Did you grow up with a problem drinker?

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

Today we have Jenny with us. Jenny is an Al-Anon member who grew up in an alcoholic family.

How to locate a meeting

2017-07-28T08:57:54+00:00 January 16, 2009|Categories: Alateen, Alcoholic Parent, Common Concerns|36 Comments

36 Comments

  1. jennifer August 2011 at 1:13 pm

    My heart is broken. Alcoholic partner of 10 years dumped me coldly. He was having an affair and is with her now. They seem really happy. i just don’t understand his behaviour. I found a letter he wrote me a month before he left saying he never loved any woman but me, if we ever broke up he would die. A month later he was gone and has since refused any contact with me. He can’t even look at me when we meet and is drinking with her in my local pub. Has he not hurt me enough. This is crazy cold behaviour.

  2. Nathalie February 2011 at 9:30 pm

    I grew up with an alcoholic mother. I am now 34 with a dauhgter of my own. I find myself through loving my daugther, making up for the lack of love I received from my mother. She was and is emotionally abusive towards me. What’s funny is that she is now going through hard times and has no one to turn to for help but me. I look at my baby girl and wonder what would she think of me if I didn’t step up and help my mother? I know it’s wrong because I am driven by guilt. I am addicted to my mother’s addiction. I wouldn’t know how to have a relationship with her if she weren’t an alcoholic. I guess that is truly what it means to be co-dependant. I am hoping to conjure up the courage to go to an Al-Anon meeting so I can work through this.

  3. Amanda September 2010 at 4:48 pm

    A phone call to my mother 6 hours ago has taken me back to the 13-year-old girl I used to be. I believe my mom has been an alcoholic most of my life. Just before I turned 13, my parents split up. I lived with my mom and became aware of the alcoholic she was. Coming home from school, I’d find my mom passed out on the bathroom floor. I would find her alcohol stashed away in the closet and I would dump it out. We would fight, we would cry. I always forgave her. She would get better, then go back to drinking. She missed my 16th birthday. She missed my 17th birthday. I moved out shortly after that.

    I am 2 weeks away from my 32nd birthday, but today I feel like the 13-year-old girl again. For most of my adult life we have had a great relationship. She’s my best friend. Then she starts drinking and that all goes away. She sobers up for a year or so, and then it repeats. I call her most days of the week, always looking for a tone in her voice to tell me if she is drinking again or not. Today I heard the tone and after 4 years of sobriety, she is drunk again. I now live 2,000 miles away and feel helpless I am not there to check up on her. I am also thankful I am so far away.

    The last time she did this I told her she could not be a part of my life if she is going to drink. I hope I will stick to that promise this time. I want to live my life without worrying about her. I love her so much, but hate she has this disease.

    This time I am going to follow through with the promise to myself- I will attend Al-Anon meetings. I am going to get the help I need. Thank you to everyone for sharing their stories. Thank you for giving me the strength I need to get through today. This is the first I have been so open about my family’s secret. For the first time I feel like someone else out there knows my story. There are other people out there who have lived my life.

  4. Sophie July 2010 at 4:00 pm

    I grew up in an alcoholic home. From the time I was four years old to 19 years old, my mom was the alcoholic. There was plenty of drama in my house growing up. I always thought that I had grown up fast. In high school, I tried to compensate for what went on at home by being the best student, seeking praise and approval through my grades and sports, maybe thinking it would make it all better.

    Don’t get me wrong, my parents were great parents. They were there for me, provided, loved me, spent time with me. I talked to them about everything. But there were those times when they weren’t exactly my parents–when they were drinking. I think in the back of my mind I always took note of how different my home was compared to others, even when I was five. But I never realized that any of my problems today, now being 21, could be a direct result of the way I grew up. It wasn’t until my provider mentioned this startling fact, that I even considered it.

    I’ve felt so hopeless at times, not good enough, depressed, and anxious. Sometimes it feels like battling depression and anxiety is an everyday battle. When I put it all together, it makes sense that it could all go back to my mother’s alcoholism. Around my 20th birthday, my mother finally got help. She had talked about it for years, but this time she actually did it–with big help from my dad.

    The day she told me, I cried. She has been sober for over a year now and is doing great. However, I’m still affected somehow. I want to be anxiety free, depression free. I want to be happy and confident, not confused. I want to heal my heart and be normal. I’d like to be able to be alone and not worry about everything. I’d like to spend a whole day not having to push away negative thoughts that I’m too ashamed to verbalize.

