by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Grapevine : January 2012
38 January 2012 displays of affection (such as hugging).” In truth, while such public expres- sions may accompany unity, it goes much deeper. Yes, we share a common malady—our alcoholism. But anyone who has ever frequented bar life can tell you that commonality in our illness alone produces little unity. On page 84 of the Big Book the following words appear: “Love and tolerance of others is our code.” In truth, this is the basis of real unity. Genuine love can come only from the source of love, which we call our Higher Power; tolerance, in turn, is the expression of this love toward our fellows. Tolerance is easy to practice toward those of our fellows with whom we share more than one com- monality. For example, it’s natural to tolerate people with whom we share a socio-economic status, interests and hobbies, education or (perceived) intellectual level. But what about those of divergent religious, political, cultural and socio-economic back- grounds? Can we be toler- ant of them as well? AA has tried to foster a climate of accep- tance of everyone who has a desire to stop drinking, regardless of background. Our Third Tradition reminds us: The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking. Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, even agnostics and atheists, are able to find recovery from our common illness. This tolerance is key to AA’s success and survival. But tolerance is a two- way street. Living in the Ozarks (firmly located in the “Bible Belt”), we experi- ence frequent examples of low-key “evangelizing” in our AA meetings. This is a subtle form of intolerance, which is usually toler- ated by other members so long as it doesn’t get too far over the line. But occasionally, newcomers, who are not yet aware of the bounds of religious decorum in meetings, do cross that nebulous line, angering those of agnostic tendency. I recently found myself in just such a meeting. A young newcomer, returning from morning mass still attired in his white shirt and tie, at- tended the 10 a.m. meeting of my home group. The meeting included a young lady—also a newcomer— who declares herself an avowed atheist. In addi- tion, the meeting included an older man who jokingly refers to himself as a “Wic- can.” In truth, I suspect he is simply agnostic. As the meeting progressed, I winced when an elderly old-timer boldly declared his faith in Jesus Christ. Feeling thus emboldened by the comments of the old-timer, the young male newcomer then whipped out his pocket version of the Bible and proceeded to read. As if on the sound of “charge,” half the group bolted upright and stormed from the meeting, leaving the young man puzzled and myself embar- rassed and ashamed. After the meeting I approached the young Bible reader and gently explained that I, myself, am a Bible reader, but that such behavior is not appropriate in the setting of AA, where members of various religious (and non- religious) beliefs may at- tend. I also suggested to the old-timer that perhaps GRAPE_37-39.indd 38 11/28/11 11:47 AM