Our lives became unmanageable

Welcome to First Steps to Al-Anon Recovery. This is a series of podcasts to discuss some common concerns for people who have been affected by someone else’s drinking.

Today we’re going to ask Al-Anon members how they came to realize that their lives had become unmanageable.

How to locate a meeting

2017-07-28T09:03:43+00:00July 26, 2012|Categories: Alateen, Common Concerns|


  1. Cindy May 2017 at 9:46 am

    I have been in a relationship with an alcoholic for just about 5 years. A year ago I reached a point where I had no joy left in my life. I wasn’t sleeping and could barely eat. Every single day I let his alcoholism determine what kind of day I was going to have. I had reached a limit and realized I cannot help him if he doesn’t want to help himself. My health had deteriorated because of the stress his behaviour was causing and I felt hopeless. I have alienated friends and family because of the shame I felt. We had separated for six months and in that time I pulled myself together and was functioning normal again. I vowed never to be in that situation again where I let somebody less behaviour affect me in such a way. Well here I am back together for 5 months now. He told me he wanted to make a change and get sober. He went to the doctor and got a prescription for naltrextron. He was taking the pill faithfully for about two months and I really thought that he would stick to it because he seemed so much happier. Well he started to cheat with the pill and not take it. The lying started again and all the behaviours of being an alcoholic are now resurfaced. I do not want to end up where I was last year. I live in a small town that doesn’t offer Alanon so I’m hoping I can find some support on here. I am the main bread winner because he is laid off most of the time. We own a house together but I have made most the mortgage payments on my own as well as other bills. I want out but I’m scared of the drama it’s going to cause and I’m scared of loosing my house. I also feel guilt about him not having enough money to support himself. I care about him deeply he is a good man when sober but I’m afraid his alcoholism has hardened my heart. I understand this is a disease and I reall do try to be compassionate. I need support to help me through this because I realize I can’t do this on my own

  2. Pat June 2016 at 10:06 pm

    Beings an adult child of alcoholic parents, and the mother of an adult alcoholic child, all I can say is, I’m a mess. My life has been totally powerless over alcohol and my life became unmanageable from a young age. Didn’t quite see the signs of being messed up growing up, could of been because of my own drinking in my teen years. I always seemed to never fit in, struggled with friendships and trust in others. Even now at the age of 63.it wasn’t until a couple years ago someone dear to my heart, told me about Alanon, so after alot of thought, doubt, criticism, etc….I decided to go. It was the best thing I ever did for my own healing. I’d like to encourage you to go to the meetings AND go to the open AA meetings. Go to as many meetings you can. It will help you alot! Get a sponsor (Very important ) purchase a book or two. I won a years subscription to The Forum and it’s an awesome little monthly magazine which always comes in time for me. My parents never stopped drinking. My son is 42 and he’s worse. My husband and I take our grandkids alot to give them some stability, love, whatever they need. We can see the affects on them…. (future Al-Ateens I’m sure) Look, your loved ones may never quit , may never go for help, but don’t give up on them or hope. Trust in God or Higher Power to give you strength to get through this, and keep going back to the meetings. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

  3. Elizabeth May 2016 at 7:29 pm

    I’m all tangled up in the recovery/non-recovery cha-cha my alcoholic husband has been doing for the last two years. My life has definitely become unmanageable; for the five years before, I did my best to leave his drinking to him and his higher power. But somehow this supposed recovery has sent me into a knot of dread and paralysis; once again, I know I need to turn my husband and his disease over to a power greater than myself. Trying to “help” has done nothing of the kind.

    I pray daily to be released from the burden of anger and reaction when — and this is a large part of my problem — hopes are dashed, expectations shattered. Seeking my own serenity and learning how to detach from outcomes are skills I work each day to acquire — and remember to be gentle with myself when I fall short.

    I truly hope that the gentleness will eventually translate into my attitude toward my alcoholic. But the fear and scarcities, job losses and erratic unpredictable behavior are firing reactions I’m having a really hard time subduing. It really helps to know I’m not alone in the difficult situation of living through a loved one’s so-far losing struggle with alcohol.

