Thoughts on Recovery and Anonymity
In my memoir, “As a Result”, the innocence of childhood is juxtaposed with the turmoil of alcoholism, its inherent dysfunction and abuse. It’s a story of my journey through grief, and my ultimate recovery.
I “Came to Believe” that God could and would restore me to freedom and wholeness. I allowed my recovery to naturally unfold, and gratefully note where sin has become the exception, and not the rule of my adult life. Though I’ve got a long way to go, I’ve come a long way.
As a grateful recovered alcoholic who found tools for living while attending countless AlAnon and AA meetings, it's important for me to note the spiritual foundation of anonymity.
Much is at stake when someone who attends AA, NA, AlAnon, or any other 12 Step meeting, and goes around broadcasting to everyone.
Though each individual is free to share about their involvement with the fellowship, there is good reason for the principle of secrecy. The newcomer is wise to learn the value of anonymity, and after attending enough meetings, they will hear the topic discussed many different times.
One of the most important aspects of anonymity is in regard to others: no one is free to share the identity of the people they see at meetings, or what was shared there.
Imagine you are new to the AA program, and you go about telling everyone you know that you participate in this fine program. Next, imagine you have a slip, get drunk, get arrested, or worse--never again draw a sober breath. All those folks you disclosed to would naturally conclude, “Well, those meetings sure don’t work. See how she turned out.”
I don’t take others’ sobriety lightly, and I’ve done my best to adhere to the spiritual foundation of anonymity. Of all the AA tenets, it reminds us to place principles before personalities.
In light of this truth, I share with my readers that as of this writing, I’m in my 32nd year of sobriety. At no time do I break anyone’s anonymity without their expressed consent, adhering to the practical application of this cherished tradition. At the same time, my experience, strength and hope, gained from my regular attendance at AA and AlAnon fellowships over these many years, gives me a perspective I hope encourages membership. My memoir in no way sets me up as an expert promoting these fellowships; their origin is God-given, inspired, and too valuable for me to explain them away or treat them with anything but the utmost respect.
When I "Came to Believe", I was so ready--maybe overdo--for direction on matters of the heart. Early in my newfound sobriety, I found myself at a crossroads:
“Will I live and learn…or will I learn…and live?”
When certain conditions were met, namely, being surrounded by unconditionally loving friends in the meetings, at get-togethers after the meetings... I began to feel safe enough to become brutally honesty with myself. But...could I face the past, look squarely at my contribution to the problems I’d encountered; could I forgive myself, and when ready, could I move forward? I'm here to state, those steps are always ready for me to move on to the next one. I've worked steps one through twelve countless times, and hope I always will. And I'll never graduate, and that's okay, too.
My goal in writing this memoir is for the next generation to be equipped with the knowledge of harmful effects of family strongholds like alcoholism and the labeling of children, and how to overcome them. There is hope for the addicted individual who may be using alcohol or drugs to avoid the painful trauma associated with deep, untreated wounds.
My prayer is for future generations to draw strength and freedom from knowing their own truth.