Monday, February 19, 2007

Profanity in meetings

Last night's meeting was a lively one. One of our members with quite a few years started the meeting off by stating he's gotten in trouble at work for profanity and that he wanted some feedback about how to change that character defect. The only meeting topic I've found that triggers more controversy than cussing is smoking.

One of our old-timers, who doesn't like much anyway, started after him by saying that this was another "no-topic" meeting and that if he came in as a newcomer hearing this topic, he'd think "What the f---?"

That seemed to be the attitude of a few people; some were very contemptuous and made sure, with lots of profanity, that we got their point -- that no one can "censor" them.

My point basically comes from our literature -- what's appropriate for one stage of recovery may not be for another. Last year, my boyfriend took issue with my language, which was terrible. I have cussed since I've been a teenager, unfortunately, and it didn't bother me. So slowly I've been trying to clean it up, and completely eliminating cursing at meetings. I've noticed since I've done that I'm very sensitive to others' language and I can't always seem to hear the message around some members' profanities.

Also, as I shared last night, I've been in meetings where the language was so horrific that I've watched newcomers leave because it doesn't appear that our program of attraction is that attractive. We have also gotten kicked out of PI spots (especially in schools) because addicts failed to watch their language.

As I said in disclaimer last night, this is my experience in recovery, not something for others to take aim at or issue with, as so often happens when one offers an opinion.

It's always interesting to hear people speak about their spirituality bracketed around a string of profanities. One member summed up my point last night when he said "no f------ right-wing ideologues were going to tell me how I could or couldn't talk" then said " . . . and I'm just as spiritual as the next cat." Perhaps he meant an alley cat?
We had a lot of laughs and I left the meeting still believing that we can share our truth without using a ton of profanity yet still get our points across. But I'm sure I didn't change anyone's mind with my opinion.

In early recovery when I was struggling with old behaviors, my sponsor referred me to her sponsor when she didn't know how to direct me. Her sponsor listened to me then asked one question: "What do you think God wants for you?" That stopped me in my tracks.

For me, God wants me to be closer to Him, and again, for me, a string of invectives doesn't invite God into my heart; profanities are a way I dispel anger and frustration. Again, my experience may not be your experience, but one thing that struck me clearly when I picked up chip #22 this year: With recovery goes responsibility. And today, for me, being responsible means cleaning up my language in meetings and in my heart.

Until tomorrow, be bold in actions and faith and humble in spirit (I stole this somewhere!).


Rex said...

That is what I love about this program. No one will ask me to leave if I swear like a sailor, but by example I come to learn that there are so many way better ways to manage my life.

Anonymous said...

Thank you!

Meg Moran said...

the things we did to our minds, bodies and relationships were more profane than any words used to describe them

johno said...

Your words on swearing made sense to me & have made me stop for a moment & consider my own actions. Its something i justify to myself and at the same time dont feel comfortable with. Work in progress for me with HP. Thank you for your post