What is the First Step in Al-Anon?

Published by at 2:00 am under First Steps

The last of six “Introduction of Al-Anon Meeting” podcasts: What is the First Step in Al-Anon?

How to locate a meeting

This is a series of six Al-Anon Family Group podcasts, especially recorded to introduce you to Al-Anon meetings.


87 comments on “What is the First Step in Al-Anon?”

  1. Victoria says:

    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.

  2. Shell says:

    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

  3. Shalini says:

    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.

  4. Michele says:

    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 . . .

  5. Tina says:

    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.

  6. Jen says:

    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.

  7. Sharon says:

    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.

  8. Emma says:

    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.

  9. Jane says:

    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.

  10. ann says:

    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.

  11. Kris says:

    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.

  12. Nat. says:

    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.

  13. Beth says:

    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!

  14. Laurie says:

    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.

  15. Iesha says:

    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!

  16. NE says:

    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!

  17. Yvonne says:

    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.

  18. Mammala says:

    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.

  19. Antonio C. says:

    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.

  20. Erin says:

    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.

  21. Beth says:

    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.

  22. Teri says:

    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.

  23. Tina says:

    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.

  24. lisa says:

    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.

  25. Fred says:

    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.

  26. Lynn H says:

    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.

  27. Kim says:

    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.

  28. Eryn says:

    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!!!

  29. amber says:

    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

  30. Lydia says:

    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.

  31. Kara says:

    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.

  32. gigi says:

    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.

  33. SARAHMARIE says:

    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!

  34. joan says:

    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.

  35. Kory says:

    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.


  36. Donna says:

    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!

  37. Trish R says:

    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.

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