Al-Anon Family Group

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Post Info TOPIC: Holding on By a Thread


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Posts: 1
Holding on By a Thread


I've been thinking about going to an Al-Anon meeting for a while, I've looked up dates and times in my local area and today even thought "If I find one that's on today, I'll go"... but then when I found one WAS on today I felt too terrified and closed the browser window immediately. I find it hard to be vulnerable and the idea of talking openly about living with an alcoholic partner with a roomful of strangers feels impossible. All I imagine is myself bursting into tears and being a burden on the already-established support group.

I have been with my partner for 5 years, and from the start he talked about worrying he had issues with drinking. The drinking has got better at times but inevitably gets worse again and each time he falls into it again, it is worse than the last time and he becomes less himself. I think what is most terrifying for him is that when he truly accepted that he's an alcoholic and that he has to stop drinking altogether, not just cut down, not just save it for special occasions, no alcohol at all... so he realised that, but then when he tried to actually do that and committed to that, it was impossible. He feels so trapped in it and it just seems like torture.

Anyway, the last week has been a total rollercoaster for me. Before Christmas his therapist suggested he go to hospital for mental health and addiction support, but he didn't do this. He got really really drunk a week ago and we had an awful fight. He was verbally abusive a couple of times (saying "f*ck you") and apologised profusely afterwards (like in the moment) but then it happened again a bit later. The next day he apologised as he always does. He always "owns" what he does but he doesn't seem able to change the drinking or the behaviour that sometimes comes with it. So then we navigate out of that fight and re-connect, then he's really positive one morning, energetic, himself etc. Says he's not going to drink for 2 weeks as a goal. Drinks the next day and I just withdrew completely. Couldn't be around it as I felt too anxious about how things would go. He was upset that I withdrew, said he was up-front with me that he was going to drink and I still got so upset. I explained the next day that I just couldn't be around it and didn't want to fight etc. and he was just so down about everything. Said he doesn't feel we connect anymore, that we don't have fun anymore, that he knows that at some point in the future he'll realise it's "all his fault" but it just feels crap at the moment. Says I keep making stuff about me when he's struggling so much and he feels I don't care about what he's going through. We talk this stuff through but it doesn't feel that we re-connect really. About a month ago I told him that I couldn't stick around forever if he continues drinking, and that I couldn't have a child with him if he continues drinking (we've been trying to conceive). I brought this up and said I was finding it really hard when he drinks lately because it feels like the possibility of losing me isn't enough for him to stop. And he said "maybe it isn't". And I know he was saying this because he feels totally controlled by the addiction and feels hopeless, but it is terrifying for me.

Anyway, after that he "hid" drinking a bottle of wine from me and I didn't confront him about it, just let it be. The next day he apologised to me and admitted to drinking the night before, said I probably knew already but he had to say it himself. Then said he feels completely done and feels his only options are hospital or rehab. He called a support line that day and they referred him to a crisis line which indicates he is suicidal (he has major depression and anxiety and has gone through periods of suicidal thoughts a couple of times across our 5 years together, but he has never physically harmed himself apart from drinking).

So now we're just at this point where like... he's returned to his incredibly stressful and emotionally exhausting job, we've recently bought a new car so share a debt for the first time which adds additional pressure to him to keep his job etc., after he hid drinking from me the other night he said he didn't feel he could come home as he feels he's ruined our relationship, but he did come home and just barely spoke about anything, cooked dinner for us and stuff but was very quiet and withdrawn, didn't drink and we didn't fight but felt very disconnected.

What I'm struggling with is just feeling on one hand that our relationship is falling to pieces and wanting a crystal ball; on the other hand that he might hurt himself and I don't know if I should/can intervene in some way to prevent that; and mostly that I just don't know if I should give him space and wait til he's ready to talk to me or if I should be keeping communication going letting him know I care and am here. Even writing that I'm like "give him space"... but I am so anxious and have anxiety myself. I wake up with a sore jaw every morning lately from grinding my teeth in my sleep.


I know I've just offloaded a lot of information and baggage, my main question is: Do I give him space and let him come to me with any communication, or do I need to keep communication going myself to help prevent this person who I love with all my heart from hurting themselves? Or is communicating constantly just adding more pressure to him and making things worse.


Thank you so much for reading...



~*Service Worker*~

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Posts: 10996

Welcome to MIP Lighthouse - so glad you found us and so glad that you shared. I was also unsure about attending Al-Anon meetings - I belong to the other side of the program so did not fear the sharing but wasn't sure how in the world I could get others to fully understand where I 'was' and not completely lose myself in the process.

I've always prided myself on being 'together', able to solve problems, be a good leader, example, friend, daughter, etc. yet this disease kicked me hard in the backside, the belly and beyond. I spent more years that I care to think about trying every/any thing to understand, accept, adapt, change/control/manage/relate/appease those with this disease. I wish instead I had found Al-Anon much sooner as it's given me back me, my freedom, my sanity, my serenity and a ton of healthy supporting friends who get me and understand what living with this disease is like.

My best hope for you is that you find your courage to go and attend a meeting. I don't know if there are Face to Face (F2F) meetings with the pandemic so even just popping into a Zoom meeting would benefit you to get a feel for what it is vs. what it is not. I found a safe place, others who truly understood, and allowed me to just adjust/adapt at my own pace and never advised me or judged me. I left my first meeting still hurting, confused and sad yet with enough hope to return.

