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

50 comments

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

  1. jean says:

    Married 28 years to a very good man, who had a bad drinking problem. Divorced this week. My heart is broken over this marriage, but not sure if the heartache of the disappointment over the years of drinking is worse. I’m very confused.

    I had been going to Al-Anon for quite some time, but stopped after the divorce. I need to go back, but have not found anyone divorced and in the program. Everyone I met has stayed with their drinker. Having difficulty connecting.

  2. Matthew says:

    Turned 55 Jan 5th, 25 years sober, ODAT. Spoke at an AA detox Saturday night, came home to find my wife had stolen her 84-year-old mother’s car to go drinking because hers has the blown engine in it. God help me, is all I can ask. I understand the insanity, but sure don’t want it.

  3. Lori says:

    I’ve read all the comments and have nothing but respect for everyone who is struggling to cope. My situation is not dire, quite the contrary. But the pain resulting from the ravages of alcoholism is the generic stuff you all describe.

    My son is in recovery–40 months now–and has done an amazing job pulling his life together. We’re very close in many ways and text several times/week, have long phone conversations every 3-4 weeks. We like/love/respect one another. Sounds good, right?

    He’s home for the holidays, and as is the case when we’re actually face-to-face, he’s full of resentment–old, and very deep resentments from childhood, resentment for the support his dad and I have given him while he’s building his editing business, though grateful at the same time. He takes responsibility for his feelings and behavior. Still, the undertone of restrained anger causes great tension between us when he’s home.

    Because we’re close, he is sharing these difficult feelings with me. I’m crushed. I love my son beyond measure, and feel extremely grateful he made it through a decade + of drinking and high risk behavior alive. He has insight about his behavior and the pain it causes; he asks me to “cut him some slack” as he works through this old stuff.

    I know he’s struggling, hurting. My goal is to stay focused on myself–”my side of the street”–and find patience for him plowing through old muck, trying to make his way out. But I feel so hurt. And so stupid. I brag to friends about how close we are, then he comes home and the resentment surfaces.

    He says there’s nothing I can do to help him get through this, except let him talk about it. And that’s very painful. Reading these posts is as close as I’ve come to an Al-Anon meeting. I appreciate your community support here online.

  4. Cheree says:

    I had posted in August. Update: my daughter came home from treatment, relapsed after 3 weeks. Entered treatment again and relapsed after 2 weeks. She quit her job and may one day lose her home. I have come to accept that she isn’t seriously ready to find recovery. In comes my one day at a time, let go and let God, live and let let live, and most of all to mind my own business.

    I easily detached from her father, the alcoholic husband in my life. I divorced him, but it is very very different to detach from your child. Not at all easily done. I am her mother and will forever be connected.

    I today am a grateful 3 month member of Al-Anon! It is literally saving my life. My co-dependent behaviours have lessened and I know my HP has had everything to do with it.

    My daughter still attends after-care and AA meetings and I Al-Anon.

    And so we go–one day at a time.

  5. m.t. says:

    I am at work right now, crying at my computer. My boyfriend (who I suspect is a dry drunk) has broken things off with me after 10 months. Part of it is because of my behavior–the nagging, the clinginess, neediness, constantly wondering what he’s doing and what to do “if this” or “if that.” The worry and then reacting to my fears. The other part is him and the things he needs to work through.

    I have times where I am connected to my hp and then times where I have lost the connection because I’m sitting in that state of fear and panic, worried about how things are going to turn out, worried that I’ve blown my chance to make things work with him. We haven’t spoken in almost 5 days and for us this is a really long time. I am completely committed to changing. I am so tired of hurting, but I’d like to do this alongside him.

    I feel like we need more space between us, a bit more time–but at the same time it is killing me to have no communication with him and to not fully understand what he wants. I realize I am not all to blame for the turmoil in this relationship, but I feel like I am hanging by a thread. I am in constant contact with my sponsor, attending meetings every day and praying and reading as much as possible. Just needed to vent. Thank you.

  6. Vanessa E says:

    My best friend for the last 10 years is an alcoholic. He is also my husband, the father of my child, and business partner. Shortly after we had our daughter, he started drinking during the day. It continued to get worse. It got to the point that our daughter’s life was in danger and I couldn’t take it anymore.

    He went to rehab four months ago. He did great for the first 60 days. Our relationship seemed better. I didn’t feel like I needed to be suspicious every time he left the house. He had more energy and wanted to do things with me again! Then we received horrible news that our 2-year-old daughter had to have open heart surgery. He relapsed a few days before the surgery and he goes on benders every couple of weeks.

    I’ve been reading about Al-Anon for the last four months. I’m ready to stop making excuses and go to a meeting. I know I’ll benefit from the meetings. Just reading your stories makes me understand, I’m not crazy! I hope he goes back to rehab and fights this disease. I will love him and not give up.

  7. Cheree says:

    I was married 16 years to an alcoholic. We have two grown daughters and were divorced for years. He passed away a year ago. Now the alcoholic in my life is my 25-year-old daughter.

    At 17 she almost died in a drimking and driving accident. By 19 she had moved in with her father and got a DUI. Her father was sick with cancer so she did absolutely everything for him, including drinking with him. She felt helpless.

    My eyes really opened after her father passed and she spiraled downhill. She handled his estate and her drinking was out of control. Didn’t want to go to work, do laundry or take care of her house. She finally asked to go for treatment, which is where she is now.

    I was encouraged and did attend my first Al-Anon meeting last week.

