Anonymity and Social Media

(presented at 2018 Southwest Regional A.A. Service Assembly in  Branson, MO)
Good morning, SWRAASA!

My name is Martha, and I’m an alcoholic. It’s a privilege and an honor to serve Alcoholics Anonymous as the Cooperation with the Professional Community Committee Chair in Area 10, Colorado, and I’m grateful to be here this weekend.

This morning, we’re going to talk about one of my favorite topics in present-day AA: anonymity and its relation to social media. I’d like to start by saying that I don’t believe I have anything novel to suggest on the subject; much has already been said, and far more eloquently than I could say it, about this nuanced balance we are attempting to achieve between practicing our traditions, and leveraging an incredibly far-reaching means of communication to be more helpful to our still-suffering fellows. I’ve never had an original thought in Alcoholics Anonymous, and I don’t intend to start now.

Continue reading “Anonymity and Social Media”

Now About Tech

(…to be compared with selection beginning at the last paragraph page 68 in our Big Book…)

Now about tech, many of us needed an overhauling there. But above all, we tried to be sensible on this question. It’s so easy to get way off the track. Here we find social media accounts running to extremes— absurd extremes, perhaps. One set of voices cry that the Internet is a tool of our social nature, a base necessity of communication. Then we have the voices who cry for tech and more tech; who bewail the uses of pen and paper; who think that most of the troubles of the race are traceable to fear of technology. They think we do not have enough of it, or that it isn’t the right kind. They see its significance everywhere. One school would allow man no Kindle version of the Big Book in their meetings and the other would have us all on meeting on Google Hangouts. We want to stay out of this controversy. We do not want to be the arbiter of anyone’s tech conduct. We all have tech problems. We’d hardly be human if we didn’t. What can we do about them?We reviewed our own use of technology over the years past. Where had we been selfish, dishonest, or inconsiderate? Whom had we hurt? Did we unjustifiably arouse jealousy, suspicion or bitterness? Where were we at fault, what should we have done instead? We got this all down in Evernote and looked at it.

In this way we tried to shape a sane and sound ideal for our future technology life. We subjected each relation to this test— was it selfish or not? We asked God to mold our ideals and help us to live up to them. We remembered always that our technology knowledge and experience were God-given and therefore good, neither to be used lightly or selfishly nor to be despised and loathed.

Whatever our ideal turns out to be, we must be willing to grow toward it. We must be willing to make amends where we have done harm, provided that we do not bring about still more harm in so doing. In other words, we treat technology as we would any other problem. In meditation, we ask God what we should do about each specific matter. The right answer will come, if we want it.

God alone can judge our technology use or lack thereof. Counsel with persons is often desirable, but we let God be the final judge. We realize that some people are as fanatical about technology as others are loose. We avoid hysterical thinking or advice.

Suppose we fall short of the chosen ideal and stumble? Does this mean we are going to get drunk? Some people tell us so. But this is only a half-truth. It depends on us and on our motives. If we are sorry for what we have done, and have the honest desire to let God take us to better things, we believe we will be forgiven and will have learned our lesson. If we are not sorry, and our conduct continues to harm others, we are quite sure to drink. We are not theorizing. These are facts out of our experience.

To sum up about technology: We earnestly pray for the right ideal, for guidance in each questionable situation, for sanity, and for the strength to do the right thing. If technology is very troublesome, we throw ourselves the harder into helping others. We think of their needs and work for them. This takes us out of ourselves. It quiets the imperious urge, when to yield would mean heartache.

What are we doing here?

This forum was started by a bunch of AA members who had varying interests and/or skills in using technology in the course of their AA service or programs. The initial seed of the membership of this forum found themselves at the first couple of National AA Technical Workshops but now comprises over 300 folks (as of August 2018) who have gradually collected to:

  1. Ask questions about technology in their AA service work or their AA programs
  2. Offer experience  from their areas, regions, districts and groups with the application of technology solutions in support of AA’s primary purpose
  3. Socialize with people who are trying to solve their common problems without having to “re-invent the wheel…”
  4. We also have a category (like a conference room) for discussion about non-technical things for those in AA service (e.g. Corrections, CPC, Literature, etc.) and some of our member might only have interests in those sorts of topics.

While some of us have extensive backgrounds in technology, many are just “technology curious” or have extensive experience in AA and have concerns about technology or are looking for a place they can learn from others. All are welcome – if you don’t feel welcome, that’s our fault and we’ll try hard to allow all who want to join us in the forum be full respected, valued, full and equal members.