The Forum is an international monthly publication of Al-Anon Family Groups, that offers help and hope for the families and friends of alcoholics.  Al-Anon and Alateen members share their challenges, insights, and progress along their path of self-discovery and spiritual growth.  The magazine also includes topics for discussion at meetings as well as news and information from Al-Anon's World Service Conference and World Service Office. To order your subscription click External link opens in new tab or windowHere

The following  articles are reprinted from the January 2023 issue, with permission of  The Forum, Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA

Happiness is Here and Now        by Diane G., Quebec

     I came to Al-Anon years ago looking for tips on how to fix my alcoholic husband.  I got a big surprise when you told me that I could only fix me.  I am so glad that I stayed long enough to begin to heal myself and recover from this ugly disease.  My husband never did find sobriety, but I found wisdom, support, and maturity in this program.  I got strong enough to know that I was facing a brick wall with his disease, and my life and serenity was my responsibility.  I decided to get a divorce and never regretted that decision; it is not the answer for everyone, but it was for me.

     I then had to learn to live differently, and I embraced the changes that were necessary.  Two years later, my oldest son committed suicide, and my life was once again turned upside down.  With the tools of this program and the love and support of program friends, I have learned acceptance, self-love, compassion, and the big lesson of living "life on life's terms."

     Many times, before Al-Anon, I found myself in a tailspin, trying to accomplish the impossible.  But today, I can use the tools I have gained.  I have to be aware of myself, accept the realities of my life, and use what I have to work with.  I no longer need to wait for some fantasy life in order to be happy.  Thanks to Al-Anon, happiness is here and now.

I Can't Do This Alone Anymore             by April H., Texas

     It was a normal, nice day.  Things seemed to be going so well - until it happened.  Not again! I thought.  This time, I called my husband, crying, feeling so overwhelmed, lost, and confused.  Part of me was so angry, yet I was so hurt!  My husband, who is my son's stepfather, listened as I shared about the argument between my son and me.  He asked me if my son had been drinking.  I said no.  "Then that's what he was looking for," he said.

     I realized my husband was right.  My son started an argument with me so he could blame his going out drinking again and not coming home on me.  That was when I said to myself, "I can't do this anymore.  I cannot do this alone anymore!"  All this time, I had thought it was my son who needed help, which was true, but that day, it was me who needed help even more than I realized.

     I'd heard about Al-Anon a few years prior to this, so I started searching online for an Al-Anon meeting.  I found one near me that I could attend that week.  As I walked in, I felt welcomed.  I only wanted to sit in and listen.  As the meeting went on, they started reading from the Al-Anon blue book, How Al-Anon Works for Families & Friends of Alcoholics (B-32), and I heard all the words.  It felt like they were all for me, and, as they were reading, I couldn't hold back the tears anymore.  The woman sitting next to me offered me some tissues and just smiled as if she knew what I was going through.

     As I listened, my broken heart started to feel some relief from all the pain.  I could sense this was where I needed to be and that I really needed this for myself.  When I heard the sharing, I started feeling some hope.  I shared a little of why I came that day.  It felt good to let out what I was going through with them.  I didn't feel they were judging me or didn't understand.  I just knew deep down inside that they did.

     I have attended only a handful of meetings so far, and I am so glad I started.  After the first meeting, I purchased a book, and I searched online for more that I was interested in.  I signed up to start receiving The Forum right away.  It has helped me so much to remember that I am not alone on this journey anymore.  I get encouragement and strength from the literature each time I read something.  The meetings, books, and magazines have helped change the way I look at the situation with my son and helped me understand him better.  Plus, I am understanding myself more, and I don't feel so lost like I used to.  I'm so grateful for Al-Anon!

How I Can Help My Children       by Joanne, Ontario

     When I first walked into an Al-Anon meeting, there was a member at the door who smiled and offered me a hug.  I felt so welcome.  After they opened the meeting by reading from The Twelve Steps and Traditions (P-17), the members went around the room and introduced themselves.  When the time came for me to say my name, I stood up and said, "I'm here to help my children."  The members lovingly told me to "Keep Coming Back."  I did not know at that time how I was going to help my children.

     After the meeting, they handed me a pamphlet titled How Can I Help My Children? (P-9), and it was so helpful.  I was able to understand how the family disease affected my children because my husband has a disease.  I was able to explain to them that alcoholism is a disease and that their Dad is sick.  I learned in this program how to communicate with my children, and they learned how to hate the disease and love their Dad.  My children started to understand.  This program has shown us how to love unconditionally.  We are on the road to recovery.