    I am an introvert and find it difficult to speak in group settings. I am afraid it won’t work for me as am too scared to share right now:(

  8. Elizabeth says:

    Hi. I’m sitting up near midnight trying to read to stay sane. My husband left again. He’s been dry, so he says, for three years, but the behavior still continues. I’ve been going to meetings for 18 months and really made strides in not fighting with him and being less reactive. I want to work, but I can’t get the car, clothes, childcare thing going. He’s out of work for like the sixth time, and I just finally am beginning to realize, he’s not going to get better.

    Always before, I would search the internet and send him literature and find him meetings, and I’m just so over it. God/dess said clearly in my head, just get your groceries, take care of the kids, and see where he’s at in a few days. I’m trying to detach with love, but it’s so hard. My baby stayed up two hours late because she wants him, and my son cried for his dad, so confused. So many years no vacations, no fun, such stress, good times and bad.

    I’ve begun to accept that he can’t help it. I really believed him that it was all my fault for the longest time. Now I’m starting to get clear about the fact that I’ve always been pushing for change and he picks a fight when he gets near an uncomfortable emotion. Today he looked at me and cried, saying, “I really love you, but all I do is hurt you and I feel so guilty.” Within an hour it was back to “It’s you not me, I can’t stand you, I don’t want to talk,” and boom he’s out the door. We can’t pay rent and he’s staying in a hotel a couple of blocks away. My sponsor doesn’t like singing the “hims,” so I am ruminating and grieving. I’m gonna go read and watch my kids sleep. I accept that I am powerless, God/dess?!?

  9. Janet says:

    I have been married to an addict for almost 15 years. I am hoping to attend an Al-Anon meeting for the first time this coming week, because I need help. My husband has been a marijuana smoker since around the age of 15 or 16. He is also verbally abusive. We have two daughters together, otherwise I would have left him long ago. I have tried very hard to make our home a nurturing place for them, even though their father has been usually pretty cold.

    It is the girls and I who go places together, and if he does go along for some reason, there is usually something that I do wrong to make the outcome not so great. I have been made to feel that there is something wrong with me, because of his abusive nature. I left him awhile back, with our children, because of the emotional abuse. At the beginning I was afraid to leave him, due to no job, low self-esteem, and fear. Yet after I had left, I began to become more sure of myself (even though the fear was not gone) and my feelings of inadequacy dissipated somewhat.

    I met with an attorney, and started divorce paperwork. Then, after receiving the impending divorce paperwork, came the apology from him. He wanted his family back. We started counseling, and he begged to allow him back in the house with us. He said he was not a “monster”. In the meantime, I had found a job.

    I allowed him back home, and now wish I had not. He only “allowed” me to work at the job for a short time. I lost whatever control I had with that “compromise”. Now that he realizes his control over me has weakened, he is angry. He tells me he will never forgive me for leaving him, and taking the girls. Counseling is not working. Also, he blames me for making our daughters feel differently about him.

    He is very convincing with the counselor we have. In fact, he can be a very charming person to many people. But with me, it is usually not so. He is uncommunicative, sullen, manipulative, unexpressive of warmth, hostile, critical and withholding. He stopped using marijuana. However, he is very angry with me because now I am “his judge” and will not like it if he would use every once in awhile. He says I made him lose his “one friend” who is a user also, because if he hung around him he would surely smoke with him and drink heavily.

    Not only am I his judge, but because of what the girls have been through, they are “his judges” also. It is my fault for what the girls have been through, and I should be thinking about them, and what they have experienced. They are the ones who have been hurt, more than us. When we fight, they see how upset I get, and then side with me. He says I should not involve them in this.

    I have been trying hard to not wear my heart on my sleeve, and not let them see how much I am hurting. He is ready to end our marriage, or so he says. I have just started reading a self-help book about emotional abuse, and it is helping me to see that this is not my fault, and am not as stupid as he has made me feel. I really hope my post helps.

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  11. cYn says:

    I have been needing to spend more time at home and haven’t gotten to as many meetings as I’d like to so this is such a treat. Will look for more online connection.

  12. Heather says:

    It’s so good to read the words of others who are dealing with alcoholism/addiction in their lives and to know I’m not alone in this.

    I have a 35-year-old daughter who is deeply ill with this disease. 6 months ago, we moved her in with us, away from her old “playground” in hopes with our support she would stabilize and get her life together. She had done better, but continued sabotaging herself, and has had 4 relapses since being here.

    She became suicidal over the holidays and when we came home from visiting family last week, she’d been drinking heavily and abusing her anti-depressants.

    I lost it. I’m so ashamed of my behavior, and know now that I need Al-Anon in order to get myself right and to be able to detach with love and compassion.

    She is a very sick young woman and we’ve become sick trying to “fix” it. We can’t fix her. I know I can only fix myself, with help.

    She is now in a psychiatric unit and, hopefully, will go directly into a treatment facility (she’s never been before).

    I will find local meetings to go to.

    I’m filled with such sadness and feel so helpless. You can love someone but can’t change them. I don’t want to bury my child. In my total frustration and anguish, I know I have hurt her, too – yelling and screaming at her to get off the pity pot, things like that. Humiliating.
    I hope everyone finds the help they need to walk through the fire this disease brings.

    Thanks very much for being “here” and listening.

  13. CL says:

    I’m glad to read this page. The holidays are not pleasant this year. Too much reflection on years present and past.

