What is the First Step in Al-Anon? “Introduction of Al-Anon Meeting” podcasts: 6) What is the First Step in Al-Anon? https://media.blubrry.com/alanon_recovery/p/content.blubrry.com/alanon_recovery/What_is_the_First_Step_in_Al-Anon.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe: Android | Google Podcasts Scot2019-02-20T08:59:25-04:00Categories: First Steps| Share This Post, Choose Your Platform! FacebookTwitterEmail 96 Comments Angela January 1, 2019 at 4:49 pm I love my boyfriend dearly and we get along very well. He has been clean for 4 years this past Nov. What I am having trouble dealing with is the constant meetings, the constant Facebook checking, the fact that he gets to hear “Atta boy” 3-4 times a week. He has informed me that this is something that he will have to do for the rest of his life. He moved in with me a couple of months ago because with his addiction came financial and legal issues and he could no longer afford his apartment. I thought it was a great idea because we love each other and are planning to get married. I am just having a hard time dealing with all the contact for a wide variety of people who are also in the program. They are constantly sending him texts, constantly leaving messages. He says that it is part of the program and he even calls them his family. He does include me in the meetings, I have been to quite a few and I support his recovery, so much so that I have stopped drinking socially, hell I have stopped drinking all together. I just feel left out and I am trying not to resent this process, that is why I joined this group. When he tells me 3-4 times a week that he needs to go to a meeting, I feel like I need to go to a meeting also. I am asking myself, am I jealous of the attention that he is getting? What about me at home during this process? How do I keep from feeling left out? I have tried to discuss this with him, but that goes nowhere. I also don’t want him to feel that I am not supporting the process. I think that ALL who are in recovery and beginning a new relationship should tell there prospective partners what they are in store for!! I guess that would be worse If he was not loving and if he did not include me in some of these meetings. I am all mixed up and lost and I have no idea what to do. Wendy December 30, 2018 at 10:03 am I have been married for 25 years to a highly functioning alcoholic and I am looking forward to my first Al-Anon meeting. Why it’s taken me so long, I don’t know. I need help and support. We drank socially when we first met and were married so things seemed “normal” for us. His drinking quickly increased when we opened a business and started having children, less than two years in. He stayed late into the nights drinking with our employees while I was up doing night time feedings, wondering if this would be the night he wouldn’t make it home. It didn’t take long for me to realize we were in trouble. I knew that it wasn’t an environment I wanted for myself or our children, but the paralyzing fear of being a single mother and leaving the comfortable lifestyle we enjoyed won out. What a mistake. The drinking has ruined perfectly nice evenings at home, most holidays, vacations, and social events with friends. There isn’t a friend we have who invites us over anymore and he finds fault in everyone we know, especially non-drinkers. I am tired of being his designated driver. His drinking buddies love him because he’s the life of the party and isn’t afraid to spend money. Yet he uses “his” money to control others, myself included. Over the years I have begged, pleaded, yelled and prayed for him to stop drinking. From time-to-time he has, but he always goes back to it, usually with a vengeance and a darn good excuse. Our marriage counselor suggested in our first session that he see someone about his drinking, and that greatly offended him. After all, it’s me who is “the reason for our marriage problems, not the drinking.” My tolerance has become non-existent and my feelings have grown numb. I don’t even have the energy to get into a verbal confrontation with him. I have plunged myself into my job as an escape and to fill the void left by other relationships that have come and gone and I feel lonely and isolated, much of my own doing. I have gotten to the point where I want out of our marriage, which goes against my Christian beliefs, but I am afraid of the way others will judge me for “giving up.” I can’t stand the thought of another Christmas ruined by alcohol, or spending the next 25 years like this. I know I can’t fix him, but I can make changes to better myself. Sophie December 5, 2018 at 9:37 pm My 30-year-old son is an alcoholic and refuses to get help. I am brand new to Al Anon and haven’t started the steps yet, but I have been reading these comments and getting an idea of what some of them are. It’s so difficult for a mom to accept the fact that she has no control over her son’s addiction. As parents, we always try to protect our children and keep them safe from harm. I know that he is an adult and the choice to drink is his and his alone, but accepting the fact that I can’t do anything about it is almost impossible. It’s going to take a lot of practice for me to remember to take things one day at a time, and leave fate to play out the way it is meant to. I may end up with a broken heart, and that scares me to death! Barbara D. September 9, 2018 at 5:40 pm Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences on here. I am crushed. I don’t even know if I can get the strength to write at the moment. I am married to the perfect man for me when he is sober. He is not the same person when he drinks. I had never ever been around alcohol growing up. Neither of my parents drink. Not many of our family members like grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins drank. Maybe a couple did social drinking once in awhile. We are all Southern Baptist and were just raised to treat our bodies like a temple of Christ. So when I fell in love with my husband, he drank a little. I didn’t even know when he was drunk, and didn’t know the signs. I still have trouble knowing. I just thought he was very happy and fun. He excited me so much. So once he had me at “Hello”, I was and still am very much in love with him. He is an alcoholic. He has lost contact with all of his children except for his step children and grandchildren. I am in great need to learn how to not react so much to him when he is drunk. I need to find some meetings which I will when I quit typing this. I can relate to all of you and for this I am so thankful. I don’t feel so alone anymore. I have a friend who is an alcoholic too. She has helped me understand my husband a little. I want you to know I am praying for each and everyone of you. May God help you to see the good in your loved one. May you find complete happiness with yourself when you have to be alone. May God help your loved one to quit drinking excessively or completely all together. Please pray for me. I am just so heart broken at the moment. God Bless you. Mary August 8, 2018 at 4:45 pm I just started Al-Anon. My first day was last week. I’m new into this so I don’t have a lot to say about it, but the little I have seen is eye-opening. I see people hurting and I realize that the hurt they have is what I have been carrying with me all my years. My father was an alcoholic. I parented him since I was a child. I see the unmanaging of my life and the life of my siblings being carried forward as a result of being in a diseased family. I feel that at this point, I’m stronger than I give myself credit for. I think we all are. So much of what we go through WITH the alcoholic is about them and I see how I have lost my identity in it, as with my siblings. I recommend Al-Anon and Alateen. It’s a good place to connect with others that can only agree with what you’re going through. I met some pretty amazing people the first day and I plan on continuing this until I can see a change in my own behavior. Be open to yourself. Nancy May 21, 2018 at 11:35 am I very much appreciate these podcasts–thank you! I’m coming back to Al-Anon / ACA after having attending a few meetings a number of years ago–I think I will benefit from this a great deal. sandra January 7, 2018 at 6:37 pm I am so glad I started reading. So many of these stories relate to me. I have an alcoholic boyfriend, no living together for the last 5 years. He has helped me buy the property to build this house. But he has not contributed to any house payment in the last 5 years. I so desperate for help. I always knew he drank, but in the last year it has become so much worse. His drinking has ruined so may occasions, I am also afraid to go home when I know he is there. He is very confrontational with everything.. I tried everything to help him. From getting mad at him, to begging him, to telling him this will cause health problems, asking his children and family to help . He refuses to listen and is in denial. He either won’t talk about it or he states, I used to drink more, I have cut down. We still live together but I told him numerous times to leave and he won’t go. I just don’t know what to do, because he refuses to get help. All his family knows but they refuse to help to avoid conflict with him. Cant help him, change him or not able to get him to leave. Legally I know I could force him, but I am trying to avoid this. I find myself a different person due to this. My co-workers are noticing the change also. I am so miserable being in this relationship, wish I could find a way to get him help. I have no life, and spend most of my time in fear or crying. He is not happy until he has me so upset that I am vomiting or shaking. He blames me for everything, very demeaning and verbally abusive. I have made an appt. to consult with an attorney for legal advice to get him out of the house. The land was a gift, and now he thinks he is entitled to 1/2 of everything so he wont leave. Its not the way I want it, but I think its my only choice. Can anyone relate and offer me any suggestions? Feel I cant go on much longer. Janice January 3, 2018 at 11:36 pm From reading some of these posts I have to realize that what I am going through is a compilation of what some others are going through. I wasn’t going to write on here because I didn’t want to waste anyone’s time but I need to do this for me. My husband enjoys drinking. I have asked him kindly to stop because it is hurting me and my boys. He doesn’t drink every day but he will sometimes not show up after work or on a Friday here and there and not contact us to let us know where he is. He has done this three times this week. He will often tell me his phone was dead but the bar he is at has a phone. He will not pick up when I call or text back when I text or respond to my son when he uses his iPad to see where he is. He has said mean things to be over the course of 11 years, things that I never thought he could say to me or anyone else for that matter. He has been disrespectful to me in front of our boys and when he is not home from work by the latest 6:30 my insides get in a knot and my boys say…oh don’t worry mom he is probably at some bar”. It breaks my heart. He may not drink every day but when he does these things it tears me apart even more. I worry, I wonder where he is, I wonder if he’ll come home and say mean things to me. He is a great guy when he died t gave alcohol in him…and even though it’s not all the time it is definitely becoming a problem and it is affecting our marriage a lot. He says that he is fine and that he does not need help but I know he does and so do others I have talked to. I do not want our 20 years together to end but I really don’t deserve this. Neither do our boys. I haven’t been to a bar with him in years because I can’t stand to see a beer bottle touch his lips because of the things that he has said to me that hurt me emotionally and mentally in the past and I know it will happen again. I feel like I am alone with this but I know I am not. I know that there are other people far worse off than I am in regards to this but I know it is time to at least get some help for me to see what I can do before he loses his family over drinking. I am hurt, sad and torn apart inside. Wendy C November 5, 2017 at 11:17 pm Where can one take a 11 year old to help with coping skills from a alcoholic mother? I’ve searched all around and only find alAteen and that’s for 13-18 yr olds. The situation does allow for family counseling. Was thinking he could go to school for help but he’s so scared they will remove him from home. My son has informed me of the situation at home and the boy has confirmed it. I knew just from looking but not close to family to confront on this extremely sensitive subject. We only go to birthday parties and class trips together. But it’s obvious and would like to give my son and his friend a little bit of hope. Victoria May 11, 2017 at 6:50 pm I really need help because I don’t know how to help my husband with his drinking problem and it has been really hard on me mentally, physically. I have been under so much stress in the last 24 years of marriage. I don’t know what to do. Shell September 26, 2016 at 10:30 pm Hi I have been married for almost 9 years and been together for 12 years when I met him he was a alcoholic and smoked weed. He is not able to work anymore due to copd so I work but when he dosnt have money for drink or weed he gets angry and has a go at me telling me it’s my fault and how he looked after me for yeRs when I didn’t work I try and say yeah but I do t drink or so drugs. His mates come over and all they do is sit there and drink and smoke I don’t know what to do anymore and would like so advice I love him more than words but can’t keep giving him money for grog and drugs all the time we have kids he would have a go at me and say but she you weren’t working you would be down the Milkbar everyday with your friends all I say is yeah but not waiting it on grog or drugs he makes excuses all the time 🙁 please help Shalini May 26, 2015 at 1:58 pm I met my alcoholic husband 35 years ago, and we are married now for the past 32 years. When I met my spouse, I was a wreck–depleted physically, mentally and spiritually, and to add insult to injury I was suffering from low self-esteem. I would say to myself and to others, “Why me!” While in that sorry state of mass confusion, I met my sober alcoholic, and as the saying goes, “When the master cannot come, He sends a messenger,” and that is how I was introduced to Al-Anon. At first I thought I would go as an observer, but what I heard at that meeting changed my attitude toward the people who surrounded me, and the world as a whole. I heard I was master of my own destiny, surrender, acceptance, believe, trust, faith and “Let Go.” My greatest freedom from despair, just for today, I love being me. I enjoy my own company, making meetings, and taking my daily inventory. I thank my spouse for introducing me to the Al-Anon 12 Step program, also the co-founders of AA, and Lois and Anne, and you, the wonderful people for keeping the light burning. Thank you. Michele March 26, 2015 at 8:46 pm Thank-you and prayers to all of you who have written your life story. I have lived with an alcoholic husband for 31 years. He drank only socially the first 10 years. We were married for 5 years before I got pregnant, as I was sending him to school and supporting us. He worked part time after 3 years and I helped him study. After our son was born he started to drink a little more, until