There have always been a few groups that would not yield... They stayed firm [in] their commitment to try to carry a single message to the suffering alcoholic.
As we consider more in relation to this "What happened?" question, let us remember the constitution of an A.A. group:
"Any two or three alcoholics gathered together for sobriety may call *themselves* an A.A. group, provided that, as a group, they have no other affiliation." (Tradition Three, emphasis added)
So then, and with our "themselves" considered, the above could also read this way:
"There have always been a few groups [of individuals] that would not yield [to external pressure]. They stayed firm [in] their commitment to try to carry a single message to the suffering alcoholic."
And now let us also keep this in mind:
"Of necessity there will have to be discussion of matters ... social ..." ("A.A.", the book, page 19)
We (A.A. groups of individuals) have no opinion on outside issues such as sectarian religion or alcohol reform, and neither do we have any opinion on world politics or global economics. And of course, we (A.A. groups of individuals) do not affiliate with global economics or world politics any more than we do with alcohol reform or sectarian religion ... or do we?
"Tolerance" has become quite a buzzword in recent years, essentially meaning "anything goes, and nobody should ever say anything about that" ... yet here is our ideal "internal stance" in relation to such an idea:
"If [your recovery prospect] thinks s/he can do the job in some other way [than through spiritual means], or prefers some other spiritual approach [than the one you offer from this book], encourage him to follow his own conscience ... be friendly. Let it go at that." ("A.A.", the book, page 95)
In stark contrast, however, today's external pressure upon us (A.A. groups of individuals trying to stay firm in our commitment to carry a single message to others like ourselves) is evidenced in things such as this (and with no opinion on the following being expressed here):
From: "President Declares 'Freedom at War with Fear'"
Office of the Press Secretary, September 20, 2001
Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People
United States Capitol, Washington, D.C., 9:00 P.M. EDT
"... Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make: Either you are with us [who believe in progress and pluralism ...], or you are with the terrorists." (Applause.)
"... This is the world's fight ... the fight of all who believe in progress and pluralism, tolerance and freedom.
"... We are in a fight for our principles ... [progress and pluralism ...] ...
"Thank you." (Applause.)
END 9:41 P.M. EDT
Pluralism, n. (Merriam-Webster Online)
3a: a theory that there are more than one or more than two kinds of ultimate reality
3b: a theory that reality is composed of a plurality of entities
4a: a state of society in which members of diverse ethnic, racial, religious, or social groups maintain an autonomous participation in and development of their traditional culture or special interest within the confines of a common civilization (not to be confused with "A.A.", the book, page 17)
4b: a concept, doctrine, or policy advocating this state
When I was new here - and no, I am not a bleeding deacon - being told I could "choose any conception of God I liked, provided it made sense to me" (page 93) was still the order-of-the-day. However, and also in keeping with the common experience in our book, I was *not* told I could choose an ashtray, doorknob, lightbulb, tree or "just any ol' god of my own preference or understanding" and still expect help in taking the Twelve Steps. No, I had to have at least a simple willingness to "Trust in *God* while cleaning house." (page 98)
Standing firm in what we can each and all read in our book is far from popular today, and pluralism is not going to be eradicated from here or anywhere any time soon. Nevertheless, our responsibility and prayer remains the same:
"Whenever anyone anywhere reaches out for help, may the hand of A.A. still already be there."