“. the addict would find from the start as much identification as each needed toconvince himself that he could stay clean, by the example of others who had recovered for many years”.
Basic Text p. 85
Many of us attended our first meeting and, not being entirely sure that NA was for us, found much to criticize. Either we felt as though no one had suffered like we had or that we hadn’t suffered enough. But as we listened we started to hear something new, a wordless language with its roots in recognition, belief, and faith: the language of empathy. Desiring to belong, we kept listening.
We find all the identification we need as we learn to understand and speak the language of empathy. To understand this special language, we listen with our hearts. The language of empathy uses few words; it feels more than it speaks. It doesn’t preach or lecture-it listens. It can reach out and touch the spirit of another addict without a single spoken word.
Fluency in the language of empathy comes to us through practice. The more we use it with other addicts and our Higher Power, the more we understand this language. It keeps us coming back.
Just for today: I will listen with my heart. With each passing day, I will become more fluent in the language of empathy.