Reclaiming My Life

When I first walked into Al‑Anon, I couldn’t speak. I only cried. My life was unmanageable. What I was doing wasn’t working, and I was in complete denial. I was yelling, crying and pouring liquor down the drain. I was angry and desperate, and I experienced turbulent mood swings. Coming to Al‑Anon was a desperate cry for help. Living with an active, chronic alcoholic husband for over 15 years had left me emotionally and mentally beaten. Here in Al‑Anon, though, I learned how to take care of myself. I no longer dislike myself, nor do I live in a sea of despair. My recovery has been a gradual one of awareness, acceptance and change. I’ve learned to expect ups and downs and that it can take years of humility and learning.

I’ve recently decided to invest in a new future and reclaim my life. I’ll plant the seeds of new hopes and dreams. My garden of new hopes and dreams will not be decided by my marital status. Instead, I dream of being more in touch with my family. My goal is to not wallow in self-pity, but to appreciate everything and everyone that I have in my life. I now realize that I do have strengths and weaknesses, just like everyone else and that I can ask for help if I need to. Finally, I can accept things as they are without trying to recapture the way they used to be.

By Nicole S., Manitoba

2018-03-28T15:08:32+00:00 March 28, 2018|Categories: Alcoholic Spouse or Partner, The Forum|


  1. Ellen April 2018 at 5:51 am

    Reclaiming your life helped me finally reach out and start the process of reclaiming my life. I am a newcomer and have finally emailed my request for meeting schedules and literature. I am hoping that in writing my comment will help me to start the healing process. I have been fooling myself that I could get through this on my own. I can’t and I am destroying who I am/was. I have so much resentment and anger inside of me that it is difficult for me to concentrate on any one thing, so I find myself in a constant state of going from one task to another and it taking 10 times the amount of time and effort that it used to. This is my 1st step and I will continue to get incouragement from the group.

  2. Sheri April 2018 at 3:07 am

    Many of your stories are similar to mine. I lost my husband to cirrhosis, kidney failure, esophageal varices, pancreatitis and diabetes in September 2016. We had been high school sweethearts. He did not have a problem with alcohol until he was in his early 40’s. He was only 58 when he died, an alcoholic and an addict.

    I went to Al-Anon for the first time in December 2011. It was a last resort; I had tried everything else. I felt like a failure. My father was an alcoholic, and so was my grandfather. My mother said she had lived with an alcoholic her entire life. I had sworn that would not happen to me. And, in fact, my husband and I had often talked about the fact that both our fathers were alcoholics, and how this had negatively affected both of us. I NEVER thought my husband would become a victim of this disease. He was too smart, too talented, . . . but I was wrong.

    I attended Al-Anon meetings regularly for a while, as well as continuing to see a therapist who encouraged my attendance at Al-Anon. But, when my husband made attempts to control his drinking, I would relax my attendance at meetings. I felt like having to go to meetings was just one more thing on my already full plate. Anyway, wasn’t it his problem, not mine?!? Ultimately, my husband lost his job of 27 years, which meant he was home all day, alone, and he could indulge in his addictions as much as he wanted.

    After an involuntary commitment, a week in detox, and 28 days in an in-patient treatment facility, my husband got sober. He stayed sober for exactly 100 days. He did not adhere to our agreement, that if he relapsed he would tell me immediately and be willing to go back to in-patient treatment. From that point, his use of anti-anxiety meds (bought on-line from India) and of alcohol, quickly returned to the level he had been at prior to treatment. His brain had begun to recover during this brief period of sobriety, but, as I now understand, he most likely needed 2 years of sobriety for his brain and thought processes to even approach normal. At that point, desperate, I returned to Al-Anon . . . attending 3 or 4 meetings a week, reading Al-Anon literature daily, and reaching out to others in Al-Anon. This action saved my sanity and my life. I couldn’t save my husband, but Al-Anon helped me to make changes in myself, which allowed me to make amends to my husband before he died, and to let go of much of my anger and resentment. If you devote the time to the Al-Anon program, the benefits you receive will be great, and it will give you the strength and support you need to make changes, and move forward.

