Friday, August 28, 2009

Anonymity

A question came up on another blog yesterday about anonymity.

"Publicly accessible aspects of the Internet such as Web sites featuring text, graphics, audio and video ought to be considered another form of “public media.” Thus, they need to be treated in the same manner as press, radio, TV and films. This means that full names and faces should not be used." -- Alcoholics Anonymous website - Q&A about anonymity."

Anonymity is not an outdated idea. It is two of the traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous. There are so many obvious reasons for it, such as one person not being a spokesperson for AA, or the public face of AA - that it might tarnish AA's image.

However, more importantly, there is immense spiritual value in anonymity. We need to learn the discipline that it is not all about me. It is not for me, it is not about me. It is Alcoholics Anonymous. I am not to beat my chest and proclaim to the rooftops that I am a recovering alcoholic - even though this, at first, seems like a good idea - and besides, we say, It might help someone!

"12. And finally, we of Alcoholics Anonymous believe that the principle of anonymity has an immense spiritual significance. It reminds us that we are to place principles before personalities; that we are actually to practice a genuine humility. This to the end that our great blessings may never spoil us; that we shall forever live in thankful contemplation of Him who presides over us all." -- The Long Form of the Twelfth Tradition, Alcoholics Anonymous (3rd ed.) p. 567-8

13 comments:

Lou said...

Concise and understandable. Clears it up for me!

Syd said...

I wonder sometimes if I violate the traditions through my blog.

Dharma Kelleher said...

I respect the reasons many choose to remain anonymous on the net. I have made a different choice because my online identity incorporates all aspects of who I am, not just my history with addiction and recovery.

AnyEdge said...

I don't think an anonymous blog violates traditions. And out family members know, but that doesn't violate anonymity either. It isn't a secret society. It's just sort of a confidential one.

dAAve said...

Thanks.

Tall Kay said...

Somebody should have sent this to Roger E. He justified 30 years of sobriety as a reason why it was okay...great post!

Ed G. said...

Agreed. Thank you.

Blessings and aloha...

garden-variety drunk said...

I was thinking about just this issue this morning and even went to look up the long form of the traditions. i was excited to see you posted about this too with our beautifully written Tradition 12, definitely one of my favorites.

Scott W said...

I used to have photos of me on my blog, but I no longer publish ones that show my face. My current avatar is a cartoon. The link to my art sites I took my name off. That's about as anonymous as I can be.

My sponsor taught me about the 11th tradition.

Susan DeAngelis said...

Anonymity is all over the place today -- this is an insightful post. I shared on Syd's blog, the problems I have with anonymity as a teacher.

Thanks for the great post,
Hugs,
Sue

Scott said...

well said MC, great post!

Pam said...

Thanks for going thru all that. I left a short reply on Lous blog. I just remember that anonymity is the absense of self.

AA Blogger said...

I think there is a lot of confusion about anonymity today. Not because the guidelines are unclear but because a lot of people are either ill informed or misinformed.

The other side of the coin on this is to remain too anonymous. For myself I have to watch that I do not become so anonymous that I may be removing myself from opportunities to be of help to those around me. For example I find a lot of people that are scared to let their employers or coworkers that they are sober alcoholics.

My own fear wants to keep me on this path too, so I understand the motivation. I also realize this is a personal decision and it is fine if anyone wants to not say anything about their alcoholism in their work or social circles. Yet I do push myself to try to be open about my own sobriety with people that know me (not on the internet, but in "real" life). To just let people know about my recovery when there might be a chance to say something about it, with no pushiness or preachyness about my disease or abstinence.

I find when I do this that it can help me to be of service and carry the message. Someone knows someone who is in trouble with booze and since they know I had a problem (and seem Ok now) they thought to call me. Or someone boldly getting in touch with me, since they know I am in recovery, and asking for help themselves.

Anyway, thanks for the posting about this topic.