he lost his job after 5 years. I tried to be extremely supportive. My mother passed and then my father. He helped his family business by running up two credit cards, with the promise they would pay us back, then we helped his brother out of eviction so couldn’t go on our 1st vacation. Then the family business failed. As the years went on, he would get and lose jobs, working less and less each time. I grew more angry as alcohol seemed to suck the life out of our family. As time went on and our son grew up, my alcoholic husband did less and less. Not attending any of son’s events or school/extra curricular programs or family special occasions. Our son went to the military then alcoholic husband didn’t go to our son’s wedding because he was “too drunk.” When our son had a child, my son told me my grandson couldn’t be around his alcoholic father. Husband did a little better, but always going back to drinking. Stealing my credit card, money from my coat pocket and the bank accounts until I closed them all and had him removed from them. Turning on the charm and doing well, then threatening to not go or do anything if he didn’t get his liter bottle of Vodka/day. Doing less and less at home. I finally realized it is not going to get better and that I will have to leave. But of course it is all my fault, because I work two jobs to pay off our credit card bills, 2nd and 3rd refinance, and his medical bills. I’m afraid to go to the doctor because he has been to the hospital for extremely high blood pressure, heart symptoms and being intoxicated to the point of calling the police while I worked overnight. According to my husband I’m not nice to him, sexy enough, happy or praising of him enough–which is why he drinks. I love my husband, but not the alcohol. I’m tired of being accused of doing wrong, being mean and not supportive. I just don’t want to walk away from everything I/we have built together, even though I have paid for everything. I can’t go to sleep with my purse next to the bed or money or a credit card in my pocket or purse. God grant me the serenity . . . Tina March 19, 2015 at 4:37 pm I have been with my husband for 25 years this May and married for 23 this April. My husband is an alcoholic. I realized this about 5 years into my marriage. He would binge about twice a year on drugs in the beginning, but things just got worse these past 2 1/2 yrs. He stays out all night, will only text me, never calls, and we will go weeks without speaking. If anyone tries to help him or suggests he has a problem, he shuts them out of his life. We have two daughters, 20 and 18, and they have lived through all this as well. My husband is a great person and a wonderful man, but the drinking has gotten the best of him. I think he may be doing other things as well. I found out last weekend he has been texting other girls some very inappropriate things and when I confronted him of course he denied it. Well, I spoke with one of the girls and she stated to me he told her we were separated and we are getting a divorce. Now he’s saying he doesn’t feel the same about me and I’m not the person he thought I was. I could go on and on. This is just the surface. I walk around every day in a daze as if after 2 years I’m still in disbelief. I do still love him very much (the person he was) and just wish that person would come back. Jen February 24, 2015 at 10:51 pm I too am married to an alcoholic. We’ve been together for 6 years. I am also a big enabler. My husband has been out of work for a couple of years and I keep buying him beer! I know he has a real big problem, and it’s affecting his health in a big way, but I can’t help buying it for him because if he doesn’t have it, he’s sick all day (withdrawals basically). I feel like it’s a lose/lose situation. If I buy it for him, it’ll make him worse, but if I don’t get it for him he’s had some really bad withdrawal episodes. I know withdrawals can severely hurt or kill someone, and he refuses to go see a doctor! It can drive someone crazy! He doesn’t blame me for the way he is. He blames himself, but I blame me because if I didn’t buy it, then he wouldn’t be so bad off! I honestly don’t know what to do. I know that I will get blamed (rightfully so) if he does die because of alcohol, but I don’t know how to stop enabling without harmful effects to his health. I just keep praying to God, and thank God that we can share these posts. Sharon February 5, 2015 at 4:26 am I am the alcoholic and being female I am struggling. I find it extremely hard juggling everything and know the pain I am causing my lovely man who is at his wits end with me. I have relapsed about seven times. I don’t even know why I do it, which is hard for me let alone my suffering man to understand. If I wasn’t such a coward, I’d take the final step and be gone forever. Genuinely think it would grant peace to the one I love. Emma December 3, 2014 at 9:27 pm My father has a drinking problem, and I have no idea as to why I’m talking about it on this post, but I just wanted to get it off my chest. He says that the reason he drinks is because his kids are so messy, and he calls us stupid pigs that don’t care about how they live. Our home may not be clean, but he drinks great big bottles of liquor every time he’s off of work. Then he throws things around and moves some things into a big pile in another room, claiming that the house is now clean, then passes out. Recently he and my mom got into an argument and she left for several hours. He says it’s all our fault, and that if we don’t want her to leave we have to keep the house clean. There were several points in time when the house was clean, though, and he still got drunk. Apparently it makes it more fun for him. I don’t know what to do. When he drinks he is a complete jerk, and when he’s sober, he only talks about how terrible and stupid I am, and it got so bad that I eventually got depression. I’m not the first child to have depression. My older sister cut, my little sister says how terrible and unfair her life is, and so does my little brother. I don’t know what to do. That depression is still uncured, and I told my mom about my suicidal thoughts. Nothing was done to help me. I wasn’t given pills, they didn’t take me to a therapist, they didn’t even treat me with any more respect, and my grades dropped from A pluses to flat out F’s. I can’t move out because I have no job or money, I don’t have any nearby family to stay with, no friends that I would be willing to bother with my problems, and the police would investigate us and either leave us alone or split us apart, which I can’t deal with because I have abandonment issues because of how stand-offish my parents have been. I don’t know what to do. Jane August 20, 2014 at 7:19 am I have been married to a cocaine addict for 2 years. I could not handle his addiction, as his addiction brought the worst out of me. My patterns of behaviour were controlling, judging, blaming him for doing things and expecting things from him, blaming him for spending money, giving out, that he ruined our relationship. In fact, I gave him my responsibility for my life and my happiness. The moment I met him I thought I would be able to help him, but in fact he does not need my help. The only person I should have helped is myself. His addiction distracted me from myself. It was so easy to concentrate on my husband’s addiction and ignore my defects of character and my true needs. I thought that I am better than him, because I am clean, good, nice to him. Al-Anon taught me what the addiction is. It opened my eyes and it made me be responsible for my life. I have learnt that love is not demanding, it is compassionate. I wish well to my husband. He is a beautiful person, but I left him alone to decide what he wants from his life. I stepped off the train of addiction and let him travel on his own. We are separated now, as it is the right decision for me now. I am on the journey of discovering myself as a human being, a woman, and I had to grow up and learn how to respond as an adult, rather react to the addiction. I am powerless over drugs, over someone else’s sickness. I am the only person who can help myself. Thank-you to Al-Anon for providing clear step-by-step programme on how to live an ethical and moral life. Wish you all well, and live the life to your full potential. ann August 7, 2014 at 1:31 pm I have been with my partner for six months now and love him to bits. He was straight about his addiction from day one. He would’ve been a year sober this month but has relapsed twice. I have tried to be supportive but recently he seems to be avoiding me, telling me he is helping out where he goes to AA meetings. He sends the odd text now and still says he loves me, but can be cruel in other texts. I want to hang on in there and see how things work out, but he won’t talk to me. He used to, but recently no. This is affecting me physically. I won’t eat, can’t sleep, worrying. I just don’t know what he wants or if he wants me. I did ask him in a text, but he says all is ok and I just feel there is something. I think he went back on the drink and is avoiding me because I will know. I feel lost, sad, heartbroken, all at once. Kris June 27, 2013 at 12:58 pm Wow, everyone is going through the same thing I am. Me and my husband married 24 yrs. He was the life of the party when we met in 1987. He has since gone from all-around party guy to addiction after addiction. First meth for several years, then crack and now his choice is vodka. He does get angry, gets violent, smashes everything, terrorizes us. Just a horrible person when he is drunk. He will drink until he passes out. He works a 4-day shift and then he is drunk the days he is off. He blames me for everything–his drinking, his financial problems, everything. I can’t do it any longer. I have prayed for him, don’t know what else to do with him. Nat. June 3, 2013 at 12:01 am Well, I have read all the above posts and I am feeling slightly better that I’m not the only one. My partner is an alcoholic and drinks all the time and blames me for it, saying I push him to drink. I’m a mum with a 9-year-old who hates him for his actions. Yes, he has been abusive to me and, yes, has disappeared when he realised that I had taken all the drink out of the house and wasn’t going to drink with him. I have kicked him out and taken him back, I have supported him in past DUI charges. Last month he took my car, telling me he was getting something in town (it’s a small town) and he returned 27 hours later! Drunk. I called the cops because I was worried he had killed someone or himself, and they found him in the bottle shop at the wheel, drunk. It was my fault that he got arrested because I called the police (he had done this a few times). Then he got caught again, DUI, and at the end of this month is going to jail for driving 13 times drunk–yes, 13! I met him only 2 and a half years ago and he was lovely, a loving great guy and slowly he slipped into drinking again. Passing out, talking about nothing over and over, or just shouting the house down. I threw him out again and he is living down the road, not because I don’t love him. I do, too much, but couldn’t have my 9-year-old daughter see him drunk all the time. I had to make a choice and I chose the child who needs support. I visit him and will attend court and support him in jail as best I can, but he still blames me for everything. His family says we are bad for each other because he drinks more with me (because my partner says I make him miserable because I moan, but when he drinks or is sober he loves me), yet I’m the one that supports him when needed. I have stopped enabling him (his family does all the time and makes excuses for him), but I support him by showing love and support. I can’t win! He is looking at 12 months and I’m the one that is alone, picking the pieces up while working full time and raising a child. I’m going to my first meeting on Saturday. It’s the fact that he had a partner, child, home, job, and a future and he threw it all away with no regret that breaks my heart–unless he is not drinking–but that, not for very long. Lonely and tired comes to mind and an emotional slap in the face, never mind the last time we had a normal conversation, or dinner date. I miss him very much, even when he is sitting in front of me. Beth May 20, 2013 at 8:07 pm I feel for every one of the people who have left comments here. I have been in three relationships all affected by alcohol. The first was my ex-husband of 18 years. That ended in a violent episode in which my life was threatened and I received a black eye. The second was with a man who grew up with an abusive father. He had alcoholic parents and could not escape the horrible memories of his past. He could not be in a healthy relationship if he wanted to. He did not know how to love someone. Thank goodness I got away from that relationship quickly. For the past 3 years, I have been involved with a highly educated professional man who has a terrible drinking problem. When I first met him he hid his drinking problem from me. I really fell for him. I thought I finally met “the one”. Later I found out how bad his problem was. It just keeps getting worse. I went to Al-Anon for several weeks then dropped out because he “promised” to get himself together. To top it off, I was laid off from my job and had to quickly find work with a new company. Last weekend he was really out of it. He behaved in a way that was totally unacceptable to me. He apologized and said he would go to AA. Guess what? This man thinks I should forgive and forget his past because he has attended a few meetings. I have broken up with him. Now he is really acting crazy, calling, texting, emailing, and showing up at my house and my new job! I am heading back to Al-Anon tomorrow after work. I just need to find out why I keep choosing to enter into relationships with guys with drinking issues! I need to find peace! Laurie May 18, 2013 at 5:05 pm I’ve done some work around my dad being an alcoholic. It still doesn’t make it any easier to let go and talk about it with my family, when half of them are not willing to admit there is a problem. I find I am having a really hard time accepting that that’s the way he is choosing to live his life. I have made several attempt to help my mom break free from this cycle, but she always goes back. Today, she told me on the phone that he was keeping her up all night arguing with her. I am truly concerned about her health. I am attempting to stand back and not slip back into the roles I had growing up in an alcoholic family. I have been praying for a better life for my mom, and truly hopes she takes those steps towards a healthier lifestyle. The last time I’ve been to an Al-Anon meeting was when I was a teenager. I am seriously considering going to a meeting locally or online to share and hear from other people. Iesha March 28, 2013 at 12:47 am I have recently started to realize that I am in control of myself and not others, especially my husband and his drinking. I have many hurtful, embarrassing, bad memories of times when he’d drink. I would get mad, control, or put guilt on him for drinking. He thinks he doesn’t have a problem, but I think otherwise. He doesn’t always drink every day, but it seems as though if he’s with certain people he doesn’t know how to control it. Or he will have a drink or two for a few days, then go overboard one night. I’m hoping to find an Al-Anon group where I’m living or some kind of support group. I’m just not sure as to how I