Friday, August 27, 2010

Take what you like

I included a link to a treatment resource website yesterday. I looked at the site and decided that it was about resources and information rather than allying with a particular facility. That being said, I would like to hear your thoughts on whether inclusion of the link or indeed whether my blog breaks any tradition or principle of Al-Anon. I encourage you to express your views.

I believe that we each have a right to express ourselves. When I write about my experience, strength, and hope here, it is my opinion. In no way do I represent Al-Anon in any official capacity. "The opinions expressed are strictly those of the person who gave them. Take what you like and leave the rest".

The Internet has opened up many ways to share our lives. I remain anonymous to the best of my ability. What I write mentions no one by name. And I try not to be too specific when I write about experiences. I want in no way to harm the program that has given me so much. Let me know your thoughts.


  1. hmmm...i think sharing stories is an important part of life and how we interact with each far as the anonymity...i will leave that up to your fellow al-anon-ers

  2. This is your blog, Syd. You have the right to put anything you judge appropriate on your blog, because you are the editorial manager. Just because the subtitle is "Recovery in AlAnon," that doesn't mean you've ever pretended to represent the actual organization. ... The traditions don't govern this blog because this blog is not part of AlAnon.

    You share your individual experience, strength and hope here. You show yourself applying the principles of the program that keeps you sane, and by doing so you've helped a lot of people. ... So you included a story that spoke to you, and a link you thought might speak to your readers. Well done.

    On the other hand. You must be aware that when your audience Googles "AlAnon blog," yours comes up fairly high on the list. Maybe a statement on your landing page saying this blog should not be taken to represent the organization, cannot be considered "an AlAnon blog," is just one man's experience, etc.

    :) much respect, --G

  3. I am an AA member, but my blog is not AA. That is explained in the disclaimer. I am a grateful member of AA. AA saved my life. My blog is about my life as a recovering alcoholic and that involves so much more than AA. If I were to stay within traditions, I would have very little to write about.

    I don't believe there is anything wrong with posting the link (or any other link you choose to post). It may help someone.

  4. Prediction: Beaucoups conferences, years of trial-and-error, group
    conscience meetings will SO override what any single one of us decides is "Okay for me"...

    NOTE: Some call it "trial and terror"!

    Syd, I'm glad to have been in your 'hood for a few days. Loads of solid recovery there, and Peeps of whom I am fond....

  5. I understand the issues, both of anonymity and in not representing Al-anon. I am in a similar boat, because google can find me by my handle, Smitty, and using Emotions Anonymous. Yet I don't represent EA. And as you know, the fact that I use my blog work as a way of developing a relationship with Al-anon literature. I inadvertently have tread on more thin ice, than I think you are doing here.

    But you are asking good questions, I appreciate your willingness to have your boundaries scrutinized. Wonder if the person who posted as "Anonymous" on my blog might have insight.

    By the way, I am still blogging, but with more
    Courage in the validity of my own program work. I plan to stay current, even if my blog role seems to have me stopping with Monday's micro fiction exercise.

    Your comments are always welcome at

  6. I don't think that you broke any rule or principle of Al-Anon. The experiences that you have shared have helped me so much and you share things from your heart in a gentle way. Anything that you have shared that you learned from Al-Anon has also been very valuable information for me in dealing with my son. I never thought that you represented Al-Anon just what you have learned being a part of the organization. Please keep on sharing with us, I believe that God has and is using you greatly in all of our lives!

  7. I've had a link to on my site for quite a while.

    Post what helps you and you feel worthwhile. From you we all appreciate your wisdom, guidance, advice and compassion.

  8. Syd, my opinion is that you may write whatever you want on your blog. Your blog is not CAL, is it? It's not an alanon meeting... it's you.

    that's just my opinion. :)

  9. Although I have recovered (not recovering) from a massive amount of drinking a fifth of bourbon every night for 17 years (by not going to AA) I would say that you are now kicked out of anonymous everything because you put up a persons story and a link.

    C'mon some point you have to realize that some things just don't need to be questioned. You felt in your gut what you wanted to write and include and that alone made it the right thing to do.


  10. I'm don't think this blog goes against the spririt of the traditions (though I've only read a couple of posts.)

    That being said: People who infer that a blog can't be antithetical to the traditons because it "is not part of Al Anon" or "it's not an al anon meeting" are displaying a lack of understanding when it comes to the guiding principles of the traditions.
    The last three traditions deal with our inetraction with the public world (the first 9 our interaction with eachother.) We mainatain anonymity on a public level to preserve unity both in our repsective groups and fellowship as a whole. The principle of anonymity is NOT limted to meetings or the fellowship itself (in fact, anonymity should be discouraged in meetings in my opinion..though of course that's a personal decison.)
    The princicple of personal anonymity at the public level should not be viewed as a "rule" but rather as a gift to ensure that the fellowship is alive and kicking for those who come later.

