One Day at a Time in Al-Anon

Published by at 1:29 pm 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.

Lorraine, Art, and Eileen are with us today. All are active Al-Anon members who are willing to talk with us about one of the basic principles of the Al-Anon program.

How to locate a meeting

63 comments

63 comments on “One Day at a Time in Al-Anon”

  1. Rae says:

    I am in AA now for 17 years. My spouse for 7 years. It has been a very emotionally painful ride after relocating to a retirement home with him two years ago. Not what I had hoped or dreamed of at all.

    He has anger issues off the charts, an explosive kind of anger, like out of nowhere over trivial things. ….and it is not just me that he is verbally abusive to, it is other friends, workers etc. Nevertheless, I feel I have lost sight of who I am since we have moved. The cumulative verbal abuse, judging and putting down he has directed towards me has really done me in. And on top of that the shattered dreams of what I had expected this retirement scenario to be.

    It has gotten so bad I had to purchase my own home and dip into my retirement money to do it. Have not moved yet, so am in the position of being in the same house with him, but on a different floor. He has decided to give me the “silent treatment” now, which is just as bad as verbal abuse. ….We had discussed that maybe living apart could help us to be able to enjoy each others company…well he just blasted me again 2 days ago with his anger and judgement , over a trivial thing, and made me out to be some kind of a criminal.

    I think I have developed some kind of PTSD from the verbal attacks..so no matter what it is about it puts me under, way way under into depression.

    I am so sad, and lost. I am proud I took enough care of myself to buy another home….but there is so much healing to do. He may NEVER change, and I know Alanon teaches that I am powerless over HIM and what he does or desn’t do.

    I plan on regular meetings now…but this depression really paralyzes me.

    I have to force myself to get busy today, take a shower and keep moving and put the focus on myself.

    If I don’t do this, I will take to my comfort zone, which is the bed, and escape in sleep…and that . only adds to the feelings of sadness, loss, fear, hopelessness etc….I wish I could have a friend here who I could chat with in Alanon…to support and encourage me right now. I find that most people don’t want to be bothered. Counselors and therapists are so incompetent. They say “take a yoga class” or, “I don’t know what you expect me to do about it “.

  2. Helen Consiglio says:

    Reading Becky G.’s comment about creating a safe space. I find Alanon as safe space too. In one way however, I wish my husband would go. He’s not an alcoholic, although he has so many alcoholic tendencies, and behaviors. He claims that he went to Alanon for 25 years as a result of his first marriage, but I don’t believe him. If he did, then I think he would not be wound so tight. I have been going for four years. I started because my daughter was displaying very inappropriate behavior, and I suspected she was on drugs. As you’ll have heard it said, “I came for someone else, but stayed for me”, well I can identify with that. Alanon has given me the courage to confront my husband when he crosses the boundary line. I don’t feel as victimized as I used to. I know I have options. I just have to continue working the program. Although I have been going for four years, there have been many times that I felt a little on the fence about the program. I just started to share these last few weeks at beginner meetings, both because I felt very uncomfortable and lacked confidence about sharing. My thoughts were very scattered and inarticulate. They are still somewhat scattered, however, I decided to start sharing anyway. I know eventually I’ll have my thoughts together. Verbalizing my inner feelings is scary to me.

  3. Colleen says:

    I didn’t cause it, I can’t control it, I can’t cure it. I can keep the focus on me. My relationship with my Higher Power. Paying attion to what I need to be healthy. Setting my own boundaries. One day at a time, life is getting better, but only if I do my part.

  4. Meredith says:

    I’ve only just begun going to Al-Anon. My husband is 3 months sober, and I feel like I’m at my wits end with his behavior. My mother was an alcoholic (20 years sober now) and I failed to recognize that my husband was an alcoholic. He was a binge drinker, and did most of his serious drinking after I went to sleep. Now I know I was in complete denial about the alcoholism, I always attached it to external circumstances. (if he liked his job better, he would be happy, etc). Now, after 14 years together, he is obsessed that I have cheated or am cheating on him. He has used our daughter’s ipod to track my location, he has hacked my phone, has read text conversations, etc. All to try to catch me… and in the meantime he has admitted to cheating on me once while overseas. I am literally at my wits end with the mind games. He doesn’t seem to be done drinking now, he seems to be believing his own story and using this ‘obsession’ to avoid looking to hard at himself. WE have three small children, and I am struggling so badly with staying like a good wifey and taking it, and feeling absolutely betrayed that now that he’s decided to be healthy, he has turned on me. I was so wrapped into him and wanting him to stay… he has said for months now that he’s not sure if he wants to be in this marriage… and just in the last couple of days I realized I don’t want to have to convince someone to love me. I honestly think distance could help him. He’s so wrapped up in me and my behavior and somehow being a victim that I’m providing him the tools of avoidance, just by my mere presence. I have hope that he will truly engage in his recovery and it may take a drastic measure to allow us that space. I have stayed home for 10+ years and have only just now begun a new career, so this is very scary for me… but I’m beginning to think it’s the best thing for both of us. My heart is broken over this evolution… I had such high hopes for our future once I realized he was trying to find his happiness. I had hoped to be included in it, not scorned. I had hoped to be seen, not judged. I will continue with Al Anon so I can grow, since I am obviously only just beginning to see the effect the drinking had on me and our relationship.