    I’m trying not to allow myself to be sucked in by things other family members do and say. It’s really hard for me right now. I feel disappointed and hurt, even though I know only I am responsible for how I feel because only I control myself. I don’t have to understand why anyone does what they do. It’s just a waste of time. It is my responsibility to take care of myself and my behavior.

    Years ago, I went to Al-Anon for help because I needed to deal with my co-dependent behaviors and my alcoholic, verbally abusive, dismissive husband. I learned so much about myself and how to deal with my sickness, caused by growing up with an alcoholic mother and the other addicts she brought into our lives.

    We were raised to be co-dependent. We had to take care of ourselves and each other because we couldn’t rely on her. So when I chose to marry, it was an alcoholic that I chose. I think because it probably felt comfortable. We were married 14 years when I attended my first meeting.

    I knew when I started going to meetings that I was probably going to have to leave, but no one in the meetings ever said that to me. I needed to make my own decisions in my own time. I met so many wonderful people and it was so peaceful when I was there. We did get a divorce 11 years ago and it was the best decision for me and my well-being. I no longer felt safe in that relationship.

    I haven’t been to a meeting in a number of years and miss it. My difficulty is the disappointment and sadness I feel. One of my siblings is spiteful because they don’t like that I am no longer married to the ex. I am trying to remind myself that they are not in recovery and may never be. I cannot control anyone, or anything they do. There are boundaries in our relationship–enough is enough. I may need to choose to stay away them when it is best for my serenity.

    Thanks for listening. I feel so much better.

  14. Ana. says:

    …Meu pai continua firme,depois de várias recaídas vejo que está bem agora…Estranho,que depois de muito tempo é que comecei a sentir necessidade de falar…Sofremos abusos psicológicos,e crescemos com o alcool.Meu pai perdeu tudo 3 vezes,mas minha mãe não o deixou…Não gostamos de bebidas,noitadas…Sempre fomos filhos bons,mas com problemas psicológicos…Lendo estes dias sobre os filhos de alcolistas,relembrei algumas coisas que minha mente tenta deletar…
    Acho que filhos de alcolistas não se recuperam,porque a infancia se perde,a dor é algo que vc encara muito cedo,além da vida real que já é bem difícil…
    …sou super depressiva,estou comendo muito,prefiro ficar no meu canto,e tenho nojo dos homens…o grito me apavora… nasci com eplepsia,minha irmã teve transtornos alimentares e meu irmão é muito nervoso..Todos nós saimos de casa,porque não queríamos voltar…Casei sem amor,foi fuga,vejo muitas fugas em mim…Meu pai hoje está em casa,mas ainda não confio nele…eu amo meu pai,era um homem doente,mas ficamos tão doentes ou mais…
    tento viver um dia de cada vz,mas quero chorar,cada vez que ouço um cara gritando lá fora na rua…está sendo difícil…

  15. Matthew says:

    I attended my first meeting yesterday, something I have needed for years. I don`t know my way around these rooms. You see, I am an alcoholic, been sober & saved one day at a time 24 years. All I can say is, “Thank you for welcoming me as I am, broken & tired.”

    3 years ago I got married 4th time. I thought it was very clear because of my alcoholism that alcohol use was not going to be a part of our lives. Apparently my wife feels the need to indulge. Do the words loser failure & payback come to mind? I am sure many may not say it but will sure feel it, as do I. All I know is I need help & have to just keep showing up One Day at a Time & hoping I can deal with her new decision.

  16. Dionne says:

    My husband just got back from a six-week recovery program for drugs and alcohol. He has been home for almost 3 weeks now. I feel he is distant and has a very short fuse but is determined to keep on track. However, he treats me so mean.

    If he is upset, he calls me names and yells. He says he has issues with my weight (I gained 55 pounds with being pregnant and have not lost it). He says he didn’t marry a fat pig and doesn’t want to live with one. I can’t do anything right in his eyes. He is now emailing friends and people from his past, like he is looking for something more than me or our child can give him.

    I feel I deserve some recognision for being the one that worked extra shifts (we run a business together) and lied for him to cover his abuse. Now I feel like some usless doormap that spent our life savings to send him to the treatment facility.

  17. Anna says:

    I went to my first Al-Anon meeting on Friday last. I felt amongst friends. We all had this common bond and the word “powerless” kept coming up. I understand that I am powerless against alcohol addiction in all its forms. This alone has taken a huge weight off my shoulders as I have begged, cajoled and generally been fighting hard against my partner’s binge drinking. I do so no longer. I also love the phrase “Detach with love.” I am reading everything I can about the disease and am looking forward to attending many more meetings.

  18. Shelley says:

    Al-Anon has helped me tremendously. I am naturally a sweet and peaceful person, so living with an alcoholic/addict has been tough. I felt like I had to be hard and tough to protect myself. I found that is not true. In fact, my loving nature can help me with this relationship. Al-Anon never says that we have to stop loving the alcoholic. In fact, love is the best medicine for any of us.

    We do need to set boundaries for what we can and cannot tolerate, and this is an act of self-love. We can enforce our boundaries peacefully and with love. We will be all right if we take care of ourselves and always try to understand that alcoholism is a disease. I hear so many stories of couples sticking it out together when the disease is active and the only explanation for that is that the addicts are good people with bad diseases. Otherwise, we would probably want nothing to do with them.

    I love my husband and he is a great guy. His disease has caused me pain because it lets him take advantage of me. I love him but I realized that I don’t want a relationship where I am being stolen from or lied to anymore. I threaten over and over that if he did this I would ask him to leave. I realized that constant threats were not part of a healthy relationship and I was doing it to try to control him. This is where “Let go and Let God” comes in. No more threats. This is where “One day at a time” comes in. I have to stay in today and not worry that tomorrow will bring disappointment. And who knows, just maybe if it does happen, it will be the best thing for all of us in the end.

