Honesty without compassion is hostility.

Yesterday was the 49th anniversary of the Community Association Serving Alcoholics (CASA) and as usually I participated by doing two workshops on slogans and sayings.  In discussing favorites Bill F. offered the following that he had heard at a meeting, “Honesty without compassion is hostility.”  Like a lot of these slogans and sayings, I didn’t quite get it at first.  That’s so typical of these little gems.  But I repeated it a few times and it made me think of all those debates I’ve participated in about confrontation strategies particularly in the TC model.  It also reminded me of the warmness and hopefulness of the men, particularly those solid “old timers,” I met when I was first coming around.  They were so welcoming, so hopeful when I felt like garbage and didn’t know that God doesn’t make garbage.   They often helped me to understand myself, but it was through identification, I was like them, they were like me.  There was no distance, we weren’t separate, we were the same only they had worked on themselves for years, but I could do that work too.  It was in sharp contrast to the greeter I encountered in Honolulu who said “How you doing?” and I said, “Fine.” And he rejoined “Well you ought to tell your face.” I came from a pretty hard core A.A. school but it was an unfriendly comment and I can still remember it fifteen years later.  Yeah, honesty without compassion is hostile.  I like that one.
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