For Spouses and Partners
For Spouses and Partners

A significant other can affect our emotional well-being, for better or for worse. Problem drinking can make life extremely difficult for the friends and family. Al‑Anon members share their experience, strength, and hope in coping with an intimate relationship that is affected by alcoholism.

How do you deal with unacceptable behavior?


I was suffering in a verbally abusive relationship—not my first—when I attempted to join Al-Anon. I’d heard that it could help me with my problems. I went to a meeting and asked a woman afterward if I had to know someone who drank to join. She said I did. Disheartened, I phoned the central office in my Area and asked the same question. I received the same response.

I came to Al-Anon Family Groups at the suggestion of my ex-boyfriend, a recovering alcoholic.


Our relationship was rocky, and I blamed him for it. I wanted him to change to make me happy, but I was unsuccessful at changing him no matter how hard I tried. His recovery and program were a priority in his life and I didn’t understand it. Our relationship was lacking some of the fundamental elements I desperately needed.

I grew up in California on a cattle and citrus ranch. I had everything a boy could want. I went to a prestigious prep school and then to an ivy-league college, where I enrolled in ROTC. I was commissioned as an officer in the United States Air Force. I became a fighter pilot, served two tours in Vietnam, spent six years in the Pentagon, and retired in Canada after serving for five years as the Defense Attaché at the United States Embassy in Ottawa.