The Forum Magazine

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.

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.

“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.