His drinking ruined my plans… And I took it personally

Many people question why the family members of an alcoholic need a recovery program too if they don’t have a drinking problem. What Al‑Anon members come to understand is that alcoholism is a family disease. Some refer to it as a disease of relationships. Those closest to the alcoholic suffer the most and can easily get caught up in the behavior of the other person. Family members often react to the alcoholic’s behavior and may try to control their drinking for them. They may also take on the blame, guilt, and shame that really belong to the drinker.

In this interview with an anonymous Al‑Anon member, she shares one of the ways her husband’s drinking affected her and what she learned in Al‑Anon that helped.

If there a history of alcoholism in your family, maybe Al‑Anon can help you too.

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Disclaimer:

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

His drinking ruined my plans… And I took it personally

INTERVIEWER: Hi, Cindy, can you share with us how Al‑Anon helped you cope when your husband’s drinking would upset your family’s plans?

CINDY: Sure. It seemed like my family plans were often so I couldn’t really count on being able to plan anything. We had tickets to a concert one night and I came home, and he was drunk, and we couldn’t go. And my old way of behavior was just to get upset, feel bad, cry, be angry with him. You know, sometimes it was hard to remember that alcoholism is a disease, and it really wasn’t his fault. It was just so easy to take it personally. So, with Al‑Anon, I learned not to just have a plan A, but it was also good to have a plan B or a Plan C or maybe even a plan D. So, if I had tickets to something, I could ask him to go, but I could have a backup. And people in Al‑Anon understood. They understood what I was going through. And they understood that I couldn’t really count on him to be able to go to things with me. Sure. And so, I could call them last minute if he couldn’t go. Sometimes I also learned to just do things on my own. That was almost a way of detachment for me. I would still get me out of the house. I could go to the event. And through Al‑Anon, I learned not to be resentful for being there by myself. And by the time I got home, he was often in bed, and I had a nice, quiet, serene house, so life was, it helped.

INTERVIEWER: Thank you for sharing with us, Cindy.