And in this trend toward rigidity, we are drifting farther and farther away from our co-founders. Bill, in particular, must be spinning in his grave, for he was perhaps the most permissive person I ever met.
In the body of the speech these were his main points –
I hope nobody will latch on to the one that says our danger is 'absolute answers to nit-picking questions,' and say see we can do this how we wish. In my view someone finding their way up the mountain in any other way than by the directions in our book, opens the very great danger of them spreading a wrong message by telling others 'never mind that book I know the way.' So the hard drinker might find his own way because he is not an alcoholic, but when he tries to pass his message to the real alcoholic, we are in deep trouble indeed.I echo those who feel that if this Fellowship ever falters or fails, it will not be because of any outside cause. No, it will not be because of:
treatment centers or
professionals in the field, or
non-Conference-approved literature, or
young people, or
the dually-addicted, or even
the "druggies" trying to come to our closed meetings.
If we stick close to our Traditions, Concepts, and Warranties, and if we keep an open mind and an open heart, we can deal with these and any other problems that we have or ever will have. If we ever falter and fail, it will be simply because of us. It will be because we can't control our own egos or get along well enough with each other. It will be because we have too much fear and rigidity and not enough trust and common sense.
If you were to ask me what is the greatest danger facing A.A. today, I would have to answer:
the growing rigidity;
the increasing demand for absolute answers to nit-picking questions;
pressure for G.S.O. to "enforce" our Traditions;
screening alcoholics at closed meetings;
prohibiting non-Conference-approved literature, i.e., "banning books";
laying more and more rules on groups and members.