I found the strength…
To stand up to the alcoholic’s unacceptable behavior

Unacceptable behavior is, well, just that – unacceptable. Although it can be easily recognized, oftentimes people are not sure how to respond to it. Teresa, an anonymous Al‑Anon member, shares how she handled her husband’s verbal abuse.

Watch her interview to find out more.

Unacceptable behavior can come in many forms and can be one of the many side effects of living with the family disease of alcoholism. Al‑Anon, and Alateen for teens, provide support to anyone affected by someone else’s drinking. Find out how the program has helped our members by reading their personal stories.


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

I found the strength…
To stand up to the alcoholic’s unacceptable behavior

INTERVIEWER: Teresa, can you share with us how you dealt with unacceptable behavior?

TERESA: Yes. One instance was during the … my husband, who is not drinking but is not in a program of recovery. Sometimes he goes through this what they call dry drunks. And if we would go out even as a family, we would go out. He would feel better… I guess, it was the way he would feel better about himself if he could kind of pick at me. I didn’t see him doing it to my son, but he would do it to me. And it just became unacceptable. The more I would go out and he would pick that, I wouldn’t have any fun being out there.

And I kept going to my Al‑Anon meetings, and I got the strength to tell him this is unacceptable. You cannot pick at me to feel better when we go out as a family. And so, but he would continue to do things like that. And it was sort of like when my son was little. And if he would punch the buttons on the TV, I had to make that effort to get off the couch. I’d say, “If you don’t stop that, if you … don’t make me get up.” So, I had to do that with my husband. And I’d get in his face, and I’d say, “You cannot do that to me.” And it got to the point at one time I even said, “I am not going to go out with you anymore because it’s not fun. And I’m worth… I’m worthy of being treated with respect.” And something happened. Maybe he heard me that time because I noticed it changed. That unacceptable behavior no longer continued. And we would go out and we’d have fun. And it wasn’t like he was always picking at me to tell me… that sometimes he would try to make me feel like I was really stupid. And I’m not stupid and I’m a very a capable woman. And he was the only one that would treat me that way. So, thank goodness for the Al‑Anon program of recovery that I learned to stand up and say no, that I do not deserve to be treated that way. I deserve respect.

INTERVIEWER: You deserved more, and you found the strength in Al‑Anon.


INTERVIEWER: Thank you, Teresa.