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Bear with me: this is coming out on the fly, as it were.

People are different. Perhaps people who seek out our help here are more diverse than the general population. We represent the fringes; the bulk of "normal" people will never need our help.

The result is that we often misunderstand each other, when we meet. Some people come here angry about something that happened in the outside world. Some are belligerent only on the surface, as a cover for their own insecurities. On the other hand, many are frightened of any expression of anger.

Some come here bitter about repeated failure; some blame themselves, or some part of themselves. Some come still believing that alcohol or some illegal chemical will help them treat themselves and avoid some of the difficulty inherent in being fully alive. Some come believing that their problems stem from not receiving enough treatment, some from too much treatment, and some from the wrong treatment.

What I'm trying to suggest is that, especially on first meeting, we try to give our fellow humans that extra benefit of the doubt that we were given, when we came here. It's likely that we'll have occasion to meet people whom we won't know how to support. We may be offended or frightened or disgusted or saddened by what they tell us. But for a support site like this one, that reaction needs to be tempered by the needs of the person who has just joined.

I'm not suggesting that we ought to approve of things we disapprove of, or that we're not entitled to our opinions. I'm simply saying that our approval, our opinion, our judgment, is not relevant. Regardless of the approach, the person we're meeting is still a fellow human, and by all odds a fellow sufferer from something. What I hope we can all do is reach each other at that point, where the suffering is.


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