    Sometimes I feel scared & worried, sometimes depressed & anxious, others hopeless & not good enough. Either way, it’s always something. I’m tired of being a victim. I used to be so level headed, so strong, and confident in high school. I always wonder what happened, where it all started and how I can get better. I’ve considered medication, but I’ve always considered myself to be stronger minded than that–such as, “What the mind can conceive, it can achieve.”

    Talking about things has always made me feel better, and so I would like to go to a meeting. But I’m a little nervous to, or shy. Reading all these comments and listening to the podcast lifted my heart a little, almost like a sigh of relief and comfort that I’m not alone. It’s scary thinking you’re alone in your thoughts and feelings. And when I heard and read these comments today, I cried. I’m not alone, and there is hope.

  5. Sophie June 2010 at 9:06 pm

    Well, I’ve been reading all those stories and crying for a good part of it. I grew up with an alcoholic mom and my partner (of >10 years) has been drinking more and more over the last few years. At first it was somewhat controled, it never affected her work, our relationship or our social life. In the last year, things have changed and she has been drinking heavily to the point where she is putting everything in jeopardy. It took me a long time to admit she had a drinking problem, but I recognize it now. We are seeing a counselor and he suggested I attend Al-Anon meetings. I know it’s a safe place and after reading all of your comments and stories, I think I will seriously consider attending a meeting.

    Right now it feels like life will never get better. I have reached the end of my patience and I cannot put up with the destructive behaviour anymore. I have considered kicking my partner out, but I don’t want to give up on her. She is also the child of an alcoholic who was verbally and physically abusive. Our counselor is suggesting she goes to a treatment facility, but I’m not sure she is ready for that.

    Thank you for sharing your stories and reading mine.

  6. lynne June 2010 at 7:24 pm

    There are many things going on in my life right now that I don’t have control over. I know I’m not doing the best to take care of myself. My father had a drinking problem and I’m wondering if even though he has been dead for 10 years, that might have influenced me. Two of my closest girlfriends have just had husbands that joined AA and I am a bit scared right now. I have these feeings at work that “I’m not good enough” and I feel that because I’m not living with an alcoholic that I don’t ‘deserve’ Al-Anon.

  7. 54 yo woman June 2010 at 7:37 pm

    I feel hopeless.

  8. Ann May 2010 at 6:29 am

    I am so glad I listened to this pod cast. It really helped me see why my therapist suggested I attend these meetings. I have been told several times by various therapists but I didn’t listen, but listening to these pod casts and reading I am seeing a lot of me. I never realized that living in a home with an alcoholic father that it was going to shape my life for the next 30-40 years like it did.

    When I got married I had dreams of a perfect life, thinking I was escaping it through marriage, but I really wasn’t. I was marrying into it but in a different form. WOW! I am 48 and I have to tell you I have not had many bright spots in those years–a lot of trauma that has left some deep scars. I have not left the marriage and in therapy yesterday she said the reason why my mom kept my dad around. I am going to attend my first meeting on Sunday if they are having one (holiday weekend) I need to stop hiding and start fighting.

  9. Carol April 2010 at 12:23 pm

    Thank you for being here.

    I grew up in a family with multiple dually-diagnosed members (mental illness and substance abuse) .
    As a young person I attended Alateen, and later during a romantic relationship I attended Al-Anon (about 17 years ago), but have not attended in some time.

    I have made a concerted effort to keep people with substance abuse issues out of the center of my emotional life.

    Last night, it became clear that my new (<2yrs.) partner is in fact an alcoholic. I had pretty well come to that conclusion previously, but last night confirmed it to the point that I had to address it with her this morning.

    She is not ready to go to AA, wants to attend couples counseling and see if the counselor will tell her that it is necessary.

    I know that I need to go to Al-Anon to reach out and help me find some lifelines to gain support to balance my life. I know that I need to take care of myself and that I am the only person that can do that.

  10. Katerina March 2010 at 8:24 pm

    A co-worker called me this evening and said she was considering finding an Al-Anon meeting to go to. Her husband is a drinker who gets abusive physically. I am so glad she is going to try, and I told her that I would go with her if she wanted me to, so she would not have to first go alone. I just wish I had known of one in my growing-up time because I came from a broken home, due to both parents and then a stepfather, all alcoholics. I was even spanked one time when I was young for not making a drink for my stepfather as he asked me to.

