Growing up in a home with active alcoholism permanently stained my soul. But in Al‑Anon, I’ve learned that even though I can’t change my past, I’m not hopeless. Maybe because tea is my favorite beverage, this image helps me understand that the impact of alcoholism can be diminished.

Once I put a teabag into a cup of hot water, nothing is going to get the tea out of the water again. However, if I pour that tea into a bigger container—a bathtub, for instance—and then fill the tub with clean water, the tea will still be in the water, but the effects of the tea will be greatly weakened. The more fresh water I add, the weaker the tea-like characteristics become.

Every time I go to a meeting, read my Al‑Anon literature, talk to a program friend, or connect with the God of my understanding, I’m adding fresh water to my tea-stained heart and soul. The impact of alcoholism will never be completely gone, but its power to color my life continues to fade as I “Keep Coming Back.”

By BJ, New Jersey

The Forum, August 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.