  11. Syd- I wish I had some answers for you but I don't. I respect and honor your experiences and I think you use this blog in a very pragmatic and helpful way.
    That doesn't help at all, does it?

  12. Hi Syd,

    I left my comment in the spirit of "take what you like and leave the rest," and it was only after thinking about it for a while that I went back and left the comment, and only because it kept niggling at me, that maybe I should just throw it out as a thought.

    I'm sorry if I caused you any offense, Syd: I do know that when it comes to Al-Anon principles, I can tend to be rigid in my thinking. (My program friend calls it "Chicken Little thinking" - as in: "Oh no! It's the thin edge of the wedge!" She calls me the Al-Anon equivalent of what AA terms "A Big Book thumper" Rigidity - not the loveliest of character traits.)

    Reading today's post, and the comments, I am thinking that I may have overstepped a boundary of courtesy, or MYOB. I want to make it very clear that I have enormous respect for you and your writings, and I am sincerely apologetic if what I wrote in my comment felt inappropriate, or rude to you.

  13. If you were not protecting your anonymity or were seeking to speak on behalf of the organization of AlAnon, I can see how your decision to post a link to a site with information about specific rehabs might pose a problem.

    The 12 & 12 says, "No individual stands out as an important representative of the fellowship. If members parade their association with AlAnon and build a personal following, it gives a distorted picture of the nature of our fellowship. On the other hand, there are members who . . . keep their association with AlAnon so secret that they never use an opportunity to share its help with someone in need. . . . In the final analysis, it is a matter of judgment. We want everyone to know about AlAnon's availability. We do this best when we are careful not to distort our program by trying to sell it or by making promises we cannot keep."


    How is this blog trying to "sell" anything?

    Is this blog giving a "distorted" picture of AlAnon, despite the author's anonymity? (A more general question I wonder about often is whether it's ethically OK to write about recovery in a specific 12-step program, despite the fact that one is anonymous.)

    A corollary question: would any "personal following" (though anonymous) this blogger is building up outweigh in detriment to the organization the good he brings to the individuals who, through his writing, find help?

    (A final question I ask myself all the time: when can I stop asking questions and just start doing my job?)

  14. I agree with BRB Queen. Whenever I write about AA (of which I'm a member) I never use names or specific places but very few of my entries are about AA. I prefer to write about my life as a result of sobriety.
    I applaud you for writing a blog that your Alanoner's (is there such a word?) can relate to. It must be hard to keep it up.

  15. I started my blog on recovery from alcoholism and depression as a way to connect with others who are also in recovery from these diseases. I put helpful links on my site that relate to what I personally use in my recovery program (for example, big book online, aa resources,a online radio station that inspires me). I guess my goal is not to put anything on my site that I do not have personal experience with because then it becomes more of a public service blog, not a personal blog. People can find whatever they are searching for in any search engine, they don't need my site to find it. If they land on my site, they will get only what I use or have used in my program. Like someone else said, I too, have a big disclaimer on my blog about my NON-affiliation with AA or Al-Anon. The blog is about me, not those 12-Step programs. I just happen to use those programs in my recovery, which is why they are referred to often. I like that you are asking for feedback from others. It shows true humility and openmindedness. It also feels like an online group conscience meeting, but it is not simply because your blog is one person's blog, not a group's blog. That being said, you should do whatever your Higher Power wants you to do, but I am sure you already know this. Thanks, Syd, for sharing your life with us and being a part of that connectedness I am looking for on the web. Many blessings,

  16. I would just ask what good it does to post that link? Is someone coming here looking for help with alcoholism or drug addiction? Do you think they will be helped by one of the places listed? Does that have anything to do with your overall message?

  17. You've initiated another good discussion, Syd. I've never thought of you as a spokesman FOR Al-Alon but as a person who is recovering THROUGH Al_Alon.
    It's good we ask ourselves searching questions from time to time. It helps us stay on track with our primary purpose. What if you're the only version of the Big Book that another person sees today? I think that's the only really important question

  18. I rarely post anymore and I took all links off my blog. I get requests to link weekly. If I have one link to a treatment facility then another one may expect to link from my blog, too. I just decided I would not link anything from mine. That is what works for me.

  19. I think you do well here, with regard to anonymity. Linking to a treatment facility to supplement a post, no big deal. I think you stay true to the traditions and your blog is clearly personal, not representative of the Al-Anon program. This is your experience in Al-Anon.

    One of the things I enjoy most about blogging (here comes the alcoholic in me, you'll recognize this, lol) is that my blog is about me, and what I wish to publish.

  20. I think you've gotten the answers already. It's your blog, post what you want. Some might think something about the whole anonymity thing, maybe especially since you posted recently about the reporter who made a big deal about his recovery.

    But really, this is your blog and you can post whatever you want. It's not up to us to judge you on it. We can "take what we like and leave the rest" after all.


Let me know what you think. I like reading what you have to say.