can go about being around him when he’s sober or not. I do not want my young daughter around alcoholics or people who drink. I didn’t see that when I was growing up but my husband did. I will have the occasional drink/s but I do not feel the need or want every weekend or day like my husband does. I am in need of soul-searching and somewhere to open up. I do know I’m headed in the right direction! I will be in control of my own destiny. And be a good mother, too! NE January 17, 2013 at 6:00 pm I have to tell all of you, I know COMPLETELY how you all feel. I’ve been with my husband for 10 years and married him, knowing he is an alcoholic. Over time, things got worse and worse. He never physically hurt me but at times I wish he would have instead of the pain he inflicted mentally. He beat me down (mentally & emotionally). EVERYTHING was my fault, I was the bad part of everything. We have 2 children and they were really feeling the pain also. I was of course, an enabler. After 10 years, I broke. I felt myself becoming depressed and I don’t want to be that person. So, I left him. I took the kids and got a place of our own. It was a fight and the cops were involved. After a couple of weeks he tried to get me back- I told him no way. I was done, the kids were done – we don’t deserve to be treated so terrible. Fast forwarded a few weeks & he ask me what he can possibly do to get us back. My answer was simply “dry out”. He decided that he was going to. So far, so good – 6 months sober. We went to therapy for awhile but now he goes to AA 4 or 5 nights a week. He is doing great. Everytime he learns something new, he sees what he did to us. He has realized that he treated me terrible and how “nothing was his fault”. This is truly an alcoholic tendency. He has an amazing group of friends in AA and I think tonight I will go to my first Al-Anon meeting because I still have things to deal with (emotions, etc) from the past. God Bless You all! Yvonne December 12, 2012 at 9:58 am I saw a post asking about a dry drunk. Not sure what that is, but it seems to me my husband may be one. He’s really “happy” when he’s drinking. Otherwise he’s controlling, sarcastic, angry in general. He has so much anxiety that it makes him angry and he obsesses over the stupid littlest stuff. He is the only male and oldest child of an alcoholic. I have had enough, I have been with him 13 years and every time I get to this point he makes me feel guilty and talks me down. I want to leave. He is so manipulative. Mammala December 4, 2012 at 5:02 pm When he drinks, why is every conversation suddenly my fault. I have a horrible weight of guilt I pull around every day, but much of it is for things I haven’t done. Am I responsible for repeating three times the conversation we had on Sunday about our daughter’s school? Because he has no memories from Friday to Monday, why do I let him make me feel responsible? This site makes me see it’s not just me. The conversation my husband and I had Saturday is perfectly valid. I am not at fault if he can’t remember. But I can only say that here. He thinks I am excluding him from important conversations. He participated. I even recorded it. He “doesn’t remember, and it wasn’t him.” Why am I sucked into this guilt. Antonio C. October 8, 2012 at 11:52 pm My partner is an alcoholic and blames me for his drinking. He started AA two months ago and was sober for 38 days. Then he started what he referred to as “the tough stage — between day 40 and 90” and it all went downhill. He slipped once, last week on Tuesday, then again on Thursday, then again on Friday. I am traveling on business, and can’t get a hold of him again. Problem is that we live in a city where there are lots of Casinos with free booze (gambling is another one of his addictions). I find myself overcompensating for his behavior — going out of my way to be forgiving, supportive and encouraging. I thought that was the right thing to do. I love him. But it seems that I’m becoming a crutch. He knows he’ll be forgiven and so he keeps doing it. So it seems. It seems counter-intuitive for me to just walk away and let him deal with this on his own. I think I’ve got to get into an Al-Anon meeting. Erin September 28, 2012 at 12:48 am I am at a loss for words at this point, and even worse, I’m at a loss for hope. I am 28 and have been dating my alcoholic boyfriend for over 2 years. When we first started dating, he was charming, witty and happy. After a few months of dating I absolutely dreaded going out with him because he would get so drunk. He would be the first to buy a round of shots for everyone, he would do embarrassing and obnoxious things, and nine times out of ten he was the only one stumbling and falling over. And he’s 6’5″ 255lbs (so just imagining how much he would have to drink to get that way was scary). After a horrific drunken scene he caused at a bar one New Year’s Eve, I brought his behaviors to his parents’ attention. They had told me that they had thought for a while that he was an alcoholic, and I broke out into tears. We had sort of an intervention with him and voiced our concerns and he said he would stop bc he didn’t have a problem. Well, about a year went by and he was what I believed to be sober; he only drank very rarely in front of me or even when we went out at night. But as time went on his family and I noticed empty beer bottles with the caps on them in the fridge, a vodka bottle in the freezer that was “full” but frozen solid, and hidden beer cans and bottles of Bacardi around the house. And it seemed like every time I spoke to him on the phone at night his speech was slurred and he was very lethargic sounding. I had had enough about a year into our relationship because I knew what was going on. I was actually able to convince him to go to rehab and he went in December. He did his 28 days, started Intensive Out Patient treatment and got 72 days sober before relapsing on Listerine on Valentine’s day. I was heartbroken, but something didn’t let me get that upset bc it wasn’t “liquor” he drank, it was Listerine! But it got him drunk. He admitted his wrongdoing and started over the next day on his sobriety. He made it about 93 days (or so he says). We have been head-over-heels for each other since day one of our relationship and always talked about marriage. When I graduated college in May at 28 yrs old, he proposed. And I said yes bc everything had been going wonderfully between us and I thought he had been working hard and was successful in staying sober. Only to have him come home from the grocery store one afternoon drunk. And he had admitted that he had been drinking the week before we got engaged. I was crushed and probably haven’t completely gotten over it still. We broke off our engagement but stayed together bc he promised he would get and stay sober. By June he was back in rehab. Another 28 days. He came home and relapsed after only 4 days. He has since lived in an Oxford House, hoping it would keep him clean and he has just been kicked out for drinking. He says it is because of me. Because I am so controlling and I bring him down. And I’m sure I do bring him down bc I would never praise him for being sober “today”. He used to drink before and after AA meetings and bail on his sponsors (he’s had about 4 in 3 months) all the time, and I am supposed to be happy that he went to a meeting sober? This guy who I thought I would spend my life with is a chronic relapser. So no, I no longer have hope. I no longer feel comfort that he’s attending AA. Nothing so far has kept him sober. But for some reason every time he would drink, it would be because of me. His parents are typical enablers and don’t want to see him suffer from consequences. He has been arrested for a DWI and they are paying for the best lawyer to give him the lowest punishment. They give him money and a place to stay even when he drinks. I have been with him through all of this for a year, and I know many people who aren’t married wouldn’t stay. And I feel like his best friend, his parents, and his now former Oxford House roommate all think I am the worst thing for him. They have all told me that our relationship is not healthy for him bc he tells everyone he drinks bc of me and I’m so negative about his recovery. It angers me bc none of them realize what I have been through dealing with this. It is frustrating. I love him dearly, but I fear that I am staying with him bc I am just hoping and praying that the guy I fell in love with will come back. But I am emotionally drained from all of his relapses and the fighting and heartbreak knowing I need to leave him. Beth July 17, 2012 at 10:59 am My husband has been an addict for 15 years. He just started therapy and refuses to share anything with me. He declares it’s between him and the group or him and the counselor. Just like during the 15 years using, I am the odd man out. I stay because I feel trapped and am Catholic and don’t want the stigma of a divorce. I work 76 hr a week and he retired at age 60, 3 years ago and literally does nothing. I feel so angry, so resentful so hateful. I don’t buy in to all the whole step thing–some of it but not all of it. It seems more like a misery likes company format, but here I am checking it out because I feel so desperate. Does anyone else resent the actual rehab process? The addict gets all the attention and is told he has to focus on himself–which is actually all he did for the past 15 years. Once again, I’m on the outside looking in, wondering how I ended up in such an unhappy, miserable life. I literally don’t care if I live or die, or if he does. Teri March 6, 2012 at 12:18 am I have been married for 20 years. When I met my husband, he drank a lot every day after work, sometimes not coming home until 2 am, missing dinner with our three kids. Ten years go he just stopped drinking, no help at all. I was very happy about this. He does not drink, but he still goes through these episodes like he has been drinking. It was only happening maybe every other month, then it was every month, then about every two to three weeks. Now it seems like once a week. I am so confused and lost. I have tried everything. I go to counseling, but that only helps me some of the time. I often wonder if there is such a thing as a dry drunk. I looked up an Al-Anon meeting and I am going to go tomorrow. I don’t know what else to do. I’m starting to feel worthless and that is not a good thing, nor is it my fault. Tina September 27, 2011 at 2:52 am I am, as many have stated, thankful for the opportunity to read others’ stories. It helps to know none of us is alone. My husband drank again tonight. I was able to differentiate between his rationalizations and reality. I know it is not my fault that he drinks. What I don’t know is whether I will stay around to see if this time he grows a little closer to accepting responsibility for his decision/action. He says he drinks because he is angry or mad or hurt–of course, all my doing. lisa July 7, 2011 at 8:12 pm WOW. Reading all these posts, I am crying because so many of them relate to me and what I am going through. My husband of 17 years is an alcoholic. He has said he knows he drinks too much and he can control it, but that is a lie. We have been living like this for about 3 years now and he drinks every day. We have a teenage daughter and a 7 yr. old daughter. His drinking has interrupted every living second of our lives, from where we go, who we are friends with, and things we do as a family–which have turned into none. Like many of you, I have tried everything to get him to stop. Only recently I have been doing a lot of reading. I am attending my first Al-Anon meeting this coming week, and doing an online one later today. We have not spoken in 4 days due to an incident that happened over the weekend, involving him being drunk, and I am starting to do my own things when he is home drinking. I try to go out with the girls, or when they go to bed, I go to bed early, instead of “entertaining” him. I am tired of the empty promises and I think I am ready to leave, but I am also scared. This has happened before, and I always end up accepting his apologies, which I do believe are sincere, but he just does not know how to control it. He needs help and refuses to get it. When he is sober, he is a saint. We hardly have any friends because he doesn’t like visiting people who don’ t drink, and the few people we do know who don’t drink are considered “wierd” in his opinion. I am very depressed and he blames me for his drinking because he says I am always angry and upset. He says there is never a smile on my face and I always look like I’ve had a terrible day. He does not understand I feel this way because he keeps bringing me down. Him being away with my girls is what worries me because I’m afraid he will drink when they are with him, instead of doing things that normal fathers do with their children, like go to an amusement park, for example. My daughter is 15 and I am already afraid I have implanted in her mind that this is what normal families do. My father was also an alcoholic and left my house when I was 10. Every time we would go out with him for the weekend, he would give us tons of money for the arcade, while he was probably outside having his beers. I did not realize it at the time, but now I know. I used to enjoy a glass of wine every now and then, but now I do not even want to have any at all. I am afraid I’m becoming paranoid that I, too, will become an alcoholic. It makes me so sad that I am happier when he is not around. Fred April 29, 2011 at 12:24 pm My son Bruce suffered with drug and alcohol abuse, from the time he was in his early teens until he hanged himself four years ago. At least a half dozen times he managed to sucessfully rehabitate himself and abstain from drug and alcohol abuse for a number of years. Bruce’s four page Criminal Offenders Record Information has 20 offenses listed that were mostly related to his drug and alcohol abuse. The most devastating charge was for a 3rd OUI charge that was reduced and accepted by the court to 2nd OUI. This branded Bruce with an erroneous felony charge that prevented him from earning a livelihood. I have written a number of letters to many people in the Commonwealth of Massachussetts trying to blame them for Bruce’s death, but unconciously I believe that I’m really trying to avoid blaming myself or my late wife for Bruce’s death. I am almost 88 years old, but Bruce’s tragic death has certainly taken a lot out of me. Lynn H April 11, 2011 at 11:24 pm I am so worn out! I have been married to a marijuana (yes, pot is addictive) addict for 15 years. He smokes all day long – gets up crabby, smokes happy, crashes-crabby, smokes-happy all day long and it is making him crazy. He is underemployed, critical of me all the time, withdrawn, yelling, SCREAMING, clenching his fists, blaming me for his tantrums, tells me all the time that I am trying to be better than him. I work two jobs and then he wonders why I am bitter, not affectionate and only want to be with the kids when I get home. His teeth are rotting out of his head, he dresses like a bum, washes the dishes “for me” and thinks that he is extremely active. He tells me about the “hot blonde” who is 20 years younger than me and I am brunette and says it is my fault the way he looks because I don’t act sexy for him or towards him. I KNOW I am not in control of this and I just pray that God as I know him will help me find my way out and protect my kids. Thank you. Kim February 28, 2011 at 12:00 am I have