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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Is Anonymity Less Important Today?

The founding fathers of Alcoholics Anonymous and the creators of the 12 steps, which have been applied to over a hundred programs whose aim is relieving people's battles with a particular vice, put a lot a emphasis on anonymity for a number of reasons. The social stigmas associated with addiction of any kind is enough to knock people over the edge when it comes to abstinence, anytime an individual is labeled or identified as having a problem conceived by most to be a lack of will power or moral standards they are likely to be nervous about seeking help. The times are changing; attitudes are shifting away from scrutiny and towards empathy, as a society we understand addiction in way that helps people become more accepting of the disease. Today, the members of 12 step programs have become less vigilant about their concern for anonymity, according to the New York Times.

A.A. got its start during the Great Depression, at a time when alcoholism was severely frowned upon - seen as both a weakness and a disgrace. Modern media has allowed people to share their stories across the globe and more celebrities than ever are sharing their substance abuse memoirs with very little reservation; a trend that has helped lend strength to the common person, giving them the courage o become more open about their struggle.

While, opening the book to the world is a sign of progress is also can have negative consequence for certain members of the program. The lack of anonymity trend has led A.A. to issue an expanded statement on anonymity, highlighting the importance of being discrete on social networking sites. Certain members who were not looking to have the anonymity broken have had pictures taken of them A.A. meetings that were posted on social networking sites.

It was said by Maer Roshan, the Editor of The Fix, a web magazine for those in recovery, the recovery world is where the gay world was in the early 1990s. “Back then, there was still a stigma to saying you were gay,” he said. “There was a community, but it was mired in self-doubt and self-hatred, and it’s changed considerably.”

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