    The Lord works in mysterious ways!

  19. carolyn says:

    I went to Al-Anon for years and stopped for about 10 years. That was the biggest mistake in my life as I just fell back in to my old ways after years of doing well. That’s why I felt I didn’t need Al-Anon anymore. I am going to meetings again after remarrying a binge drinker.

    I’ve hit rock bottom again after he threatened to kill me on the way home from a New Years Eve ‘party’. I know if I keep going to Al-Anon I will slowly get better. It’s the only way. God help me to stay strong today.

  20. Joe says:

    I am just coming back to the program after over a year away. This will be my third try. I was first introduced to Al-Anon at the age of 13 when I was required to attend as part of an in-patient treatment program.

    Many things have kept me from sticking with it–the fact that I am not Christian and everything where I live is so Christian-based, the age gap between myself and the others in the local groups (I am only 34, most of them are in their 50s at least), the fact that I am a transgender man and the local groups are made up almost entirely of women (that I am pre-op and they see me as a woman makes me all the more uncomfortable)–but mostly I haven’t stuck with it because I am afraid.

    I know I am not happy, but this existence is familiar. To do something different would mean stepping into the unknown and risking what little comfort I do have. But I no longer have a choice.

    At only 34, my doctor is warning me of an impending heart attack or stroke if I don’t manage my stress level. If that doesn’t get me, my depression and compulsion to self-harm will. I owe it to myself, to my children, and to my own concept of All That Is (God) to put forth the effort to get better.

    My wife is an alcoholic. She has been violent, demeaning, irresponsible and manipulative. But she is sad, scared, hurting and desperate herself. That is not who she is, only things she has done. When she asks for help, I will be there to encourage her and help her find those who understand and can help. But she is not the problem. My problem is in my own head.

    I come from a family full of abusive alcoholics, addicts and unstable individuals. I was taught from birth to manage, enable and take care of. I was not allowed boundaries. Now I must learn to set them. I must learn to allow others to take responsibility for what is theirs and to be honest in my intent as well as my actions.

    I will probably do most of my meetings online. But, really, there’s no reason that I can’t make myself a part of a local group. If they assume that I am Christian or that I am a woman, I will correct them. Maybe it will be good practice for setting boundaries. The age gap shouldn’t matter since I feel I have lived many lifetimes anyway. No more excuses.

    What other people think of me is none of my business. I am responsible for my actions, for my own happiness and well-being. Those who are walking the same path will understand. Those who can’t understand, I will pray for.

  21. brenda says:

    Today is our 44th wedding anniversary. My old stallion is in bed and this is my final comment for the night. I thank God for another day with the savior of my body. I’m so glad I hung on to my pony even though he did run for many years after we were married. He was addicted to wine, women, gambling and a good time! The first thing he had to get rid of was the good time–just kidding.

    No, we went through about 18 years before he made the choice to quit drinking. Then he chose to be faithful to our marriage vows and quit the women, and finally he chose to quit gambling. It really is a miracle that we are still together, but the biggest reason we are is because we took it one day at a time.

    We have learned from each other, and we raised three wonderful sons–warts and all! I believe in one day at a time. I believe in being patient while God is doing His perfect work, and now we are having to be patient while God is doing His perfect work on our youngest son as he is facing prison time, but at least hopefully he will come out “clean” and can stay that way.

    I believe in a good sense of humor and a good and hearty laugh at least once a day. A merry heart does good like a medicine, and we should embrace each day with a smile and make our enemy mad because we are up! To my HP: Thank you for this day, and for the progress you have made on me!

    God bless you all, thank you for letting me speak.

  22. Lydia says:

    I have been in love with my boyfriend for 3 and-a-half years now. I think he is at a meeting now, but I’m not even sure–feel nervous wondering if he will be coming home soon or what.

    This morning we were in love and we looked into each other’s eyes and I felt that he was happy and connected to me and our life. But when I got home from work tonight, the guitar was gone and some other stuff, and there was a note saying how sorry he was for gambling today and that he knew he hurt me and he was sorry for messing up, and that he had left early to go to his meeting because he didn’t want me to fight with him when I got home and make things worse.

    I was tired from work and looking forward to relaxing with him, but he is gone. He has only been back from 45 day rehab for a week. He was arrested for hitting me, the first time that has really happened. It’s like we are so close, but then he does this when he is alone.

    I just can’t take much more. I have fought hard to keep him with me, but just not sure how this can work. He is giving me no choice. I’m sick of this roller coaster, sick of feeling sick and my heart pounding in my throat. I’ve tried to show him how good it can be to work hard and do the right thing. He can’t help himself, especially if he gets away with it, I guess. Guess we have to learn the hard way.

    It’s good to read the other stories. I’ve never been to Al-Anon, but I can see that I should. Otherwise I’m just stumbling blindly. I love him so much and I would keep him if i could. I wish he would stop screwing me over. I wish he could be ok. I have some habits, but these are so detrimental. Why would i ever put up with all this in the first place? I should know better.

  23. jazz says:

    I have been married 11 years now and I have to say that all the previous comments really opened up my eyes. I used to attend AL-Anon meetings when I was 22 years old but stopped going because he was always saying that I was cheating on him every time I was gone. Now I’m 32 and tomorrow I will be attending a meeting after all these years. I feel so worn out, so tired for all the lies, all the time wasted. That’s what hurts me the most.