  3. Bluesandrine April 2018 at 11:53 am

    I have been living for close to 2 years with an alcoholic husband who is in denial. I have had to put up with his constant emotional abuse, humiliation and degradation on a personal level. My looks, my body, my family are a constant reminder of how disgusted I make him feel. He is a hard drinker, consumes a full bottle of vodka 750 ml and sometimes more every single night and then lashes out. In fact last night he was livid because I refused to go and buy alcohol and he was too drunk to drive to the liquor store. So he found revenge in tormenting me about leaving/having an affair with “this” woman. Told me I was ugly and he had made a mistake marrying me.
    This morning is the beginning of a new day. As usual he acts as if nothing happened and I’m in this nightmare on my own. I head to work with a heavy heart and eyes full of tears.
    Now I’m finally ready to stand for myself and do the best thing – leave! I feel blessed to have found Al-Anon. My journey will be long my energy levels are low but I am ready to make that step.

  4. Laura April 2018 at 4:58 pm

    I’m here by the instruction of my brother, who is in recovery. My husband has always been an alcoholic, but so have I. I was deep in AA in my early-mid 20’s. I eventually grew up and maintained a professional job for another 10 years.
    After my husband and I had our son, I never went back to work. I’ve been able to control my drinking with a certain degree, but now my husband has gone into full blown drug addiction and alcoholism. We can’t even be in the same room together without something I say setting him off. I cry non stop. I am at the point each day where I want a divorce. I hope I can find a good home group to help me find myself once again bc I’m suffering as I’ve never before.

  5. Marie April 2018 at 10:09 am

    I’ve decided to attend a meeting tonight finally. My significant other has struggled with alcoholism for years. I have children and it’s starting to affect them as well. Yesterday and last night was the worst. He belittles me to the point I question my self worth. The drinking now makes me feel nothing but disgust and despair. From the moment I hear the ice maker and the bottle open I’m on edge and full of dread. My Father was an alcoholic so there is that fight or flight response when I smell the alcohol. I’ve went from feeling desperate to help him to broken hearted that he treats me so bad. Now begins anger. He slammed cabinet doors on purpose which woke up the kids crying in fear. I lashed out and scratched him pretty good. There’s no excuse to put your hands on someone but for scaring my kids I couldn’t control it. I went through this as a child and have trust issues as a result. I don’t want my children to accept the same fate.

  6. Anne-Marie April 2018 at 10:01 am

    I’ve been taking what my husband has been doing personally…the secret drinking, the lying…I am an intelligent woman, but I don’t feel like one when it concerns my relationship with him…I have lived with this situation for years and I have been in severe denial…but now that I am becoming aware, I am even more anxious…I have had a few conversations with him, thinking he would see how much he is hurting me and that he would want to change, for us…but it is not happening and, in fact, it is worse…I have decided I want him to move out, it is my elderly father’s and my house, but he won’t leave, and he acts like nothing is wrong.

  7. Elizabeth April 2018 at 8:21 am

    I am finally seeking help for me. Being married into this disease, I find it very hard to cope with the way that my spouse interacts with me. I am placed in a world of silence and have to walk on “egg-shells” around him. When we do get along well, I seem to always say or do something to screw things up and the silence will continue. I am seeking a way to turn this dance around…my world is too crazy some days! Thanks for letting me share here since I find it hard to speak at a meeting.

