Like so many before me, I came to Al‑Anon in a desperate state. I needed help without even knowing it. My husband was in the hospital for the second time in a year with pancreatitis from drinking. I had tried everything, but nothing worked. Fortunately, a social worker at the hospital suggested I go to an Al‑Anon meeting. I didn’t understand—I thought, he has the problem, not me. Why do I need to go to a meeting?
When I first went, I cried; I felt like nobody knew what I was going through. However, as I continued to go, I came to understand that Al‑Anon is for people who are affected by or worried about someone else’s drinking. I was a mess and obsessed about his every breathing moment. I could tell you everything about him, but I had lost myself through the years of heavy drinking.
I now understand why the social worker sent me to Al‑Anon, and I am forever grateful. I can’t even imagine my life without it.
Today, I am in a good place, even though my husband still drinks. We have been together for 35 years, and I love him. But I do not obsess over his drinking; I have learned not to enable, and I keep the focus on myself. I start sentences off with “I” instead of “you.” I also know that silence is okay—I don’t have to always be talking or controlling. I can say what I mean and mean what I say without saying it in a mean way. I have found myself, and I like me today. I am not perfect and that’s okay—I am a work in progress. By attending Al‑Anon meetings, I have gained confidence in myself. I have boundaries today, as well as choices. I allow people into my life now instead of pushing them away. I continue to participate in meetings because I want to be part of this program that helped me live again, and I want to give back what has been given to me.
By Kathy D., Florida
The Forum, September 2019
I too am married to a man who still drinks heavily. Long story short, I joined AA and thought my “stellar example” would be the push he needed to get sober. Neither that nor my nagging nor my ranting nor my stony silences could change the fact that he still drank. Over time I’ve come to realize that the only one I can change is me. I needed to ask myself whether I was better off with him or without him. He’s a good man and I’m glad I made the choice to stay with him. I now have 26… Read more »
Your story was inspiring
That comment was just what I needed. Why do I stay? Should I stay? What if he doesn’t get better? I stay because of love and I work on myself and pray that I will achieve serenity in God’s time frame. It is a disease, it isn’t fair but what is?
A little over six months ago my husband picked up a drink, then oxycontin, and then cocaine after being sober for 22 years. Within two months of lying about his sobriety, I gave him the choice to go to treatment or leave the home. He left the home. He started using cocaine intravenously which was evidently his drug of choice 22 years ago. He eventually went to treatment but never intended to be sober. He went for me and his children. The day he returned to our home town after a 2 week visit with friends and family, he picked… Read more »
Thank you for this article. My husband stopped drinking in March. The carnage left by almost a decade of his drinking has left me isolated and with broken relationships (my children will not come home if he is home). I am proud of his recovery, and want the best for him, but sometimes healing requires an ending of a marriage. I am trying to discern this through taking time and not acting hastily.
I really like your comments. Thanks for sharing it.
My worry right now is that my husband, who drinks and is a self-admitted “functioning alcoholic” sometimes drinks and drives with our daughter in the car. I can’t not think about that, because she is an innocent in all this. But I don’t want to nag him. What can I do?
I have lost myself in his Drinking- I’m very angry that the man I married just 2 yrs ago is so different-. I’m not sure how going to this meeting and talking is going to change or fix this.
I have been coming to meetings over the last 30 years. I came to get my husband sober during that time he did not get sober I became an alcoholic one of my six children became an heroin addict, which brought me to my knees on June 9, 2011 and I put down alcohol and all other substances. Two years later my daughter got sober and she now has six years of recovery. I love and care deeply for my alcoholic husband who is high functioning. I used to think if he loved me enough he would want recovery. Today… Read more »
My husband has been a heavy drinker for years. I am in the very early stages of taking the Al-Anon Steps, so I don’t know how to begin. How do I begin? Is it worth it?
My son and I have been trying for months now to get the courage to talk to my husband about his drinking, but we are scared to do so, because the past it has always turned out ugly. But after tonight’s half bottle of brandy I can’t take it any more to see such a good man destroy himself. I want to talk to him but am so scared….
I was struck by ‘I could tell you everything about him, but I had lost myself.’ My family just moved for my wife’s job, and all the change has been difficult. I don’t love my new job like she does hers. But I know she wants me to be happy too, and supports me in ‘finding myself.’ I realized I’ve been worrying about her behaviors instead of figuring out more about me. I’ve got plenty to do on ‘my side of the street’, plenty of productive things to ‘keep me busy till I get better’ like Amy commented. It’s great… Read more »
I went to Al-Anon over 45 years ago. Broken, disheveled & could not think for myself. Shattered dreams, that never really were there to begin with, just thinking “is this all there is”& nothing made sense. Chaos, insanity & off course were my daily’s. Until one lady from AA took me to one of her meetings & I was dumbfounded at being at this huge, intimidating table, listening to women. Whatever they said I did not hear. Years went on & perhaps was ready to listen & began to put this crazy puzzle together to make some sense. Others stories… Read more »
I have faced that comment/question many times…the simple answer is, I stay because I love him. I stay because I can only live in this 24 hours, if I get caught up in tomorrow I’m crazy. I have faith and hope that he will find his way out of this disease if and when he chooses to, not in my time frame or under my control. I keep my focus on me, live my life and let him contribute to it how he can when he chooses. I have found myself in Al-Anon and I’m not about to give me… Read more »
Do you ever feel condemned by others for staying with your spouse that is an addict/ alcoholic? Words like, “You deserve better or why do you stay?”
Sometimes I feel guilty for staying, but I truly love my husband. I can see the beautiful heart beneath all the behaviors in him. How do you know you’re staying out of love and committment vs codependency?
We are separated for 9 months now and I’m addressing my codependency in counseling and in Celebrate Recovery .
One day at a time…Easy does it.
My husband still drinks but I am trying one day at a time. I know when you get busy you get better.
Love the person and accept the disease
Love people and change me
Changed attitudes will aid my recovery