that I surrendered my alcoholic to the care of my Higher Power. I came to realize that trying to control alcoholism or another person, or really anything but myself, is futile, and will get me nowhere. But it will make me very miserable.

    I don’t want the alcoholic to drink, but I cannot change that, only the alcoholic can. I really don’t want them to be sick or to have a disease, but I cannot control that, any more than I could if they had cancer.

    So, one day at a time, I accept the things I cannot change, which, over the years, has grown to emcompass just about everything except for my actions.

    I used to think that accepting alcoholism meant that I approved of the behavior. Now, it means to me that I know I cannot change anyone else but myself. Approval, or disapproval don’t play any part at all in my acceptance, because I believe it is a disease, and that the alcoholic is not drinking to affect me, they are drinking because he/she is an alcoholic.

    What I can do, is focus on myself, my responsiblities, my feelings, my actions, and what my Higher Power wants me to do right now by going to meetings, reasoning things out with other Al-Anon members and reading Conference Approved Literature.

  64. Karens August 2008 at 7:29 pm

    Yes, I know the smell. Thank you for sharing the 3 C’s. I didn’t cause it. I didn’t cause it. I didn’t cause it. I can’t control it. I can’t control it. I can’t control it. WHat was the last one? Oh yes most important I cannot cure it. I cannot cure it . I cannot cure it.

  65. Debra August 2008 at 10:26 am

    I’ve tried all the steps to stop my husband drinking, so how can I know just except it like it’s nothing? The smell of it alone makes me ill, the abuse I have to take because it is not worth me saying just go ahead and drink that. Is that also enabling him? I except that I have no control over his drinking, that is his choice but how can I just sit back, except it and not do anything about it. Although sitting here typing this I just realized that nothing I have done so far has worked. So since I can’t attend meetings in person this web site it the only help I have.

  66. Amanda August 2008 at 4:10 am

    I’ve tried to make my mother stop drinking all of my life. I used to take her huge boxes of wine and stop on them in the backyard until they were flat as a pancake. I tried to treat my mom the way she treated me but she told me that she didn’t care. Which is the truth she dosn’t care about anything. I don’t know how to help her. She’s my mother and I can see almost feel the pain inside her. I just wish she didn’t take that pain out on me. She been an alcholic since before I was born. Im only 14 now. My father is still with her even though I know he cant stand her. “I can’t split the family in two. I would never leave you alone with her.” Is what he says his reasoning is. I love my dad he is my hero!

  67. Judy August 2008 at 12:46 pm

    Al-Anon Family Groups has a web site that lists all meetings by state.
    Below is the web address: http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/
    Click on “English” and then find meetings arounr Knoxville listed by state. Best wishes for recovery in Al-Anon, one day at a time.

  68. marilyn July 2008 at 7:30 pm

    please list beginners meeting place around knoxville, tn

  69. marilyn July 2008 at 7:29 pm

    thank you for your answers

  70. LF July 2008 at 2:42 pm

    Being in Al-Anon, attending meeting, reading the literature, and keeping connected to others that have been effected by someone else’s drinking provides me with tools and hope that I will be O.K.. By contiuning to work on myself I find a Higher Power and others struggling with the issue to help me understand the disease. Then I keep coming and learn I have choices that I’m able to make after I’m learned about the disease and what Al-Anon has to offer.

  71. Paulette July 2008 at 3:42 pm

    I can;t accept the drinking. It is making me physically sick. No matter what I say or do it still continues. He knows what it is doing to me, so he hides the alcohol and does not drink in front of me at home, he goes out to the shed or basement. That doesn’t make it better. What should I do? He his not physically abusive but if I say anything he is verbally abusive and threatens to leave. I love him but I feel myself slipping into depression.

  72. Kay July 2008 at 7:07 pm

    We must accept it before we can make a decision on whether to stay or leave. This program teaches us how to accept the things we cannot change. It isn’t an easy process and it doesn’t happen overnight. We must truly understand the disease of alcoholism before we can accept that it is a disease. At no time does the program suggest that you stay or leave. Once we accept that it is a disease, then we know we didn’t cause it, we can’t control it and we certainly can’t cure it. This frees us to begin to think clearly and make rational decisions.

  73. Mark K July 2008 at 10:08 am

    The relief I felt at my first meeting was both immediate and profound. The experienced and compassionate people at that meeting – many who had situations much more dire than mine – assured me that “I didn’t cause it, I couldn’t control it, and I can’t cure it” (the “three c’s”). Clearly they had found a way to live their lives and find both happiness and serenity whether their alcoholic was drinking or not. How could they do that? I wanted what they had, so I kept coming back to figure out how I could get it too.

    I had spent the previous 18 years being responsible for my daughter’s upbringing. How could I accept her drug/alcohol abuse and cutting? It was a fine distinction, but I ultimately learned to accept that she had a disease called “addiction” (“…accept the things I cannot change…”) but that I did NOT have to accept the consequences of the disease (“…courage to change the things I can…”). The concepts of “detaching with love” and “boundaries” – and applying them to me and my life – have been two of the most valuable gifts I have received by “working the program”.

  74. Tedie July 2008 at 1:10 am

    Until we accept our powerlessness over the behavior of others, we are doomed to live a life of regret. Our acceptance is the first step in regaining the power that we do have. And that is to determine our own happiness, whether the alcoholic is drinking or not.

  75. FT July 2008 at 11:12 am

    It almost sounds like one has to accept the drinking, allow it to go on even if you cant stand it and go on with your life and continue to live w this spouse that you love? How can you just accept it?

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