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Audio Version

Our first Tradition is all about being a united society; for on that basis lies the future not only of A.A. but the hundreds of thousands of members who are yet to discover recovery from their malady.  Why then are some members showing a disrespect of this by persisting in the use of language more appropriate to a saloon bar, or drunkards' shelter?

Having served A.A. in many and varied capacities it has always been a joy to be part of a group that has tried to engage with one another, and the general public when required, in a manner befitting trusted servants and representatives of A.A. The image of some members who prefer to use abusive language saddens my spirit if they are to become the future representatives of this wonderfully healing Fellowship.

Where is your tolerance and compassion, I hear? Well, I would much rather spend time sharing with people who understand that tolerance and compassion is a two way street - it is not always appropriate for being understanding and forgiving.  Why do we have to be tolerant of bad behaviour (I suggest that the continual use of abusive language is a sign of bad behaviour), would the perpetrators take the same stance when speaking with their loved ones i.e., parents, children or grandchildren?  The local law enforcement agencies don't tolerate continual abusive language and regard it as a public disorder, so why should our meetings be different?

Of course there are exceptions when an attitude of tolerance is appropriate, especially when someone has been drinking, or is just off the sauce; in addition those who have undergone some traumatic event may express their desperation with some bad language.  However, these isolated incidents can readily be forgiven or at best tolerated. The time when we are made to feel uncomfortable, isolated or even excluded is when the abuse has gone too far and is in direct conflict with our First Tradition and Second Legacy, therefore an aggressive approach to the meeting.  To quote from page 79 of A.A. Comes of Age, "Today we in A.A. are together, and we know we are going to stay together.  We are at peace with each other and with the world around us."

In conclusion may I refer to one of Dr Bob's quotes, "Service is Love in Action." Love indicates a level of care for the individual or society, the question follows; why are our group consciences' not reflecting this care for the future of our Fellowship?  If one expresses a love of our Fellowship, then surely they can also show it.