My latest contributions to my blog have sparked interest in how I reconcile “putting my life online” with the principle of anonymity, and other issues. Here’s my response to that.
When I first started this blog, I had no idea where it would go. I didn’t know where my journey would take me. I certainly never anticipated that I was going to relapse.
I have always believed, and this is what keeps me blogging with more honesty than I seem to be able to offer up in person these days, that it is one way to combat shame. Shame is poisonous. It keeps us sick. Whenever I belittle myself for something “stupid” I’ve done (self shaming) or permit another person to put me down (shaming), I am in dangerous territory. Shame and stigma do a lovely dance together. They kill. I really am not being dramatic. My mother died so full of shame, she never truly came clean about her drinking. She was buried in shame before she was, well, buried herself.
Morbid? Yes. Hopeless? Not necessarily.
The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous talks about the importance of “rigorous honesty” in sobriety. It also champions that “acceptance is the only answer.” In tandem, where there is rigorous honesty and acceptance, shame can’t thrive.
I’ve not done a great job of being honest– with myself, with others, even with you. I have things to deal with that I’ve not yet shared with anyone. I am deeply, deeply ashamed of myself. So ashamed, I want to hide out in my apartment. So ashamed, I am having trouble looking myself in the eye. And I know the one thing– the one thing– I can do to bring me out of this shame spiral is to blog about it. I have to put my shit out on display for everyone. It helps me. I think it also helps other people.
What about my sharing about things other people want to keep private? This one is harder. I maintain that I tell my story– not yours, not his–my story. Of course, a huge part of my story is my relationships with others. I try to not disclose things about others unless I change identifying characteristics and/or ask if someone minds my blogging about x, y, or z.
Actually, this is the perfect place to share one of the things about which I am currently, deeply ashamed. I have used my blog to do evil. What I mean is, on a couple of occasions, I have been disrespectful to my loved ones and used my blog as a way to take cheap shots. Because I was hurt by something. Now that goes against everything I want to be… against my own ideal of integrity. It’s unkind and manipulative.
I am kind of in a space today, tonight, where I have once again exhausted the phrase, I’m sorry. Fuck. I hate it when that happens because I’m sorry is so fucking easy. So, I need to figure out what I can do to make things right. Make amends. I intend to do so with the parties involved.
What of anonymity as a principle? I respect and honor the principle of anonymity as it relates to 12-Step Programs. I never disclose names and I do my best to rework specific encounters because, as those in recovery know, what we hear here, who we see here, let it stay here. I try to respect the traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous. Unless I am citing the Big Book, or another recovery text, I protect sources. I generalize where possible. I don’t use Alcoholics Anonymous as a means to promote my own personal agenda.
Another related issue is that of protecting my own anonymity. Here’s the thing about that. My right to anonymity is just that– my right. I feel I can “out” myself in whatever way, shape or form I desire. So people can figure out my last name through Facebook. Oh well. I don’t feel there’s an ethical dilemma there. I’ve also been asked, What if a potential future employer finds your blog and doesn’t hire you because of it? There, I weigh not writing my blog against the possibility that it will interfere with employment. It’s a risk I am willing to take. I would like to work with persons and organizations more enlightened than those that would discount me because of my blog.
I want to lighten the end of this up a little because well, shit, I think the only reason I am still around sometimes is because of my ability to laugh at the most horrific stuff. I think it’s something we humans share… a need, a craving, for some kind of release. Sadly, I’ve got nothing absolutely horrific to share tonight. Fresh out of horrific. What I can share with you is my hair debacle.
This afternoon, I made a HUGE decision. HUGE. I decided I was going back to blonde. By nature, I am a strawberry blonde. More blonde than strawberry. For years now, I have dyed my hair a deep red/brown. Why? My hair stylist tried it once and thought it made my blue eyes pop! Plus I had this whole schtick about how I wasn’t being taken seriously as a blonde. So dark I went.
Not sure what inspired the change today. And really, all I can do is laugh at it. You see, I decided to forego my usual stylist and go to Andrea’s Salon of Misery for my hair needs. Oh my fucking shit. Bad idea. Anyway, my hair is now a lovely shade of orange. Not red. Not blonde. Orange. Also, I elected to have my bangs trimmed at said salon. I just don’t even want to talk about that.
I think we all have coping mechanisms. Some healthy and some maybe more self destructive. Recovery has helped me to develop some of the healthier coping mechanisms. Before recovery, I don’t know that I really had any, honestly. Just sex, alcohol, and cigarettes. I am so grateful for sobriety and recovery because without sobriety and recovery, I would never have started writing like this. And though I’ve gone through significant periods of time without writing, writing always helps me. Always.
So thank you for your readership. I invite questions like the one I tried to respond to here. Bring it.
Peace and love and warm hugs to all.