been married to an alcoholic for 20 years and I grew up with my father, a hard alcoholic all his short life. Same as everyone else, I knew the signs and have dealt with all the problems. I do not like to drink more than a few times a year, so I am the taxi and care-taker. I am so drained from it and just over it. I so want my marriage to be over, but I feel trapped here because of our children. My husband, unlike some of the other stories I have read, is a great provider and truly loves us . He’s just very sick and is controlled by this disease. I feel powerless and overwhelmed and am truly at a loss. I just want to walk away from all of this. I am going to try and find a meeting for myself, or some help. It does help to read others’ stories that they found help and feel better. I pray that I get some peace soon. I am so tired of putting to bed a drunk, or checking to see if he is breathing. Eryn January 8, 2011 at 8:45 pm I don’t know if I am in the right spot, but I can’t take it anymore. I am 32 years old and my father has been an alcoholic since he was 15 years old. He is now 57 and I believe I will donate his body to science when he dies because I can’t believe he’s still alive!!! He has throat cancer and lung cancer and has just undergone tratment for 7 weeks of chemo and radiation. The whole time he has been drinking, not eating. Imagine that!! When he got too sick, he would drink through a straw. He drinks staight vodka every day until he passes out. Then he wakes up and does it again. Just today he was found in my sister’s bathroom in a pool of blood. He fell and split open his head and was bleeding to death from his head wound. Luckily my sister came home and found him before it was too late, or maybe not so lucky. He then went to the hospital to find out he is bleeding internally, again, and has a blood alcohol content 8 times the legal limit. The doctor said if we had that content we would be in a coma!!! amber December 31, 2010 at 9:57 pm I am only 18 years old. My father was an alcoholic. He used to emotionally and physically abuse my mother and I. After they were married for 14 years, they split up. I lived with my father just to stay in the same school with my friends. Then 3 years later my grandmother passed, and my father’s drinking got so bad I couldn’t even live with him, so I moved in with my mother. After I finished my last year of high school in a new school, I moved in with my 26-year-old boyfriend. I knew he drank but I didn’t know how bad it was until I moved in with him. Now it’s like living with my father all over again, but worse. I’m in love with this alcoholic and I haven’t had the strength to let him go. He fights with me every other night, calls me fat, ugly, and other degrading things, and he also tells me that I’m the reason my grandmother passed away. When he says those things I just act like it doesn’t bother me, but of course it does–even though I know he’s drunk and doesn’t mean what he is saying. He also enjoys kicking me out of our apartment. And if I don’t leave, he threatens to break all my things and throw them in the dumpster, so I call my mother, balling my eyes out and she comes and picks me up and I cry myself to sleep. Then the next morning, stupid me goes right back to him, every single time. I don’t understand why I put up with this crap. I know I deserve better then to live like this. I know it’s not my fault that he does this, but it still feels like it is my fault–because that’s what I learned growing up. This time the morning after the fight I let myself in with my key, that he didn’t know I had, and tried to talk to him about what happened the night before. But of course he was still drunk. Then the phone rings and he’s talking to one of his friends. I grab his 1.75 liter bottle of raspberry vodka (which I may add was half gone at 11am) and ran to the corner store to call my mother. Later he realizes that I took his bottle and his ATM card (my name is on that account too) and says that if I don’t bring them back he’s going to kill himself, so I call the police while I’m on my way to the apartment and the police bring him to the hospital. The officer tells me that they won’t let him out until he’s sober. So, I’m in my apartment picking up the pieces to my broken guitar that he smashed, finding the ripped up pieces to my high school diploma, and who comes home? Yep, he does. He was obviously not sober so I have no clue how he got out of the hospital. He’s mad because I’m home trying to put things back together, and he didn’t want me in the apartment because I got him “arrested” (he wasn’t really arrested, he was brought to the hospital). So I grab the phone, call my mom, then I grab the keys he threw on the floor and go to my neighbors. I call the police once again (they have been there two times that day already and it’s only about 4pm) and when they arrive I tell them that he broke my guitar and ripped up my diploma. Then they ask “Well, did you see him do it?” NO, I DIDN’T _______ SEE HIM DO IT BECAUSE I WOULD HAVE STOPPED HIM. SO NOW SINCE I DIDN’T SEE HIM BREAK MY STUFF I CAN’T PRESS CHARGES! WHICH IS STUPID! But I’m going to section 35 him with his mother as soon as the courthouse opens on Monday and he’s going back to the Men’s Addiction Treatment Center, and this time I’m telling him that if he loves me he’s going to stay sober this time, because as soon as he takes that first sip of an alcoholic beverage, I’m packing all my things and I will be moving on with my life. I know I shouldn’t even go back to him ever again, but I need to know that I tried and that I gave him one last chance to change for me. I am finally putting my common welfare first! I realize, sadly, that I am not in control and I never was. I never really wanted to be in control. I just want a man in my life who could handle that responsibility of being in control. I just need a man to prove to me that not all men are like my father. I need a man to prove to me that a family can stay together and be happy. I need a man in my life to prove to me that alcoholics can stop drinking. I’ve never had a man in my life that has showed me that. 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. Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it: Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen Lydia December 4, 2010 at 8:07 am I did not grow up with alcoholics but our grandparents and great grandparent drank, according to the stories. I do not know about the stories, I only know that I live as if I grew up that way. Scared of anger, stuffing my feelings, scared all the time, trying to control people’s reactions, perfectionistic, always scared I am about to get in trouble. And I am 39 years old. I spend a lot of time trying to figure out the past – if I had been nicer, sweeter, calmer, more patient, more affectionate, then… my parents would have been what I wanted/loved me more. It is crazy making. And I have not stopped yet. I hope that I will reach out to a sponsor and I hope that it will work. Kara November 21, 2010 at 5:50 pm I’m not sure I am in the right spot, but here I am. My boyfriend of over a year is currently in rehab. I find that he pushes me away and often avoids talking to me. I feel lost, confused and hurt. He is able to come home on visits, but chooses not to. He does, however, spend a lot of time out with people from the program. I can’t help but to feel rejected, and my everyday life is spent worrying about him and where I stand in his life. During our relationship, my boyfriend only drank in the beginning and has been sober for at least 8 months. He has a DWI that he is dealing with and this was part of his decision to go to rehab. I wonder how I find the strength to stay strong and not push him to see me, if this is normal and if it will get better. gigi November 19, 2010 at 7:42 pm OK, here I go again. 46, my dad has been sober for 1 year. He was not working a program, only going to church. I just started having a phone relationship with him, as he lives out of state. Thank God! My mother left him, she doesn’t work a program either. The last time he got sober, it was because my family changed their reaction to him and stopped talking to him and refused to be a part of his life. Now I’m the only one not talking to him and everyone else forgot the rules. I struggle with guilt for not returning calls, but I know he should be the one riddled with guilt. I want to call and yell at him and let him know why I’m not talking to him, but how many times do I have to explain that? So, I’m keeping my boundaries and not calling and not having a relationship, unless he starts to work a program. I can’t make him be sober, but I don’t have to talk to him even though my mother says, “I understand, but he’s your father.” I’ve done lots of work for myself and I have a beautiful relationship with a caring man. How could I fall back into this guilt pattern? The meeting I was going to go to is not there tonight. Thanks, I needed this. Good luck to all of you. You are in my prayers tonight. SARAHMARIE September 12, 2010 at 3:34 am I’m SarahMarie. I’m a newlywed and have been married to an alcoholic for almost 6 months now. We’ll be together for 3 years if we make it, in December. It’s getting harder and harder. I now realize sadly I am not in control and never was. I never wanted to be. I just wanted a husband who could be. I lied to myself. My girlfriend told me about Al-Anon. I just looked up the closest resource, if I can make it this long I can make it till Monday. I should have known better. I’m 30 and successful no matter what I do. I didn’t expect this no matter what I thought I knew. He loves me when he’s sober. He thinks I’m better than him when he’s not. He wants kids someday soon, I don’t. His sobriety ups and downs tell me WE shouldn’t. I can’t feel too bad, from what I read, it’s probably best. I feel for all those above who have shared and cried as much and more than I have. I’m lost. I’ve been depressed lately and I thought it was all me. I know it is not true, no matter how much I tell myself it is. I am not to blame. No one is. I met my husband at a bar. I use to like to drink the usual cocktail. It is no fun anymore. I have to go away from him to try to enjoy ONE and it isn’t enjoyable at that. It makes me bitter. My girlfriends are very supportive. Anyone who loves you will be. I’m grateful for their ears and arms. Please don’t give up hope, no matter how long you have been in it. You are better than it. You DO DESERVE BETTER THAN IT, HIM , HER, ANYTHING YOU’VE GOTTEN FROM IT. I pray for a miracle. I will start praying for all of you above and those to come. God Bless! joan August 9, 2010 at 8:04 pm I am a mother of a 21-yr-old heroin addict. He went to an inpatient rehab, then sober living home and was clean for 9 months. When he left the sober house, he rented an apartment with one of the boys from the sober house. He relapsed after 2 weeks, was sent back to inpatient rehab and is now living in a sober house in Maine. He is going to return home in 2 weeks and I know my life is going to change! I don’t want to walk on egg shells around him and I want to trust him, but I am not sure if I can. I have two other children at home who are younger and I want a happy home. I am not sure how to handle him when he comes home, i.e. curfew etc. I don’t want to worry every time he goes out that he is going to get high. I don’t want to suspect him every time he goes out either. Kory July 23, 2010 at 7:20 pm Well I, like all of you, have lived the same as you all. I have had two marriages to alcoholics. Tried every trick to get my husband to stop. Dumped out booze, filled booze bottles with juice etc. None of my attempts to control him have made him stop. Outpatient. He is using 3 to 4 times a week still and in treatment. I feel I am better. I am definitely powerless over alcohol, husband, whatever word I need to put in. I attend Al-Anon when work allows me to. Not nearly enough. Am so glad I found this site to read and share on. My kids are definitely suffering. I need to take care of myself. By doing this will show by example our lives can change and get better. I MUST KEEP IN CONSTANT CONTACT WITH MY HIGHER POWER. THANKS TO ALL FOR SHARING AND GIVING ME STRENTGH AND HOPE. Peace and Love Donna June 7, 2010 at 12:53 pm I feel so alone where I live. A small town with drinking a way of life. My husband and I have been married for nineteen years, with the last ten his drinking has gotten really bad. My parents and one brother are recovering alcoholics so I guess I am living in a fish bowl. Always trying to do the right thing or say the right thing so he won’t drink. Now my three kids are living the same life I did growing up. I swore if I had kids they wouldn’t have this life. My husband only drank socially when we married so I thought I had made a safe decision for myself, now I live waffling between guilt and depression. I love him but can’t change him, but that doesn’t change the fact that he blames me one minute then tells me it’s his fault. He says if I just would change this way or that, that he wouldn’t drink as much. I tried, but he still drank. Alcohol makes me physically sick so I don’t drink very often, maybe a drink once every two months or so, therfore I end up being a taxi for him. I have started refusing to go anywhere with him, but our friends don’t understand and give me a hard time. That makes him feel like he is wanted and I am standing in his way. I know I need help but I don’t know if I can handle the truth right now. I want to! Trish R May 16, 2010 at 4:53 pm I am a recovering addict. In 1997, with 5 years clean, I fell in love, head over heels, totally in love, with another addict in recovery. We were married in 1998. Three/four years later, he relapsed and has not been able to stay clean since. In 2006 I left him and have never been more miserable in my life. In 2008 I relapsed on alcohol. Fifteen years clean — gone. The end of August this year I will celebrate 2 years clean again but I am still miserable. The pain, the heartache feels as fresh as it did in the beginning. I miss him, I feel like a part of me is missing. But, I finally filed for a divorce this past March. I don’t know where he is — other than living on the streets somewhere. My NA sponsor suggested I look into attending some Al- Anon meetings in the area. As it is said, “When the pain gets great enough…!!” I hope & pray it helps. I’ve got to do something. My mother died last July and I lost my job in March. So far I’ve managed to stay clean, but I know if I don’t do something different I won’t stay clean. In the beginning I thought Jon was God’s gift to me for what I had survived in life. Now I don’t understand why that gift was taken away from me. Please say some prayers for me. Thank you. Todd May 14, 2010 at 6:08 pm My wife of twelve years first recognized her alcoholism and substance abuse four years ago. She made it to two weeks worth of AA meetings, and then dropped out. Amazing how quickly she could change her mind. The half dozen Al-Anon meetings I attended were enough to guide me over the past four years, although I always wanted more. When I finally learned to let her go two years ago and focus on myself and our pre-teen kids, my life changed forever. Sure, living with an alcoholic is a nightmare, but I was able to see clearly through the insanity and keep myself focused. I had faith that eventually she would hit bottom, faith that took plenty of patience. Over those two years I pretended not to notice her