  4. Susan January 2016 at 10:14 am

    I returned to Al-Anon after 19 years away, when my alcoholic brother emailed me for money (again), but this time he said he had no food in the house. I now live in another state than when I began my Al-Anon journey.

    My sober brother and sister-in-law and I will not give our drinking brother any money or assistance of any kind, but I still needed support, so I went on-line and found Al-Anon meetings. After a few months, I had the courage to ask a woman to be my sponsor! Now I have a person who understands, with whom I can talk outside of meetings.

    Recently my alcoholic brother said he was being evicted and would be living in his car. Because of Al-Anon, my sponsor, meetings, the readings, and my 12-Step brother and sister-in-law (who live in the same town as our alcoholic brother), I now have peace and don’t worry about my alcoholic brother anymore. My Higher Power, whom I choose to call God, is in charge of him and will do the right thing for my brother.

  5. Elizabeth December 2015 at 7:22 am

    I knew my partner of 5 years was a heavy drinker when we first started dating, but I always had deep feelings for him. He was good looking, very educated and I thought, “Wow, life is going to be awesome.” It has turned out to be anything but awesome.

    In the last five years, he has sold all my jewelry, taken my work car out for a joy ride drunk, stole liquor from our corner store, lost jobs, pawned the family tv, stole alcohol from every person’s house we know or he worked for, including family. I decided he is no longer invited to my family events. I forgave him and know he will never quit drinking. He has been to rehab multiple times. Rarely he apologizes. He blames everything on someone else.

    This last job he lost was due to him pawning tools that belonged to his boss, so he could buy liquor. Over 40 dollars! I was so mad that I intentionally kissed someone. I am so ashamed that I did this in hoping he would leave me. I have apologized over and over.

    I know he is sick. I feel worn out. Just want to run away, but I need to stand up — but I feel so weak. Hoping for something good to happen.

  6. Calvin R July 2015 at 5:59 pm

    I have kept coming back to Al-Anon for some time now, but it took a lot for me to get here. I come from a large family, and alcohol and/or other substances permeated my life. I always wanted to “help” somebody, but that seemed to fall through almost always.

    I knew I was not living up to my potential, but could not figure out what had happened. I finally got into a relationship with one more alcoholic. What was going to make it work out this time was that she was in A.A.

    I was in very poor condition by then, sitting on a couch all day and worrying about how to change people who lived far away. (That never worked, of course, but it took all my energy.) My girlfriend managed to get me to one of the smaller fellowships, because I’d have done whatever she wanted. While she did not realize that Al-Anon meetings existed in our little town, I did.

    It took me three more months to get to Al-Anon, though, because I was afraid “those people are going to know how I am.” I knew I had to go there or commit suicide, because I could not go on without help. I went to a meeting, and it was the best thing I’ve ever done.

  7. Becky February 2015 at 8:40 am

    Feeling my life is unmanageable (which still happens sometimes, even after being in Al-Anon) feels like I’m “sitting on sandpaper.” There is no comfort in trying to control people, places, and things–particularly the alcoholic.

    My solution is to breathe, pray the Serenity Prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” This helps me pause, and not say or do something I might regret later, when I’m not feeling so upset.

    Al-Anon teaches many more ideas that help to give a new perspective and help us get our lives and ourselves back, so that we can deal with the matter at hand, whatever that may be. Going to Al-Anon meetings is how I learned to deal with unmanageability.

  8. Kim February 2014 at 5:21 pm

    I’m a recovering alcoholic and drug user, will be sober for 10 years coming in May.

    I’ve stayed with my husband who quit the drugs, but has continued drinking. He went to jail Friday, convicted of his 4th OWI. Just last Wednesday he jumped in the truck to go to the bar after consuming many beers.

    Because he knew he was going to plead guilty, he had decided to spend his paychecks on his needs and not help with the bills. This had gone on for quite some time. I found myself in total debt. And afraid to be alone for the first time in my life.

    I started going to church because I needed something better in my life, and tonight I’m going back to Al-Anon. It’s a start.
    I don’t have to be alone.

