Life married to an alcoholic

March 7, 2009

Well that was…predictable

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — tiredwife @ 9:53 am

I went to my first Al-anon meeting last night and the disaster that ensued was fairly predictable.

First, I waited until shortly before I left to tell the husband I was going out. He wanted to know where I was going, so I told him. His response? “But I’m not drinking tonight, so why are you going tonight?” Right there. With that response, I KNEW he was going to wait until I walked out the door and then get raging drunk.

I went to the meeting, which was composed of older men and women, who had all pretty much left their alcoholic. Not that that  is a bad thing, not at all. But listening to them talk, it struck me that even in Al-anon, I feel alone. Every person that talked had grown up in an alcoholic home. I didn’t. Every one of them left their alcoholic spouses. I don’t plan to.  At the end, the leader said “now, for those who wish it, please join us in the Lord’s Prayer” Each and every person stood up, and those on either side of me grabbed my hands. It was very uncomfortable and not something that I felt I could bow out of. Especially because I would be the only one. I ended up just standing quietly while they said the prayer in unison.

Everyone was very welcoming and friendly. Some of their stories moved me. I was a litte bit uncomfortable with how they passed the list of steps and stuff around expecting each person to read one out loud, only because, at that point I just wanted to be an observer. I didn’t really want to participate right then, I spent the night on the verge of tears and my hands were shaking. They kept telling me that I didn’t have to do anything right then, but then would hand me this paper and tell me to read it. Again, not a horrible thing, not at all. But not something I was really equipped to be able to do at the moment.

So, at the end, I recieve my hugs, my literature and my phone number list. I say good bye and head home. I walk into the house and smell beer. He had decided to punish me for going by getting drunk. As soon as I drove off, he got in the car and went to the store for beer. He doesn’t understand, why, when he is drinking less than he ever has before, I am going to meetings now.

I cannot get through to him that the meetings are not about HIM. Of course, he is the reason I went in the first place, but the meetings are for ME. How I am going to deal with MY feelings. He alternates between telling me to leave, saying he is going to leave and then telling me how much he loves me and how wonderful I am and what an asshole he is. He is very defensive that I went to a meeting in the first place.

I caved and told him that I wasn’t going to another one, because I can’t handle the raging argument afterwards. I can’t handle the fighting the second I walk in the door. But oh, now he wants me to go. Of course. Jump to the opposite side just to keep the argument going. I really attempted to disengage, but I’ve learned if I don’t participate it just gets worse.  So I stay calm and answer in monotone one or 2 word sentances. Finally he falls asleep.

I don’t know if I will go to another meeting. Not only because of him. Honestly, my impression was it was a close knit, fairly religious group. And while it works for them, I felt the “outsider” they were very welcoming, very sincere and friendly. But I don’t think it’s a good fit for me. I will try to make it to one more at this location and see what my impressions are.

After that? I don’t know. I may look into another meeting that will work with my schedule. I’ll have to see when the time comes.


  1. It almost sounded like you talked yourself out of going again before you went the first time.

    It’s like if you are trying to change the behavior of a kid…they will whine and fuss trying to get you to not want to bother but once you get over the initial hump, they change.

    I would suggest committing to yourself to go 5 or 6 (or whatever) times and then make a decision. This is all new to you, and anything new feels uncomfortable.

    Comment by Bopper — March 7, 2009 @ 11:05 am

  2. I suggest three months. After that, they will refund your misery with no obligation.

    I wish you could see yourself the way more experienced people see you. On the edge of the solution, dipping your toe in, afraid to jump and really try it.

    Just as it has been a solution for those folks at the meeting, it can be a solution for you. Try another meeting, and another. Find someone you connect with and go for it. You have nothing to lose, and the world to gain.

    You are in my thoughts.

    Comment by Lydia — March 8, 2009 @ 8:37 am

  3. I felt the same as you. When I attended my first meeting I was 23 and had no intentions of leaving my husband. I suggest the same approach as AA, 90 meetings in 90 days, but you also have to feel a group where you are comfortable. Changing your behavior is uncomfortable. It isn’t easy taking this step, but if you don’t nothing changes. If you wanted nothing to change, you wouldn’t have gone in the first place.

    Comment by Lauren Vargas — March 9, 2009 @ 12:03 pm

  4. You are a strong woman, I tip my hat to you. What you are dealing with most people, myself included would probably run from. I grew up in an alcoholic home and made up my mind early on that I would never live that way again. Thankfully my husband quit drinking after going to church but there are times when I see the signs that he is thinking about starting again and it scares me to death. Thank you for posting your thoughts and feelings.

    Comment by shewolf5 — June 24, 2009 @ 11:03 am

  5. Reading your post totally reminded me of my beginnings in Al-Anon. I was so scared of change but could not stand what was going on in my life. I was watching a stranger, who used to be my best friend, slowly kill himself each day with Alcohol and Drugs. I hated everything about him when he was in his disease. When I began going, I was terrified of his reaction. My husband would try to guilt me out of going. I would get.. You would rather hang out with a bunch of strangers than with me… I’m your husband… Then of course.. if you don’t like the way things are then leave response. It’s all your fault.. blah blah blah… But at the end of the day, this was one thing I became committed to, taking care of myself. I could not live the life I was living anymore. I would do whatever it took to piece myself up again.

    I was going down as fast as he was. The nights of frustrating arguments, the screaming, the yelling, the rationalization, the forcing of solutions. Then there were the nights I would escape onto the computer and completely alienate myself from him. I would disappear, I would go shopping, go to meetings, ignore his presence. The lonliness I experienced still haunts me. But again.. this wasn’t the marraige I signed up for, this wasn’t the life I wanted to live…. full of lies, deceit and heartache. The rockbottom cries that he witnessed and the ones he didn’t.

    I’ve been going to Al-Anon for 1 1/2 yrs. now and thankfully my husband just celebrated 1 year sober. Nothing changed until I changed and until consequences were established and executed.

    It was suggested in Al-Anon that I do not make any life changing decisions in the first 6 months of recovery. Thank God I listened. My feelings changed as the wind blew. I didn’t want to leave my husband. Sometimes I too felt like I was in a room full of ACOA’s and Divorcees. But I kept coming back as suggested and found people that said the things I needed to hear.

    Al-Anon totally has changed my life. I am a work in progress and embrace the change. I can smile and laugh again because of Al-Anon. I don’t walk around anymore with non-stop stomach aches and anxiety. I can sleep through the night without waking up in a terrored state. I know how it feels to be at peace. I know how to live again. It has made me a stronger person and has enpowered me in all areas of my life.

    Keep going back.. it works if you work, so work it.. YOU’RE WORTH IT!!! :)

    Comment by Melisa — July 20, 2009 @ 8:52 pm

  6. hey there,
    here is an idea, try our group on line, you can just read the postings and decide if you feel like joining in or not, i can tell you this much, we have enormous amounts of support and friendship on-line and we save on gas! and we have ice-cream surprises on one of our groups, try us anytime.

    Comment by sue — December 19, 2009 @ 9:47 pm

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