Why I Break My Anonymity Yet Respect Yours?


The issue of anonymity still crops up once in awhile. I still got that million dollars question from known and unknown friends. I would like it very much to answer those question but my dear new found friend, Anne Wayman wouldn't let me. I'm honoured and appreciated it very much for her request to answer those question for me. Thank you, Anne. So, without any further ado, I shall leave it to her to answer your question about anonymity. Here she is, Miss Anne Wayman.......

Why I Break My Anonymity Yet Respect Yours?

Step 9 – Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

It's obvious to anyone familiar with 12 Step Traditions that I am not in alignment with those requiring anonymity. Tradition 11 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." and Tradition 12 says, "Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, every reminding us to place principles before personalities."

When I first began writing Powerfully Recovered! I assumed I would publish anonymously, but as the book developed I began to feel uneasy with the idea of hiding behind the two anonymity traditions.

A Challenge to the Fellowship

After all, I am making a challenge to the 12 Step Fellowship and questioning much of what has become customary thinking in the various Fellowships. I finally decided you have an absolute right to know exactly who is making this challenge.

On the other hand, I also believe each one of us has the right to anonymity if we choose and I assume you want to protect yours. So I work hard to make sure I don't use anyone's name, email or other identifier without specific permission.

Does Blanket Anonymity Still Serve?

That said, I've also included in Powerfully Recovered! a rather detailed appendix about my thinking about the whole anonymity issue. There I wonder if it truly serves us to insist on it for the following reasons:

  • Times have changed and there have been many anonymity breaks - none of which seem to have hurt 12 Step Programs. In fact, they may have helped remove the stigma associated with addiction/dysfunction.
  • Although remaining anonymous may mean we put principles before personalities, we have a number of personalities in most of the 12 Step Programs who are well known even though they don't use their whole name.
  • Anonymity promotes secrecy - and generally, I don't believe keeping secrets is good for recovery.
  • Anonymity can promote shame; it's my hunch we'd do better acknowledging each other and ourselves for our success. Such acknowledgement can go a long way toward increasing an individual's self-worth.
It's Your Choice

Of course, I believe each one of us has the right to choose - and it's choice I advocate. I would change the 11th Tradition to read: Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion. We need always protect the anonymity of others, even if we choose to break our own.

"But once a need (for change) becomes clearly apparent in an individual, a group, or A.A. as a whole, it has long since been found out that we cannot stand still and look the other way." (As Bill Sees It, p. 115)


Here is another timeless question. Another classic "to be or not to be!" As for me, I would like to attend those meetings because I got the chance to meet and talk with a person who has the mentality to get well. In fact everyone who go to those meetings are those who want to stay clean and sober. Their positive attitude and enthusiasm can be felt in those meetings. Whatever are your feeling before going to those meetings, will be charged up. In the end we shared those positive wave length and we felt good about ourselves!

My dear friend, Anne Wayman also wants to tell a thing or two about those topic. Here it is and have a pleasant reading.

Do I Have to Go to Meetings?

Yes, but there are options

Over and over again people coming to 12 Step Recovery to handle their addictions ask, "Do I have to go to meetings? For the rest of my life?"

This is one of those issues I didn't have – I looked forward to meetings as a way to get out of the house. But it's a real problem for some.

The traditional answer is you must go to meetings if you want to let go of your addiction. As usual, however, that response doesn't reflect the huge variety of ways people get well.

The real answer is, "no, you don't have to go to meetings, but it probably will make your life much easier if you do." The reason the answer is 'no' is not because the meetings aren't tremendously valuable, they are. But there are alternatives.


For example, from almost the beginning, A.A. had a group of "loners." These were people who lived and worked in far-flung areas of the world. They discovered that they could stay sober when they kept in contact, via letters and short-wave radio, with others. It wasn't possible for them to attend meetings, so they created another solution. Contact your nearest A.A., N.A. etc. office to find out how to participate. You can also get information by writing to:

A.A. World Services, Inc.
P.O.Box 459 Grand Central
Station New York, NY 10163 or
by sending email to
Loners International Meetings (LIM)
at lim@aa.org

Online meetings

A much newer phenomena is the online meeting. There are dozens and dozens of these on the web, and some people find them an adequate substitute for meetings in brick and mortar places. I've used them myself, and know some who use them exclusively.

There are a couple of potential problems with online meetings. First of all, you'll be using a nick name to log on. This means you won't really be 'known' in the same way you would be in f2f meetings or by letter or radio. You can lessen this impact by using the same nickname all the time – that way your identity will begin to show which is valuable in this business of getting clean and sober.

The other problem is that you don't know who is in the chat room because they are also using nicknames. So you have to be extra careful about the advice and suggestions. Knowing the Program is a partial defense against this; so is choosing one or two online meetings and attending them on a regular basis so you get a true feel for who is who.

So, bottom line is you don't have to go to meetings. There are alternatives. But really, I strongly suggest you do attend some.

Anne Wayman are the author at http://www.powerfullyrecovered.com/. All of her articles are original; some of them have also appeared on About.com's Alcoholism site, and SelfGrowth.

p/s I just got back my beloved computer after being 'sick' for a few days. I hope this time she will be alright. For the past few days I felt so restless without my dear computer. My darling wife even told me that I tossed and turned in my sleep!

When I told my loving wife about my loss, she said she was very happy and felt jubilant for me. She said with my new found love, at the very least, she knows where I am? She's even happy to notice that I shall be home all the time 'dueling' with my computer!

You see, she has these phobia not knowing where I've been most of the time. And every time the phone rings, she felt cold sweat flowing on her neck. She was so afraid to receive a call from the authorities, lest she will be told that I can be found inside a lock-up!

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PS - Word verification has been enable. Sorry about that [Sept 3rd, 2013].


Alcoholics Anonymous, and AA, are registered trademarks of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. as is NA, Narcotics Anonymous a registered trademark of Narcotics Anonymous World Services, Inc. The publication of this web page does not imply affiliation with or approval or endorsement from Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc or Narcotics Anonymous organizations. This Blog is not affiliated with any 12 Step program.

Hi! This is a personal recovery blog. Everything I posts here are from my twisted addicted mind and/or just plain poorly written. If something around here belongs to you and you're one of those people who hates free PR, drop me a line and I'll pull it down or credit you in large bold letters with every "T" crossed and every "i" dotted with a heart - Honest! And also I have very, very few assets, so it's probably not worth your time to go the lawyer route. Thanks.


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