  9. patrick February 2014 at 5:24 pm

    My best friend has been abusing alcohol over the last 1.5 years. Both his parents died within 4 months of each other and then I had acute angina while visiting in another state where he has family. I ended up having double bypass surgery and he stayed to help with my recovery.

    When we returned home, all hell broke loose and he started to go on binges and that has continued. He lost one job and ended up being unemployed since. He joined AA and a program and was sober for 3 months, then slipped and continues to slip frequently.

    I keep rescuing him and try to get him to eat and take fluids until he is sober, but after a week or so he repeats the whole cycle. I am at wits end and getting ready to end our friendship after 31 years.

  10. serina December 2013 at 12:31 pm

    My life was also turned upside down too because of my mom, she was a drug addict and so was my dad so I’m living with my grandparents and I can’t see my mom or dad, but I’ve been going to different Al-Anon meetings, and I just watched a video on drinking too much. I think that if I worry about my life, I”ll be OK.

  11. Laudia September 2013 at 2:30 am

    Wow! I wish I knew Al-Anon years ago. It is changing me. My Higher Power is my God and He brought me to this program. I have been through 3 meetings and I will never stop. I encourage everyone to go. It is helping me so much with my relationship. I used to be frustrated and did not know how to handle my stress, but with Al-Anon it was meant for me and I am going to take that blessing that God led me to this program to help me and other families that have the same problem. Everyone needs to hear about this!

  12. MIGUEL A. September 2013 at 9:51 am

    A los 17 años por imitación el el hogar empece a ingerir bebidas alcohólicas, todos lo hacían, mi madre, mi hermano mayor , los compadres, esto debido a que mi padre con siguió una mujer dentro de los grupos de AA, el dejo la casa y se fue a vivir a otro colonia de la ciudad, y así mi resentimiento crecía y crecía.. de mil formas. POR QUE? bebe mi madre, por que beben en casa, por que estoy bebiendo yo. Y asi muchas preguntas, una ves se me pasaron las copas y anestesiadi aparecí en una avenida tirado, me espante… le dije a un tio con quien trabajaba , creo que él le aviso a mi padre y me llevo a AA, claro con resentimiento fui tratando de entender el problema del alcohol y mi forma de beber, sin mas ni hacerla larga, ya ven los AA decían , pasa …pasa con tu Primer Paso, yo con temor me arme de valor y pase, empece a comentar el por que estaba empezando a beber de esa forma, uf termine , mi platica.
    Al final de la reunión de AA se acerco el Señor. que coordinaba de sesión me dijo:
    – Tu lugar no es Aquí AA … es ALATEEN, dame tu teléfono y te hablara mi hijo.
    en la semana me hablo un joven como de 14 años diciendo.
    – Te invito a una Reunión de ALATEEN militamos sábados -le conteste – claro!! nos vemos el Sábado.
    y fui ese mismo sabado, ohh!! gran sorpresa miembros de mi misma edad, el libro “ESPERANZA PARA HIJOS ADULTOS DE ALCOHÓLICOS” los temas, la reunión, era como si me estuvieran diciendo -este lugar es para ti Miguel, y empece mi carrera Alateen , hay mismos el padrino de grupo miembro en aquel tiempo Al-Anon Juvenil hoy Hijos Adultos de Alcohólicos en el grupo que estaba en la torre latinoamericana piso 15 sesionaba los Sábados a las 7 pm , y era una lugar que entre mas se hablaba de Alcoholismo Familiar, mas entendia los problemas que existian en mi casa, le doy gracias a mi poder Superior y a ese Dios de mi entendimiento que han hecho de mi una gran persona. A pesar de todos los problemas que el alcoholismo en mi hogar se dan. Pero tengo un programa a seguir que es digno de decir que me mantiene Feliz dichoso de compartir. actualmente se que mi forma de beber se debía a un contagio , un contagio de imitación por que actualmente Al-Anon me enseña a ser yo.

  13. Janie May 2013 at 1:45 pm

    My husband and I are both out of work. His drinking habit is bankrupting us. I can’t trust him to be away from him for long periods of time.

    I went to visit my daughter two years ago. He was supposed to pick me up from the airport. He didn’t show up. I called him and everyone that I knew that would know where he was. We found him passed out in the car in the airport’s parking lot.