behavior. Through it all I just kept reminding myself that it wasn’t my place to try and change her. It had to come from within, within her. She rarely went out with friends, preferring to invite others over or to stay close to home, or for the most part on the couch. But when she did go out, I prayed she would get pulled over. When the phone rang at 1:30 in the morning, I pretended not to hear it. When the ringing went from my cell to the land line to the cell and back again without a single message, I got scared. It was at least 15 minutes before the police called back, fifteen of the longest minutes of my life. Funny thing is, when they explained that she couldn’t be bailed out until 9:00 the next morning, I fell back asleep under a long, cool breath of relief. The kids thought she had spent the night at a friend’s as they boarded the bus that morning. I lost a day’s work, a small investment in time, but was shocked to find her locked in a mental ward at a local hospital. The judge later described the actions of this beautiful, well dressed, suburban mother, as that of a complete meltdown. During her arrest she allegedly struck an officer three times, attempted to flee three more times, and threatened suicide. When I found her, she was still drunk, stoned, and lying in a cold, damp ward vomiting repeatedly into a small metal container, finally, finally, near rock bottom. After four years. Bottom. Embarrassed, humiliated, depressed and lost, she was shocked to hear me tell her that I did not care what she chose to do after this. I offered my support in any way she needed, but would not offer to fix her problems or tell her what to do. She responded soberly in fear, fear that she would be locked up, fear that she would go to prison, fear that she would lose her family, but never with the fear that she needed help, help to help herself. When she pointedly demanded that we needed to change, I looked her straight in the eye and told her that change was her decision, but that I had no intention of changing. I loved myself, I loved my family, and I loved my life. I am accomplishing all of the goals I set out to reach in my career, in my children and in my life. I have never been happier. I have no intention of changing. Not one thing. And I didn’t. I don’t know if she understood the weight of my words or the chasm between our states, but I stuck to it, continuing my pursuit of a sub-3:20 marathon, coaching two soccer teams and reaching for the next promotion. Around 39 days, after near-daily, out-patient, court-ordered counseling and urine testing, she defiantly announced that she couldn’t wait to get past this so she could go back to drinking again. Calmly I began researching, for the first-time in our marriage, separation. I had vowed never to make a threat that I could not keep. At day 40, she returned from her first one-on-one counseling session, and admitted, at last, that she had a problem. A problem bigger than herself. She was cautiously energized. It had finally happened. I had waited four years, endured emotional and physical infidelity, insults, public embarrassment, loss of friends and family, damage to my children and daily verbal abuse. After four more days, and many, many late-night conversations – wonderful in-depth conversations we hadn’t had together since we were first married – I made the decision to change my life in order to rebuild our marriage. Just three weeks from a marathon I had trained harder for than any other race in my life, I dropped out, cold turkey. I needed to meet her halfway. It has been almost three weeks, and there have more ups than downs, and nearly every day she reveals another side I have never seen. I thought she would revert back to the person I knew before her drinking had become so intense. Instead, she had grown into a more mature, actualized woman than I had ever known before. Her anxiety melted away like a flashed thaw and she walked in new shoes, weak, damaged, but alive. She has much work ahead, and if it wasn’t for the fact that the court will keep her in this program for two years, she admits she would certainly fail. Finally, last night she reluctantly attended her first AA meeting. First in four years. Going in, she was exhausted from the daily grind of counseling, court appearances, and urine tests. Here was yet another court-ordered clog on her calendar, AA; the program she resisted four years ago, and no doubt was dredging up memories from the lows of that particular time. When she returned home for a quick break between back-to-back meetings (did I emphasize how intense this court-sanctioned program is?), another piece of the puzzle had fallen into place. In the neighborhood next to ours, she had found professionals and educated people like her, for the first time since she had hit bottom; people who had the same problems. Not that she needed a more suburban setting, no, just that she, like anyone else, needed to find a common denominator. A mirror closer to who she is. It is scary to admit that I felt like a proud parent – and all of you Freudian-types can analyze that co-dependent thought for all it’s worth. Because you are not the only one who saw the problem with that thought. My depression, kept in check for over a decade with only a few recurrences, was back with a vengeance. Quitting running cold turkey two weeks ago was more of a mental challenge than physical. That’s when something hit me this morning. I’m not all that put together after all. As I just told my wife on the phone moments ago, I’ve been holding it in for too long by myself, trying to do the right thing, be the right person, keep everyone and myself from failing. And now that I’m able to see clearly how good our lives have the potential to become, I realize at this very moment that I need help. I’m exhausted. There are a whole new set of challenges and worries and roads in my life. Pieces of our family are scattered like broken toys. And I still have a need to control things. Ultimately, I need to make sure that the support and love I am sharing is healthy. That’s why I’m going back to Al-Anon tonight. Because this is bigger than even me. julia April 21, 2010 at 12:38 pm I am 17, and my mother has been an alcoholic for almost as long as I can remember. I have tried everything that I can think of to show her how her behavior has affected my family, but it seems like her addiction is just getting worse and worse. I too came upon this website after I looked up “ways to help an alcoholic”. I was pleasantly suprised to find this website, and now I realize that I need to stop trying to convince my mother that she has a problem and that I need to help myself. I am worried about my future, and I am worried that her alcoholism will continue to change my life for the worse, but this website has given me hope and shown me that I am not alone. I hope to attend a meeting as soon as I can! sue e April 13, 2010 at 9:37 pm I just started to go to Al-Anon meetings. It’s kind of hard to admit that I can’t help my husband. He gets so controling and wondering where I am or what I am doing. He calls me at work and at my mom’s just to see if I am where I told him. It’s getting to the point where I don’t want to be here, but I still love him. He went to rehab but only lasted 2 weeks. He said he’s going back next Monday. I don’t believe him. I caught him in so many lies. He wiped me out of my money for his beer and laughs about it. His anger is getting bad. He’s starting to throw his tools and it’s all my fault cause I don’t do what he wants or say I love you until he treats me better. I don’t love him but how am I to deal with him with 3 kids? Two are mine, one is his. If it wasn’t for his son, I would have left. So how can I deal with my life? I feel like I am in jail. I hope Al-Anon can help me sort things out. lisa April 11, 2010 at 10:12 pm I think I just realized that I need Al-ANON about 15m ago, while reading these posts. I was lucky enough to have been adopted by the two most wonderful people on the planet, had a wonderful childhood, no abuse or alcoholism of any kind, no divorce (not even in my extended family). I have been in 7 long relationships throughout my life (im 39, could never bring myself to marry any of them); 4 of them were alcoholics, the first and the last 3. I barely drink myself. The drunks were always just more fun. And I like to take care of people. Together that combination can be very detrimental after the fun wears off. I left my last boyfriend 2 years ago (I always do the leaving). And for the first time in my life, im single. Kinda weird, kinda lonely, kinda empty. Lots of introspection and coming to terms with anger and sadness. Funny how you can feel them both simultaneously; it should be its own emotion. I never thought I was an enabler, but I guess I was. Alcoholism is a sneaky disease. It oozes into corners of your relationship and lies to you. Tells you things you want to hear, then crushes you when you realize it was an illusion. I ran into my ex last week. I still love him dearly but haven’t had any contact with him in 2 years. He knocked on the window of the bar as I walked by. I went in and hung out with him for the night. He was sober when I got there, and watched him turn into a puddle within a few hours. I had forgotten that the loneliest place in the world is next to a drunk saying “i love you”. The cosmos needed to remind me of that, and I’m thankful it did. I will never be the person he stops drinking for; it has nothing to do with me, he has to do it for himself. It’s the hardest lesson I’ve ever had to learn–but I’m learning:) Angela A. April 2, 2010 at 12:47 am Al-Anon gives me hope because Al-Anon teaches me that I do have choices. As I learn to see my problems from a different perspective, I begin to think about them differently, and I begin to see options that I was unaware of before. The First Step assures me that I am powerless over alcohol. I am also powerless over the alcoholic, as well as other people, places, and things. Knowing where I have power and where I do not have power shows me where to focus my energy. Exploring this idea when I was a newcomer at Al-Anon meetings, I heard someone say in a meeting that alcohol was both readily available and expensive. This woman said that set of facts led her to re-think pouring out booze, because pouring it out never prevented the problem drinker from getting another drink; pouring it out only meant that it ended up costing the household more money spent on booze in the long run! That made sense to me, and led to my changing my behavior. As I began to make small changes in how I perceived the drinking and the drinker, I began to make small changes in my behavior and reactions, then I began to feel better about myself and I began to think more clearly about everything in my life. I began to have hope that my life COULD get better. It was like a snowball rolling downhill. Clearer thinking led me to more empowering action which led to clearer thinking and on and on. It didn’t happen overnight, and it didn’t happen in a vacuum. For me, it took taking the risk of going to Al-Anon meetings, reading the literature, going to coffee with the people after the meeting, and talking to other people in the meetings who had had experiences similar to my own. I recently heard it said that Al-Anon recovery is not for people who NEED it, it is for people who WANT it. I am so grateful for the bottom I hit that got me to the point of really wanting it. And I am so glad that the worldwide fellowship of Al-Anon is there for anyone who wants it today. sharon8881 March 11, 2010 at 4:22 pm Oh God, I am married for over 40 years to an alcoholic. First it was drugs now it’s booze. Every day it gets worse. I don’t know where to turn from here but do know I am very sick of his drinking. The day I am so scared to face is the day he hits someone with the car. Yes, he drives very very drunk, has one drunk driving under his belt. I know it’s a matter of time before he hurts someone. I don’t know if I can live with myself when he does that. He went for help for a year and a half but didn’t do any good. He says he drinks because of me and I know that is not true. Hidden beer bottles all over my house, I find them open them and pour them down the drain. He cannot be left with the grandkids because of his drinking. Once he left my grandbaby in her crib to go by booze. And his mouth, he gets a really bad mouth on him cause it’s all our fault that he drinks. The mood swings are awful, running into walls, can’t stand up. His nose is even turning purple from his drinking. So where do I go from here? Too old to start over, but would love to get in a support group because I just don’t know how much more I can take. I spend most of my time in my bedroom. I eat in there, watch tv in there. That’s how much I dont even want to look at him. How do I go on like this? ann February 3, 2010 at 10:51 am I also married an alcholic. We dated for two years; he treated my terribly but that’s all I knew. I was emotionally and sexually abused by an older brother and uncle and then by a school teacher. I was never allowed to express my feelings to my mom; she was always angry. I did not trust her; I feared her. When I did express myself, she shamed me. Anyway, I went on to marry my husband. It was not a healthy relationship. We have since divorced. Al-Anon teaches me I could not have expectations of someone who is suffering from the disease of alcoholisim. I needed to know this to protect myself emotionally. However, the idea in developing a healthy, intimate relationship is to allow myself to become vulnerable. One of the ways to become vulnerable is to have expectations of each other. Al-Anon has taught me to have plan B to protect myself from the inconsistencies. In a healthy relationship expectations are met. Realistic expectations are important in developing a framework for a healthy relationship (e.g., saying that the alcoholic will pick you up a the grocery store at a certain time, or be there to look after the children, etc.). Simple by my standards, but not for an alcoholic who suffers from the disease of obsession and their body has allergies to the alcohol. My son is now dealing with cocaine addiction and again I am reminded to not have expectaions. This disease, I have found out recently from Al-Anon, is progressive. It stays in the body forever and when the person relapses it continues from where the person last picked up, and it only gets worse from there. With addiction, it is different from alcoholism, as the life of an addict is short-lived and can be very sudden. That is my reality since I have met parents who have lost their young adult children to this horrible disease. Al-Anon provides me with great education. It is free and I get to learn about myself and how to make me healthy; all I have to be is willing and open. “One day at a time” is keeping me from obsessing about my son. It’s not easy, but I pray, pray, pray. God bless all that are affected by this disease. Kate January 28, 2010 at 10:43 pm I am the wife of an alcoholic. He is in trouble and he knows it, and is really upset with himself. He wants to change and is going to begin a new more intensive rehab tomorrow. I have been mandated to attend weekly Al-Anon meetings, and I embrace it. I look forward to going to my first one in the next few days, when I can find a meeting at a time when I can get child-care since my husband isn’t allowed to be unsupervised with our son. Just wanted to say that reading many of