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Post Info TOPIC: Need support/suggestions

Veteran Member

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Posts: 34
Need support/suggestions

Ok.  so my kids came home from college for summer.  my younger son asked to speak with me and verbalized he was upset how I was interacting by not interacting with my AH.  I explained to him about detachment  and that I want so much for his father to stop drinking and to engage with the family, but that was his fathers decision. My son will talk to me about his father drinking and how much more his father drinks when I am not there in the evenings and how my son feels like he has to babysit his father for worry something will happen since he is a diabetic and also going through hard time since his mother passed (but he won't talk about).  I explained how I still love his father but I am trying to live my own life, make myself happy by doing things on my own (leaning how to teach fitness classes and I take other classes).  I told my son that his father has to make his own decisions and if drinking is his decision no one can stop him but himself, and encouraged my son that he does not have to stay and feel tortured being there with a drunk father--he can go out with his friends, go in another room and watch TV or read, it is not his job to have to monitor his father.  I thought I was explaining detachment ok--but he things that saying its appropriate to leave someone alone to drink who will drink even more if they are alone is wrong.  I offered al-anon to him (and have offered alateen in past) but he is not interested.  He verbalized that both he and his brother were upset with how I was handling things.  I just listened and let him know I was happy he could express himself to me.  He said he would not feel comfortable telling his father how he felt.

So then I talked to my other older son and asked him how he was feeling about things and he just said it was really messed up that we are not a normal family and that he understands that I need to separate myself and make myself happy, but then doesn't understand why I am even still with my husband when we don't really talk or do things together.  And he verbalized he was glad he has been away at school and is now moving away to not have to be around things.  I told him this has been hard for me--because I am the only one who has talked with his father about my concerns about his drinking (for health, family, etc)  and I don't even bring it up al all anymore--my husband knows when he is drinking I just stay away and interact minimally.  My older son also says he does not want to go to alanon and that he does not want to tell his dad his feelings. I totally get it--I am the one who got the verbal teasing and taunts from my AH because I was the one who addressed my concerns.

So my husbands drinking was much worse about 5-7 years ago and he has tapered down, but starting again drinking more now. But still has been a big issue--probably drinks about 4-6 beers at least 4 days a week.  And he started switching to whiskey and diet coke "more buzz with less carbs to impact his sugar".  whatever--his choice.  We have a liquor cabinet  and I have seen and heard him getting out the bottle.  Well tonight I could tell he had been drinking when I came home around 4pm.  It smelled to me like beer.  Didn't;t say anything I just stay away like usual.  But I went into our family room this evening and I could smell something--so since I know he can tend to hide a open beer on floor behind things or in things I checked around (I don't want my dog to get into anything or to get ants/bugs).  So I opened his backpack that was on floor next to me--and there was a smaller bottle (pint) of whiskey in it.  I was just kind of shocked.  I know I shouldn't be, but I am.  Why does he feel the need to hide things?  Why is he drinking the harder stuff?  Is he drinking when he goes out in the car (I hope and pray not).   I know he has an alcohol problem.  And I feel like he has been depressed for a few years and now worse since he lost his mom last year.  He used to be able to communicate vey well.  But for the last 10 years of drinking he literally can't even state plain things like I'm mad or sad.  And when asked how he is feeling about anything--loss of his mom or how was work--"fine" but yet his tone and body language express otherwise.  

So I really don't care (do care but detach) that he is drinking--I don't want there to be safety issue for my dog or sanitary/cleanliness issues by open hidden containers.  So do I say anything?  Technically I did invade his privacy and I do have concerns that he would retaliate in some way (not physical).  Do I just leave it alone?   

Any suggestions on how to have a more normal family interaction when I cant be around my AH when his is drinking?  Am I doing anything wrong with my kids?  They don't like the drinking, but they can tolerate being around him when he is drinking for the most part, but I just can't.  So then that means I can't stand being in the same room when they are all watching the sports (because of the smell of the alcohols and the behavior)  so then I am not having interaction with my kids (grant it they are usually away at school so me being in another room is normal).  Is there any answer or ideas to improve things?







~*Service Worker*~

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Posts: 915

{{Dancer66}} I think you are doing great!!! Thanks for stopping by!!

As far as your children, you cannot control how they feel, but offering Al-Anon exposure was a wonderful idea.

It is hard when you know your children are troubled, but it is best to let them understand in their own time.

In my house I have exactly the same thing going on. Hidden empty beer cans in the desk leaking residue and

making the the room smell and lots of those little bottles of whiskey in the the trash clinking around. I just

mind my own business. In the past, if I said anything I would get this wise guy smirk, like I did not know

what I was talking about. Since Al-Anon, several years ago, I learned that I must keep my need to control

in check, otherwise I am always feeling troubled. Al-Anon does know what it is doing and works when you

work the program.