    He is making bad decisions and I have to constantly watch him to stop him. He lies constantly. I find wine and vodka bottles in the strangest places (in the glove compartment, behind books in the bookcase…). I have to hide my jewelry and debit card.

    I have isolated myself from my friends and relatives. No one knows what I’m going through. I’m depressed and totally stressed out. I have been thinking about going to an Al-Anon meeting for over a year. I’m not sure what is holding me back. There is only one meeting a week and I think about it all week and then when it rolls around, I don’t go.

    I think I’m afraid to seem weak and let my guard down, or I don’t want to admit that he has a problem. He said the only reason he is drinking is because he is bored and stressed over money problems. When I ask him what he is going to do when he gets a job, he says he won’t drink.

  14. KJ April 2013 at 2:59 am

    Thanks so much for sharing. My life has become unmanageable and I’m pretty sure you who read this will understand.

    I started mixing drinks for my dad at age 9. I remember a time when my dad went to work on a Wednesday and came home on Saturday, throwing money up in the air because he had just come home from a bout of bingeing in Vegas.

    I remember being in the car in the middle of the night in my PJs while my mom drove by his favorite bars trying to track him down.

    Recently I stood in ICU at my sister’s bedside, crying, hoping and praying that she would live.

    Now, over the age of 40, my health is suffering from a lifetime of waiting for the other shoe to drop. I feel like I can’t do this anymore.

    But after reading your shares and giving my life over to my higher power, I have hope for today.

  15. mae February 2013 at 9:02 pm

    I am so glad you all have found this website. I know for me, I cannot get to Al-Anon meetings, but having this forum is very helpful. With 15 years or more of my husband drinking heavily, and now with him dry for 2, one would think all would be well. It isn’t. I still have so much anger for the life that has been wasted and I sometimes think I have PTSD that is triggered by everyday things around our house.

    I wonder and I hope that one day I will be able to put this behind me (us) and we can truly be happy again.

    I miss being happy.

    I think I am as sick as he is. Maybe more because I let him treat me so badly. Something must be missing in me.

  16. Julie January 2013 at 1:30 am

    I have had enough. I have been married to an alcoholic for 7 years. Tonight I finally called the police on him. I saw the fear and pain in my little boy’s face as he watched Dad–big, strong Dad–curled up on the floor in a closet cursing and yelling. He watched as my husband threatened to throw our computer across the room (I physically had to pull if out of his hands and I’m half his size), throw a glass at a window, and break whatever was in his path. This is somewhat mild compared to many episodes we’ve had when he was drunk.

    It’s different now; I have a 3-month-old daughter and my 9-year-old is fed up to the point where he is begging me to leave him. I feel so terrible that I haven’t. I can’t believe I let my son witness this man who is supposed to love and protect him be reduced to a violent, slurring, disgusting person. We feel like we don’t know him anymore.

    Let’s put it this way, every little thing anyone says or does to offend him–even the slightest bit–warrants an emotional breakdown and binge. It could be me, a co-worker, a stranger, or a relative. ANYTHING will set him off, and he doesn’t stop. He doesn’t pass out. The more drinks he has, the more energy he has. He will drink 30 beers and demand more. He will leave on foot and call me throughout the night, threatening to jump off bridges and run into oncoming traffic. He tortures me, and there’s nothing I can do.

    I’m pretty sure I have some issues of my own. I haven’t ever talked to anyone else about this. I keep it a secret and deal with it completely on my own. I have cut off my family and I’m afraid to make friends. It’s getting so difficult to hide now. My life revolves around not making my husband angry. But, no matter what, I do.

    I’m so scared he will kill himself and I feel like there has to be something I can do to prevent it. I don’t know what to do. I don’t believe in god so prayer isn’t an option. Only some kind of action will keep everyone safe–but what? I have to face this now, but it’s so complicated. I feel responsible although I know I’m not. The cops dropped him off at a hotel for the night, but I’m worried sick. I’m only at peace when he’s in jail or in a hospital; he can’t be on his own.

