January 27, 2020

What value does anonymity have in a celebrity-obsessed culture?

Glasgow Anonymous, 50

We live in a celebrity-obsessed culture, where public attention and approval make our existence real. Alcoholics Anonymous teaches me a different way to be, where ‘Anonymity’ is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.’ In this context, anonymity has nothing to do with shame, fear or malice. It’s about humility.

My memoir ‘Glasgow Anonymous’ explores some of the meanings of anonymity, in both addiction and recovery.

Recovery meetings are not just made up of anonymous individuals; they also take place in anonymous spaces: borrowed rooms in church halls, community centres, or hospitals. ‘Glasgow Anonymous’ also includes photographs of some of these buildings. They don’t necessarily draw attention to themselves; they sit within the broader landscape of the city. But they’re still visible, if you’re paying attention.

In keeping with the Traditions of AA and similar fellowships, this submission will be published anonymously. Although it’s an autobiographical story, it’s written in the third person – to make it more anonymous.

Glasgow Anonymous, 2020Autobiographical essay / digital photographs