  5. Diane says:

    I am grateful having read these stories and reminded that God is able to care for me and my husband even when it does end in the results I wish for. Thanks again.

  6. Eve says:

    So, we are separated by states for over a year. He took me to court for our son and won because I left the state with him. Now he has invited me to Disney with my son and stay at my house. But I’m not allowed to go to his house. He yelled at me and hung up on me and said I need help. I’m getting help. Not sure he even knows how he treats me. I deserve better treatment. Strangers treat me better.

  7. Bren says:

    I struggle every day. Our children are grown and we are alone now. I fill my time with positive things. I do love him, but do not respect him. I know that he has to want to change. I have told him if he gets another DUI we are done.

    I take care of all of the finances and have been working hard to get our credit cleared up. I gave in to him wanting things. No more. He is like a child and cannot have a credit card. He wants no involvement in the finances. Our finances were horrible — almost lost our home. He says, oh well, or whatever.

    He gets drunk and stays in his own world. There is no room for anyone else. I know that I love him, but also know that I don’t want to live like this the rest of my life.

  8. LynnR says:

    My first years in Al-Anon were just that, years! Then someone really got me going with the program and the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions! Wow, what a change for my life. I now am studying daily and reading anything and everything that is Conference Approved Literature, and I can honestly say, “Thank you, thank you, thank you for Al-Anon!”

  9. Evelyn B says:

    This is one of the scariest and loneliest journeys I’ve ever undertaken. I have lost my husband of 10 years, first to his addiction and now to his recovery, because he cannot live with my daughter’s addiction.

    So I have lost 2 people I love. However, I now have my 5-year-old granddaughter, since my daughter is not capable of raising her–although most days she thinks she is, even though she makes no sense.

    The baby is the light of my life, so I try to focus on her instead of the unhealthy areas in my life. We all need to keep the faith and be good to ourselves.

  10. tracy says:

    I separated the illness from the person til the devil rose up and said, “You will go insane with him. I won’t let go, I’ll just take two of you.”

    My choice. Take care of my own sanity and that of what’s left of my family.

  11. Sue says:

    For me Al-Anon is about getting the “beam” out of my own eye, no matter what my spouse does. And the result is so much more serenity, freedom and hopefully a relationship with God that comes first.

  12. Jules says:

    Focusing on me, caring for me, caring for someone else rather than my mood swinging, miserable, and emotionally challenging husband. (He is in treatment, but when we get together after a while he starts picking holes in me. I am never good enough, even though I have done everything I can to keep us financially stable and pay for his medical needs. When he came off his Oxycontin 3 years ago he started to drink instead. Some kind of dopamine deficiency, he says. Like that’s an excuse for his behaviour, or that I have to put up with his behaviour).

    Finally he got an impaired/assault ticket and decided to stop boozing. I find his behaviours manipulative/ controlling/ unreasonable. And I hope he gets well, but it will be a very long haul and I have a lot to recover from and to still go through with him recovering. Alcohol pickles the brain and the behaviours and thought patterns become very distorted. Of course, he thinks he’s reasonable?

    I think. Regardless of not being the cause, having control or being unable to cure it, I still have to detach myself from his alcohol self, wet or dry. I feel sad that he has to feel this way, but I realised that I need to be safe and unstressed. Stress is bad for my blood sugars and so I do whatever it takes to get through the day and live in the present, focusing on the things I am grateful for. Breath, my feet, my cute dogs, sunshine, meals, a vacuum cleaner, Netflix, a good day at work, helping others, water, also setting boundaries in place for my own sanity.

    As an older adult I am sad that my husband, who once was a pleasant man, has become the very opposite of that. And the journey he has put us through is pointless and selfish–which of course is what the alcoholic or drug user is, selfish and self centered–and the recovery if successful will take time. How much courage I have to go through this, only God and time will tell. I can forgive him and I do so each time he makes another abusive remark, but now I tell him he’s unreasonable later, when he’s less moody. I pick my moments–after all, we want to win the war, and so I pick my battles carefully.

  13. BeckyG says:

    There are many divorced people in the program–and believe it or not, we are happily divorced.

    Al-Anon does not advocate divorce or not-divorce, but helps a person find support while you do what you need to do.

    For me, I couldn’t live with someone who was actively drinking and drugging–and raise three kids. Things became violent and dangerous, and I had to take him at his word. If he said, “You never know what might happen to you in your sleep,” I had to take that as a serious threat–drunk or not.

    I am, today, a much happier person. I have created a safe space that does not include my ex-husband. He continues to drink and drug, much to the annoyance of doctors and social workers, and has little-to-no contact with his children. The disease of alcoholism steals lives, families, and more. He sadly may be one of those people that “follow the disease into the gates of insanity,” but I don’t have to go with him. Thank you to the Al-Anon program for helping me find my own path

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