It is my belief also, that this hard line type approach is unnecessary, and does more harm than good. I have not seen it in my area for a while, and hopefully it is becoming less ‘popular.’ Anyone who is being exposed to that right now, and finding it difficult to accept, please understand that those hardliners are in the minority, and you will find the vast majority of AA’s, are kinder and more patient.Someone was sharing during a main chair a couple of weeks back that some hard nosed oldtimer had said to him when he was newcomer something along the lines of “if you don’t think this disease will kill you and if you aren’t ready to take it seriously then f*** off” and we all laughed when he shared that and it worked for him. But if someone had said that to me as a newcomer you wouldn’t have seen me for dust. And if someone said that to me now, I’d probably never ask for his help again. The hardline approach doesn’t work for everyone and I’m just not a hard liner myself so that’s just the way I’d approach it I guess.
In 1999 I was trying to find my way in AA, and at every meeting there was this tough old American ‘Rusty.’ Now I have nothing against Americans, and find them as friendly and decent as any other race, but this fellow was a jackass. If I spoke in a meeting he would sometimes say in front of everyone, ‘you don’t know a rat’s ass about AA,’ when I was appointed my home group’s secretary, he kicked a stink saying I shouldn’t have the job until I completed the steps, and this was not his home group either. I now know that he was correct, I didn’t know much about AA, and probably should not have been group secretary, but there are ways and means to do and say things, and being downright rude and uncouth is not the AA way.
Some will say maybe he didn’t know better, but he did, because he was here doing a job at which he couldn’t have spoken to locals that way, and he married a local AA lady, who said he was quite polite outside of meetings, but believed in ‘tough love’ in AA. Others may say he taught you a good lesson, how not to do things, we AA’s bend over backwards making excuses for the plain ignorance of some oldtimers. Well the only lesson he taught me, was that I have patience I never knew I did. But finally after months of abuse, at one Sunday morning meeting, Rusty nearly met his maker at my hands. I am quite big but try to avoid fighting, however I lost it that morning and it took a good few members to restrain me, and it took many years for me to return to AA, and I only returned to meetings after checking that he was no longer around.