Anonymity Hurts More Than It Helps???

This video came to my attention through this op-ed.

I like the video and agree that making recovery more visible is important in reducing stigma. Last year I wrote:

Am I the only one who is really underwhelmed with these recent pieces on whether anonymity in AA has been rendered quaint?

To me, they seem to fundamentally misunderstand AA’s anonymity.

There’s plenty of room within AA’s traditions for activism and public education, AA members are just advised not to identify themselves as AA members in the media, avoid presenting themselves as representatives of AA and draw attention themselves.

There is nothing in AA’s traditions that prohibits publicly identifying oneself as an alcoholic in recovery as long as they do not identify as an AA member. The 12th tradition does, however, encourage caution and humility.

I’m out as a recovering person, my full name is on this blog, but I also respect the dangers for individuals and mutual aid groups.

I wish this project all the best, but losing the tradition of anonymity is  pretty frightening to imagine.

 

Top Posts of 2011 #9 – The second ‘A’ in AA

Am I the only one who is really underwhelmed with these recent pieces on whether anonymity in AA has been rendered quaint?

To me, they seem to fundamentally misunderstand AA’s anonymity.

There’s plenty of room within AA’s traditions for activism and public education, AA members are just advised not to identify themselves as AA members in the media, avoid presenting themselves as representatives of AA and draw attention themselves.

There is nothing in AA’s traditions that prohibits publicly identifying oneself as an alcoholic in recovery as long as they do not identify as an AA member. The 12th tradition does, however, encourage caution and humility.

I do not find Susan Cheever to be authoritative:

Because A.A. membership is secret and many meetings are not open to those who don’t have a desire to stop drinking, the group has taken on the air of a of cult…

Over the years, a few brave souls have broken their anonymity…

Cult? Brave? Glad she so respects AA.

Further, while it may be “brilliant” writing, the recovery message in Clancy Martin’s essay is very shaky.

“I think it’s extremely healthy that anonymity is fading,” said Clancy Martin

I suppose that’s the problem when handfuls of people begin breaking anonymity—others put them in the position of spokesperson whether they want it or not, especially if they offer an interesting narrative.

It’s not something I worry much about. These things have a way of working themselves out. But I am bothered when controversy is brewed by self/media appointed experts. I suppose that’s one of the reasons for the who anonymity thing in the first place?

RELATED POST:  The second ‘A’ in AA (con’t)