Recovery and Anonymity? How do People Tell Their Stories? (Guest Post)
My name is ..... I have found long-term recovery in my life.
How does it feel for you to tell others that you are a recovering person? There has been a stigma attached to addiction and there are as many emotions around this topic as there are people.
I entered into recovery homeless, jobless, and with little hope. I am glad I found people who were not afraid to tell me that they were in recovery. I needed help! I was impressed with those that also seemed happy. I was not. I was depressed and worn out. I was spent. It seems important that we be careful about when and how we reveal our recovery experience to others.
The 12 step programs certainly have had some concerns and expressed a need for Anonymity. The eleventh tradition of Alcoholics Anonymous states, “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.”
Addiction Treatment Programs also had some concerns and paved the way for much of the strict confidentiality laws that exist for a person’s medical records.
Is there a difference between anonymity and confidentiality? Have the two become entangled? Is there a clear separation?
I am in recovery. I really am. Should I keep it to myself? If I tell you, should you keep it confidential?
I believe that it is up to me as to what and when I tell people about my recovery. It has to be up to me and it has to be in my time. I personally was too ashamed of myself in early recovery to tell others. I needed confidential treatment. It was also suggested by many that humility was an important part of my recovery. I needed to not express that I was the best and more importantly I needed to not express that I was the worst either. Both are grandiose.
Telling others about my success could be seen as bragging. I personally have come to understand addiction and recovery well enough to announce I AM IN RECOVERY with ease. There is a lie. It depends upon where I am, who I am with, and what the circumstances are. I am a Clinical Substance Abuse Counselor licensed in Wisconsin. I have the luxury of being around a lot of understanding, supportive, educated and like-minded people. It makes it much easier when I feel safe to do so.
World-Wide Recovery Advocacy (WWRA) is place where it is safe and supportive to share our recovery stories. We support National Recovery Month and are trying to create a safe place to announce and celebrate our recovery. Please participate from wherever you are…scared and ashamed or confident and secure. Addiction and Recovery has led me to experience both…my way. Won’t you do it yours? It is OK! It has to be.
Disclaimer: Individuals are only sharing their experiences, strengths, & hopes. If you are needing more extensive assistance or counseling, we can supply you with a list of available agencies to assist you. No blogs are ever meant to substitute a person seeking help through professional counsel.
TSOI also recognizes there are many paths to recovery. We respect a person's decision to follow what is working for them. This post in only one perspective.