In my nine plus years of trudging the“road of happy destiny” (book selling metaphor for surviving one day at a time) I frequently find myself reminded of a need for awareness. It comes, through this month’s Tenth Step acquired skills of personal inventory. The more frequent it is taken the more apparent are one’s needs for change, impetus of its potential.
The “directions” suggest that I compare my life’s daily occurrences with respect to infringement of principle; its non-virtuous practices measured by incidence in comparison to the Seven Capital Sins: Pride, Greed, Anger, Envy, Lust, Gluttony and Sloth. So doing, the road of destiny stands much greater chance of being trudged “happily.” Well, that’s the idea anyway.
All well and good, but since the beginning of this journey, my non-capital sin practices of Impatience and Intolerance are consistently apparent in that their antithesis: Patience and Tolerance, when practiced, can alleviate the moments during which the trudging is “not so happy.” After all, Alcoholism is but a symptom of my disease,…….the conditions of which this writing focuses on changing, this day in my time.
You see, I don’t care much for waiting for what I want, which always seems to be what I need at that moment. Later, I often find that it wasn’t what I needed, but only a symptom of it. It takes me back to the measure of that all important addition to my Fourth Step Question Template: “How important really is this”?
It’s right after that measure that I find… I can wait; that my anxiety is misplaced and that some Deep-Breathing Meditation can help to replace the frustration – most of which is in my head.
Okay – we’ve covered patience a bit, while the mention of time’s concept we’ll leave to Eckhart Tolle in his “Power of Now” – (if you haven’t read this, you might consider it).
But now,…… on to Intolerance. The classic definition Webster relates as “not tolerating beliefs, opinions, usages and manners other than one’s own, as in religious or political manners: bigoted.”
I think this fits into the framework of narrow-mindedness by definition,……… but this wouldn’t be A.A. would it? The glorious “benign anarchy” (thanks for that illustrative oxymoron Bill) , for Honesty, Open-mindedness and Willingness are the three essentials of recovery,……………………..in theory.
My own fellowship – the one that I was an Associate Editor of their regional magazine writing essays on Steps and Traditions as well as complete interviews that were collected and now entered into the archives -Â they wouldn’t be narrow-minded would they?Â (LOLOL)
They wouldn’t be small and petty, interpreting our agreements of tradition as laws, with situational interpretations of intolerance would they? Yes. Unfortunately, they might, depending on how you look at it.
I’ve been shunned. While sitting at breakfast with an understanding and open-minded, (but cautious) DCM, a woman who had bought my book the week before walked up and interrupted us for a moment to say ‘thank-you” to me, for writing a book that was refreshing, reinvigorating and as comfortable as a loyal pair of shoes after they had been “re-souled” (my turn for metaphors).
Yet the same magazine that I wrote for, for four years, won’t give me a two paragraph announcement of my book’s release; no brochure with their stacks of ad-ons about picnics, potlucks and conferences, “drunk junque”….that would violate the Sixth Tradition: “endorsement, financing or lending the name to a related facility or outside enterprise.” Never mind that Bill’s Essay in the 12×12 talks about 1) A.A. as a whole 2) examples affiliation with Hospitals, Educational Facilities, reform movements 3) endorsements that had to do with examples of liquor trade (reform) aka the wet-dry controversy.
This is another case of “scripture” being interpreted to suit one’s own argumentative needs in justification. This stance, when taken towards a classic revival of A.A. Principles – one which is enduring the Conference Approval Process – is misplaced ( I am so tempted to go upper case here – but will count to ten first :).
Outcome? Nope, Nada, Nyet. “The laborer is worth his hire” but only in The Big Book and The Good Book. No Gratitude Banquet discreet display, no selling books there either. No announcement, no brochures, no displays, no nothing,…but all the intolerance that I can eat and a tolerant “A.A. Gag Order.”
Yes! The doctrine of “Love and tolerance” is alive and ………something.Â Contradiction in terms? Feels like it, looks like it,……but Patience is the Payment for Persistence. I will muster mine, for as much as it takes. You can’t keep a good book down.
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