How do you deal with unacceptable behavior?

Published by at 11:19 am under Common Concerns

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

Pam, Anna, and Betty are with us today. All are active Al-Anon members who are willing to talk about how they deal with unacceptable behavior.

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252 comments on “How do you deal with unacceptable behavior?”

  1. emily says:

    My sponsor at Al-Anon gave me a great metaphor recently. Our son had shouted at his father, “You are an alcoholic.” I was mortified that he’d spoken to his dad like that, as it would lead to trouble and upset and I’m a great one for keeping the statuesque.

    My sponsor said, “When we live with a drinker, it’s as though we are visited every evening by a hippopotamus. It can be fun for a while. Then the hippo starts to be a nuisance. He breaks things and makes a horrible mess everywhere. He tramples on people we love and makes rude noises. Finally, after making everyone unhappy, he falls asleep.

    In the morning we see that the hippo has become a coffee table! A useful coffee table, which is quite handsome, and we keep it at the heart of our home. People say, “What a lovely coffee table,” and we polish it up and say, “Yes, it’s our lovely coffee table.”

    Your son is pointing out to everyone that this is no coffee table (no matter what his mother says). It is a hippopotamus!

  2. Jane says:

    So, I secretly married my fiancĂ©, now husband, a couple months ago. Our kids don’t know, just my mum and 2 friends. I thought it would help with his insecurities.

    He’s jealous, anyway, but when he drinks it’s horrendous and he becomes violent toward me.

    After an afternoon of drinking, with lunch and friends, we went into the pool bar at the hotel we were at, and a man with his wife began talking to us all, as did his wife. My fiancĂ© lost control. We got home separately, as he was going on to drink more, whereas I was ready for home. Yet, when I returned he had already got back to our place. The violence was horrendous and our place looked like a robbery had taken place and I called the police too. I didn’t press charges in the end, but I moved out. Two weeks later, a trip to the doctor’s and him being put on meds, and I returned. He didn’t drink for a couple of months, but then it’s started again and he said, “He can handle his drink.” After not seeing him for two weeks due to travel and work, we went out yesterday.
    He started again, questioning my loyalty, my love and adoration to him.

    After a nasty previous break-up and my ex taking my children, I have shown my love to him and my desire to be with him, but have explained that I don’t need him to survive — but I want him in my life always.

    The result of this was him grabbing me round the throat and almost breaking my back over a wall! He then took my purse, phone, and shoes and left me. As he walked off, I ran away and hid. Two hours later, he found me asleep on a concrete floor in our building’s car park. He was sorry, full of apologies, begging for forgiveness, promising to change.

    I do love him, but don’t know how much more I can take. If I go, I have lost everything — my kids and home to my ex, and now this! I don’t know why he won’t stop drinking and hurting me. It’s been three years.

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