How alcoholism affected my family… a member’s story

In this video, Teddy, an anonymous Al‑Anon member, shares how her partners’ alcoholism affected her family. Listen to how she was able to break the cycle of financial insecurity, domestic violence, and emotional torture.

If you are in immediate danger, please take immediate action to safeguard yourself. Domestic violence counseling and resources are available locally and nationally by searching online for “domestic violence help.” Al‑Anon provides recovery and support from the effects of a relative or friends’ drinking. You are not alone.


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

How alcoholism affected my family… a member’s story

TEDDY: To begin with, my son’s father was an alcoholic and a gambler and also a sex offender that I didn’t know about. We were no longer married. But the issue is that he would go out from work and gamble and drink and we not have any money for food. And at one point, I actually hocked my engagement ring so I could put food on the table. And that was one of the reasons why I was like, my children can’t suffer because this person is sick.

So, I went and got a part time job and kept all the money myself, so we’d have groceries. I didn’t learn until many years later that that was the right thing for me to do.

But I was involved in a relationship before Al‑Anon that brought me into Al‑Anon, where I thought the money issue was making him drink. The counselor then said to me he was drinking long before you had money issues.

INTERVIEWER: So, it’s a chicken and the egg.

TEDDY: Yeah, and I’ve heard that many times, you know, if I if I tried to keep him on a short leash and only give him so much money, you know, he would find friends at the bar, and they would buy him drinks. So, there was there’s really no controlling it with money being poured down the drain. You’re just wasting money because you’re going to find a way to drink if they have to drink.

INTERVIEWER: Yes. Yes. How did the alcoholic’s behavior impact the children?

TEDDY: The alcoholic whose actual behavior got me into the rooms. My teenage… children were teenagers at the time, and he literally scared them to death because he would sit with an unloaded shotgun across this lap to convince them he wanted to talk to them. Now he was drunk. Yes, but he was trying to get something through them, who knows what. And he learned very quickly when he did come home for dinner, he wasn’t coming home sober, and they would disappear and as a result of that, when my son got married and had a child, he was determined to not be like his father or like the stepfather that scared him to death. And he he had just been a wonderful father. So, I mean, it’s been good. He did a good turn around. But that doesn’t happen with everyone.

INTERVIEWER: Thank you, Teddy. Thank you for sharing.