    My dad was an alcoholic too. He died when he was only 52. The day that he passed away my sister went thru his stuff just to find out all kinds of alcohol bottles hidden in his closet, when he was forbidden to drink more alcohol because of his heart disease condition.

    This had to be one of the most horrible things I had to know about him, how alcohol is such a strong disease that you don’t really care about anything, not your family and friends or your dreams.

    I don’t know if having an alcoholic dad has to do with the fact that I married an alcoholic too. Since the beginning of my marriage, he has been drinking heavily. He also uses drugs and gets violent whenever he gets high.

    I’m afraid for me and for my kids. I wish I was strong enough to leave. I don’t want to be this person who depends on him. I want to be able to feel happiness.

    I often feel depressed. I suffered anorexia and bulimia for 5 years. Thank God I overcame that, but I feel like the people married with alcoholics have some demons that are hiding just waiting to come out.

    My demons are that I was raped when I was younger. This made me insecure and I never told my mom. I feel like this pushed me into this relationship that has been hell for me. I just ask God for strength to keep going for my children. I don’t want them to live the same insanity that I’m going thru. I want them to be happy.

    We have to work on our issues first. We have to find out what makes us stick around, why we let them deprive us of happiness.

    I can surely keep going and going, but these tears make writing difficult to see, just like alcohol makes everything so opaque, so lifeless!

  24. Julie S. says:

    It’s New Year’s Eve. My alcoholic husband, whom I have been married to for 14 years, is at a meeting. He had 8 yrs of sobriety and then relapsed this past year. He had affairs, ran up debt, had to go to treatment, lied, cheated, risked his life, my life, tried to get himself arrested–and the war stories could go on and on.

    The main feeling I have tonight is total disappointment. I really love the Conference Approved Literature book, “Transforming Our Losses,” which deals specifically with loss and grief. This CAL has helped me process the grief that comes from living with an alcoholic–the loss of the dream.

    Tonight on New Years Eve, I want to look ahead and know that I create my own dream, and not my alcoholic. I can’t find that in him.

  25. Chili says:

    Al-Anon has been very helpful these last three almost four months after my husband’s arrest for domestic violence. He hasn’t progressed much from that day. Still in denial about it all. I have struggled daily with finding my place and realizing I am in control of myself and my home.

    I really have never had control over him. He has been the one who has taken the drinks and gotten drunk, no one else. His decisions are his own.

    I am learning more about detachment and how to work that in my life to help with the anxiety. I am learning about my triggers and how it affects me and how to lessen them with the detachment techniques. Yet, I still get sucked into the drama without even realizing it.

    His re-activeness toward anything needed to be discussed. I have learned in Al-Anon, that this is a defense type mechanism used to disable me and propel me away so he never has to talk about anything important. I can’t see ever going back to that life of drama we were living, and Al-Anon is helping me find new paths.

  26. Debbie says:

    I have been living with an alcoholic for 6 years now. Last year in December he decided he needed help. Great, I thought my life was going to be great now… I was wrong.

    The first month was so wonderful. He was so sorry about the past. We were so in love for that month.

    I have been hurt so many times in that 6 years. I can’t even tell you how many times I was going to leave, but I did love him. I still do, but I can’t live with him because I don’t understand him. I am having a very hard time letting go of the past, which is affecting us every day. My problem is that I didn’t do anything wrong, so why do I need to go to meetings and will they really help me to get better?

    I guess you could say I am mad at him for all of this, and now for me to get healthy I must take time out of my day to go to meetings for something he did. Will we ever be able to have the life we want? I don’t want to lose him, but I don’t know what to do to save us.

  27. Janice T says:

    Al-Anon groups and the slogans have helped me so much to understand the devastating family disease of alcoholism. Nov 17, 1999, I threw my sleeping bag in my car and drove for my life.

    It has been a challenging decade. I constantly say the Serenity Prayer, and “Let Go and Let God” often.

    My children have gone to meetings. However, my ex has his own program. So I shall pray for this
    as we are all going to be at my grandaughter’s christening tomorrow.

  28. Karen C says:

    Al-Anon helps us get through one day at a time, so it’s an appropriately coined phrase. When we are struggling with another person’s drinking and alcoholic behaviors, it can become exhausting and chaotic. Sometimes it is difficult to think beyond the time frame of a day. It can become overwhelming and debilitating to try to find solutions beyond a day, so Al-Anon advises people to live life one day at a time and make decisions limited to that day. It helps us to focus and remain calm in a chaotic atmosphere.

  29. Stephen says:

    I’ve been attending meetings for a few months, and am using the program to deal with the sense of loss over my wife choosing to move away. She says she’d reconcile if I were a happier more optimistic person and that’s why I started going to meetings. Just like some of us who first came to learn how to control someone’s drinking, I came to control the outcome of my marriage. I soon learned that most things aren’t in my control (her), and I needed to work on myself for myself. You see, I grew up in an alcoholic home and at 51 still exhibit the effects of alcoholism-inability to trust, numbness, confused feelings, anger, and loneliness. I think I need to keep coming back for the rest of my life, and it’s a pleasure, not a job.
    Right now I’m living one minute at a time, but it’ll get better. Thanks.

  30. Bonnie says:

    I am, sadly, 62 years old. I should feel at this time of life that I have a partner with whom I can share life, conversation, and interests. I have loved my husband for 32 years of marriage, but have wondered at times, why sometimes I feel like I hate him. The stories above, especially the ones about the partners who get everything done, who make the world go round so to speak, echo my experience.

