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
In deep, gut wrenching, crying on the bathroom floor pain? Want to kill the bastard? Can’t stand another minute with the sick behaviour? My suffering was the RED flag to make a change. It can start with physical changes e.g. getting safe, yet I have learned, it always comes back to what is in my head, the thoughts and emotions, what is going on inside me. “You can run, but you can’t hide.” “Wherever I go, there I am.” When I believe the insanity of the alcoholic’s reality (disease) then I am not sane (well) either. For the family and… Read more »
Do you think it’s good to stay in the marriage when your children are affected? My 15 year old asks me when am I going to do something about his drinking. I’ve been married 28 years.
this is powerful and what I needed to hear. thank you for sharing hope.
Sorry I cannot agree this is a disease, you choose to drink, you don’t choose to have cancer. I hate my s.o. Other and his alcoholic everything.
I am new but have been coping with an alcoholic for 19 years. I am having a problem with extreme anger. I cannot seem to find a way to be in the same room with my AH anymore. I am so sick of his blowing money on beer and cigarettes. $500-800 a month! I wish I could feel like this is a disease-maybe then I wouldn’t have this deep anger-but I see it as his choice because he can stop when Boy Scout camp week comes up each year. He says he will never quit because it is his stress… Read more »
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… Read more »
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… Read more »
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… Read more »
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.
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… Read more »
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”.… Read more »
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.
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… Read more »
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.
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!
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
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.
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!
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.
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…