    So she had the phone number to call about the meetings, had been reading up on the program. Her stepmother talked to her about how it would help because my co-worker’s father is also a recovering alcoholic, but has relapsed a few times.

    I suggested that going can’t hurt anything, but perhaps would help her know what to do so as not to be an enabler, to understand it is a very addictive illness just like diabetes, heart disease, or anything like that. She has two young children and the last time she left for a week with them and stayed away for a week. Her husband had beat her in front of the four-year-old. But, as you know what happens with some drinkers, they apologize and say they will “try” to do better, etc. That lasts until the weekend, if that long. I have been so worried about her because before her children were born he beat her and she came to stay with us for almost a week until he kept begging her to come back. Like most, he is a hard worker, a good man but has a bad drinking problem and then turns ugly. She is afraid to say anything nights when he comes home because she is afraid it may set him off if he has been drinking.

    My counselor, now friend, that I went to a few times before she retired, once told me that I was living a typical life of a child of alcoholics. We build walls around us, don’t really trust easily, expect hurt instead of happiness to happen. She is so right and had me pegged to a T. I don’t want my friend/co-worker to live to my age and have those walls and a life of no trusting relationship. It’s not a happy life. So if she goes, I may just go with her to see if it will help me erase my hard feelings.

    Both my parents have died now, and I was the one who took care of them their last few years. Before my mom went into a coma, she cried when telling me she was sorry she had ruined my life. God sent her to us those last 3 years so we could share a kind of forgiveness, and I let her go with telling her I loved her.

    One thing they, my parents, did for me was to show me the kind of life I didn’t want, that of alcoholics, and did not raise my children up in such a home as that. I want my friend’s children to have a better life also, so am praying that Al-Anon will be her answer. Thank you all for allowing me to comment here.

  11. Dolly March 2010 at 8:45 am

    My husband has been binge drinking on the weekends. I have 2 children, 16 and 14 years old. His drinking affects me. I feel so angry towards him and resentful, which is so unhealthy for me. I keep fighting with him about his drinking and he says he won’t give it up. He even went to counseling and so did I. He just does not see how all this affects me. He has done crazy things and has had blackouts. I just feel I am the one cleaning up his mess. I feel so alone. I have just started going to Al-Anon. I feel I am the one going mad, not my husband.

    I feel depressed and have not much energy at the moment. His friends now know that I am giving out to him about his drinking and think I am a nag. I just feel so awful. I look terrible myself. I wish I could just get my old fun self back. I miss the happy-go-lucky me and I know my kids and even my husband does.

  12. Missy February 2010 at 1:19 pm

    I am also the adult child of an alcoholic father. I can identify in so many ways. I have also suffered with depression, sort counselling and even trained as a counsellor in an attempt, I think, to understand why I had so many problems. I have been attending Al-Anon for a while now and I can honestly say it has saved my sanity. It does take courage to walk through those doors to a meeting, but I see it as the first step to becoming the person God intended. I have been able to talk without being judged and I have listened to others that have been there and experienced a similar life to my own. I have grown in confidence and this is shown in all aspects of my life.

    I will never forget the past, but I am learning to forgive my father who I have learned through Al-Anon has a devastating illness.

    I hope this helps in some way. Take care and God bless.

  13. Esther February 2010 at 4:50 pm

    I am 45 and just now getting told that my life as I lived it was normal to the way I was taught by my father. He was an alcoholic who beat my mother and subjected all of us children to the way we are now. I have always said all I want is a normal and happy life. Well, little did I know I was leading a normal life for the child of an alcoholic.

    With my eyes now open to this, I see why I feel like I am stuck in life. I need to start meetings so I can fix myself and also work on my children before it is too late to help them properly. My brother and older sister have turned out to be alcoholics also. Beer to them is a soda. My brother now is on all kinds of meds because his liver shut down and is on a list for a transplant.

    I wish I was told a long time ago that this is what my actual problem was, instead of depression and medicated for it. I so much want to find a local group to join. If I have to drive a bit, I will because without this I am never gonna be able to get unstuck in life. Thank you for reading, and God bless.

