Anonymity and Recovery duke it out

I’ve been thinking about anonymity and how my own rubs me the wrong way. I am not ashamed of being sober any more than I’m ashamed of being a mother or wife or employee, but being a sober person doesn’t always fit neatly into those worlds. The fact is many people don’t understand addiction and make assumptions about recovery that are uncomfortable and untrue.

Chances are most people won’t think about my sobriety much at all. But some might think I’m weak for not being able to drink. Some might imagine the terrible things I must have done in order to need to quit in the first place.

I don’t hide the fact that I don’t drink, but I also don’t really bring it up. If someone asks about it, which only occasionally happens, I willingly and openly share my experience. Up to this point, that’s worked fine. By nature, I’m a quiet reserved person.

But here’s the thing about anonymity: at five years sober, it doesn’t sit the same anymore. When it comes to things I am grateful for, sobriety is right up there with my kids, my husband, and the little things like our health…a roof over our heads…cake. To make sobriety drop me off a block away so I can walk up and be like hey, I’m just naturally this way, well, I can do better than that.

Although, come to think of, naturally is exactly what it is. Take the booze away, see what you can be.

The timing on this is kind of perfect since September is National Recovery Month. Even guacamole gets two days out of the year, so you figure recovery deserves at least a month since it not only tastes good but also saves lives. I also just saw via wordpress notification that today is the 5-year anniversary of this here blog, which seems worth mentioning.


Recovery Month Events In Your Area
Recovery Month Events In Your Area


One small way I’ll celebrate is by posting photos of things that help me stay sober via Instagram as part of AfterParty’s Share What Helps You Stay Sober Project. Since I don’t have a separate social media account and follow real life, non-internet acquaintances, some might be surprised. Some might think differently of me. Most already think I post too many cat pictures so I’m not too worried.

Also, here’s a quick plug for AfterParty’s The Top 20 Best Sober Blogs for 2016 and also check out this one from 2015, which includes some of my perennial favorites.

Are you doing anything special to celebrate national recovery month? Please feel free to share in the comments.

Happy Recovery Month and Guacamole Days!



26 thoughts on “Anonymity and Recovery duke it out

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  1. Wonderfully said! I respect the anonymity rule in AA, but for myself, it’s not a big deal. I was pretty public with my drinking shenanigans so being sober and owning it holds no shame for me.

    I got sober last September, so this month is special to me. And now knowing it’s National Recpvery Month makes it that much more important.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Wonderful prose Kristen! I mirror your beliefs as well. I kept it to myself for so long. Now that I am “out there” I understand how beneficial it is to be open and in recovery. My trick is not mentioning what 12 step program I work.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Congrats on your sobriety. I can see how anonymity could cause a problem for someone in recovery. Withdrawing is a key part of addiction, and I think being anonymous reminds you of withdrawal. please correct me if im wrong.


    1. Thanks. Hmm, I hadn’t considered the isolation/withdrawal angle but could be it. Blogging used to feel different. The community I knew here shifted in other directions in the way most do over time and growth. That social connection and giving back is super important. Thanks for the reminder.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No problem.I only thought of the withdrawing angle, because I started to do that. I lived in certain areas, and the people there were so fake, that I felt like I couldnt emote; so i started to withdraw. it was nuts.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Kristen, congratulations on your five years of sobriety. I love that you write openly about your recovery and your blog resonates with me. I love how you say that your recovery is right up there with kids, husband and health (and cake- a kindred spirit!)
    I have been working on my co-dependency issues now for almost 20 years. Through a family support group, I have managed to put into perspective those behaviors I have that don’t necessarily serve me. The twelve steps have given me the courage to see who I am and to embrace those gifts that I was born with. I’m THANKFUL for the life I have today.
    I want to branch out more in my writing and was wondering if you’ve ever noticed recovery articles written by family members affected by alcoholism. I’m not a soapbox writer- I don’t preach. I would just share experience, strength and hope. I’ve tried to find such a forum but so far I’ve not really stumbled across anything.
    Let me know if you have noticed anything out there. I haven’t searched Duotrope yet.
    xo Joanne


