My loved one is an alcoholic, and I deserve to be happy.

(From an Anonymous source)

I deserve to be happy.

This, coming from a woman who happened to fall in love with an alcoholic. My husband is an alcoholic. My husband is addicted to this filthy rotten chemical called alcohol. Go figure.

I don't like it. I've told him that over and over, and he's tried to quit various times to no avail. He's not abusive, but our relationship is not the best. Underneath that smell of alcohol, he’s a really good man that I fell in love with. The man that wasn't craving this demonic liquid. a good man with hopes and dreams, a man who was present emotionally for me. 

That was then, this is now. 

People tell me I should leave him. People tell me if I'm not happy, I can up and leave.  But it's just not that easy. You would think it was, but we've got history, we've got a family, we've got ties that bind. Plus, there's this thing in me that just hangs on to hope that one day he will be able to quit.

I deserve to be happy.

A friend of mine invited me to an Al-Anon meeting a while back. I didn't want to go. Who has time to go? She then asked me if I was happy. No, was my immediate answer. She then asked me, “Well isn't it about time you were?”

Heck yeah, I thought. It's time that I feel happy. She assured me that attending Al-Anon would be a great step toward finding happiness.

I really didn't know what to expect from these meetings, but the first thing I realized was that these people really opened their hearts to me. I felt accepted and a sense of home. Like they understood me, they understood my confusion, resentment, fears, and my petrifying fear of being abandoned. And I felt like they wouldn't abandon me. 

For the first time in a long time, I felt hope. I felt hope that I wouldn't have to be miserable, even in a relationship with an alcoholic. I felt hope that I could find that woman who I used to be, that woman that used to feel happy for no reason. That woman who had hopes and was confident in herself, and very loving toward others. 

I was told to work the program. That the steps of Al-Anon would help me to get my eyes off of my husband, and that disease that is eating him alive, and more on myself and my own journey through this life. My own emotional wounds that needed healing. My own fears to conquer, demons to face. At the same time, my own reservoir of strength and courage, and empowerment.

I've been attending Al-Anon for a while now, and while I'm not doing cartwheels of joy all the time, I feel more peace and at times I find myself laughing, which is something I rarely did for years. I feel a sense of belonging, and I've made a couple really good friends that love me no matter what.

I'm not so focused on what my husband is or isn't doing. He's in charge of his side of the street, and I'm in charge of my side of the street. His beliefs and actions do not have to cause me misery. I am ultimately 100% responsible for my feelings and emotions. I love him, still. But I’m not going to let his addiction…and his choices ruin my life. And, I’m not going to leave him either. At least, that’s not in my mindset at the moment. If there were abuse, yes. I would. 

If you're reading this, and you have a loved one who is an alcoholic or an addict. I want to give you hope. Yes, it does suck that addiction has stolen or taken over your loved one. You don't deserve that, and that person doesn't deserve that. But it really is what it is. Alcoholism is a disease…my husband is not a monster. He has a disease…and one day I do hope he will reach out for treatment.

I encourage you to continue a journey that begins with you taking your eyes off of that other person for a while. And start a new Journey working on yourself. If you can attend an Al-Anon meeting or Nar-anon meeting, please do so. Or Codependent’s Anonymous. Give it a chance. Take what you like and leave the rest. Sometimes we need face-to-face help and support. We need community. 

The people and principles of Al-Anon have carried me through the anguish of living through the problems that alcoholism has brought to my heart and my family. Al-Anon is a philosophy in a way of life, and I'm grateful for this. ~ Anonymous

  • 4 Commentsby Likes|Date
  • Thanks for posting this . Al-anon , at least in my area, does help people cope with active alcoholism . But , it also helps spouses understand the "NEW" way of thinking for those of us in a 12 Step recovery program . As many are aware , recovery can become just as all consuming as the disease itself .
    My wife is very happy that I'm not drunk . But she suffers some social setbacks as a result of my sobriety that are similar to the setbacks she suffered when I was an embarrassing drunk . I am at a stage that I am re-entering society , but I'm certainly not interested in a lot of the "Old Crew ". It turns out that drunks aren't as cute and funny as I once thought they were .
    So I am trying to build new bonds with new friends who live by the 12 Steps . And , I'm happier than I ever remember being .
    Now my wife tends to think of Al-Anon as "You're the one with the problem . I don't need help." And that is fair . But the 12 Steps are a lifestyle . At least if we intend for them to work . And unless the spouse understands the new lifestyle , they may continue to be just as lonely as they were living with the drunk . And that is something I see a lot of spouses around my program doing . And the ones who do come to cherish the Steps as much as there Old Drunk husband/wife . 
    Our buddy @Tommy loves to invite folks to hop on the train . Well , that train doesn't require a chemical dependency to get a ticket . All Aboard !
  • @TWSJ You shared some really valuable Insight here. On the opposite end of someone in active addiction as well as in recovery can be a person who has become accustomed to a toxic relationship. Oftentimes on the other side of an addict or alcoholic is someone who struggles with at least some codependent characteristics. They would certainly benefit from a personal development Journey via a twelve-step program. We all have room for improvement, and navigating a relationship in active addiction or out of active addiction can be challenging.

    I remember being in a relationship with a recovering addict and I was the emotional wreck. I remember she said I needed to go to a support group like nar-anon, and I thought she was absolutely insane at the time. Turns out she was spot-on. 

    Of course support groups aren't for everyone, but I'm a firm advocate of counseling sessions at various stages in life. And as necessary. 

     Thank you for sharing your valuable input and I'm glad that you are happier than you've ever been! So very proud of you!
  • I've been to Al anon just didn't get it Maybe I'll try again
  • @Cindersfella... If Al-Anon doesn't work for you, maybe consider trying SMART Recovery Family & Friends. It's a companion program to SMART Recovery, which is a 12-step alternative program. You can find more information on their website:

    Their meetings aren't as widespread as AA/Al-Anon, but they do have online meetings, too.

    Sending you lots of hope.
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