“Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.” (Tradition Twelve, Alcoholics Anonymous)
Someone I know pretty well from Alcoholics Anonymous chose to unfriend me on Facebook recently, but not for something that was of my own doing. Rather, they became very concerned when someone from their job found my Facebook page and left a comment on my Timeline for one of my blogs that I had re-posted there. While my friend has been in recovery for a number of years now, none of his co-workers are aware of that and they wish to keep it that way. And given that I only use my Facebook timeline to re-post my blogs, many of which being about my 12 Step recovery work, they decided it was necessary to unfriend me, simply to protect their anonymity.
At first when they messaged me and let me know they were going to be doing this, my ego got involved. I became somewhat irritated and tried to convince them that just because they were tied to me on Facebook didn’t mean they were going to get in trouble at work, nor did it mean that they were tied to the recovery world themselves. Yet, after spending a couple of days nursing my bruised ego, I remembered the Twelfth Tradition of Alcoholics Anonymous and realized how selfish I was being. Ultimately, I was placing my personality over a very serious principle that still is extremely important in this day and age in the rooms of recovery.
After all, both my friend and I live in an “At-Will” employment state, which is a term used in U.S. labor law where an employee can be dismissed by an employer for any reason, without having to establish any cause for the termination and without any warning. In other words, in our state, you can be fired for just about anything, at any time, which is precisely why my friend wanted to place some distance between him and I in the social media realm. After sitting with this knowledge and praying about it, I understood my friend’s decision to unfriend me a lot better and was sorry I allowed my ego to overstep the importance of protecting one’s anonymity in recovery.
Anonymity really is the spiritual foundation in recovery from addictions and I’m thankful to God and a few other recovering friends of mine for reminding me of this.
I pray that I may always respect everyone’s anonymity in recovery from addiction and remember that principles need to come before personalities, especially my own.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson