The Forum Magazine
Al-Anon's monthly magazine, The Forum, contains many personal stories of inspiration, some of which are made available each month on the Internet by authorization of Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc.
Click on the titles below to read the entire article.
I met someone new recently. It was a completely unexpected event. As I spent time with this person, my heart was touched in a way that it hadn’t been in quite some time. A cascade of feelings came up afterwards, and I was a little unsettled for a while. I continued to work Steps One through Three and Ten through Eleven, every day, as I walked through all the feelings.
Seven years ago, I was returning home with my husband after several weeks cruising the Mediterranean and touring Europe. Yet, instead of being relaxed and invigorated, I was full of fear, anxiety, and trepidation about what awaited me at home. What was wrong with me?
I am forever changed by the spiritual gifts of our Al‑Anon program—its profound literature, tools, and teachings—and most especially by the warmth, compassion, and mutuality I’ve discovered in our fellowship. This incredible feeling of truly belonging, perhaps for the very first time in my life, is one of the most precious gifts I’ve ever received. I’m so thankful for the blessing of finally “coming home” to a Higher Power of my own understanding, and to all of you, the family I’ve always been looking for.
I am early in my recovery, and already I see when and where the disease of alcoholism grabbed a hold of me. My parents were alcoholics and addicts, and my extended family was full of the same. I suffered through the twists of manipulation and lies my entire life.
As an African-American female, entering Al‑Anon was quite a challenge for me. I’m strong in some ways, but I was lost in the way of living and focusing on myself. At the first meeting, I felt uncomfortable because I was the only African-American in the group. I was not that trusting of Caucasians in an all white setting, and I wasn’t sure how genuine or accepting their responses would be.
“Please press One if you will accept a collect call from the … county prison.” My wife and I had been at friends’ that evening. We got home at about midnight and found the message on our answering machine. We listened to it three times without saying a word. The message summarized the relationship we had with our son over the past two years.
Two sentences spoken at the first Al‑Anon meeting I attended made me sit up and take notice: “How Important Is It?” and “You may be right.” Each represented a 180-degree change in the way I looked at, and dealt with, the problems caused by my teenage son’s alcoholism. At the time, I didn’t believe either one, but they stuck in my head and proved to be both life-changing and a source of strength.
Early in Al-Anon, one of the feelings I struggled with was anger. So many times in my childhood home, I felt angry but acted happy or pleased because the unwritten rule for the children of the family was, “Do not show anger.” For the drinking parents, anger was permissible to express loudly, and on occasion with the help of a brush or belt.
My boss told me that I needed to go to Al‑Anon. He said I wasn’t handling customers who had been drinking in a proper way. I admit that I was mad at them when they walked in the door and saw that they weren’t exactly sober. I was dealing with my own drunken husband all the time, but couldn’t yell at him. It would just have made matters worse.
“He is not living his life for me,” I thought as I shuffled into the cold kitchen. It was three o’clock in the morning. I was in search of an Al-Anon daily reader. My son, my only child and someone I loved more than anyone, had been arrested, spent the night in jail, and was in more trouble than I ever imagined possible.