Saturday, May 15, 2010

Privacy, Or Secrecy, And Why Does It Matter?

Those of us who have been in 12-Step for many years have seen a lot of people come for a while, and then fade away - they just can't make it past their personal sticking point.

Mine was the point at which I had to put down the victim mode, and pick up that suit of personal responsibility, which appeared to weigh 16,000 pounds and be made of pure lead.

A crusty old-timer in AA once said at a meeting, that what he considered his privacy was actually his secrecy, and keeping it almost killed him. I asked how could one tell the difference? He replied that if my ego started shrieking at the idea of sharing whatever it was, that was a good indicator it was secrecy. If I could think about it calmly and clearly, it was most likely a privacy issue.

Which sounds good, unless you happen to be a person like me, who can rationalise almost anything, given a half-hour alone, and whose worst deceptions of self have presented as an excellent idea at the time.

This is where a sponsor comes in handy, readers! One can pick the type that has an instant readout (raised eyebrow, disbelieving expression) or the type that waits until one has finished speaking to respond with many ego-soothing euphemistic embellishments of the central idea of: "Are you bonkers?". I had the former for my first sponsor, and the latter for my second.

I am grateful for both, and looking for a new sponsor in this new place we are living. I'm not rushing into my choice, but neither am I allowing myself to follow a vague plan of "Eventually, I'll get a sponsor..." because my ego is a slippery dog, and if not kept firmly in check, can wreak havoc in my life, in her charges for freedom.

I need a sponsor to help me hold the leash.


  1. Good stuff to think about. I am new (since last Nov) and DO NOT want to fade away. I am working at not playing the victim. Right now I am recognizing it after I do it, but I am at least becoming aware! Thanks for sharing. I really have gotten a lot from you.

  2. Amen to the Sponsor being handy! My sponsor, who's by now a friend as well, has been incredibly objective, encouraging and helpful beyond words to me these past few weeks. Going to an Al-Anon meeting was the 1st good choice, my choice of Sponsor my 2nd good choice and continuing on, my 3rd and constant choice. Today (May 16) is my 4 year anniversary. I've chosen to 'keep coming' and have definitely pushed the envelope on my personal sticking point, many times. It's all been well worth the (sometimes mighty) effort. Thank you for this post and sharing your insight.

  3. Sponsors are great, sometimes I wonder if I have the right one, though.

  4. I need a sponsor to keep me honest with my program and myself. He is a voice of reason when I forget to use the tools that I have.