If you read my book, Powerfully Recovered! or even look closely at the cover you’ll quickly realize I’m not very anonymous at all. Which means I’m clear out of alignment with our Tradition 11, which says: Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.
I was and am issuing a challenge
When I first conceived of the book I assumed I’d write it under Anne W. as I’ve written pamphlets and booklets for Hazelden and others. But the deeper I actually got into the writing the more I realized that I was issuing a serious challenge to the fellowship of 12 Step groups everywhere. I began to realize I felt like I would be hiding if I didn’t make myself accessible to readers. It wasn’t an easy decision and I did consult with others before I made it, but finally I decided I needed, wanted and was willing to own what I’d written and face whatever consequences there might be.
Of course, just because I decide to break the tradition doesn’t mean I won’t protect your anonymity. I take that commitment seriously.
Should anonymity cover everyone?
As I wrestled with anonymity for myself, I also began to wonder if it really should apply to everyone. You’ll find a pretty detailed description of my thinking and what led me to say no, it shouldn’t be a blanket prohibition in the book. But the guts of my view are:
- Over time there have been many anonymity breaks – none of which seem to have hurt 12 Step Programs. As a matter of fact, an argument could be made that those breaks helped lead many to program and to remove a lot of the stigma associated with addictions and dysfunctions.
- Anonymity promotes secrecy – and generally, I don’t believe keeping secrets is good for recovery.
- Requiring anonymity can support a sense of shame. Dropping the requirement that everyone be anonymous for all time might help those who recover increase their self-esteem.
It’s your choice
No matter what my theory is, everyone in every 12 Step program should have the choice to be anonymous or not. We should assume people want to be anonymous. Knowing their anonymity will be protected does allow many people to come into a 12 Step group. If you want to stay anonymous there should be no question that your choice will be respected.
How do you feel about anonymity?
Love and blessings,
Image from http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1182577