Taking My Own Inventory

When I came to Al‑Anon many years ago, I had been married for seven years, and my husband and I had three young sons. Although his drinking resulted in many negative consequences for the entire family, I stayed in the marriage out of financial and emotional fear.

One recent evening during dinner, I talked with him about my going to Al‑Anon. My husband began talking about his experience with A.A. and that, although he liked the meetings, he still didn’t believe that he belonged there because he had an attitude problem, not an alcohol problem.

I was shocked. I wanted to scream: Don’t you remember all the nights you came home drunk, stumbling in front of the car or calling to be rescued because your car was in a ditch, or you had been picked up by the police? I looked at him in disbelief as he stated, “I was actually only drunk once a week from a binge, maybe.” I felt that I should set him and his story straight.

But then the things I have learned in Al‑Anon flowed into my head and heart and, instead, I quietly walked away without responding.

I didn’t need to take his inventory or throw his actions in his face after all these years. After all, whose insanity was worse…his addiction to alcohol or my addiction to him? How could I judge him for his denial when I lived in denial of my destructive behaviors for so many years, too?

My Higher Power gives me opportunities to put Steps One, Two and Three into practice over and over again, and this was another one. It used to take me days to let go of such anger. Now I can quickly think through those Steps and then “Let Go and Let God.” Instead of staying angry and resentful for days, it takes only an hour or so to get back to serenity by reading some literature, calling my Sponsor and saying a prayer like, “Bless him, change me.”

Through Al‑Anon, I have found the spiritual fellowship I had been craving. Today, I choose to stay in my marriage out of love and understanding. My marriage and I are miracles of the program, and I have learned to live happily “whether the alcoholic is still drinking or not.”

 By Lynn H., Massachusetts

The Forum, January 2018

2018-02-02T14:51:22+00:00 January 12, 2018|Categories: Alcoholic Spouse or Partner, The Forum|

19 Comments

  1. Tammy M April 2018 at 4:03 pm

    Wow, coming across this today, it was exactly what I needed to hear! I am 6 years into a relationship with a functioning alcoholic. He drinks nightly, most work nights he only drinks a minimal amount (for him) and doesn’t get angry, but on weekends, he drinks so much and his entire personality changes. I married him knowing it was this way, but the man he is when he is NOT drinking is so amazing, kind, loving, compassionate…it changes after the 8th beer and if I say one wrong word then we start arguing over the littlest things and it turns me into a person I can’t stand. I fight back and always expect him to see that he needs to quit. I know it is a disease and he has been doing this since he was 13, he had a rough life and I am so glad he found love and devotion with me and my family, but I just find it hard to believe he can NOT lay down this addiction even to save his own life. I will not leave him, as I am a strong believer in marriage is for life and after 6 years of trying to CHANGE him, I realize it is ME who needs to change. I have signed up to do a virtual email group and hope to make it to a local meeting soon. I love the Bless Him, Change ME prayer….and I thank you for your testimony.

  2. Joan April 2018 at 11:10 pm

    Sorry….bless him….? Really?….was just called a bitch repeatedly for an hour. Was told that everything wrong in his life was because of me. Have put up with drinking and lies and secrets for too long. Scared….maybe like he says …..I won’t be able to make it financially.. Bless him? I’m sorry God….in addition to all the horrible things I am called….I must also be a horrible Christian…I really can’t bless someone who has destroyed my life. I am alone. I have prayed and prayed and things get worse and worse. Where are you God…..and now, I read this site which says to bless him. Sorry….I’ve got nothin left emotionally….am through with prayers. Will probably live in this darkness until I die….

  3. G April 2018 at 10:08 am

    First time posting on here. Thinking about going to a meeting. Grew up in an alcoholic home, dad who would binge drink, stay sober for months and mother who still drinks at 82. Mum used to scream at him when he was on a binge (usually for a couple of weeks) dad was a very placid quiet man, no violence. There are mother daughter problems too, she has no patience, didn’t show love, i’m youngest of 4, she’s always favoured the 2 boys. Not loving at all. Dad was a lovely man but again I don’t remember having love as a child. Am now 46 and married to someone with a drink problem, his family see it but he denies it and I even stick up for him when he off loads to me as he does work hard etc etc but deep down I know he has a problem. I don’t know where to start, just back from a week with the mother who screams and shouts at my kids. Plays grandkids off each other, favours my brothers children to mine and sister kids. She never had love growing up so I understand why she can’t show love. Outsiders think she’s great as a bit of a character. Just brings it all to surface when I’m there. Back home and feel I can’t discuss with hub because I think he thinks it’s directed at him, eg I said thinking of going to alanon and I can see he is thinking “here we go…” But it’s not just about him it’s to deal with all the problems from my past. Mother left me with grandparents for 11 months at 4. Which didn’t affect me at time but when I became a mother. Husband has anger problems, so do I…I feel I’m not sure which way to go. Do I need counselling or alanon…I dont want to become my mother. Sorry not very well articulated, hurting a lot and looking for next step

  4. Talanda March 2018 at 8:51 pm

    Wow you have no idea how refreshing it is to see that I am not alone in this journey that I am on with my husband. I am so thankful that it was suggested to me to check out this network. I love the prayer Bless him, change me and the saying let it go let God. I really needed to read your post tonight. I just found out there is an Al-Anon meeting close to my house that I am going to try to start going to next week when they meet again.