There are no right/wrong answers about how to engage with another or when to do so. What Al-Anon has helped me do is to pause before I react, with the hope of praying before I respond. Sometimes, the best response in my home is no response. That doesn't mean I sit and take it; it means I choose when I respond so I can respond the way I want/need to vs. being an emotionally charged reactive person who's got her own issues with crazy thoughts, anger and the like.

Feel free to breeze around, read some threads, ask questions and consider finding a way to get to a meeting! That's my best suggestion so you can begin your journey in healing from how this disease affects you. Please keep coming back - there is hope and help in recovery!


Practice the PAUSE...Pause before judging.  Pause before assuming.  Pause before accusing.  Pause whenever you are about to react harshly and you will avoid doing and saying things you will later regret.  ~~~~  Lori Deschene



Senior Member

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Posts: 132

Lighthouse, welcome to MIP, glad you found us and were able to confide.

In Al-Anon you are never alone or judged because the whole premise of Al-Anon is to help you unburden in a safe environment.

The disease of alcoholism is progressive, that is why, as you say it seems to have gotten worse over the past 5 years. It is his and

only his decision to stop drinking, no one can do that for him. It is indeed very hard to watch the struggle, but if he doesn't want

to commit to getting help then that is his path not yours, in Al-Anon we learn to "mind our own business". The ranting is the chaos

that an alcoholic creates in order to take the focus/blame off of themselves and place it on the ones closest to them, you do not

deserve to be mistreated and you did not cause it. We learn to detach from the alcoholics, with love and understanding and

remove ourselves from the chaos for the sake of our own serenity. I have been through the same scenario with my AH, he hides

his beer and whiskey, I remove myself from the situation when he is drinking and have no dialogue with him because he becomes

belligerent when he drinks. I say nothing to him about his alcohol use and mind my own business. I work the Al-Anon programs

12 Steps and Traditions and have learned the slogans. Again, you are not alone, what you are experiencing is typical for living

with an active alcoholic. I found my sanity and my serenity working the program, it has given me back my self respect and 

enabled me to have my own life outside of the chaos.  I have learned to not take any of the ranting personally and Al-Anon

has restored my sanity, indeed!!

Please continue to chat with us. MIP (Miracles in Progress) is a wonderful, caring group of people who are here for you, so keep

coming back.



"Forgiveness doesn't excuse bad behavior, but does prevent bad behavior from destroying your heart" ~ Unknown


~*Service Worker*~

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Posts: 932

Dear Lighthouse 

You could.never be a burden on any group. Most people.  Now with Zoom we get to go to lots.of meetings all over the place. 

I am so grateful for al.anon. I cane here several yeara ago desperate because I felt that I absolutely overwhelmed 

I an so glad i.came






~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 1854

Lighthouse, welcome. Sounds like you are in the right place to find recovery for yourself. As much as we want to help our alcoholics, after years of frustration, depression, anxiety, etc., alanon has taught me that I can only help myself. And by focusing on me, which may sound a bit selfish, I have been able to find some peace, happiness, self-esteem, and serenity, that I otherwise could not. Some of us stay with our As and some do not. I am in my 29th year. It hasnt been an easy road, but alanon shines a light on my path. Keep coming back!



Veteran Member

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Posts: 78

Hi Lighthouse, on reading your wonderful honest sharing, I wanted to say to you that you are in the right place. I have been in Alanon when my first Grand Son was born, I think about 34years. Everytime I read a sharing of a newcomer, my heart and prayer go out to them. I hear their pain, and I care. It can take me right back and remember when I first had to go to an Alanon meeting. Like you, I was so so scared, and had to make a huge decision and get courage to walk through that door. As someone had said that they would be there to meet me, so they could walk in with me, they weren't.

My first meeting didn't do anything for me, I bolted, and I had recently separated from my then Husband, because of his drinking and insanity. I was in the wilderness for 3 months, but something kept telling me I had to go back, which I did, and I have never left my recovery since. I was on the verge of another emotional Breakdown, Alanon, my meetings, and the help that I was given by the people I met,stopped me from going down that road. Was it easy, no, it wasn't, I had to work hard, and I had to want the program and want to get better, I had to want to stay, when their were many times when I wanted to give up. I have never ever regretted it. At the moment, I have a Grand Daughter who is going through exactly what you are going through, her Marriage is in deep trouble, her story and yours are very much the same in some ways, the pain is the same.

The reason being, that after my 1st Grand Son, my Family grew, and today it is huge. The Disease,and the Ism's are well intruly entrenched within my family, the only way I can have Peace of Mind, and be the Mother, Grand Mother, Great Grand Mother, I want to be because of the Disease. Is to be in Alanon, I have learnt what the Disease of Alcoholism, Ism's is all about. Why I did what I did, how I acted, why the Alcoholic did, said, acted, like he did. I could understand more fully, I always knew that the alcohol was the problem, but didn't know of the addictions. I tried so hard to stop it from affecting my Children, but being in Alanon, I realized that it got in there anyway. For me, I was so strong, thinking that I could beat it, but I was standing in front of a huge big steamroller, and it went right over the top of me.

I hope and pray that for you, you stay, and do what ever you have to do, to get help for yourself. It is worth the journey, and you deserve it for yourself. In Alanon, you get, find all your answers, and most of all you find yourself. This program is so wonderful, and all the people who share are so caring and fantastic and wonderful to be around.

Please Be Good To you, Take Care,

Wendy P.

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