there is so much ‘the same’ about us

One of my sober penpals says she likes that i am just “out there somewhere in Europe” … anonymous, living in the clouds, as if i have no fixed address, or that i live IN her email.

This made me wonder if there is perhaps a benefit in remaining anonymous, with only vague or general details that outline who we are.

I’m not protecting my anonymity anymore just because of my work (though that’s part of it).  it’s also because I think that it doesn’t matter “WHO” we are. The specific aspects that make us different can be distracting and distancing.  “Oh she has kids, doesn’t have kids, her kids are grown … so she wouldn’t understand.” Or “her problems are worse/better than my problems so I don’t belong here.”

I believe, now, that I would like to remain anonymous, because i want to focus on what is the the SAME about the sober world — the things we all have in common (of which there is a metric ton) — despite the specifics on the amounts of alcohol consumed, despite the depths or lengths of the bottoms, despite where we live, or what we do for work.

cuz there is so much ‘the same’ about us. We have/had skewed reward systems. We drank more than we wanted to. We had some degree of compulsive thoughts about booze. OK, maybe my compulsive thoughts could be ignored and/or replaced with other more healthy alternatives, with a dash of teeth gnashing, and a smattering of going to bed early thrown in for good measure. And maybe other people’s compulsive thoughts need medication or rehab or both to cope. But at the root, I think it’s all the same thing, just differing shades.

We have more in common that we realize. and I feel, today, right this minute, that where I live isn’t relevant. It’s an interesting detail. But it doesn’t contribute to the discussion. OK, maybe i’m being a bit weirdly black and white here, but i kind of like the idea that we all just live in the internet clouds, and we drop in on each other like angels. Faceless angels.

Maybe I’m rationalizing, maybe deep down I’m terrified of being discovered. maybe i’m denying, or sounding egotistic. and maybe I’m full of shit. don’t know. this is what I think today (or at least, it’s what I emailed to Ellen last night).

What do YOU think?

Team 100 update: 59 members. Welcome to new members: Erin (13), B (4), Tammy (35). Celebrations for MG (28), KC (14), Malia (14), Walk Sober (14), Sunny Sue (60), & Christina (28).


I want to put this online, to hold myself accountable. I want to document the noise in my head. I'm tired of thinking about drinking. date of last drink: june 30, 2012

  • I think you’re right on, as far as staying anonymous. Alcoholics Anonymous stays that way for similar reasons. (You’re smart to carefully examine your true motives, as we lie first and foremost to yourselves.) 😉 But this post was definitely good. Thank you.

  • Hey Belle… it’s interesting you writing about the anonymity thing.. I think one of the reasons for my flip-flopping about my blog was that I made the mistake (?) of telling a few more people ‘here’ in my ‘real’ life about my blog.. and then when I was posting about shitty days they would text me being all lovely saying ‘sorry to hear you’re having a rough time’ and I felt kind of self-indulgent and exposed. I liked opening up all my shit and highs and lows when I was anonymous to the world on the internet, but not when I had real people in my life reading. So maybe that was a mistake, or maybe not.. because at the same time I didn’t want to have to keep my ‘big blog secret’ from the people around me any more. So came the flip-flop, and now the shift and change in what I am going to write about. Maybe that was a natural progression in the sober blogging for me at 19mths sober. But having said that, I do think there is such amazing power in the anonymous brutal honesty that you and others keep to… your blog is on fire my friend and I am so impressed and proud and humbled by your immense giving. You must have spreadsheets to keep up with everyone. Great job. Lots of love from New Zealand xxxx

    • thanks for this : ) I’ve also flip/flopped a bit on the anonymity, mostly because I can’t sell “Fuck You Wolfie” bracelets on my site unless I have a paypal account, and that would reveal my name, street address, etc… and yes, since anonymity is a ‘gift’ that I won’t be able to reclaim once ‘out’, I’m staying ‘in’ for now : ) in the closet, so to speak! and anyway, I think it actually helps me communicate better when I can be completely off the grid. but that’s just me! hugs from “Europe” …

  • Thanks for a great post! I loved seeing Tammy 35 – Woop! Thanks for creating a community of support, humor, and being REAL! I was with a friend yesterday at a brunch (which I was a bit nervous about the Mimosa factor – as I loooooove them) however! I brought my Joia soda, and when asked if I’d like a mimosa, I said, no thanks, I brought my own and it looked and tasted quite lovely in my champagne glass. My friend asked how long I was not drinking, which seems to be a common question which I now answer with, “I’m not sure…” I’m hesitant to say “100 days” because it causes me a bit of a panic thought because it’s a long time, and what will happen after 100 days, or if I don’t make it to 100 days, or do I need a number?” – In the end, I love the challenge, (see Tammy 35 above) and I know that for now, it’s best if I don’t. Thanks again and keep it coming – day 36 – woop!

  • You are quite right- its what makes us the same that matters. I admit, i yhink i default to a ‘racial profiler’ of sorts… I always ask questions of people to see how they answer, to see how they feel about their lives. But here – anonymous myself- we are safe, working toward a common goal, with a common past. Thats what matters… And its the best, supportive community EVER!!!!

  • Wonderful post! As someone who is “out” to the people in my life, I love being in the blog word as just another boozer! I find that I can’t blog much more authentically, without having to worth about who is reading my stuff. I am not ashamed of my alcoholism, I just don’t need to broadcast it all over my reality. The people that know, know but everyone else doesn’t have to know, unless I choose to tell them.
    I try not to focus on other people’s particulars but rather our similarities. I can relate to others simply by knowing that somehow their life has been affected negatively by alcohol. It doesn’t matter how we got here, but rather the fact that we are here – supporting each other in our journeys. I am thankful for you and all of your insight!

  • I think that is such a great thought: that being/remaining anonymous allows us to focus on what we have/are in common, rather than comparing differences. I think it may also help all of us to realize, and remember, that we really don’t know what struggles or backgrounds or demons fellow travelers may dealing with. They may simply choose not to tell you (or anyone else) about them, or they may still be in the process of coming to terms with those things themselves. It’s a very good reminder to be gentle with every soul who comes across your path today. This may be their Day One, and they are desperately trying to achieve their 100 Day Challenge.
    Just maybe.

    • what a kind thought, thanks for this Sunny Sue. we never know where people are coming from, only that we’ve all been affected by alcohol in some way. hugs to you. xoxo

  • I don’t think it matters either way. Good sober company is hard to find so I will take it however it comes. Everyone I have come across here whether faceless or not has been super genuine and supportive. That is the most important thing to me. 🙂
    I have to say though that I think those who go public are really brave and I am in awe of them.

  • As someone who goes by the name “Al K Hall”, i think it’s safe to say i treasure my anonymity! The main reason for me is that i want to feel free to talk my struggles in as much detail as i like without being afraid that someone i know or love (lol) could find that out about me!

  • I think you nailed it as always B. sometimes I will read about someone else drinking two bottles a night or whatever and catch myself thinking’oh I’m not THAT bad’ and then I realise it doesn’t matter because I relate to everything else they say about how they feel about alcohol and when they drink. For me the anonymity also helps me be a lot more honest than I could ever be otherwise.

  • i love this post! so true!!!

    i think that somehow, remaining anonymous and writing our thoughts to each other–two polar opposites when it comes to intimacy–HELPS me beyond words. yes, beyond words. it’s like, we can bypass all that different stuff (kids, location, jobs, shape and size of our heads) and get right to what’s happening in our brains!