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.

My mother suffered from severe anxiety and depression, with bursts of unreasonable anger. Doctors put her on strong prescription medication. She took small amounts every day for the rest of her life. She had also been raised in chaos by a mentally disturbed mother. I had early training in caretaking, accepting crazy behavior, having no boundaries, living in constant fearfulness, coping with self-blame, and all the other dysfunctional character traits I brought with me into adulthood.

One of the first bits of wisdom my Sponsor passed on to me was “Quit taking it personally.” I started to realize that neither my husband nor my daughter were trying to hurt me. They were compelled by their disease to do what they did. It wasn’t about me being a good (or not so good) wife or mother. This new way of looking at how I reacted to their behaviors helped me see how I was the cause of my own suffering. I felt so sorry for myself, and I blamed them. Although I thought I loved them so much, I did not have a compassionate heart for their suffering.

My mom—how confusing, frustrating, and sad it was to see her struggle with a difficult marriage, poverty, and her own alcoholism. She loved her children, I’m sure of it. But she had it tough, really tough!