  14. Sonia February 2010 at 9:48 am

    My mom also was (is?) an alcoholic and also got drunk off of red wine every night. I never ran away, but at 18 left immediately to move away and start college. She wants to have a good relationship with me, but although I think I’ve forgiven some of what she’s done, I can’t forget it. She’s currently 54, and not drinking as much, but I’m still having a hard time building a relationship with her.

    I began going to Al-Anon meetings as an undergrad, but stopped going once others couldn’t always go with me. I was too embarrassed. I am trying now to make an effort to go back.

    Thanks, everyone, for all the comments. They are giving me hope.

  15. Sally November 2009 at 2:43 am

    I am seeking to attend Al-Anon meetings. I need insights and not sure if this is the right way to go about it. Also, sorry, it’s such a long story.

    I am 61 yrs old, had an alcoholic father who although he quit drinking the last five years of his life, died at 69 because of his drinking and toasted lifestyle. My childhood was fraught with drunken weekly/daily scenes. My mother stuck by him until he coldly left her for another woman when I was 18.

    At 38 yrs old I thought I had finally found a good man and we were together/married for 19 yrs until he suddenly/coldly left me for another woman/life.

    After my divorce four yrs ago I was in one relationship with a man for 20 months who, as it turned out, was dealing pot a great deal. We broke off in June and I commiserated with my boyfriend from age 21. We had little contact in those 35 yrs. I saw him four years ago. It was good but the next time it wasn’t, which he blamed on his knee (it was one week before replacement surgery). This summer he, too, was just struggling with a broken relationship and we became involved again. It all seemed good. He visited me in August; we were very happy. His knee replacement was healed and he seemed relatively healthy albeit overweight. It was very promising that we knew each other, had many years apart with time to get to know each other again. He told me he was going to AA for coke use, because of one weekend four years ago and then another relapse four months ago. I questioned him about it and found out months later from his AA buddies that he lied terribly.

    He was hospitalized in early October with a flesh-eating bacteria that attacked his arm three days before I was to arrive on a test-run mission of living and working together at his place. He almost lost his life. I found out through his AA buddies that he has been an IV coke user for 33 yrs and this precipitated if not directly caused his life-threatening illness. He is still in the hospital, getting many treatments for necrotizing fasciitis and consuming dilaudid constantly. I confronted him on his addiction, asking for the real story (I’m not sure that he even can speak the truth to himself). He speaks of a re-birth and that he is reading the AA 12 steps, will not need rehab (finally admitted to trying rehab five times), that this time it’s different and we can be a happy couple. He has been a well known scientist and runs his own company (however I am not sure how well as of late). Although I would like to believe in his intensions, I really don’t.

    When I saw him in the hospital I was shocked that I was physically attracted to him. He was never much to look at but now he is a monster. One arm is skinless and with muscle/tendon/bone loss, he’s dopey from all the morphine derivatives, overweight, lethargic and out of shape; a liar to boot. Now, why was I attracted to him?

    He suggested that I go to Al-Anon or ACA because of issues with my father. That made sense, but I am a bit reluctant since he suggested it without addressing his issues, implying that my issues are important. I recommended that both of us take a break for a year while he stays clean and re-visit a possible romantic relationship after that year. He initially agreed but now he is asking for that to change since he feels strongly about his powers to heal and wants me in his life.

    Could my attraction to him/monster be rooted in my feelings for my alcoholic dad? I do love him. However, that love seems to be dissipating the more I think about the relationship.

  16. Jamie October 2009 at 2:10 am

    I grew up realizing that my mother was an alcoholic. And today I feel the need to reach out to teens and others who are going through similar situations.

    I know how hard it can be sometimes. My mother drank every day, into every night, until she would pass out. Her drink of choice was wine (I hate wine). I hated the sound of the cork every 20 minutes. I hated the sound of the freezer door opening and her reaching in trying to pick out ice cubes. I hated the sound of her mumbling because she couldn’t get the ice into her cup (and that horrible sound when she did). I hated the tinkling of the wine bottle trying to find the glass to pour itself into. But I especially hated the sound of her coming upstairs.

    I would cringe every time I heard the squeak of the second stair. That would mean she was on her way. And most of the time it was to yell at me about something, anything. She always bottled up her emotions and waited for the bomb to explode inside of her, when she would go on her raging tantrums. Of course, I was the only one around (even though I tried not to be) for her to take her anger out on. I would stay out as late as I possibily could every night. I didn’t want to be home.