    I have become so tired of getting it all done. I have nothing left over after I come home from work. I am exhausted. I will go to an Al-Anon meeting, because if anything can help me, I’ll go for it. Basically, if I could pinpoint exactly what the problem is, (alcoholism), maybe I could get the perspective I need to actually reconstruct my life, which looks very bleak and boring at this time.

    My children all love their dad and he is a good and loving, if somewhat irresponsible, father. I don’t think I could ever leave him for their sake. But I do think I have to begin being honest with myself and finding someplace where I can be honest with others. God help me!

  31. Sheryl says:

    I am the wife of a recovering alcoholic. He has been 7 years sober. I did not know about Al-Anon or where I could find help. It is only recently after researching the topic on the internet, I realized that spouses are also victims of this disease and that we are powerless to all the chaos. I wish I knew this earlier as I have been struggling to control my marriage, to regain what we once had.

    During the 7 years of sobriety my husband has had two affairs, which he stopped once I found out about them. We tried marriage counselling for a few months, but he lost interest in this. Now he has turned his attention to his work, and is a workaholic.

    I realize now I must surrender my powerlessness to my higher power, and I am learning to accept the things I cannot change (the alcoholic) and change the things I can (myself).

    Let go and let God.

  32. Robin says:

    My husband is an alcoholic and he is with his parents at this time. He is there since his last episode was horrible. He ended up in the hospital for alcohol over-dose and was on life support. I love him dearly and I know that he has been sober for over 60 days now. There are times when I talk to him and he will be having a “Dry Drunk” and it is hard to deal with. I need to know how to deal with these issues before he comes home.

  33. ann says:

    Like Diane, my son struggles with alcohol and drug addiction. His dad is also an alcoholic. he did not choose recovery, and I am currently divorced from him. I say sometimes in my meetings that I can divorce my husband but cannot divorce my son. My son has been in and out of recovery several times, but I do not give up on my child. I keep going to meetings because I know miracles do happen when we give our problems to God.

    My son has lost everything. He used to come home and have different clothes on because he would sell his new clothes for drugs. This is an obsesssion of the mind. He would seem okay one minute, then it’s like when he would leave the house his brain would get hijacked and then it was all about the drugs. My son lost his apt., sold all his furniture, and was left with nothing again. I know I enabled him and now I am learning a new response to his demands. “I love you, but I cannot” usually works. He is now 5 months clean and going to meetings and has a sponsor. I am learning to keep the focus on me and learning a new life of recovery for me. It seems that when my son sees me living a healthy life he chooses the same.

    I have learned a lot from his disease and still continue to. I was at our provincial assembly and was very moved by an Alateen speaker there, only 15. It brought me back to my life when I was married 38 years ago. Although I do not live in the same province as my husband, I still am reminded every day through my son’s addiction. It seems like yesterday. God Bless, and keep coming back.

  34. Tammy says:

    I have been married to an alcoholic for 19 yrs now, and have continued to stay for financial reasons and for our 2 kids (or so I kept telling myself that). I started reading some Al-Anon literature about 10 yrs ago and it talks about detaching yourself from the alcoholic and living your own life, so that’s what me and my boys started doing. We stopped lying to family and friends when he would never come to family functions, my sons’ ball games, etc. Over the years I have let the verbal abuse affect the person I used to be. I know deep down that he doesn’t mean all the bad things he says, alcoholism is a disease, but it is hard to not take things personally.

    This is not the life I thought I would be living, or for my children either. So I recently decided enough was enough, told him I wanted a divorce, we have been trying to sell the house (he decided to quit his job therefore less money coming in to pay bills) before it goes into foreclosure, while still living together. Then he decided to check himself into a 21 day rehab program. He has major depression, social and anxiety disorders that they prescribed medicine for. He has completed that successfully and has been attending his meetings regularly.

    I’m angry, hurt, confused, after all this time of wanting him to be sober, he waits until I am no longer in love with him. The kids are ready to move on too. They are tired of all the lies and promises not kept, and embarassment of him around their friends. He is finally sober and I have no idea who he is, I’ve never seen him this way, so quiet, not verbally abusive and angry all the time. He is still suffering with depression, (I think having a job again would help) but he is in no hurry to try and get one. As long as I continue to take care of him, like I feel I have been having to do all these years, why should he get a job and help contribute?

    I care about him and want him to be happy and be a part of our sons’ lives, but I want my happiness too. Me and the boys have attended a few Al-Anon/Al-Ateen meetings. At first I thought we aren’t the ones with the problem, he is, why should we have to go to meetings to learn to live with an alcoholic. I don’t want to be with him anymore, so I’m hoping by continuing to go to meetings it will help us all.

  35. diane says:

    I am just going to attend my first Al-Anon meeting this week. My son became addicted to drugs and alcohol when he went away to college 4 years ago. 18 1/2 months ago he sought help, went into rehab, and became sober. He was active in AA, got a great sponsor, but never quite thrived in life. He struggled to look for work, got involved in a few bad relationships, had some bad luck with a fall and breaking bones that cost him his job. 2 weeks ago, he started drinking again. He is happy drinking, and has no desire to stop.

    I am devastated that he would put himself and us through this again. I worry constantly when he is out. We took the car away for fear of him driving drunk and hurting himself or others. He just got a new job and I am so worried he will mess up and lose that. I don’t know how not to worry so much. I hate to see him fall to the level he was before rehab, passing out in the street, blacking out all the time. He assures us he won’t get there, but I know eventually he will if he continues drinking.