these posts has both scared me and inspired me. I found them helpful overall. Thanks to all those who shared. Riley January 28, 2010 at 3:31 pm I just went to my first meeting this week. I went there out of a horrible empty feeling of despair. I have been suffering through many of the situations that you have described here. One thing I didn’t notice much of that I am feeling is just rage. I am so angry at him for betraying me with this selfishness. I have spent years loving him and trying to do what was best for him, as hard as some of it was. We are at a point now where I don’t know if I could ever love him again. He has allowed his family to use me as the scapegoat, and it is such a betrayal. They should be grateful and loving for all that I have held up in spite of his abuse. Instead they are hateful and judgemental towards me. And he just allows it. It’s like he is kicking me when I’m down. He allows it because it offers him one safe place where he’s not the bad guy. I walk around sick to my stomach, thinking of the hypocrisy. nancy January 9, 2010 at 10:39 pm I feel like I am at my wits end and don’t know where to turn next. I have a 3 and 5-year-old and I do not want to have them grow up seeing their father as a mean drunk and thinking that is the norm. They just keep playing and do not even realize what is going on. Most of the time I take them to bed and we watch a movie, but I cannot hide it from them much longer. I hate the instability of never knowing when the next time will be, and have stopped going anywhere with him where alcohol may be present. I do not even know if I want to stay married to him any longer. I hate what he is when he drinks. I have a hard time even being civil anymore. It helps me to see the other comments above and know I am not alone and that others have survived this hell. I went to one Al-Anon meeting a couple years ago, but wasn’t ready then. I know I need to go back and keep going back so that maybe one day I can wake up and not feel sick anymore. I feel alone, tapped out, and scared. Teresa January 7, 2010 at 10:43 pm Wow, reading all the comments is like reading about my life with my husband’s alcoholism. All the emotions–walking on egg shells, avoiding subjects, running to help him when he drinks, making sure he is safe, as well as the rest of us in the house. He is coming home soon and all the emotions, such as anger and stress, are returning as well. I need to be strong and take the first step and attend Al-Anon for the information and support. I know that I do not want to go back to his lifestyle. Reading the posted comments, I too do not have power over his drinking. I am just scared of actually facing the reality of it all!! Angie January 6, 2010 at 11:54 pm Wow…I just heard about Al-Anon for the first time today and came home and got directly online to find out more. I’m pretty much at the end of my rope. I feel like I’m enabling my husband by staying with him. Unfortunately, I’m ready to walk out the door and I don’t want a divorce, I just want to lead a seperate life from him, until he realizes he needs some real help. To this day he has never seriously admitted he even has a problem. Hmmm, hence this is his 3rd marriage and my first. It’s so amazing…it’s like you’re walking around in this haze thinking, how did I get here? Jeez, how dumb. You go to college for four years and your goal is to graduate. So, you date someone for years and your goal is to get married but you don’t ever stop and look at all of the other person’s behaviors and think, is that the way I want to live my life? I mean, that’s exactly what I should’ve done, but have no reason why I didn’t. How did I not say, “In 5, 10, 15, 20 years I want to be here and live this kind of life”? Well, it’s never too late and I’m not going to live this kind of life anymore. Now, if I could just find an awesome 2 bedroom apt. to move to! lol 😉 Oh, it’s not going to be easy, but I give it to God. I’m going to pray, pray, pray and hopefully something will work out. All I can do for him now is pray for him. It’s out of my control. It never was. I have a young toddler who is learning from me as I did from my mother. Hopefully I’ll be able to guide her toward the right person/relationship by example. God Bless all of you. karen December 14, 2009 at 4:58 am I came into the Al-Anon program after I had asked my husband of 10 years to leave. I thought that ‘things’ would be better if he left, but I was even more miserable. I didn’t realize that drinking was a problem in our home. I just knew that I didn’t like His behaviour. He had turned into someone that I didn’t know anymore. He eventually divorced me. I realized that I needed Al-Anon, I needed help , I had suicidal thoughts, and I didn’t know anywhere else to turn. I didn’t know how to stop the emotional pain that I was in. I had also started to take a sincere look at my spiritual life. I did what Al-Anon suggested that I do. I went to meetings, I got a sponsor, I read the literature, and I helped with service work. And things started to get better. I started to get better. When I first came into the meetings, I felt overwhelmed and hopeless. I cried and cried, no matter where I was. Today, those days feel like a zillion miles away. I have serenity today. My home is very peaceful. I learned that I am responsible for my own happiness and I can let other people live their own lives and it’s NOT my business what they choose for themselves. I have remained single all these years. I have learned that I can make choices for myself and my decisions are MINE, I don’t need to have anyone’s approval or if I want to change my mind– that’s okay, too. The Al-Anon program has helped me with my attitude and my self-esteem. I would recommend Al-Anon to anyone, in a heartbeat! I will forever be thankful to my friends in Al-Anon for helping me raise my 2 children. When I didn’t trust my own judgement, I would ask for help from around the ‘tables’ of Al-Anon. Just because my ex-husband and I had divorced, it didn’t mean that it was ‘easy’ concerning our children. But, Al-Anon helped me to say ‘nice’ things about their dad and to treat him with respect and pray for him. This could have only helped our situation. Today I wish him ‘well’ and know that I was wrong to blame him for everything. Now I can see and admit that it takes two, and I played my part. I can forgive myself and see that we both did the best we could, at the time. We were both imperfect, trying to have a perfect life. I am not a ‘huggy’ kind of person but Al-Anon has shown me how to accept ‘hugs.’ Through the program I have been able to have much better relationships by trusting , being as honest as I can be, and saying what I mean, but not saying it mean. I have gotten more from Al-Anon than I could possibly list here. So, I will forever be a very grateful member of Al-Anon. And I’m thankful for the alcoholic who brought me to Al-Anon. It changed my life (for the better)! Ricardo A November 26, 2009 at 10:05 am I tend to misunderstand the First Step, wrongly thinking that I am worthless because of being powerless over another person’s alcoholism. This distorted way of thinking is caused by my low self-esteem, and because often I still need the reflective time to consider the unmanageable part of the First Step. When I do reflect about my unmanageability, this Step makes sense to me and becomes a source of self-esteem to me because it suggests that I focus on my life, instead of staying obsessed with another person´s life. Glen November 26, 2009 at 9:29 am Sitting here at 1:15am, unable to sleep. My partner of 15 years (husband of seven years) has just returned from a 28-day program. I’m really struggling because I feel like I’ve lost my husband. He’s like a robot – he shows no emotion. The only time he shows any passion is when he talks about his new friends – they seem far more important to him than me and the kids. Things haven’t been easy during the weeks he’s been gone. I’ve kept the house going (4 acres), loved and cared for our three children, run two businesses, and slowly fallen apart. When I’m alone I cry my heart out because I miss him. I’m lonely, and I just want back the love and companionship we shared. We always talked about growing old together, but when I see him my emotions come out as anger and resentment. I’m afraid I’m pushing him away. I love him so much. Since he’s come home he’s not shown me any emotion – no kiss hello, no hugs, not even good-night. He kissed the kids good-night – just not me. I’ve tried to explain to him that I miss the intimacy we used to have, the way even when he was drunk he could still offer me support and love when I needed it. Does being sober mean that we can no longer have that relationship? I still see him as my husband, lover, sole mate, life partner – but I’m not sure if he feels the same. J November 3, 2009 at 2:47 pm I am 28 years old, married and expecting my first baby in Feb. My father has been an alcoholic since, well, long before I was born. I have grown up dealing with his addiction my entire life. He always has financial problems because he spends his money on things that he shouldn’t. I have loaned him money on several occasions and it has at times taken years to be paid back. Recently, he borrowed money from me to pay some bills because he was having money issues. He works construction and my work often hires him (I am a property manager) to do construction projects. He did pay me back right away. Last weekend he went on vacation to Florida for 2 weeks. He is expecting a check from my employer, but instead of waiting for the money to come he went with a small amount of cash on him and wanted me to make a bank deposit when the money came in the mail. (He wasn’t concerned about the half hour drive to his home to do this — of course). It turns out that the check will actually not be received until after he returns from his trip. I had to give him this news today and of course I feel so bad about it and don’t know whether or not I should loan him the money. If he doesn’t pay me back it will put me in a real financial mess and cause problems in my marriage. I feel that I will not be a good Christian if I do not help him. Fiona November 3, 2009 at 12:04 am This page has given me a lot of support as of now. I want to thank you all for taking the time to leave a piece of your story here. My boyfriend of four years is an alcoholic. He has been flirting with Step One for the past few months and has been attending meetings sporadically for the past year. He has a sponsor and has made some seemingly good connections in the program and says he knows he has a problem and wants to be proactive about it, yet he has relapsed more times than I can count. The first three years we were together he tried to hide his drinking from me. Finally it got so bad (or rather noticeable) that he came forward and admitted to me that he has a problem. I wanted to be there for him and to be as optimistic as possible. He lives at home with his parents. I work full time and go to school full time. I am going to school to be a social worker, so this obvious “I’ll fix-you” scenario has come up with my behavior towards him at first, but right now I am wondering, how I can be in love with someone who is so unhealthy? I feel very confused and just wrote down some meeting times with the intent to go to my first Al-Anon meeting. I have been to a handful of AA meetings with my boyfriend and try my best to support his sobriety, but I’ve gotten to the point where my issues of trusting and feeling torn in two have really left me feeling like an empty shell. I hope that I can learn from meeting other people in Al-Anon and figure out how not to be an enabler. I thank you all for your honesty and openness. Barb October 28, 2009 at 2:16 pm I have been married to my husband for 14 years and dated for 11 years, so basically we have been together our entire adult lives. We “partied” together when we were young, but the problem arose / became evident to me / when I “grew up” and he didn’t. The continual drinking became more than unmanageable over the past 8 or so years and finally he decided to enter a program – YEAH!. I was so proud of him and he of himself for 75 days, but unfortunately he relapsed. I was dreading this day and I HATE it. I hate it for me, for my daughter and for him. I HATE that he is so powerless/so unhappy/so unwilling, at this point, to get more individualized help. He has had a ton of bad things happen in his life, but in a nutshell we all have. I have not yet been to a meeting and know that I need to in order to learn how to better take care of myself for myself and my daughter, if not my husband. This is extremely hard and I never thought that at this point in my life I would be here, but I am. I feel like I’m wearing all the hats in the household, but I guess I need to understand that I might need to keep wearing them and that I need help learning how to handle it all. I love him, love my daughter and I need to love/take care of myself too! I, too, feel like I’ve lost myself. I did not drink on a regular basis prior to his start of recovery and have been sober for 82 days myself in order to support him. I look forward to my first meeting and starting the recovery process for myself. I have to be here for her in case he is not. Thank you for listening and understanding. I needed to get that off of my chest as well. That is a start. joan October 11, 2009 at 1:25 pm I have been a member of Al-Anon for many years. I urge everyone who has been affected by alcoholism to go to meetings. It will give you support. It will improve your life and help you to cope with your problems. amber September 29, 2009 at 4:35 pm My daughter is 18. My daughter is bi-polar II. At 16 she ran away 9 times. In the course of that she has been mentally institutionalized 4 times. Rehab once. She is now in prison for underage drinking – 4 times – for 45 days. We (My husband, son and 2 daughters that live on their own) have been down this road, so many times. My husband and I have been assaulted by her, been lied to, had the police officers over so many times they know our name, and yet I think of her every waking hour, feeling pain and wondering what we could of did to make this not happen. The first step is always the hardest, and feel I can’t do it because I will be letting go of her. This is something I find I am having so much trouble with. My life has been my family, my kids, and I am having trouble with that. Sheryl August 25, 2009 at 11:13 pm I am a 47-year-old and my younger sister is an alcoholic. She had been drinking heavily for over a decade and was beginning her drinking earlier and earlier in the day. We tried to help her in the past and were unsuccessful. Her health was becoming an issue and my family became scared that we were going to lose her if something wasn’t done. We just had a family intervention and she accepted help at a recovery center. I was asked to partake in her family therapy and received a shock when the therapist referred to me as an enabler. I will admit that I was, at one time, but stopped–or so I thought. The therapist recommended Al-Anon meetings and I intend to seek out a meeting place in my area. This is my first experience in finding help and was appreciative of the podcast testimonials. Thank you for sharing. kit-kat July 22, 2009 at 2:07 am I am a wife and mother of 5 and married to an alcoholic and a drug addict. This has taken a huge toll on our family. I have always thought that I could fix him