    I was fortuniate that I was able to graduate from high school. Two weeks before my scheduled last day of school, I ran away. One last tiff that we had gotten into when I was 17. I just couldn’t take anymore. So I left. No word on where I was going, or when I would be back. It would have felt great if all the tears weren’t in the way. I commuted to school (2 hours each way) to fulfill my own responsibilites and to make sure that I at least had my diploma.

    And after many fights, many tears, many screaming nights of just wanting to leave so badly, I came to love her. Deep down I know that I love her. I just didn’t love “the monster that she became when she was drinking,” and I would tell her that during those times when we were fighting. When she would yell at me, “You don’t love me!” I answered, “Yes, Mom, I do love you. I just don’t love the person that you become when you drink!” But, of course, she never listened. She insisted that she was a horrible mother and that I hated her. And, yes, a part of me felt that way, but the other part of me said, “She is my mother. She is a wonderful person, just NOT when she’s been drinking.”

    I could go on for a very long time, but I want to get my point across. My point is that when my dad tried to force me to go to counseling, I wanted nothing to do with it. In desperation, he suggested Alateen (thinking that I would not want to share my problems with other people.) I agreed to try a meeting. I liked it and went back every week. I met a lot of cool people who shared similar problems. I realized that I wasn’t the only one who was going through this kind of situation. Alateen really helped me out a lot, even if I didn’t realize its effects on me right away. Without it, I don’t know how I would feel today.

    Seven years ago come December 30th, my mother passed away. She was 53 years old (way too young). She had gone downhill ever since I left the house. She lost her job, was running out of money, and I laid an offer on the table for her to move in with me. We would rent an apartment together and be “roommates.” She thought about it for a while and then I convinced her that she didn’t really have any other options, so we went home and packed up all her stuff. We had her out of her apartment in one long day.

    Our relationship had started to heal over the time we spent apart. And when she lived with me she pretty much knew better than to try to show me any authority, now that I was legally an adult. Things were all right. Civil, at least.

    After three months of living in this new apartment, things just weren’t right. She wasn’t turning in any job applications (like she said she was going to) and she rarely came out of her bedroom. I was worried. I got really worried when she didn’t come out of her room one day and then all that night. I knocked on the door and she said, “Come in,” so I opened the door and looked at her. She had her bed made up on the floor next to her bed and I said, “What are you doing?” And she just brushed it off like it was nothing. “Oh, my back just hurts so I was sleeping on the floor.” It didn’t sound right. She hadn’t come out to eat, to get wine, to go to the bathroom, nothing. I knew something was up, so I asked her, “Do you want me to make you something to eat?” And she said, “Okay, some oatmeal sounds good.”

    So I made her oatmeal and she ate only two bites. That’s when I really started getting worried, so I called up a family friend who used to be a nurse and asked her what she thought was going on. She said, “Get her to a hospital,” and so I told my mom she should go to the doctor. She refused, so I called my dad. I was in tears by this point. I told him everything and he said that he was going to call the police to come to our house and evaluate her, since she was refusing to go to the hospital. So the police arrived with the paramedics. She was still playing it off like she was fine. I’m shaking my head in the background saying that she needs to go now, so they kinda tricked her. They said, “Okay. If you can get up and walk into the living room, we will let your daughter take you tomorrow, but if not, then you’re coming with us tonight.” And she tried and tried with all her might, but she couldn’t do it.

    Aside from the hallucinations she was having, she had no sense of what she was doing. It was very painful to see her in such a state, so the paramedics took her in and she had this massive bladder infection that had spread into her blood stream. It started getting better and we thought we were in the clear. She was still having hallucinations, but we figured it was from alcohol withdrawals, the DT’s. So after two weeks in the hospital she was better, but I noticed her stomach was getting really big. I asked the nurse why and she said she didn’t know, but she would have the doctor look at it. Then they had to take her in for emergency surgery.

    They fixed her stomach, but she was having a really hard time coming back after surgery. She was in and out of a coma (probaly from so much infection going through her blood) and then they discovered another problem in her stomach and she wasnt even conscious. She was living soley on life support and my family and I had to make that god awful decision to grant her wish of not being on life support for an extended period of time. So we had to unplug her. The doctor drugged her up so she wouldn’t feel anything and then turned off the machine, and not three minutes later she passed away very peacefully, yet way too soon for her time. It’s so hard. Every day I think about her. And most of all I miss her.