    I wish he was here next to me. Sober and sleeping. I never took the beauty of that peace for granted.

  17. Ruth F December 2012 at 10:59 am

    The stories are heart-breaking. It is hard to let others solve their own problems and to find happiness when our loved ones are suffering from the results of addictions. We cannot solve someone else’s problem, but we don’t need to be a victim or a rescuer either.

    With the help of my Higher Power, I am learning to choose happiness for today. Worrying about someone I love and what might happen, and trying to solve it by going over and over the problem in my mind, doesn’t solve the problem. My problem in the situation is obsessing about it and feeling sad and overwhelmed by what is happening, and trying to find a solution that is beyond my abilities. I have to ask myself, “Is this really my problem or responsibility?”

    I am learning to take care of my own needs. This may seem like I don’t care, but that is farthest from the truth. Giving others the dignity to solve their own problems sets me free to work on myself and to learn to be gentle with myself. I encourage you to find an Al-Anon family group.

  18. Jay Jay December 2012 at 8:16 pm

    My husband of 12 years has been an alcoholic/addict since the age of 15. He is now 43. He’s been through tons of rehabs, in and out of prison and today is in another rehab.

    It’s been a major struggle, physically and mentally. I am so tired of my life being unmanageable. He’s cheated on me with other women and just for money for his next high, has seduced other men. Unfortunately, I loved him to the point of using with him, just so I would not lose him.

    I am fortunate enough to have a strong spirit and never allowed drugs or alcohol to control my life. When I noticed I was running the streets with him and not caring about my kids, I knew it was time to put my foot down. It had to end. That is when the adultry began, or at least when I began to discover it. Could be he cheated on me from day one, but just hid it well.

    Now I am struggling to differentiate what my heart wants me to do as opposed to what my mind is telling me to do. When I am with him sexually, all I can do is think about all the times he’s cheated. Then if we are apart, I feel like I’m falling apart and like I don’t want to live life without him. I’m so totally confused.

    He says I am really cold and emotionless while I am with him. He feels no affection from me. At one time, all I did was kiss and caress him and love him and hold and hug him. Now, I feel like ice around him. I guess because I feel like I am still being used for his convenience and once he has completed his court ordered rehab program, he’s back out on the streets with the booze, alcohol, and women. Who knows, if even men.

    After 12 years of a marriage full of lies and deceit, I attended my first Al-Anon meeting last week. It was great to talk and cry and be told, “We’ve been there. You’re in the right place. Keep coming.” He only says in a fume of rage, I’m crazy and then leaves. Thank you, Al-Anon for being my support when I had no one else to run to.

  19. Denna L November 2012 at 4:51 pm

    My moment came when my partner took my car and received a DUI. It took me a week to get my car back because we were broke until I got paid.

    He is on disability. So there I was, grieving the death of my beloved dog, which coincided with the death anniversary of my gramdmother. He was in jail, and I was completely alone to deal with it all. As I sat tryng to come up with another miracle to pull him out, I had the thought–what next? I believe my higher power told me almost out loud–he is going to kill you or someone else.

    He had been in rehab a few years earlier and I had attended one family night when they mentioned the Al-Anon program. So after four months, I went to my first meeting this past week.

  20. Marcia September 2012 at 10:22 pm

    My heart is broken. I think of my son who is probably in jail right now and I want to hide from this pain. He made it through college and has a nice temporary job, but if he gets a DUI, there goes his opportunities.

    He gets lonely and then goes to socialize with the locals at the bar, and then the more he drinks the more opinionated he gets, until everyone hates him.

    He was going to come home and is working on getting a new job, but this is his second incident in a month, in which he ended up in the hospital and now with a $5K bill. My husband is on vacation a few hours away and is probably overly stressed and in agony.

  21. Bee September 2012 at 1:01 pm

    Our life has just turned upside down. My son is an alcoholic, walked into another condo on vacation while drunk, did not know where he was. Now has to go to court for burglary, which I know he did not do.

    I am such a mess, can’t sleep, eat, and all I can do is feel sorry for him. I know he is good, he is a good son to us. How can we all cope? My husband has been my rock on all this, but I know he is hurting too.

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