Wednesday, May 13, 2009


OK - I know this is going to come across as "preachy" but maybe I really intend it that way...

I stumbled across this quote recently on Trinker's blog:
The absence of profanity offends no one.
I remember having multiple conversations, multiple times in early sobriety where we were so proud that AA was the one place where you could use the terms "god" and "f---" in the same sentence and totally be cool. A share at the meetings I attended then was generally not "complete" without some artful, down home cussing.

That was true then and it's true now - except in my home group. Or most other meetings I choose to attend now.

What changed? Nothing. Everything. me.

Please-please-please don't misunderstand me (probably should be a song to that effect entered here...), I really don't much care that you encourage swearing at your meeting(s) or that you spice up your share or your blog or any other part of your life with a string of profanity. Truth is that I still cut loose with my sailor's imitation on the job or under the covers, but not as much as I used to and the trend seems to be generally that I cuss less.

Why this trend? I'm really not sure I can tell you with certainly. The things that have occurred to me (as brought up by others or as discovered on my own are):
  • if my profanity offends or could offend anyone, it is a deliberate act of separation on my part
  • my use of profanity is probably a mask for rage, anger, hate or some other secondary emotion. It might be more honest to express something about the primary emotion (e.g. - sadness, fear, physical or emotional pain) instead.
  • there might be other words than profanity that I could choose to express the same thing if I'm not too lazy to utilize them
  • when I hang around people that don't cuss, I generally don't cuss or cuss less than I do when around folks who do...
Again, I really don't know for sure if these are the drivers for this trend in me or not. It's just a general observation now that I cuss less and I seem to be OK with that.

I've also noticed that it affects my blogging habits. It's funny to me that, in the world of the web where I can certainly choose any words that I want to, even in this post I don't say s--- or f---.

What's THAT about?

We had a self-diagnosed curmudgeon join my home group about 12 years ago. He was the first one I'd seen "take on" a cuss-er at an AA meeting. He'd listen to a few "slips of the tongue" and then would interrupt the share and, respectfully, request that the person watch their language. Often the person would defend their "right to say anything they want at an AA meeting". Usually there were several in the meeting that would support this perspective. Chuck would then escalate the argument and sometimes yell "...yes, and I have the right to not listen to your language..." and storm out of the meeting.

He moved away a few years ago but I think AA in our community was permanently improved by his participation.

Ain't life interesting....


Syd said...

I agree with you Ed. I wonder why there are blogs and shares that have so many curse words. It doesn't evoke serenity to me and I wonder if it does to the person who writes. I'm not a big cursor. I've said my share of those words but not as a habit. And generally when the words are said, I'm angry or having a full blown attack of egoitis. Great post.

Scott W said...

I will use the occasional curse word. There is no sentence I can think of that would suffer if the curse word were removed, though.

It seems most curse shares in meetings are for effect, and that effect is usually one of attention grabbing. I would hesitate to ask anyone to not curse because I do believe the rooms are where we can share what we can't share elsewhere. But a little decorum would be nice.

dAAve said...

Damnit, that's a friggin interesting theroy.

Sue M said...

Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholic's to achieve sobriety, not to worry about shit fuck and ass. Take your snobby, holier than thou attitudes and CHANGE THEM!!!