    Anyway, I hope this helps someone who reads it. No matter how bad things get, nobody lives forever. It doesn’t make sense to waste time holding grudges, because it will only cause regret later. If little brothers or sisters are dealing with this kind of situation, I would strongly recomend taking them to an Alateen meeting. It always helps to talk or write about the things that are bothering you deep down.

  17. Sarah October 2009 at 5:23 am

    I’ve been in counseling for the past two years, and have been in and out of therapy since I was 16. I’ve never really understood where all of my issues come from, until tonight when I was watching an episode of “Supernanny” and saw the address for Al-Anon, and decided to check it out.

    My father is and has been an alcoholic. He’s always been a drinker, ran a bar for 25 years, and his drinking fluctuates, depending on his level of depression. None of this is diagnosed. He refuses to admit that there’s a problem, refuses to accept the possibility of therapy helping him. I read the questions for “Are you the adult child of an alcoholic?” and all of the symptoms I struggle with daily were on that list.

    I’m thinking about attending a meeting soon. I’m going to discuss it with my therapist first. My boyfriend is also the adult child of an alcoholic and has many of the same issues that I do. Also, he and I share a real commitment to living clean. I almost spiraled into alcoholism when I was 17, and pulled way back. Now I have a drink maybe twice a month, and if it ever got anywhere beyond that my boyfriend would insist on me getting help, and I have the same feeling about him. I won’t live that life again, and neither will he.

  18. Lin September 2009 at 4:57 pm

    I grew up with an alcoholic father and now am living with the absolute love of my life. He is also an alcoholic and it breaks my heart every time he takes a drink. He is totally unable to stop once he has started and the sadness I feel when he is collapsed on the sofa is overwhelming.

    I started going to Al-Anon a month ago, and although I am not strong enough to even try and attempt Step 1 yet, the people there are the nicest, warmest, most genuine people I have ever met. Although I seem to cry constantly from the second I walk through the Al-Anon door, I always find so much strength in listening to everyone sharing.

    I know I am going to be ok. I am slowly finding the tools I need to be able to live my life and look after myself first. I am finally starting to realize that I cannot control my husband’s drinking, and that I have to start looking after myself. I am trying to toughen up a bit – I am starting to go out now and do things for myself. It’s a very slow process but the support from Al-Anon is the thing that is getting me through each day. I look forward to getting stronger and being able to cope with everyday life again.

    If you are suffering due to past or present alcoholic loved ones, please, please, please go to an Al-Anon meeting.

  19. Jamie K. September 2009 at 10:38 am

    Hi. My name is Jamie and I grew up with an alcoholic father. After my mother died when I was 14, he started drinking heavier. He would come home and beat me up for nothing. I have never understood what I did to make him be that way. I took over my mother’s position in the household. I did cooking, cleaning, took care of my brother, and did everything possible. But he still would come home and hit me. Mostly when he drank liquor. It was awful.

  20. Katlyn June 2009 at 12:15 pm

    Hi, I’m katlyn. I’m thirteen years old and my dad is an alcoholic. He has been drinking ever since I was four years old. I beg him to stop every day, but he just won’t. We always argue and I think it’s because of his drinking. But he thinks it’s my attitude. His father was an alcoholic and so was my mom’s mom. My mother and father argue a lot about his drinking and they want a divorce, but they stay together because of me.

    It feels like it’s my fault that my mom is miserable every day of my life. As soon as my dad comes home he makes a drink and works out in the yard. My dad is a great father when he is sober. He smiles and doesn’t slur his words. But when he is drunk he slurs and doesn’t remember things the next morning. He’s very grouchy and embarassing when he has been drinking.

    I don’t invite my friends to my house because it is so embarassing. I try to hide my sadness, but I just can’t anymore. I’ve only told a few of my close friends about my dad’s drinking problem. But I really love my daddy and I don’t want him to die of this terrible disease. Jenny’s story has given me strength to look into these meetings. Thanks, Jenny!

  21. Jackie June 2009 at 8:04 pm

    Dear Concerned,

    Thank you for your sharing. I, too, took a niece to a couple of Alateen meetings. Unfortunately she didn’t have the support of her family and has not continued. All I know is I plant the seed and the rest is up to God. I pray for her all the time. I did, however, become an Alateen sponsor to help others like her. Of course, they helped me more than I helped them.

