Anonymity and why the roof title

Ok, so I need to explain why I’m a little vague when it comes to my recovery from substance abuse. Which will lead into why I named my blog “In the Center of the Roof”.

I have alluded to the fact that I am a member of a 12-step program. This is something I thought about sharing or not sharing, but when it comes to who I am and how I’ve coped with my blindness, the steps are an integral part of that story.

A few months back, someone suggested that I write an article for the paper, so I contacted the headquarters of my fellowship to ask about the anonymity thing.

Many think that keeping anonymous has to do with shame at the fact that we are in recovery. This is not so. Ages ago, after the steps were written by our founders, they came up with the 12 Traditions. These Traditions were written to protect the entire fellowship as a whole. The tradition of anonymity is to protect the fellowship and the program from the very people who make it up. The tradition actually reads “personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films”. But in this day and age, I include the internet.

Here is an example of why this tradition was written. A famous celebrity has a substance abuse problem, and they are all over the tabloids. You can think of a few. Anyway, suddenly they are sober, they’ve gone through treatment, and now they’re boasting about the exact 12-step program they are in, calling it by name. Everyone sees this for thirty days or so, and then in the following addition of People, the celeb is wasted again. So what might that say about the 12-step program? Might there be another person out there, thinking they might have a substance abuse problem, knowing about the fellowship, thinking they might try it, and then oh, wait. Why bother, it didn’t work for so and so, that celebrity.

So this is why I am a big supporter of the tradition of anonymity. Its not that I think I might go and relapse and then give my program a bad name, because I hope not to relapse, but I can’t say it will never happen, because I only have today.

So back to that newspaper article I thought about writing. The response from headquarters was something like, keep your recovery vague, don’t mention the exact program, it is ok to say you are in a 12-step program. Or, go all out, give the name of your program, but use a pseudonym and don’t post any pictures. So, since I always just sign my blog with “R” and I don’t have any pictures, I’m safe as far as the tradition goes. My first name is now known to some on an email list I just joined, but I’m still confident that I’m ok, because its more of a private list.

Also too, after I admit that I’m a member of a 12-step program, I kind of become a representative. So if I come here and make an absolutely horrible post, and am mean, thats no good either. So it helps me be on good behavior hehe. Not that I’m mean by nature anyway.

So hopefully that explains my vagueness a little.

Which leads to the title of my blog. Way back when I was newly sober, I shared in a meeting about “staying in the center of the roof”, meaning surrounding myself with other sober people, working the steps, keeping contact with my God, etc. If I’m in the center of the roof, I’m much less likely to fall. This kind of became my theme phrase if you will, so when I made this blog, it was a no brainer what I’d call it. The phrase holds true especially now, because i sure don’t want to get too close to the edge of a roof hahahah!

I haven’t really gotten questions about these things, but a comment on another post made me realize that when I say “my friend brought me a chip”, that that might sound a little funny, as JayNoi pointed out hehe. A chip is a recovery medallion we give and get on our anniversaries, and I never leave home without it. For me its a talisman, my symbol, and I like the feel of it in my pocket.

So….the mystery of R is explained, though I’ve gotta say that my paranoia about the net added to that before I decided to keep my anonymity when talking about recovery too 😉

PS – You might be thinking, “well, one could easily deduce what the heck program she’s talking about” and I’ve felt this same way when it comes to this tradition. But, I’m following what I was told, and its worked for over seventy years, so it must be correct eh? =D


Filed under Adjustment to blindness, faith, fellowship, sobriety

5 Responses to Anonymity and why the roof title

  1. I just assumed you were keeping things vague because it’s the net. I never even thought about the whole recovery thing. Na, I wouldn’t worry about the email list. I can’t think of anyone who would do anything stupid to you there.

    Yeah it’s funny. When I started blogging, I wouldn’t mention my city, certain other things. Then as I started following certain things in the news or local business or whatever, I started realizing that little details would come out. As long as I’m not slandering anyone or revealing anything deeply private, I figure I’m pretty safe. The only freaky thing that happened to me was when I posted on the blog about visiting Trixie’s raisers in Niagara Falls, someone from their puppy club contacted them and said “I read you’re going to Niagara Falls!” They were like “Read? Where?” But of course that could have come from the list too. But hey, if that’s the weirdest it’s ever been, I’m pretty good.

    Hope ya get a whole bag of chips, ha ha har har.

  2. Hey R. Enjoyed catching up with your blog. I especially enjoyed your year and a half in review, and agree with all that people commented about it. I admire your strength and determination in the face of a terrible situation. Yeah, I know that sounds dramatic, but losing vision is no walk in the park. I am glad you have made the best of it and have such a positive outlook. You go girl! would you mind if I shared your blog with some of my coworkers at Lighthouse Central florida? I know this is a public blog and anyone can read it, but I still feel most comfortable asking you. I completely understand the annonimity thing too. I have thought about blogging or journaling, and just keeping it open, but I don’t know how I feel about that yet, since I’d feel like I’d need to watch my words, names, etc.
    By the way, Casey told me you’re on the GDB Lounge list. Good for yu! I used to be on there but the list got to be too much mail so I went Special Notices for a while. It’s like a little family and I do miss it, so who knows? I may be back sooner than I thought.
    Have a great week!

  3. R

    Oh please feel free to share my blog there. And thank you for asking! And thank you for your compliments! And thank you for…oh I was on a role there 😉 Yeah I’m enjoying the Lounge. I was away from home for a little over 3 hours and had over 60 new messages when I came home haha!! i enjoy it though.

    Karen, if I stay sober long enough, maybe one day I’ll have a whole bag tee hee! Oh, and someone made a comment about me knowing you, is that a bad thing? 😉

  4. Ah. She’s just giving me a hard time. I seem to have this way of making her laugh. She says she reads the messages I write even if she wasn’t interested in the thread before. I’m…flattered! so unless she thinks it’s a bad thing, I sure don’t think so.

  5. R

    Oh I knew it wasn’t bad. I was just teasing. The way she said it, like, oh boy, you know Karen, oh boy, kinda thing lol! Wow is my blog and email getting busy whew!!!!

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