    As a parent, I don’t know how I get through watching my son do this. I think about asking him to leave our home, but I know I would worry 24 hours a day then! I am hoping Al-Anon will help me figure out how to survive this.

  36. Debbie says:

    I am a grateful member of Al-Anon for the past 9 years. I am what they call a double-winner. Married 2 times to a controlling man and an anger addict, I sought help through any and all self-help programs available. I thought if I could understand these behaviors I would be ok.

    Learning about codependency helped a lot. I spent a fortune on counseling for myself and my 2 children. After each divorce I would get healthy, spiritually fit, and my life would look good again. Then I relapsed and married an alcoholic! It shocked me and after much chaos and pain it was suggested I attend Al-Anon.

    I am a travel nurse, so I found a meeting out of town for anonymity. This has been the single best thing I have done for myself and my family! I attended for several years and learned I could be happy if the alcoholic drank or not. Five years into the marriage our family had become very unhealthy and we separated, moved, and divorced. It was then that my husband sought recovery from his alcoholism, drug use, and gambling. A journey of family recovery started with his decision. I believe that alcoholism and addiction is a family disease, impacting everyone in the family structure.

    We spent the next years going to meetings, camp-outs, round-ups, and as many AA and 12 step functions as possible. In that proces we learned that our 13-year-old daughter was drinking and doing drugs. We sent her on a wilderness trek program and her journey of recovery began also. I learned I drank alcoholicly and benefit from AA meetings as well as Al-Anon. After 1 year of sobriety we remarried and were very active in our church and recovery family. With 5 years of sobriety I would love to say life is great. It is so much better than I dreamed being sober and working an Al-Anon program. The gift of serenity and peace is priceless.

    Thanks to the tools I’ve learned in these recovery rooms, I was able to recognize the signs of addiction again in my husband as his gambling habits once again surfaced. This took us back to divorce and while I am very sad, I am also completely confident and secure in my ability to care for myself around these crippling addictions. I don’t tell my husband’s story unless it impacts mine, but I will make a note–don’t put a period where God puts a comma! We are still communicationg and he is finding his way to his own recovery as he battles new news of kidney cancer.

    We all can only live one day at a time. For me and my house, we serve the lord and faithfully attend Al-Anon meetings. Having a great sponsor has helped greatly. I strongly reccomend finding someone in the program you can trust and share with. I can get pretty crazy in my mind on any given day and I benefit from talking to someone who understands. May you enjoy a happy road to recovery. God Bless.

  37. Gina says:

    I have not been in the program for long, but beginning with the slogans has helped me a lot. I’m under construction and my recovery is “One day at a time.”

  38. simone says:

    Meetings have helped me realize a lot!!!! And I am so grateful for having them in my life!! :)

  39. Linda says:

    I recently met a man through an online dating site and we talked a few times on the phone before meeting. I knew he was sober for the last 12 months and so I decided to meet him. He is not only a recovering alcoholic, but also a recovering drug addict. When we met, I really liked him and thought he was nervous and the date was awkward. We did go out again, but what I did not know, was that he was so nervous to meet me sober he relapsed and began drinking before our very first date. He is in detox right now and heading to a halfway house to stay clean and sober for the next two weeks so that he can return to his sober living apartment. We talk every day and want to continue to see each other, but I’ve made it clear that he needs to focus on himself and his recovery first. I want to see him again, but I do feel somewhat responsible for his two week relapse. I have been reading everything and anything about alcoholism and his drug addiction. I understand the concept of taking things one day at a time, and I want to be supportive and helpful to him, but I do not know how to do that successfully. I am looking into whatever meetings I can attend.

  40. Mary says:

    This was my first Al-Anon anything! I’ve been “going to go to a meeting” for a long time. But “things” always came up, got in the way, were more important. Tonight, as I listened, I heard my story, my feelings, my life playing. Thank you for having this pod cast! I AM attending a meeting this week. I’m rearranging my schedule tonight! I know this will help me!

  41. Maddy says:

    My husband just left for rehab on Friday. He is a long way away and I miss him terribly. I have suffered the loss of my mother in March, my older brother was in December, and my favorite aunt, whom my brother lived with, just one month prior to his passing. I was a caretaker for my mother and after all the deaths, I suffered a breakdown. I am still trying to recover from that and my husband comes home and springs rehab on me. I am very happy that he has decided to relearn how to live life clean and sober.

    I have come to realize that I don’t fully understand the “addictive” personality. When he abused, I felt he was making the choice to abuse and will deal with the consequences of his behavior when he gets “caught”. That is where I need help. I need to understand how it is an addiction and not a choice.

    I have 2 children and a friend has suggested Al-Anon. I have never gone, but I am starting to realize that we could all probably get some benefits from attending some meetings. I am still in the research stages. Not sure how to convince my older teen who is 19 to go either. My younger one will go with me even if she thinks she is just supporting me. Hopefully, this will get me started on understanding so when my husband does return home, I will know how to deal with the new person he will be.

  42. Kelli says:

    Thank you for having this podcast available. I really appreciated hearing about the one day at a time concept. I am a stay at home mother of a 9 mo old, in a rural town without a local Al-Anon meeting. There are meetings 15-20 miles away, but I cannot always run into town. In fact it has not happened yet. I felt like a meeting today, and this podcast will help me with that today. I would like to get into a meeting in town in the future, either in the daytime, or in the evening. Al-Anon has been a solid resource for me in the past and I would like to continue it, even with the lack of meetings available to me nearby.