    Are you still going to Alateen? If not, are you in Al-Anon? I would suggest if you are not that you go. The only requirement is that there be a problem of alcoholism in a family member or friend. This could even be a co-worker or teacher or anyone else. I always say, “If someone’s drinking has affected you, you belong.” But it is up to you to decide if you belong. What I learned is that I can help others by helping myself. I need to work the program to be able to carry the message. Together We Can Make It!!!!

  22. Danny G. May 2009 at 8:32 pm

    May, I too just found an on-line meeting. Am deaf but so good to hear the sharings of the above members. Got tears streaming down my cheeks because I hear ya out there. And I’m 68 years of age. Tears of joy, tears of joy.

  23. Danny G. May 2009 at 8:26 pm

    Oh, Hank. Keep on coming to meetings. Been a member for 25 years. I keep coming back. So safe here. We do get better as we work the tools, slogans of the program. Thanks for showing courage. You took a first big step. Admitting to a problem, and this is important. Thank you.

  24. Nicole May 2009 at 9:56 pm

    It may be hard to understand, but please do not be afraid to get help for yourself. If you are worried about going to a local meeting, try to find one in a community nearby. I live in a larger city, and the Al-Anon and AA community here is large, so I am blessed to be surrounded by friendship and fellowship. However, I struggled sometimes when sharing, simply because I sometimes worried something which I shared would be spread around. My fears however were unfounded, for even those who know me out in the world kept the confidentiality which is such a big part of the program. With time, I have learned how integral the Traditions are to this program.

    I am so glad you took the time to visit the site and reach out. Keep going, one step at a time.

  25. Bengie April 2009 at 11:03 am

    I, too, live in a small community. I was fortunate enough that the city is not too far, so I’ve traveled every week for the last 14 years. My community does not have meetings.

    Before program, it was very important to me that my family appear normal. That we should be involved in community and church, because that would be the right thing to do. It never occured to me to make healthy choices based on the needs of my family and each of us as individuals. I created an illusion to the outside world.

    Did I work hard. This illusion was mine. They knew because some of them were experiencing the same problems. Today I put my energy into living life on life’s terms. Today I try to use the Traditions of the program to promote harmony and growth in my family.

    It has given me a sense of freedom. Thanks for being here today.

  26. long-time Al-Anon April 2009 at 9:54 pm

    Hank:
    Go to the meeting. Whom you see there will be there for the same reason you are. Do you really think that small town does not already know your nemesis?

  27. concerned April 2009 at 10:38 pm

    When I was a child in a drug and alcohol home, a very special aunt had the guts to bring my siblings and me to an Alateen meeting. It was a pivotal point in my life. One I will always remember because the realization that we were not the only kids rowing that boat was huge. When you are living in a home such as mine, it is scary because you can be pulled into state services at almost any time, so I couldn’t talk to anyone, fearing that we would be split up again, by social services. Alateen gave us a place to feel and grieve our rotten childhood without that threat.

    So, today I am now in a position much like my aunt. I know some wonderful kids who are living in an alcoholic home and I would very much like to bring them to a meeting so they might find what I found, a little bit of peace in knowing they are not alone and not at fault.

    But my friends whose drinking problem has spiraled way out of control this last year, brought on by weakness and stress, are in no mind to face reality. I want to try to support them. The only way I know how is to help their children. But they could become very defensive. Any ideas?

  28. May March 2009 at 2:10 pm

    I have just discovered this new feature of the Al-Anon website. It is just wonderful.
    I go to three meetings a week and call my sponsor but sometimes you can’t get to a meeting and it’s wonderful to be able to hear the voices of Al-Anon from my laptop!

    Hank, I want to encourage you to give Al-Anon meetings a try.

    Confidentiality is the spiritual foundation of Al-Anon. Anything that is said at a meeting and member to member as well as the identity of those who attend is held in the strictest confidence. As we say in our opening “only in this way can we feel free to say what is in our minds and hearts, for this is how we help one another in Al-Anon.”

    I am blessed to live in an area with many very healthy meetings which bring me so much strength, hope and wisdom. But small or large, in a big city or small town, confidentiality is the foundation of the program. When Al-Anon members come across each other outside the rooms we do not call attention in such a way as to reveal that the other person is in Al-Anon.

