Many of us have learned, through our moral inventories, to guard against resentment. We discover that the sense of personal injury that makes us resentful often is imagined. Where it is not, it is almost always the result of our own misconduct. There, self-pity and anti-resentment, the worst forms of self-love, go hand in hand. As long as we yield to resentment, we are in trouble.
But how many of us, while trying to control resentment, still allow ourselves to suffer torment because of our lack of tolerance?
Tolerance in recovery begins with our being liberal minded when the acts and words of others do not square with our own firm convictions. Tolerant people recognize they can be wrong, even with strong convictions. And they recognize that it is wrong to try to keep others from trying to express themselves.
We have to look beyond this, however. Too many of us, as alcoholics, insist on having our own way. That’s how many of us became alcoholics.
And many of us, while dry, still insist on having our own way in everything. We want to do it by high-handed methods: By shutting up those who disagree with us or by removing those who stand in our way. Too many of us become resentful when we fail to get our own way.
Intolerance becomes vicious when it results from jealousy. Then, it turns into resentment.
Some people show intolerance because they resent leadership in others. Some are jealous of the attention that others receive. Some can’t stand a new idea. Some are intolerant of anything a certain person does because they had a difference with that person in the past.
An intolerant attitude is a serious thing for an alcoholic who is trying to find a new way of life. It harms the intolerant person. Sometimes, it harms others. We have, on occasion seen it be a hindrance to AA.
Most intolerance is petty. And while such intolerance may not be socially important, it keeps one from enjoying life and from having friends.