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 cannot express how much Alateen has helped me. Growing up, I was all alone. My parents were always fighting. Whether it was about what to have for dinner or getting a divorce, they were always at each other’s throat. I would try to solve the issue and make things better, but I quickly learned that it made things worse. As a seven- or eight-year-old, I didn’t know how not to be in the middle. Until Alateen, I didn’t learn how not to get upset when they were fighting and to focus on myself.
Soon after my son turned 18, he announced that he was moving out. I knew by the look on his face not to challenge his decision. That was 28 years ago, and with the exception of three or four brief times, he has not wanted to be a part of my life. During his brief pop-ins, he would wreak havoc, and just like that, be gone again. I didn’t have Al‑Anon then, and so I got caught up in the doubts, fears, and shame. It was agony. There is a hook in being a mom, and Al‑Anon is where I found the courage, strength, and wisdom to unhook myself from my son’s unacceptable behavior.
Three years ago, I could barely say my dream aloud. Today, I’m living it. Back then, a friend asked me about my ideal job. I meekly squeaked out my answer: I wanted to pursue my passion at home while raising my children. At the time, it felt like a faraway dream. Growing up amid active alcoholism, I was used to keeping my focus on others and neglecting myself. I didn’t know what I enjoyed, what I was good at, or where I fit in.