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February 1957

Live and Let. . .

There are times now when my sons say, "Hey, Mom, the old Man is getting mellow!

Part of it is gentle mockery; the rest an acknowledgment by them of what LIVE AND LET LIVE has changed in me--at least to a degree.

It wasn't always thus, and my wife and sons ought to know because there was no real peace in my home for quite a while after I joined AA.

Some people are born with a silver spoon in their mouths, but I came into this world with boxing gloves on my hands. I was taking the other fellow's inventory long before I ever took the first drink.

I spent a good part of the time silently or openly criticizing other members of the human race: their hypocrisy, greed, drive for power, exploitation of the underdog, false spirituality, etc.

And do you know, I never succeeded in changing one of them! But I became an increasingly bitter and poisonous individual.

LIVE AND LET LIVE eventually opened my eyes to the mental sickness which lies in intolerance. And it can progress almost as insidiously and destructively as alcoholism.

Where there is persistent intolerance, peace of mind is absent. A dry alcoholic who allows himself to be afflicted with hatred, malice, dislike, revenge or any censorious attitude towards another is literally depriving himself (or herself) of some of the beneficent wonders of AA and the blessings of harmonious living with others.

I like it when the family says I'm "mellow" It's a much nicer word than many others formerly applied to me. And what's more, I know they mean it.

Astonishing, isn't it, what can happen to a fellow in AA when he tries something like LIVE AND LET LIVE?

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