“To thine own self be true…”
~William Shakespeare quote engraved on AA birthday chips
“Your job now is to be at the place where you can be of maximum helpfulness to others.”
Alcoholics Anonymous, The Big Book
Anonymity is the foundational core and at the very heart of 12-Step Recovery programs. It’s an A, let’s face it.
I recently attended a powerful meeting and, as usual, learned so much. I have always respected, honored, and considered sacred other people’s anonymity. However I was told early in my own sobriety that I could personally choose to be anonymous or not.
I heard many share otherwise. Many old timers said that early in their own sobriety they felt proud, elated, and grateful around being sober and had few qualms about stating it anywhere. Interestingly, many went on to say that over time they have toned it down and become much more selective, now only stating their affiliation when they sensed it could be helpful to another alcoholic. Part of their reasoning, as I understand what I heard, is that people who relapse and resume their former lifestyle could potentially besmirch the program’s name and reputation if they had previously held themselves up as an example.
In my Centers for Spiritual Living community I know numerous Friends of Bill who speak openly of their affiliation with a 12-Step program. I have broken my own anonymity here and there in face-to-face encounters in the world at large and I continue to develop discernment. And I will always deeply respect and honor all others’ anonymity unless they give me specific permission to do otherwise.
The mantra at the closing of most 12-Step meetings is: “It works if you work it.” It’s not the program that determines success; it’s the person willing to work the program.
In New Thought I know that if my results are not to my liking, it is not because the Law is faulty, it is because I have been acting or thinking from a separation from my Higher Power source in those moments. The Law does not waver; I have wavered.
SOM teaches me to focus right here, right now. In this moment, I choose to put my thoughts out there to the greater community with the true intention of connecting with and reaching other likeminded thinkers and believers. Specifically those who are willing to do the work, willing to go to any length to do so, and who recognize that connecting with others in recovery and sobriety is the key to more fully individualized expressions of our Higher Power.
Therefore I stand proudly in my program and personally choose to declare that today I am sober as I gratefully trudge the path. I am living a sober and serene lifestyle and know that working the 12 Steps as outlined in AA is the key. The fact is I am just one sip, one use, or one “whatever” away from a relapse and all that goes along with it.
I will keep tuned to my sobriety one day at a time, though should I lose my way, I know it will not be because the AA program does not work, nor will it be because the Universal Laws did not work. It will be because somehow I stopped working it, or stopped working with it.
It works if I work it. And so it is.
• Are you steadfast about your anonymity in all situations?
• Have you ever broken your anonymity and wished you hadn’t?
• Have you ever broken your anonymity and were glad you did? Have you helped someone unexpectedly?
• Do you find that online forums such as this where like-minded people can connect are helpful in ways that were beyond imagination not all that long ago?
In gratitude, harmony and support,