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November 27, 2012


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Graciously and respectfully stated. I appreciate this


Amen, Brother!

I'm an Al Anon-ic who originally attended a meeting to learn what I could do to help my alcoholic partner. I'd spent years watching his drinking slowly kill him both physically and spiritually. I thought Al Anon would teach me some trick or tools to put a stop to it all.

Well, I got taught.

In those rooms I learned it was me who was hiding out from the world by putting my focus on the alcoholic in my life rather than on myself and all my - ahem - flaws. This gentle program is kind enough to call the flaws "defects of character."

Glory be, I couldn't be the angelic martyr anymore!

Al Anon helped me learn to stay out of the way of my alcoholic's path to recovery. Most importantly, it helped me get my life back. I put my focus back on me - where it belonged - and took it off the alcoholic.

My alcoholic liked a lot of my pre-Al Anon behaviour. Of course he liked it! The disease had settled quite comfortably in our household and was not eager to depart. And, despite doing all sorts of things that I thought would help my alcoholic, I'd actually succeeded in making the disease rather comfortable. Once in Al Anon, I learned this was enabling behaviour.

This lovely soul who has written in has much of her heart in the right place. She loves her partner. She hurts when she watches him slip away into the disease. We in Al Anon know that sense of loss and sadness. We've watched our own loved ones disappear, too.

I invite you to try a few more Al Anon meetings. It's possible that the best thing you may do for your loved one may be to take your focus off of him and place it back on yourself.

As much as you long to actively help him, you simply can't. And, as much as he may want to stop drinking to please you, he won't. He can't. He can only do it for himself.

In Al Anon you'll learn about acceptance. You'll learn as much as a non-alcoholic possibly can about alcoholism. You will learn things like "detach with love - and if that doesn't work detach with an axe."

In all seriousness, loving an alcoholic is a hard row to hoe. Alcoholism isn't called cunning, baffling, and powerful just for grins. The fellowship on offer in Al Anon may ease what at times feels like a burden (loving an alcoholic), and open your eyes to many facets of what's happening for you.

Try a few meetings. Find one with a flavour you like. Go for a few weeks and see if anything resonates for you.

I mean, for goodness sake, Al Anon SHOULD be a bigger fellowship than AA, right?! It's intended for all the folks affected by the drinkers. For every one alcoholic, there are parents, a significant other (yes, y'all are loveable and us crazy Al Anon-ics aren't the only ones who love you), friends, siblings, children, coworkers, who are touched by the struggles of alcoholic drinking. That's a lot of people!

And, all this fellowship and support is available for anyone to "take what you like and leave the rest." It's as simple as walking into a room and listening.

So glad to see this matter covered here, Mr. SponsorPants. Love your work.

Deborah Denson

I would click the like button if you had one! I am the alanon, and whenever i am focusing on someone else's behavior, I need to get my butt to a meeting. That is a surefire sign I am having a slip.


Bravo Mr. Sponsorpants and Everyone above. As another alanaon member I would like to stress to Wife, everything thats been said is so true. At first I resented that I had to go to Alonon, and it can be quite difficult to accept that I have a problem. Alanon and the fellowship have saved my sanity, so Keep Going.

Jacquie R

Thanks again Mr.Sponsor- Pants for pointing out that this is a "family disease."I've found that my participation in the Al-anon program took away the obsessive focus on the alcoholic and put it back onto me. My own hovering, monitoring,and manipulating behavior helped things change for me. I stopped adopting the moods of my alcoholic.When I got busy(looking after me and taking the 12 steps )I got better.It wasn't neglecting the alcoholic in my life it was taking care of me and giving him the privilege to be himself and look after his own recovery! Thanks for letting me share!


What you said is so true. I try to hear my partner when she has something to say about my alcoholism but I just can't. But, put me in a room with another sober alcoholic and I will at least consider any advice.
Luckily, my partner is a firm believer in the power of Alanon. That has been a gift to both of us. She manages her life and I manage mine. The growth for both of us over the past two and a half years has been a miracle and a joy.


Thank you for your candor and honesty. My husband has been sober 4 years. I met him after he had been sober one year. He was going to AA and would invite me to his open meetings. His honesty was refreshing to me. Life was great! Three months ago he applied for early release from probation and his probation officer and LCDC both agreed he was ready since making it 4 years sober. So, the judge granted his early release and he was done with probation for the first time in over 6 years. Almost immediately he stopped going to AA. Slowly he started being more negative about everything and we started fighting more. I started reading about dry drunks and he fit every description. I subconsciously started "helping" him. None of it worked. We fought more. He left on Thanksgiving Day to go on what he called a "bucket list" backpacking solo trip. I had bad feeling about it and every time I voiced concern he scolded me saying I was "ruining his trip before he even left" so I let go and let God and he left for trip. Six days later when he returned he reluctantly admitted to me that he got pot from a friend we both know before he left and smoked it as a way to "connect with nature." He reassured me that it was no big deal because he didn't even feel it. Since his drug of choice was cocaine and alcohol, he said this was nothing to worry about! He said he wasn't scared because smoking it didn't cause a craving for alcohol or coke. I couldn't even speak. Scary part is he admitted he probably wouldn't have told me except he was afraid his pot source would eventually tell me. I told him he needed to go back to AA and tell them what he had done or call his LCDC. I told him I couldn't help him but I would support every effort he made to stay sober. I told him to think about whatever his rehab taught him to do when this happened and do whatever that was. i wasn't with him then and his family refused to go to Al Anon. And right then and there I was face to face with Step One. I am powerless. Completely. It's been a week since he confessed and he still hasn't told AA or his counselor. And there isn't one thing I can do to make him. I pray he digs deep and wakes up but he might slip further. Don't know, can't care more than he does. I've been to Al Anon 4 times since he told me. Thank God for Al Anon and your gentle but affirming reminder to do NOTHING.


beautifully, wisely and lovingly said, very helpful to me.

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