An Alternative for Alcoholics and Divorce

Before making a decision, give Al-Anon a try

Anguished woman

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Alcohol abuse has probably ended more marriages and broken up more families than we will ever know. If you have been considering seeking a divorce because of your spouse's drinking problem, hold on! There may be other options available.

If you are just plain sick and tired of being sick and tired and don't know what to do—if everything you have done to help the alcoholic has only seemed to make things worse—and you are at your wit's end, divorce can seem like the only reasonable choice.

I often receive emails from readers saying:

"I don't know what to do! I can't take it anymore. I just want it to stop! I'm thinking about leaving him, but I really still love him. Besides, when he is not drinking, he really is a nice guy..."

Give Al-Anon a Try

If the above statement sums up your situation, you may benefit from this suggestion: "Go to an Al-Anon Family Group meeting."

Why? Because the people you will find in the Al-Anon meeting rooms understand, as perhaps few others can, exactly how you feel. They have been there too, but they have discovered that they can find contentment and even happiness, whether the alcoholic is still drinking or not. As it says in the opening statement, read at most Al-Anon Family Group meetings:

"We urge you to try our program. It has helped many of us find solutions that lead to serenity. So much depends on our own attitudes, and as we learn to place our problem in its true perspective, we find it loses its power to dominate our thoughts and our lives.

The family situation is bound to improve as we apply the Al-Anon ideas. Without such spiritual help living with an alcoholic is too much for most of us. Our thinking becomes distorted by trying to force solutions, and we become irritable and unreasonable without knowing it."

Contributing to the Family Problem

Putting the problem in its "true perspective" is how Al-Anon has helped many thousands of its members understand the cunning, baffling, and powerful disease of alcoholism and how it has affected every member of the family, and how Al-Anon has saved many a marriage.

There are thousands of stories about how spouses who thought there was no hope for their marriage or the alcoholic in their lives, have found a "priceless gift of serenity" by using the tools that Al-Anon has given them.

Many Al-Anon members find, after reading the Al-Anon books and going to meetings and talking with others, that the alcoholic was not the only one in the family contributing to the chaos. Many find that their reactions, behavior and attitude toward the problem had become part of the problem without them even realizing it.

Nothing to Lose

When they changed their attitudes about the problem and their reactions to the alcoholic, it made a big difference in their lives, and sometimes in their marriage.

Perhaps leaving the alcoholic and seeking a divorce is the best option in your particular situation. But, before taking such a drastic step, give Al-Anon a chance.

It is recommended that you go to at least six meetings before making up your mind about Al-Anon because each meeting is different—even in the same room.

Besides, what do you have to lose? There are no dues and fees in Al-Anon and, as an old saying goes, "If after six meetings you decide that Al-Anon is not for you, we will gladly refund your misery."

By Buddy T
Buddy T is an anonymous writer and founding member of the Online Al-Anon Outreach Committee with decades of experience writing about alcoholism.