    1. Hey Joann, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen post articles from the family member’s perspective. They have a ‘Blogs’ section where they run guest posts. Duotrope is definitely worth checking, though so far I’ve only used it to look for fiction markets. If I think of anything else, I’ll let you know!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. congratulations on your five years! I’ve seen you here for nearly the last three of them and it’s always been an enormous pleasure to read your posts which combine wisdom and your unique quirky, gentle, near-dreamlike perspective on the world. thank you for being here and for sharing so much with us.

    I get what you say about blogging having changed as we move on in our recovery. sometimes I almost miss those first intense days – I said, almost.


  6. HAPPY FIVE YEARS, Kristen!
    Your post is timely, as I so want to put my 2 year anniversary on FB. I know no one will shame me, and most people on FB already know I don’t drink, but I have several former students on FB, and I worry they will think their former teacher was a lush!
    I will have to ask Mark what he found with his students!
    But in all other areas I am outgoing about not drinking!
    It is a wonderful thing we are doing…for us, our families, and even the greater world around us!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Around 5 – 6 years sober my anonymity online got wrecked by me releasing an album, which I talked about on my blog which was then a total mix of recovery, life, music… Some look at me with a certain look but in the end it is what it is – it is me tricky to split them all.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh, man, I love your way with words. “To make sobriety drop me off a block away so I can walk up and be like hey, I’m just naturally this way, well, I can do better than that.” I have that writer jealousy thing about that sentence where you read something brilliant and then wish you’d wrote it, and then you’re just so happy for the words to be together that you don’t care that you didn’t write it. lol. 🙂

    The more we hide the more we are hidden, the more we stay stigmatized by what people think they know about being an addict. Parts of my past sucked, I still cringe when I think of those pieces of my life. Which means that probably everybody has parts like that, even the best behaved ones. I am so proud of my sobriety, I don’t want to hide it. If someone knew me when I was drinking vs. me now they’re probably amazed at how much they didn’t know then and how much better I am to be around now. I always remember this saying that someone told me early on: “It’s none of my business what you think of me.” We give way too much credit to people’s judgements who aren’t us. “Oh, Mrs. Jones, you’ve just learned I’m an alcoholic and now you think I was hammered while I was breastfeeding? Well, you’re right. Sometimes I was, and it was a mistake. But I’m not hammered now. Ever. And I’m cool with that.” No one else’s judgement can be as harsh as the judgement I’ve had for myself.

    Woo, that got heavy. Thanks for being awesome. xxxooo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My experience, both as a former drinker and recovery person, is that people who judge the harshest probably have their own shameful moments. Those who don’t drink much or at all usually don’t understand the need to quit forever, but since it’s not a big part of their life either, they don’t give it much thought. I can think of at least one exception to this in my own life who I still don’t feel comfortable sharing sobriety with. Always exceptions but interesting to think about and work on.


  9. I feel no shame in being in recovery, never really have.
    But I work an AA program and anonymity is part and parcel of that.
    That doesn’t mean that I am not “out” about my sobriety..I’ll shout it from the rooftops.
    I just don’t mention AA, unless, of course, I am one on one with someone and helping them, or here and talking about how I got sober.
    It’s a fine line and one that is almost invisible, I think we AA’s hide in plain sight. But I subscribe to that tradition on anonymity, to the idea that none of us are spokespeople for the program itself, tho being out there as sober is entirely our choice, and so very helpful.

    happy 5 years blogging…i’m so grateful for you and your beautiful words!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Yes, I don’t really care who knows about my addiction/alcoholism. After all, everybody knew when I was drinking and using. I understand the fellowships wish for people to remain anonymous as it can cause problems for them (the fellowships), but as I haven’t been to a meeting in over 15 years I don’t really consider myself a member of AA or NA any more.
    If you are interested I write about my own addictions and recovery at
    Take care

    Liked by 1 person

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