  8. Lisa April 2018 at 8:13 pm

    My husband’s drinking has spiraled out of control. I am devastated by the fact that, perhaps, this has been going on much long than I have realized. He struggles with depression and is on anti-depressants, but in the past few months, I feel that his depression and drinking have gotten worse. Of course, it is hard to know which came first, the depression or the alcohol abuse; I’m sure they are tightly intertwined. Along with his increased usage, he was spending more and more time “at work” and away from home. Finally, I figured out what was going on. I feel so stupid, hopeless, ashamed, duped, and afraid. I love my husband, and it devastates me to know that he is hurting his body and ruining his beautiful brain with this substance. He admitted to me (tearfully) that he drinks in order to sleep, and he also admitted to drinking in the car on his way home from work. For so many obvious reasons, this horrifies me and breaks my heart. I told him that of course, I want him to quit or control his intake. But I insisted that, more than anything, I hope that he can peel back the shame, know that I love him, and stop drinking secretly. I also asked him to please just drink at home or call me or a friend for transportation. These things do not fix his drinking problem, but they at least (I hope) will reduce harm and risk to him, to me, to our finances, and to the “institution” that is our household. However, now that he is home in the evenings, drunk, it is a devastation to watch this up close. He passed out on the sofa before 7pm this evening. Just as scary, I never even saw him drink a drop…so he is at home, but it is still happening in secret. I feel wild with grief but am trying to sort out what is his problem, my problem and “our” problem. I think I have found an AA family group meeting in my area at a time that I will be able to attend next Monday. I am praying that I can find help and hope. I keep thinking I will wake up from this nightmare and then realize that this is really happening to us.

  9. Tommy G. April 2018 at 7:35 pm

    Just trying to find al-anon group close by I can attend.

  10. Robert April 2018 at 1:26 pm

    Thank you for this!! It’s nice to know there are people out there that have similar stories and that we are not alone! My first meeting is this Tuesday and I look forward to it!!

  11. Jen April 2018 at 11:07 pm

    Sounds like my husband. Been with him 18 years. He’s been in in patient 6 days doing great then started up and can’t stop. He’s alive but dead sleeps all the time ….he needs surgery things going on after surgery he stops drinking or he needs to leave. I can’t live like this anymore. I’m going to go to an Al-Anon meeting this week.

  12. DELORES April 2018 at 8:59 pm

    I have been in the alcoholic environment since 2014. What has been a Saving Grace for me is getting involved in service. I am a new GR and that has helped me to maintain stability and Sanity. I feel like I’m making a difference and being a GR allows me to practice what I preach. Thank you.

  13. Linda April 2018 at 5:33 am

    It’s devsastating knowing you can’t help them control their drinking or their nasty behaviour that comes with it!
    No person or anything in the world is greater than their desire to drink. 😪

  14. Amy Beth April 2018 at 11:41 pm

    When I met my husband and his daughter they had just been recently dumped in the trash can by his ex-wife, a hard-core alcoholic.
    I was a bike rider and a runner and they both showed interest in that for a while. We married a year later and I had my daughter and his daughter in the house. I didn’t drink until my stepdaughter was about 25. That means a glass of wine. But her grandmother and her father continued to drink. Didn’t matter to them what her genetics might be.
    Well now years later my step daughter and my husband… her daddy…are hard-core drinking buddies. She brings her friends and he pays for all the booze. They start drinking at 1 to 2 in the afternoon and drink all night. This goes on for every day of what is supposed to be our vacation.
    He is a functional drunk and a physician. But he’s become very overweight and his skin is the color of an alcoholic. She is successful in the financial district in New York. But she can mix drinks and drink him under the table. They make me sick.

  15. Tracey April 2018 at 4:11 pm

    Thank you for sharing!
    Listening and reading stories of experience, strength and hope reminds me how powerful our program is and how blessed I am to have found Al-Anon. The one program that can help me live again and love again.

  16. Kimberly April 2018 at 5:55 pm

    This story has given me hope, that I dont have to live in this Hell. 17 yrs I’ve been with this man, and although he’s always been an alcoholic, the past 7 years have been a pure hell kicked off by a drug addiction. Now he’s exchanged that back to alcohol, his true love. Anti-depressants don’t help, but I’m hoping I can find some sort of peace. Thank you for giving me hope.

  17. Denise April 2018 at 4:10 pm

    This is so me

  18. Raymond April 2018 at 8:53 pm

    I needed that. I have been living in hell for the past three years. I just can’t understand why a person would throw it all away for self medicating. I cry every day over my wife, she’s alive but dead

  19. Josephine March 2018 at 7:34 pm

    Wow…. thank you. I needed that

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