He relapsed and I wanted a divorce… But Al‑Anon showed me another way

Eileen, an anonymous Al‑Anon member, thought that divorcing her husband was her only option. Watch her interview to find out more.

Often after years of dealing with a loved one’s alcohol abuse, family members are exhausted and feel like they have run out of options. By coming to Al‑Anon, they not only find support from others who understand what they are going through and feeling, but they also find that there are many other solutions that they didn’t even realize were available.

On our “How Can I Help My Problem Drinker Quit Drinking?” webpage, you can find links to members’ personal recovery stories that include many different points of view from a variety of relationships. Although their experiences with the family disease of alcoholism may be very similar, you will find that the ways in which they work their personal recovery journeys vary from person to person.


This interview was recorded at the 2018 Al‑Anon International Convention in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Members were asked to share about various aspects of the Al‑Anon program and their personal experience.

Members’ anonymity is protected so that they can share openly and honestly about their experience with a loved one’s drinking and with the Al‑Anon program.

The opinions expressed in this video were strictly those of the person who gave them.

Video Transcript

He relapsed and I wanted a divorce… But Al‑Anon showed me another way

INTERVIEWER: Eileen, you mentioned that your husband had relapsed. Could you tell us how you dealt with those periods of relapse?

EILEEN: I was livid. And my solution was I was figuring out how to divorce him and I called a friend who invited me to Al‑Anon. And actually, what she said is, “I’m going to an Al‑Anon meeting. Can I pick you up?” And I went and I have not stopped going. It’s been five years.

So how did I deal with it? Man, I was in my head a lot. And yet what I heard when I was going to meetings was people who had spouses, children who were in the disease. And I saw hope and I saw smiles. And I heard solutions.

I think the thing that really grabbed hold of me like the slogans and “Live and Let Live” changed me. I did not know how to let others live. So pretty quickly, the anger turned into finding my own hobbies. And now my husband joins me on some of the things that I’ve learned that I like to do.

INTERVIEWER: Wonderful. So, by finding that focus…

EILEEN: Yep, keeping the focus on myself, living my life. I didn’t think he was going to want to come. I didn’t think that things were going to turn out the way they did, but they have.

INTERVIEWER: That’s wonderful. Thank you for sharing.