Where's the compassion?

I often think about the support that I’ve been given that really helped me through the worst of my addiction and in my attempts toward sobriety. One common thread is compassion. In my experience an often overlooked and frequently missing from the people I see in the rooms and in communities of people like me.
I am definitely a softie, and I like myself that way. I see others and their “sh… happens, deal with it” “no pain, no gain” type rhetoric and it just doesn’t work for me.

“We thought we could find an easier, softer way but we could not…” Is not true for me because of the compassion I give to others freely. Yes, in some ways I needed some amount of tough love to get past the worst parts and some amount of following that rigid lifestyle helped for some time but what really helps me now is not tough, it is real, ongoing human connection with my friends and family.

I find myself at odds with a large number of 12-step group members because I don’t agree with the “blunt truth” they peddle. It seems to work for them, and that’s great for them.
But I don’t like it, and I avoid it. Do you agree with any of this? Do you have any resources that are more geared toward the type of person I am that might help me more than other groups? Lol even books or stuff I can do individually because people suck.
By the way I have almost 10 months of sobriety and I’m in a pretty good place overall.

Edit: I should clarify because I don’t always specify what I think compassion is. I always mean it to be “compassion = empathy = a loving caring feeling from one person to another” and not “sympathy or pity for others” I think everyone commenting here understood, but just to note that.


Compassion is such a beautiful gift we can give to ourselves as well as others. I believe it makes us stronger and I know it calms my heart and soul when I practice compassion and empathy. Way to go wanting to have more compassion in your recovery and big ups on your 10 months!!

@C-sun is correct that Refuge Recovery is Buddhist based recovery. Check it out!


practicing peace is a book i enjoyed a lot :slight_smile: the author has another called the compassion book, havent read but intend to soon


I want to be more compassionate. :slight_smile:


I feel exactly the same way—I’ve reached out on forums before and the “harsh” advice just created more shame. Not sure about additional resources—struggling myself—but I hear you.


I think tough love and compassion are not mutually exclusive. One can “tell it like it is” along with a “I can see you’re working so hard and still hurting. I love you”. I’m sorry that you’re not getting it.

As for the “softer, easier way” I never believed that it referred to tough love…I think it means that you can’t recover without putting in the work. If you’re looking for people to tell you it’s okay to not do some of the work that isn’t compassion, that’s indifference. People can be harsh because they love you. It’s the delivery that needs to change, not the message.

And yes, check out Recovery Refuge. I’ve also seen AA meditation meetings. I haven’t been yet but I love the idea of a calmer meeting.


I will second the positive aspects of Women for Sobriety (WFS), it was very beneficial for me in my early sobriety. It is a helpful positive community of women working their recovery with empathy for others. Unfortunately, it won’t help the OP, @Collin. :neutral_face: as it is for women (obviously). I will reiterate my plug for Refuge Recovery.

Refuge Recovery


i’ve participated in Refuge Recovery meetings. very peaceful and compassionate. i always leave feeling lighter and more aware. highly recommend for you. check em out online and dip your toes into an online meeting. :slightly_smiling_face:


i have not heard of these! will check em out myself :slightly_smiling_face: thanks!

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I love Refuge Recovery!


100% agree. I brought up this app at an AA meeting, and the bulk of opinions in the group was not favorable because of how AA can be viewed on here. To each their own I guess


Couldn’t agree with you more. I’m a sensitive person and any tough love I receive just reinforces all the negative opinions I already hold about myself. Compassion goes a long way. Congrats on the 10 months


" It took me learning how to be my own bestfriend to do that, doing this with and for someone I loved, game changed!"

That is it!
I have always been a compassionate person to others but not to myself. When I learned to love myself the game changed. It doesn’t mean being selfish. It means to work towards to be the person you would like to be.


Guys drowning so the guy in the boat going to save him puts his hand in and pulls him out thats Compassion, but if he had jumped in and helped him out then thats empathy .keep on trucking

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That sounds awesome!!! Let us know how it is if you do go!

Well done on 10 months!

AA around me tends to be pretty compassionate, but that said, I have noticed how sometimes the men receive a tougher approach than the women. The first meeting I went to was perfect for me - had I walked into a rough and tumble meeting, I might have turned around and walked out again, because I was a broken person. I’ve now learned to get something from those meetings too, but mostly prefer the meetings with a more supportive vibe and have figured out which ones those are in my local area. They include sunrise meetings, outside meetings, emotional sobriety and meditation meetings. But I get it if it is just not for you and you are looking for something different.

I want to check out refuge recovery because I like using all the options available, but haven’t yet.

I do a lot of Buddhist stuff, which is strong in the compassion area. I sit with a Buddhist Sangha once a week that is in the Plum Village/Thich Nhat Hanh tradition. This has the right kind of vibe for a softie like me. And I read a lot of Pema Chodron.

Near me, there is a Recovery Community Center. It was cool to check out because there were SO MANY events, meetings and options - much more than just the usuals. They do recovery yoga, dance, kirtan chanting, and much more - there was something for everyone.

Also, well done on your 10 months!!

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It certainly sounds like you have some wonderful resources available in your community @aircircle!!

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Hi Collin, well done on your 10 months so far, amazing! We are all different and what works for one person doesn’t suit another. I wanted a more holistic approach than AA so have signed up to Hip Sobriety (now Tempest). It’s excellent, very supportive. It’s more female dominated however men are very welcome. Like other comments, Buddhist groups and meditations are very compassionate. I am using the Buddhify app, best of luck, I can’t wait to hit 10 months, only on Day 16!

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Love Hip Sobriety/Tempest!! Soberistas is another good one (UK based)…I was on there a lot in my early days.

I’ve been in Refuge Recovery here in Central Florida and it’s been amazing. It’s Buddhist in nature, but you don’t have to but into all that if it’s not your thing. Meditation is part of it and it’s actually pretty helpful. You can go to their website and find a meeting near you, hopefully. Otherwise, you can go through the book by yourself like I did. There’s plenty of online groups, too.

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