or help him change by doing the following when he has gotten caught: Take his cell phone away; hide his car keys and lock the car down with all sorts of brake and steering wheel locks; hide the checkbooks and debit cards; take him and pick him up from work myself; tell him once again, “Okay, no alcohol at all allowed in the home–even on weekends”; no going to a ball game, because you will drink or do drugs; can’t trust him to go anywhere. But I have since realized that I cannot fix him, this only adds more stress to myself with all the extra worrying and investigating and arguing that that seems to just repeat itself in circles. I do believe that marriage vows should be forever, but when does it become a hazard to the family, and who is to say when enough is enough! A sister of mine recently informed me of this Al-Anon support group and that I should investigate it and it will help me and give me strength, support. I haven’t actually gone to any meetings, but I am very interested and I have so much to share. I believe God is my strength and I am not easy on giving up. May God bless us all!! Lynny July 15, 2009 at 1:15 pm Thank you, Ian, for your comments. I am the mother of a 29-year-old alcoholic daughter. This was a huge surprise to my husband and I who don’t drink and, needless to say, she wasn’t raised with it. We’ve been to 3 Al-Anon meetings and I can say the last one really, really helped. I am trying to work MY program as she works hers. We all have a deep faith in God, and believe without Al-Anon or AA, she would not have made 30 days sober, as of yesterday!! The Church, sadly, is just not prepared to deal with people who are addicted – but God is!!! I hope we never have to ask her to leave, as you did, but maybe that will come. I ask God to give me direction every day and guidance to make decisions that will not impact her negatively. And the people at Al-Anon have the experience to help me. Thank you. God Bless! Ian July 12, 2009 at 1:41 am Hey, you guys. I’ve been reading your stories. My 26-year-old daughter is alcoholic and had me worried sick a year ago. I understand the pain that some of you face. In my pain I would run to God. But my big task to achieve, with the help of a counselor as well as Christian prayer ministry, has been to learn to let go and trust God, and to stop trying to change my daughter. I would read scriptures about God’s promises for our children, and that has all helped. Trusted Christian friends, who’ve been where I am, have been a real gift from God. We only have to ask Him for help and it’s amazing how things eventually begin to pan out. I’ve started going to an Al-Anon meeting here in Melbourne, and I can see there is some benefit in that too. Probably the biggest factor for me has been the comfort I have found in worshipping the God of the Bible, who loves us so much, more than any of us realise. I find I am not hassling my daughter nearly as much about getting help and getting off booze. I had to ask her to leave the house a year ago. That wasn’t easy, because I was afraid she’d fall into a crumpled heap and I’d have to keep propping her up. Then I realised that by propping her up all the time I was enabling her problem. I realised that I had to stop that, or she’d never learn to take responisibility. Now she has managed to get a good job, and is beginning to take some responsibility for herself. Her progress has seemed slow, but it is happening, thank God, and this has given me hope. I think that while there is life there is always hope. Go to an Al-Anon meeting. I can see it’s helped a lot of people, even if they don’t have the faith that I have in God. Never give up! God bless you. Ian Denise July 1, 2009 at 10:45 pm I am trying Al-Anon again after 3 years because my reactions to my husband’s medicating himself are making myself (and others around me) crazy! I want to take control, punish him, ignore him, leave him, and I feel like I am stuck. Sad thing is he serves as a chaplain and helps others, encouraging them to talk through their pain. He just refuses to deal with the pain he is causing those around him by his substance abuse. So I need to work on me, so I can become a rational, loving, peaceful person. Right now I can’t imagine that as a possibilty because I feel like a raging bull after discovering how bad his problems and debts are because of this abuse. But it is possible–if I have faith and work on me. Ellen July 1, 2009 at 6:32 pm I just found this web site and listened to all of the podcasts and read all of the comments. I can see myself in almost every single post. I have been married for 27 years, like the one lady. I am a mother whose son is struggling with alcohol issues, like another. He is actually the one who came to me last week and said “Mom, this is not just Dad’s problem. It is a family problem!” I never looked at it that way, but after talking with him and him giving me his perspective on what it is like to be dependent on alcohol I can kind of understand. I, like a lot of others, always thought I could change my husband. We both drank socially when we first started dating and were first married. When I became pregnant with our first child, I quit drinking and have never gone back. After the kids were born, I said I didn’t drink because one of us had to stay sober and drive us home from the parties, bars, etc. I have put up with infidelities more than once and now he is going through a period of being scammed on the internet! My son says that is part of the addiction process, but I cannot understand how an otherwise smart man can be conned by these people! That is one issue I have not seen anybody on here talk about. I am going to call first thing tomorrow and find out where the closest Al-Anon meeting is and attend. I have gone through a lot of stress in my life lately, and I need to learn that I cannot fix everything, and I need to learn how to live for me. Elizabeth June 27, 2009 at 6:12 am I just realized my son is an alcoholic, because he told me. He lives in another state, is grown, and just lost his job due to drinking. His friends tell me he is mixing alcohol and Valium. He does not want to go to rehab–I have offered to pay. I do not know what to do. I am fearful he will die or is dead when I don’t hear from him. I cannot go on like this. I am looking to go to an Al-Anon meeting. Lise June 26, 2009 at 2:36 pm Wow. I’ve read all the comments from this page and it is so scary–so many people hurting, going through so many similar things. I decided to go on-line and try to find some “guide to helping an alcoholic,” but instead I found some help for myself. I have been in this relationship for 4/5 years. Yes, I knew he drank “some,” but did not feel concerned when we first got together. We were a good fit for many reasons and over all we have a good relationship. But I cannot sit there and watch him drink night after night, going to bed drunk basically every night for the last couple of months. In the last 2 years his drinking has been escalating from drunk Friday to Sunday to the present, where he must be drunk to go to bed. He openly admits at least once a week he has to “cut down on his drinking,” while he sits there and pours another drink. And I know I can’t do anything else to help him. My head knows he has to help himself, but my heart wishes I could help him. I don’t want to give up on our future together, but little by little my anger grows, as does my disappointment. My tolerance is becoming non-existent. When he starts talking and I know what is coming, I can’t be as objective or sympathetic as I was before. I sometimes just lash out to make him realize it’s the same old thing over and over. Or mostly, I just excuse myself and go to bed to read and let him stew in his own thoughts. I just can’t be “bothered” anymore, since I realize that nothing I say matters or will help or will change anything, so why bother. I love him with every part of me but I have to do something before I get sicker. Thanks for letting me vent. I know there are no meetings in my little corner of the world, but maybe by being able to access this place, I will find my way. Mary Anne June 17, 2009 at 10:04 pm I have grown up in a family where my dad was a functioning alcoholic. I am familiar with certain behaviors thereof. Recently I have remet someone from years ago who has been a member of AA for 27 years. We have shared our histories and we are getting to know each other better. He suggested I attend a meeting to better understand his situation and what could become our situation in the future. I have listened to the podcast and decided to definitely go to a meeting. I am feeling it may direct me with some valuable tools to deal with both my past and my future. Thank you. Sheila June 4, 2009 at 4:35 pm This is my very first visit to the website. Reason? My son, who is in his early 20’s, is now facing possible prison time for all his DUI’s. He can’t afford a lawyer, who “promises that if he pays $4,000, he can get him off the felony charges and not go to prison. My son was recently laid off from his job and doesn’t have the money. He comes to me for most of his support and encouragement because he feels that I’m the only one that he can come to. It makes it very hard on me, but I truly love my son with all my heart and want to always be there for him. However, this puts an extremely huge load of responsiblility on my shoulders to always be the strong one with all the answers. Help me take the first step. I don’t want to lose my son to this. I want to gain peace of mind in my life and yet continue to be strong for him. Thank you. Jaime May 22, 2009 at 8:12 pm Amazing–I have not even attended an Al-Anon meeting yet, but I absolutely know I will fit right in. I am a 32-year-old teacher and I have a 15-month-old and a 13-year-old step son. My husband has been doing drugs and drinking since he was 14. I did not know that he was currently still using until I was 8 months pregnant. He then told me it would be so much better if he didn’t have to hide the pot and I just let him do it. Of course, I said no and he agreed to quit so he wouldn’t lose the family and everything else–yeah, right. He just got better at hiding it. His drinking got worse and so did the pot use. He eventually cheated on me with a neighbor. For some reason I believe he will change and become the man God always envisioned. I always knew something was going on–after finding out about the cheating or the drugs he would be nice, but only for a short time. Recently, I caught him smoking pot and decided enough was enough. I called his dad and sister to come get him out of the house. I think that was the beginning of a change for him. He is now going to AA meetings and finding he has a lot of similarities with all the other AA members. His sister and brother-in-law have went through the AA program and have been sober for 6 or 7 years and now he is living with them. The best place for him right now. Now it is time for me to get my head straight. I, like all of you, was always trying to “look out” for him. Constantly telling him what he should or shouldn’t be doing when it came to drinking or using drugs. It’s obvious to me, finally, that I can’t “fix” him. The ball is in his court… My first Al-Anon meeting will be tomorrow–I am excited; I can’t wait to start focusing on myself so I can be a better mom and wife… heather May 13, 2009 at 1:13 pm I don’t know how to start or even if I should come here for help. I just got married last week to a man whose father is an alcoholic. He just got put in jail yesterday for 30 days, 4 years probation, 120 hrs community service. This was his 8th DWI and I have no idea how he wasn’t put away for longer. I’m angry. This is the 4th DWI since I’ve been in his life. He takes advantage of my husband. He is the only person left who is willing to help him now. We had to pay for his last 2 lawyers, which altogether comes to $12,000. I’m tired of it. I’ve tried to get him help and he doesn’t want it. My husband won’t stop helping him either. I need help and so does my husband and I can’t get him to admit it. What should I do? Theresa May 9, 2009 at 1:55 pm My son has just come out of an in-patient treatment center and plans to do out-patient meetings and AA at our local rehab center. He is owning up to his mistakes and past issues. I have faith he will succeed. I have in the past and will again attend Al-Anon so I will learn to understand the situation. My only problem is I feel I am walking on eggshells when I’m talking with him. I am trying to learn the way to communicate, but he still gets so upset about things, no matter how I say anything and he tells me to read the literature, etc. He is going through a terrible divorce and his ex is keeping his daughter away from all of us, which makes it hard. She needs help just as much, if not more, because of her family issues, but she will never admit to this. So it is really emotional with the unhealthy control she has over things. Thank you for listening. Any response would be appreciated. Nicole May 4, 2009 at 10:12 pm This is still so hard for me to admit, even though I have worked through the steps I find myself often having to take a step back and remember that I have absolutely no control. I worry that others are expecting me to take “care” of the problem drinking, specifically his grown children. I cannot, and I cannot let myself worry about what they think. I can only encourage them to also take care of themselves, regardless of what the situation is around them. This is particularly difficult as now there is a small grandchild involved, and I find myself so full of fear and remorse for his sake. I feel that at his age I have an obligation not only to protect and care for myself, but also for him. Any thoughts or feedback would greatly be appreciated. Connie April 15, 2009 at 8:11 pm I am 34 yrs old and am in my second relationship with an alcoholic/ addict. How I got here, I don’t know. I keep thinking to myself I’m tired, and I need to do something different cause what I’ve tried hasn’t worked. So with that I’m open to try something to fix myself. I have been going to Al-Anon for a few months. The guy I’m seeing now goes to meetings also. He has had many relapses, more times then I’d care to count. Sad thing is I can relate to him. We have so many things in common. We have shared the same crappy childhoods, lost our dads to suicide, the list goes on and on. He is a sweet man. All I seem to think is what a shame cause I want him to be the one I can spend the rest of my life with. He is opposite from the last man I was with. I was with him for 15 yrs, had a daughter together, she’s now 15. The guy I’m with now seems to care for me and tells me such sweet things. I’ve never had a man talk to me that way. So maybe I can’t let go cause he’s my feel-good, just like he loves the way the drug makes him feel @ the time. He makes me feel pretty, attractive, and worthy of love, while my ex treated me the opposite. I am not sure how to work the Steps, really. I have no one to talk to. I’ve only gotten one phone number and our work schedules don’t go together very well, so I never can reach her. I would love to find somewhere to go online that can give me more help. Possible chat rooms, or online speaker meetings. Thank u for listening, and it’s nice to know I’m not alone. Cait April 9, 2009 at 1:44 pm As I read these posts, they are all my stories rolled into one. My husband is an alcoholic, (which I only recently discovered) and I found out he was having an