"Forgiveness doesn't excuse bad behavior, but it

does prevent bad behavior from destroying your heart". ~ unknown


~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 2674

{{{Hugs also to you Dancer66}}} You have a full plate and honestly I agree with Debbie that you are handling things openly and honestly with your kids. Of course they don't want to go to alanon (neither does my son). They don't understand how alcohol affects everyone in the family, and other thinking is, why should I go for help when I don't have the problem? They also cannot understand that you taking care of yourself is exactly the right thing to do.

What I might do in your shoes, would copy some literature for the sons to read, that might make some sense to them. Something they could relate to about your family situation. This could be from a daily reader, The Forum, an/or something online from Alanon recovery.

I hope you can continue some contact with alanon through any means that works with your schedule. You can find help and recovery here.



Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 397

Welcome back Dancer. I agree with others that your suggestions to your sons are well intended and recovery focused. I also can understand their personal fears for their father. So many of us entered the program with those same fears and thought there was some action we could take to help the drinker. The concept of loving detachment is a hard one to wrap your mind around if you don't understand recovery. You are clearly showing your sons that you are available to them for sharing their feelings, validating them, offering loving support. Your own actions concerning living your life and enjoying it certainly demonstrate progress imho. It's difficult to live in the same house with someone still active and at the same time take back your power to live your own life fully.

As far as your question about having more "normal" family interaction when you can't be around your husband when he drinks, my mom planned activities with us outside the home. That was a reprieve for both her and us. Alcoholics not in recovery are going to drink either way. To this day, I find it difficult to be around events where others are drinking nonstop. I minimize my time at such events. When you are living with that in your home, you just have to roll with it if you don't plan to leave your alcoholic or have them leave. I found when in that situation in my former marriage, I had to hide out in other rooms, with doors shut to find serenity. It definitely felt like being a hostage in my own home. Not fun.

I did find when entering Alanon that learning about alcoholism as a "disease" illness that can be arrested but not cured helped me to let go of the feelings of over responsibility and caretaking that your sons are exhibiting. Gaining a clearer understanding that it was not selfish but self preservation to prioritize my own needs greatly helped with sanity and serenity. Children especially should not be burdened with obsessive worry over a drinking parent. There are so many wonderful once in a lifetime adventures to have when young. It's a time to truly feel "happy, joyous and free." You are being an example of the program in action by living your own life in that manner now. That is so important imho. 

Alanon is always suggesting that we point the finger inward, focus and ask ourselves if there is anything we might have done differently in any given situation. I can honestly say that when living with someone still active, I lost sight of what a normal home life looked like. Normal for me has been a combination of my past history, family of origin and recovery progress. Today, gratefully I have been able to take what I liked and leave the rest concerning past history and create a healthier today based on working the Alanon program. Daily inventory is so important for me. Even though I no longer live with active alcoholism, my own behaviors have deep roots and I can easily apply old unhealthy choices to new life situations if I am not mindful of my recovery tools and newly acquired healthier behaviors. I can't expect anyone else to change. I can set personal boundaries but alcoholics who are still drinking often forget my boundaries. This is different from intentional gaslighting. Problems with memory are part of progressing alcoholism.

I hope you continue to take good care and enjoy your life to the fullest. The corny saying is so true that life is not a dress rehearsal. Wishing you the best you can give yourself! Keep working it. You're worth it! I do believe that the most loving support for family is being an example of the program by demonstrating healthy behaviors and actions. (((hugs)))



-- Edited by tiredtonite on Friday 15th of July 2022 09:48:04 AM


Surround yourself with people and elements that support your destiny, not just your history.

~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 952

Good to hear from you, Dancer

Appreciate your share about your experience, I heard some good shares above with some really good Alanon principles in practice. It sounds like you are putting solid Alanon into practice and doing your best in a really tough situation.

Before I found Alanon, I believed that there was something that I could do, some series of steps I could take, a line in the sand I could draw or demand I could make that would make things 'right', 'normal'. I tried every one I could think of, with far less grace and skill than you are showing; nothing brought the outcome I hoped for.

I found Alanon and along with it a peace to the fact that nothing I could do would make things 'right' for the alcoholic or any that engaged with them. Additionally, in looking honestly at all families, with or without an alcoholic, unhealthy behavior was not just limited to families with alcoholics. My efforts to force a 'normal' would be just my own arbitrary concept of how I think things 'should' be.

Allowing others to follow the guidance of whatever higher power they hold to, letting others decide their own actions is the only way I feel peace. When I don't, I know I am trying to enforce my perception of 'normal' on one wins.

My heart and thoughts are with you as you navigate this landscape and follow the guidance of your higher power, discover what works for you ...



"...when we try to control others, we lose the ability to manage our own lives."  - Paths to Recovery 

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