  5. Ann March 2018 at 4:53 pm

    I also have a husband who travels for work. He went missing this weekend for 24 hrs and family, friends, and I caught him in his lie for the first time. I suspected something was wrong the past two years and feel I have grown apart from him as I’ve really struggled with the travel and I now know a big problem and reason we couldn’t connect was that he was impaired when we would talk at the end of a long day of business meetings vs. tired as he told me. I am hopeful at the prospect of attending Al-Anon meetings and that I no longer have to be the one who decides if the relationship continues or feel crazy for breaking down crying after a call for “no reason,” and thinking that I was overreacting as I’ve never been a drinker myself. Praying for all those with similar challenges.

  6. Rhonna March 2018 at 2:29 pm

    This has helped me so much today. I have known since I met my husband that he has a problem with alcohol. But it has taken me a long time to get to the point I have today. And that is that it is not my job to always try to catch him when he falls or avoid it at any cost. He is not what I thought of as a problem alcoholic, although an alcoholic. He doesn’t get drunk everyday or every week. He has made tremendous progress from when I first met him, but he still has “moments”. And these moments have caused many issues. But I’m starting to realize that it is not just about the drunken moments. I have questioned if he could be able to function with drinking sometimes. But I see, that this also has carried some demons. But at any rate, I am realizing that it is not for me to mother him, dictate to him, guide him, argue with him, scold or shame him, or anything. I will take care of me and start to figure out what I can handle and deal with and not put myself in situations that I know will lead to a place I don’t want to be. I will communicate that to him. And I will pray that we make it through. This is the beginning of my own realization of my needs and part. There is so much more to learn.

  7. Joe March 2018 at 8:27 pm

    I am a husband and my wife has the problem. I try to support her the best I can, but she refused to get help. She has driven drunk with the kids multiple times. Her problem has gotten better, but she periodically goes back. Don’t you worry about your children? I will never be able to live with myself if she hurts the children and I did nothing to prevent this. My boys are 6 and 8. I need some help.

  8. Heidi March 2018 at 11:57 am

    What if your friend is stuck with a raging alcoholic who drinks and drives and his job is driving semi-trucks (he doesn’t drink on the job, but she says he is drunk going to work). He is cruel and hateful to her kids (his step-kids) who live with him and he has cheated on her several times that she knows of. He refuses to stick to AA and does not have a sponsor yet he did tell me in a church meeting that he was an alcoholic! I cannot just sit back and pray for them. What is my responsibility to be direct with him and help her and her kids find a place to stay until he gets a sponsor and commits to getting help? I have kids or I would bring her into our home. Her son is at an alternative school and I don’t feel equipped/safe to have him around my kids. What do I do to help? So many know about his problems but look the other way and pray! I have no experience with this but I think she is enabling him by staying.

  9. Kristy February 2018 at 2:50 pm

    I am new to Al-Anon and this part is exactly how I feel. “I didn’t need to take his inventory or throw his actions in his face after all these years. After all, whose insanity was worse…his addiction to alcohol or my addiction to him? How could I judge him for his denial when I lived in denial of my destructive behaviors for so many years, too?” I can’t change him but somehow I have changed in the process of his drinking. I need to learn to let go of things be says and does and live for me.

  10. Jeryka February 2018 at 10:48 am

    I needed this today! I get so angry and I miss the opportunity to support my husband the way he needs. Bless him, change me!

  11. Jane F. February 2018 at 2:19 pm

    I am in a state of numbness at realizing my husband has a drinking problem. So to understand better what I can do to cope in a healthy way I started looking into Al-Anon. Your story and prayer was what I needed to get perspective, tools and support. Thanks

  12. Natalie February 2018 at 11:57 pm

    It is so hard to let go when he is a diabetic, sometimes I just want to shake him and say what the hell is wrong with you, don’t you care about us? Having no control over the situation and feeling helpless, is sooo difficult.

  13. BoB January 2018 at 5:03 pm

    I don’t know what to do. If I stay, and am strong, am I just enabling her and a bad situation? How do you know when to suck it up and call it quits!

  14. Cj January 2018 at 8:18 pm

    I just found this, you amazing women are my inspiration. I’m so scared. My husband too, the business traveler always “gone”and drunk!
    I needed that prayer today! Going to go to Al-Anon meeting I’ve never been–your thoughts and prayers will be with me.

  15. Julie January 2018 at 7:46 am

    As I sit in my home office trying to get my head ready for work but instead obsess over the weekly fear of my business traveler husband driving home 90 minutes from the airport, usually drunk, I came here looking for…something. Perhaps this is what I needed to read/see/hear/feel…

  16. Phyllis January 2018 at 8:01 am

    Just what I needed to hear! Love the prayer, “bless him, change me”.

  17. Kimberly January 2018 at 11:37 pm

    You hit every nail on the head for me! Thank you for sharing this, I needed to hear this, bless him, change me. Love it! So encouraging in a time when I want to throw in the towel. Stay blessed.

  18. Kathy January 2018 at 2:14 am

    Let Go And Let God!
    I needed that reminder. I’m away from my group and sponsor. I’m not getting to my newcomer group. There’s only one group close by and it’s at night. I am taking care of a family member who is ill.

  19. Gina W. January 2018 at 4:33 pm

    That is such an awesome prayer—bless him, change me!

    I am currently on a 1 week prayer for myself and my husband regarding his drinking and my reaction to him when he’s drinking.

    Thank you for sharing!

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