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