"Most of us sense that real tolerance of other people's shortcomings and viewpoints and a respect for their opinions are attitudes which make us more useful to others. Our very lives, as ex-problem drinkers, depend upon our constant thought of others and how we may help meet their needs."
- There is a Solution,
~ Alcoholics Anonymous, pages 19-20
When we demonstrate a personality that is intolerant of others, acting as if, "we know it all", or... "we told you so", demanding that "I am right and you are wrong"... we are not going to be able to help anyone.
We do not have a monopoly on God, spirituality, or sobriety. Most of us have found a solution -- that works for us.
Is the AA solution the only solution that works? I'm sure there are other effective solutions for helping alcoholics to achieve and maintain sobriety -- AA is simply the most effective solution that I've discovered that works for me. And, I no longer need to search for another solution.
However, AA, is not for everyone. When I insist that AA is the only way and attempt to push and shove and choke my solution down someone elses throat -- they will simply puke it back up.
I have to keep in mind that "to be helpful to others, especially to alcoholics" is one of the most important things that I can do -- in regards to maintaining my own sobriety. That will work when everything else fails.
I remember many years ago, working as a door to door salesman. I was new on the job, and in the area that I was going through -- every one of the prospects that I called on seemed especially hostile towards me.
Finally, I asked the secretary of one of the prospects that I was calling on, "Are people in this town always so hostile to salesmen?"
She was a nice lady, and she replied, "Son, you seem to be a very nice boy and you probably represent a fine company... Last week we had two salesmen call on us and they are probably the reason that you are recieving such an unwelcome reception. Try not to take it personal."
When I went back to meet with my boss at the end of the day I explained to him what had happened to me that day.
He understood. He said "Unfortunately, in sales, sometimes the salesman that has been there before you -- left a bad impression or did something to make the prospect angry because the prospect was not interested in their product or service."
He said, "The Golden Rule in professional selling, is to leave the door open for the next salesman that comes behind you."
For those of us, that our lives depend on helping others -- I believe it's a good idea to be asking ourselves, "Are we leaving the door to help open -- behind us?"
If another alcoholic is not interested in the solution that worked for us -- let's try to be helpful to them so that they can find a solution that works for them. Who knows? Our attitude, and whether we have tried to be helpful -- will go a long way in determining whether or not we ever see the person again. If they like us, they may change their mind, and become willing to come back and check us out a little closer.