    Best wishes to all my fellow Al-Anons.

    Signed,
    A very grateful member of the worldwide fellowship of Al-Anon and Alateen.

  29. Hank March 2009 at 1:34 am

    I am resisting getting help ’cause of confidentiality concerns in a small community.

    Any thoughts?

  30. Claudia March 2009 at 11:30 pm

    I have avoided Al-Anon because I didn’t feel that I had the problem, but I do. I have been in a relationship with an alcoholic for 28 years. I think I knew he was an alcoholic on the first date, but I chose to ignore it. As the years passed he drank more and more, then he retired. Now he can start drinking even earlier. He is rarely sober and as much as I love the man, I HATE the drunk.

    When we were in our 30’s life was one big party. I don’t deny that I loved that time in my life. But I eventually got tired of that lifestyle and he didn’t. I moved into his home for a little over a year about 5 years ago, but the drinking got worse and he became abusive. I was actually afraid of him. I realized that my 3 grown kids would never forgive him if they found me dead one day, so I begged him to change or I would leave. He basically said, “This is me. I won’t change.”

    That was all I needed to move out. But I can’t let him go because underneath it all is the dearest man. I can’t even type this without starting to cry. I am in limbo. We only see each other once a month at best. Last week we went to dinner and he was so wasted he made a fool of himself and me. I am 59 years old and I have lived those years as a single woman. I don’t want to live like this anymore. I have three wonderful grown children and 6 grandkids I have tried to hide my problems from. As you can see I have a lot of unresolved issues.

  31. Judy M March 2009 at 9:07 pm

    Thank you for sharing. I will try to think about myself, instead of my sister, who I am afraid will die from her addiction. I have made a decision that I won’t give her any more money until she gets help.

  32. Jane March 2009 at 10:55 am

    I’m a recovering alcoholic, who grew up in an alcoholic-inflenced family (father) and married a man whose first wife died of the disease! I thought he was in some kind of recovery, but he isn’t , says Al-Anon is not for him, wonders why there isn’t some simpler roadmap than 12 steps for him. We are divorcing.

    It’s very sad. I’m old enough that I know this will not wreck the rest of my life, but I am wistful, and wonder why he came to be attracted to two of us, in a row! I relapsed. It nearly killed me. I wondered if he was TRYING to get me to kill myself. I’ll never know…and I’ll never know why I found HIM attractive…

  33. carol February 2009 at 3:02 pm

    Hi, my name is Carol. My dad was an alcoholic, he died of cancer, and now my brother is spiraling down into the world of alcoholism. I went to Al-Anon but I badly wanted to help my dad and I couldn’t. Now I’m having all these feelings and helplessness, not knowing what to do with my brother. I’m also having a tough time myself, as this comes to light with my brother, because I’m trying to care for my husband who has pulmonary fibrosis and it’s not easy. I will probably try Al-Anon again because my stomach is in knots not knowing what to do. Thanks for listening. Good luck and God bless all those in similar situations.

  34. caitlyn February 2009 at 9:21 pm

    hii.im caite. and yes i did grow up with a problem drinker. actually two, my father first. he was an alcholic ever since i can remember and he just passed away a year and a half ago from sclerosis of the liver. now my mother has turned to drinking as her escape. i have never been to one of your programs. my school therapist told me about this program and i am hopefully coming to one soon to share what i went through with people who understand me.

  35. Lydia January 2009 at 11:22 pm

    Thanks for sharing, Jenny. Your experience, strength and hope are an inspiration.

  36. Christy January 2009 at 11:40 am

    Jenny, thank you so much for sharing your experience of growing up in an alcoholic home. I have known for several years that I had major issues in my life due to an alcoholic upbringing. So much of what you said about never feeling “good enough” certainly hit home with me. I have tried counseling, meditation, and have made several other attempts to come to terms with it all. It wasn’t until I came to Al-Anon that it all began to make sense, and I could see my part in it. I am new to the program, but have gained so much already. The warmth and kindness I received from my group made me feel, for the first time in my life, not alone. I, too, experienced the “pattern” of being drawn to alcoholics in my relationships. Even when I figured it out, it didn’t stop me. Now with Al-Anon I am begining to see things more clearly, getting to know MYSELF better, and slowly changing my thoughts and old patterns. It’s nice to hear from someone like you, because it tells me the program really does work! Thanks again for sharing.

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