  43. Anna says:

    I love my husband, but my marriage is lonely. I came to Al-Anon 2 years ago and it saved my marriage. It taught me to focus on myself and be happy no matter what my husband is or isn’t doing. However, now I am at a point in life where I want more. I want my marriage to move forward and start a family. My husband tells me he wants the same thing, but he seems to contradict that with his actions. Today he is smoking pot on our porch and then tries to deny to my face that he still smokes. Does he not see how destructive that is to him and the trust between us? Somehow I feel that it would be irresponsible to bring a child into a situation where there are active addiction problems. I am going to pray for guidance and try to remember not to take it personally and to take everything one day at a time.

  44. kb says:

    I have been married to a recovering alcoholic/addict for 21 years. He has 23 years sobriety, and is now at the age of 55 suffering from all of the health problems due to his drinking and drugging. I am struggling with staying out of self pity, rage, resentment, etc. I have 25 years in Al-Anon myself, but right now it feels like I don’t have any.

    We are now a one-income family, as he had to quit working. It has been one health issue, in and out of the hospital, for the last year. We will have to start paying for health insurance in September, and I am trying to see to it that our daughter goes to the college that she has been accepted at. It seems like a mountain in front of me. I pray to remember and use the tools I have learned in the past 25 years.

  45. Lisa says:

    I am new here, just starting researching on AA and Al-Anon. I married an alcoholic 7 years ago, but didn’t realize that he is until the last several years. I love him so much. We have separated 3 times and I don’t want to do that again! Well, let me admit, I love the man he is when he doesn’t over drink. I, like HP, want that man and marriage back! He is little by little seeing he has a problem, but not fully there yet–still in a little bit of denial, but not as much as the 3 times I left him. I would love for him to start going to AA, but don’t want to force it–but know I need someting for myself.

  46. HP says:

    I am the wife of a recovering alcoholic. We enjoyed 13 years of sobriety and that ended 7 months ago. He is now in rehab. I find comfort in knowing where he is and that he is safe, but I am very worried about what will happen when he comes home. I am not sure how dedicated to recovery he really is. I know that I cannot control him. Believe me, I tried. I saw what was happening from a mile away. He did not. All I know right now is that I want my old life back. My old husband back. My old marriage back. I am not sure how to do it.

  47. Louise G says:

    When I hear one day at a time the first thing that comes to mind is our daily reader the ODAT. The page on July 14th changed my life–for me, it was like a map to return me to sanity. Living one day at a time seemed impossible for me. There was so much to worry about! Ha, I wasted a lot of time waiting for my past to change. Today after many yrs in this program I live one day at a time. In fact, I find it difficult to make plans for future holidays.

    I have learned to get the most out of each day and not worry about tomorrow. I love our “Just for Today” booklet, where it says that today I will adjust myself to what comes and not try and change anything–Just for today I will accept what is.

    Early in sobriety my husband was very ill and I was afraid he was going to die, so one more time I found myself obsessing over things I could not change. When a friend called and I shared with her my concerns, she said, “Don’t miss the good days worrying about tomorrow.” I never forgot that simple statement and I never miss a good day.

  48. Kim says:

    Al-Anon is a program of love. The home I was raised in by my father, who had no alcoholism and my mother who grew up in a home of the disease. My father’s way of life permeated. My Mother, although she had her problems, assimiliated to a way of life she had not known–to the best of her ability. Her brother, sober since early 1960, entered AA. My parents supported him by going to AA dances, etc. I recall reading the ODAT when I was in my elementary years. Not because it was shoved down my throat–because I wanted to. God bless them.

    When I married in 1990, it was for love, at least at my end. My husband, whom I suspected came from an alcoholic family, ended up exibiting the disease during our marriage. It was very sad. However, honouring love and stopping the cycle, I had to make the best decision, however hard, for the sake of the children. His family helped so much with the children to help me keep it all going. However, I knew in my heart that I was helping him with his disease, which was very entrenched in his family on both sides.

    This is 8 years after our separation and divorce and I can tell you that Al-Anon has been my guiding light. I knew what I had to do. With the help of my Al-Anon friends, the love and hope of the program gave me the strength that I needed. My children are healthy and happy. They were scarred in our marriage and also suffered many physical elements, such as chronic respiratory infections and ear infections. Even though I started Al-Anon early in our marriage, my ex-husband didn’t start and stay in recovery until well into our separation. It has been hard being alone through all these years. However, God presents us with a partner when we are ready.

    Try a meeting and keep going until you find one that speaks to you. Healing is upon us. We can live in a way that promotes peace.

    Keep coming back. It works if YOU work it!!!

  49. Debbie B. says:

    I am going to begin going to a meeting this week. I went a few times several years ago and didn’t “get it.” After reading a lot of these podcasts, I realized that I was approaching it in the wrong way. I thought the twelve steps, etc. were for the addict themselves. After seeing others’ interpretations of it in their own lives, as victims of an addict, I see that it can work for me. One day at a time………….

  50. Barbara W. P says:

    Al-Anon saved my life 45 years ago. I finally got well enough, at the
    age of 62 to realize that I really didn’t have a marriage. I have had
    two loving marriages since that time, the last one to the love of my
    life. I have been given a wonderful life since I left my alcoholic. I have
    never stopped going to meetings, because “you can’t keep it if you
    don’t give it away.” I don’t drive but I do go to daytime meetings on
    the bus. I am trying to find on line meetings or some way of sharing
    on line.

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