Anonymity Not Mandatory

by The Discovering Alcoholic on July 26, 2009

original pic by Anonymous9000 under creative commons license now at The Discovering Alcoholic

There seems to be a little bit of confusion not only with the general public but also in the blogosphere that everyone in recovery should try their best to remain anonymous. I know that much of this has to do with misconception that if one is in recovery, it must have been accomplished through a 12 step program like AA. I’ve even had someone try to make the point that I should not voice my opinion in a political/issues debate because of the twelfth tradition.

I don’t know if you are an alcoholic, but I assume you at least have a close association with alcoholism and its treatment. Do us all a favor, foocus [sic] on your recovery and the 12 traditions – stay out of political debate. ~ Idiot Stoner #124,769

Personally, I think the world could do with a little less addiction anonymity and a whole lot more recognition of those in a successful recovery. It not only reduces the stigma by providing role model examples of those in recovery as responsible and productive members of society, but also encourages others not to be embarrassed to seek help. More than anything it can foster hope to those suffering from addiction and their families that have given up hope.

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Yes, anonymity still has its place- to protect those in early recovery or that may be in some way harmed or discriminated against. But even for those active in AA, the twelfth tradition can and is still maintained by those in a mature recovery that wish to openly advocate- by making it a recovery issue instead of an AA issue.

The bottom line is that if the general public sees that there is a heck of a lot more successful people out there that are recovering addicts and alcoholics than they realized, it will begin to reduce the stigma for those that are suffering in silence. Most people relate alcoholism only with the gutter drunk, but it would be nice if they also saw the potential for a recovery success. It will not happen though if all the success stories- the doctors and lawyers, the carpenters and millwrights- if they all disappear into a successful but anonymous recovery.

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