If you’re reading this, chances are you’re in recovery. Or you might be among the very small handful of friends who read my personal blog and follow this one as well. I decided to keep them separate because the longer I’ve been in recovery, the more I keep hearing the word anonymity and feeling vaguely troubled by it.
Last week I attended a meeting focused on Tradition 12.
Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.
A newcomer said he hadn’t known what the word anonymity meant until he’d heard enough to put it into context. We all passed around The Twelve Steps and Traditions and read a paragraph or two out loud on Tradition 12 . I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time paying attention to anything read out loud from a book. When combined with the mounting anxiety of seeing that book inch closer and closer to my turn to read out loud, I pretty much tuned it all out. Still, I’m certain the book didn’t mention the subject I was interested since Al Gore hadn’t yet invented the Internet in 1952.
Am I allowed to say any of these things here? Should I mention I was at a meeting? Can I paraphrase what others say at meetings as long as I don’t mention names or locations? Should I still be making bad Al Gore jokes?
I honestly don’t know! I listened keenly at the meeting and didn’t share at all for fear of what might come out of my mouth. I don’t talk about blogging at meetings for fear of how it could be misinterpreted. I certainly don’t do this for fame or fortune. I write here because it feels good to share my experiences and connect with others. I read recovery blogs because I learn things that help me or make me think Wow, I know exactly what that feels like.
Isn’t that why we attend meetings, to feel less alone? Just like The Grapevine is like a meeting in your pocket, recovery blogs feel like virtual meetings. Because of my responsibilities at home and work, I typically get to two meetings a week. This is not a complaint because it works for me, but I get a lot out of the support I find here. I’m not a phone call kind of person. I’m shy and introverted at meetings. Simply put, blogging is easier. But is it also wrong on some level?
At the meeting last week, no one touched on online anonymity. The meeting chair shared that he doesn’t advertise his membership, like, ever. He said remote family and friends come to him instead, which shows that someone out there knows he’s sober. His point was that he lives by the principle of attraction, not promotion, which Bill and the founders long ago decided would be best. Does blogging somehow betray that?
What are your thoughts on anonymity? If you blog about recovery, do you struggle with what or how much to share? Do other 12-step members know you blog? If so, have you ever been challenged about what you write? Are we somehow posing a threat to a simple organization that continues to save countless lives or am I simply being neurotic, yet again?
I’m sincerely curious how those with more experience handle what feels like a landmine, no matter how good my intentions are.