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.

I grew up in a loving, stable home; there was no alcoholism. One of my mother’s uncles was said to have enjoyed his drink, but I never witnessed any odd behavior. I didn’t have a clue.

This journey began long before I was fortunate enough to join Al‑Anon. I was diagnosed with a kidney disease in 1997, a disease for which there really was no known successful treatment for adults. I was told to expect to be on dialysis in five to seven years, as I would gradually lose the functioning of both my kidneys.

When I shared that I was feeling lonely and unloved in my marriage, it was suggested that I needed to love myself first. (I would always try to smile when I heard that, because it helped to suppress my gag reflex.) I absolutely hated what I perceived to be an over-simplified and corny approach to my serious problems. My bigger problem was this: I didn’t know how to love myself.