emotional affair. He refuses to call it an “affair” because he says he was not “emotionally involved”. He texted her all day long. He went to drink with her every night, and then would come home and drink another bottle or two of wine. I let the $100.00 in overage texting on the cell phone bill slide. I let him tell me that it was all “work related”. This went on for about two months until I found emails from her telling him how much she loved him, and wanted to be with him, and feared that wouldn’t happen. He denied that situation, even when I had the emails printed out in my hand. He went to one AA meeting, and I tried to get him to go to a center where they treat alcoholism. He went to the evaluation, and decided it was not for him because he can do it himself. I don’t know how much more I can help him. I have to remind myself daily that this is a disease, and recovery from anything takes time. As I journey through this tangle of barbed wire, how do I tell where compassion ends, and codependency starts? At the end of my rope April 7, 2009 at 7:27 pm WOW! Just read Judy’s comment, “The first Step, admitting that I am powerless ” & it hit me like a ton of bricks. That is exactly what/where I am now, powerless! Me–who always has to be in control of my life. I have no control now. Oh, everything is perfect for a month & then suddenly that little brown bottle takes over again & I fall into this pit of despair again. Despair, but anger & shame, because yet again I allowed myself to fall for thinking things were going to change. Do you ever learn? I think it would be easier if it was a problem all the time because then it might be easier to get out. I will have to go back to read all the posts, but right now I am not strong enough to do that. Mary March 31, 2009 at 9:06 am My husband of 27 years has a drinking problem. I am on the verge of divorce. He does not drink every day but when he does drink he does not know how to stop. Then he goes looking for drugs. He has had his car stolen once and almost twice. We have 2 beautiful girls and I cannot have them growing up with this like I did. I know if my husband did not have me he would probably be dead. But, I cannot be his savior any more. I am at the end of my rope. He is so depressed and angry all the time and it is effecting the whole family. I am so afraid that he is going to crash and kill someone else. I don’t think I could live with that. I would feel it is partly my fault. I have asked him to move out but he will not go. He knows he has a problem but he believes he has tried everything and there is no hope for him. I just don’t know what to do anymore…. jennifer March 11, 2009 at 7:56 pm My husband is an alcoholic and last Thursday he got so bad I had to take the kids and leave. I had to call the police to take him away. He started A.A. and I have kicked him out of the house. I cannot move past the anger and I want to protect my kids. If anyone has decided to save their relationship, please give me some advice. linda February 28, 2009 at 1:06 pm I am also new to Al-Anon. I have been with my husband for 8 years and of the 8, he has been a dry drunk for 3.5 years. The past year was the worst for him and myself, as not only has he been drinking but has been in and out of programs, but not truly working any program as he dislikes AA. He has been off work with stress leave 3 times this past year and is set to return to work on Monday. He is currently staying with his parents as he walked out on me in September for another woman. But that relationship has failed and he moved back with them to get back on his feet for work and life. He and I have kept in contact and are trying to work on the relationship. He moved back last week , but ended up staying 4 days then realized he needed to return to his parents’ home . I am fine with that as I was not too sure about him moving back in but he just arrived with bags in hand. I am enjoying talking with him and spending some time with him, but it does not feel right for him to come to our home because of his cheating and lying, so I need to gain trust in him again thru his actions. I have not seen too many people in these testimonies talk on infidelity and how it affects the relationship but I hope someone can share. thanks jess February 25, 2009 at 2:56 pm I am looking for some words of wisdom/guidance. I recently recognized the signs and symptons that my husband of 7 years is an alcoholic. He says that he has not had a drink in 5 weeks. The only counseling he has done has been with a co-worker, who is a recovering alcoholic, and through the A.A. hotline. I know that I cannot control or even guide him on what to do but I feel that his efforts are very half-hearted and he is only doing this much because he thinks I will just forgive him and forget about it again like all the other times. I know that he loves me and our girls but I am physically, emotionally and spiritually drained and wiped out. I can barely stand to be in the same room with him, let alone talk to him. I feel that I am only holding on by a thread and really do not know what else to do. I am not even sure if it is worth trying to save a marriage that quite frankly has to wait for him to realize he needs help, and then try to work on us. I went to my first Al-Anon meeting yesterday and I realize I have a long ways to go but I was hoping someone has gone down a similiar path that could give some advice. Whether you decided to stay with your huband (maybe why) or how to give up that last thread of hope of a marriage. Thanks Jessica February 19, 2009 at 7:53 pm Thank you for the podcasts and comments. I’m married to an alcoholic and addict. He was sober when we married and relapsed shortly after our marriage (3 years ago) after almost 6 years of sobriety. I find it really hard to focus on myself and take care of myself. Even as I write this, I traded my Al-Anon meeting so he could attend an AA meeting (someone had to stay home with our daughter). Al-Anon brings me comfort and sanity. It is my wake-up call and it helps me to make healthy decisions for myself. Since the birth of our daughter I’ve been extremely irregular about meetings and I feel the difference. I obsess over his attendance and his health. BUT no matter how irregular my attendance has been, when I walk through the doors of Al-Anon, help is always there. After his last relapse, almost 3 months ago, I was more angry then I’ve ever been- so angry that despite my attempts at making life easy for him (taking all the household responsibilities on myself, keeping “dangerous” topics away from him, hiding my feelings) he still relapsed. I found a way to a meeting, and don’t you know, I got it! I’m not responsible. I only hurt myself with those decisions. I can’t control him or cure him. In one hour, I felt better, the fog cleared. But without those meetings or contact with other members, I get sick again. This week is a great example, he stopped attending his regular meetings, I got fearful, and I intervened (not my job- I’m not supposed to prevent or create a crisis- I might actually be standing in the way of his sobriety by behaving this way). Al-Anon helps me recover- I’m grateful that, although I’m not attending a meeting now- I could hear a podcast and read your comments to remind me and awaken me to my life. Thank you all. I will take with me the thoughts from the speaker on fear. I don’t have to be afraid, I don’t have to be alone, all I have to do is reach out to other Al-Anon members and pray to my higher power for guidance and strength. Thanks again. cv February 2, 2009 at 3:31 pm I have been listening to the podcasts and then reading the comments. My heart goes out to all of you, and as I read I would say a prayer. I am the daughter of an alcoholic, who never really stopped since I was a young child and now I am 43. I struggled with always trying to be the best. Best in school, best singer, best at whatever I would do, but of course it was never enough to stop my dad from drinking. After I left the house I ended up in fix-it relationships. I didn’t realize it until it was too late and I didn’t realize my tendencies until well into my adult life. My relationships have all been abusive in one way or another, verbal, physical, financially…then something happened. I am a very faith filled person and one day I just said to God, “I give up”. And it was like He said to me, “It is about time!” I finally came to the realization that I could not control other people, situations, and had started the first step. I am now in a unbelievably sane relationship. That is new for me. He is in recovery for over 11 years. And he has helped me so much to see how my behaviors and attitudes have been formed. I tried at first to create mayhem because the calmness would drive me to that point. I would feel uncomfortable with the right things, the loving, the trust, and the true caring of another person. Not having to do it all. Not being responsible for someone’s attitude and actions. He is so patient and understanding. I have now started to pursue the meetings, and have even gone to AA meetings and Nar-Anon meetings. Hearing the people speak through their pain helps me to understand. I have even been able to forgive my father and walk back into my relationship with him and set healthy boundaries. shar January 22, 2009 at 8:51 pm well.. i dont know what to say really… i am currently loving someone who has a drinking problem…. but has recently gone to get some help….now… that he is doing this…….. i dont know what to think…. we dont talk like we used too… i understand that he has to do this… but in the meantime it’s killing me…. i miss him and i love him alot…. im tryin to understand, but how can i really… now he has found new people to share things with…. and i dont know how to handle that…. i can’t talk to him.. because he has to begin the healing process of not drinking and being drunk all the time.. facing life sober. i’m sure is a real adjustment..now.. i’m the one feeling lost and confused…..sad and alone depressed….it sucks… jamie January 19, 2009 at 2:49 am wow. l think this is really real, i didnt know about this until just the other day its crazy my whole life i’ve grown up around it and thought i could learn from it but then i get involved with an alcoholic and i just realized i’ve lost myself trying to help him for the better when all he wants to do is help himself to more drinks and not work on a relationship and its weird i am only 20 years old and i really hope i learned my lesson now because i dont want to lose myself my life again! everything was about him and wat he needed . . . wat he wanted and nothing for me, well i hope i can continue to believe i did the right thing by leaving and i just hope i can stay gone and ignore the hurt the pain and the lonliness that i am feeling without him… right?? Niki January 1, 2009 at 2:37 pm I am so sorry Trish. I have been in your shoes more times than I would like to admit. Still am. I am just now starting to work the Steps. It has been 4.5 years of hell and I am ready for that to change. It will either change by my recovery and his recovery or by my leaving. I just wanted you to know that you unfortunately are not alone. Maybe going to prison for awhile will be his wake up call. Maybe it won’t but please take the time that the two of you are apart to work on you and what you want and you can then decide how you feel about continuing with him after you have re-evalutated what you want. Trish December 29, 2008 at 10:39 am It’s very relieving to know I’m not alone. I’m madly in love with an alcoholic. I met him when he was sober but he relapsed about 6 months into our relationship. Of course I thought I could make it all better for him. I attended meeting with him, would drive him etc etc. He checked into rehab in November and came home about 21/2 weeks ago. I was convinced he was healed. I was wrong. He relapsed again, just before Christmas. He left me Friday night, crashed his car early Saturday morning and got an extreme DUI. He is on probation for previous drug and alcohol issues so he will be going back to prison now. I feel lonely and scared. zach December 23, 2008 at 1:41 pm My brothers are at school miles away and i am stuck at home during the holidays with my father who can not stop drinking. It all started when i was about six years old. My mother could not handle it so she started drinking. I was very young so the only thing i could think of doing was acting out in school. My mom kicked my dad out of the house several times. He had just got a new job as a general contractor from someone he had worked with before. That night my dad was arrested for drunk driveing. My mother grandma and i paid bail. After this he was in and out of detox many times but still could not stop drinking. His mom was blameing my mom for his drinking. He fineally realized he needed help and made the long trip to hazelden from chicago. Months latter my dad was back and better than ever. He was in a half way house for a little bit and got to meet some great new freinds. Skip ahead about 4 years). Now at the age of 12 years old in september of 2008 things are not the best but my dads not drinking. I am comeing back from a summer camp in wisconsin. I am happy to be home. My mom comes to pick me up. About half way home i ask how my dad is. And she says he’s drinking again. And belive me a was pissed and sad. He is in detox again a great freind of his from the half way house had taken him in. Ok so long story short he gets out a few days later in early september. Not in october he starts up again and goes for about a week sleeping all day getting very very violent yelling at my mom trying to blame us you know how it goes. Then on my birthday october 8th when i turn 13 (jeff) the guy i told you about before takes him to detox. Now in december i think that he is drinking two days ago it seemed like it. And it’s so sad because whenever he goes to the basement i think he is going to get a drink. Or when he goes out into the garage for no aparent reason. I could go on but there would be alot of little things. If you read this thanks i just wanted to let my feelings out. I feel alot better because of what ive written and these pod castes. Judy November 28, 2008 at 7:43 pm The first step, admitting that I am powerless and that my life had become unmanageable, is a move toward what can be a new life. I did everything in my human power to try and control the alcoholic’s drinking. Nothing worked. The harder I tried, the more he eluded me; thus my life became increasingly unmanageable. When I finally surrendered and admitted I was powerless, I was exhausted, broken, and defeated. Over the days and months, I had lost myself and my own direction because I was trying to control someone else’s. The first step, at last , was recognizing that I had no power over someone’s alcoholism. If I continued to think I did, all I gained was unmanageability. Thank heavens Step One told me I could lay down the burden and rest. Once I realized that I could do nothing about someone else, I then turned my attention to putting my own life back in order. Whew! That was the first step to the new life I have today. Penny J. November 6, 2008 at 10:28 pm Thank you so much for these 6 podcasts – I have found them very helpful and informative. I hope the podcasts will continue – perhaps with a podcast for each of the 12 Steps & each of the 12 Traditions – just a thought of mine. God Bless & thank you! 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