One of the ways the family disease of alcoholism shows up in my life is that, if I’m not paying attention, I can find myself ruminating. I get stuck on a hamster wheel of compulsive thinking, trying to come up with the perfect plan of action on my own before I share with anyone else what I am going through.
My recovery in Al‑Anon shows me that this is backwards. It’s only when I get those often-distorted thoughts out of my head—by talking to my Sponsor or another Al‑Anon member, sharing in a meeting, or getting them down in writing—that clarity emerges. As I write about my problem, I identify my feelings. Tools and slogans come to mind. Al‑Anon’s spiritual principles begin to resonate and illuminate the next steps along my path.
In the same way that sharing in a meeting is an act of service that helps both me and those who hear me, sharing my recovery in writing is also an act of service that helps me, whether it gets published or not. But sharings submitted to The Forum have a better chance of being published when they meet some basic criteria. A written sharing should:
- Be about and from the Al‑Anon perspective—how the writer was affected by another’s alcoholism and how Al‑Anon helped.
- Speak from the member’s own experience rather than giving advice or teaching.
- Focus on one thing, such as how a member applied a slogan to a particular situation, how an Al‑Anon principle helped improve a relationship, or how the program brought freedom from a particular self-defeating attitude or habit, etc.
The Forum also needs sharings that:
- Focus on one of the Twelve Steps, Traditions, or (especially!) Concepts of Service applied to personal life.
- Represent the experience of minority members, for example, sharings from men, from members in countries outside the US, from members in the LGBTQIA+ community, etc.
The most important thing, though, is that members share from their hearts. Member sharings are needed and are received with respect and gratitude as acts of service to our fellowship. You can download a detailed Writing Guideline for The Forum, check out all our writing guides, and send your sharing.
By Carol C., Magazine Editor
The Forum, June 2022
Feel free to reprint this article on your service arm website or newsletter, along with this credit line: Reprinted with permission of The Forum, Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.