Accountability

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Uncle Iroh has just watched a group of boys accidentally kick a ball through a window.
Uncle Iroh: [to the boys] It is usually best to admit mistakes when they occur, and to seek to restore honour.
Angry Man: [coming to the window and shouting] When I’m through with you kids, the window won’t be the only thing broken!
Uncle Iroh: [to the boys] But not this time. Run!

Accountability seems to be the word of the day today. From production errors made by staff members at work, to discussions with my editor about anonymity for an upcoming article. Last year I wrote six articles under a pseudonym for an online magazine about early sobriety. The articles did very well in terms of number of hits and shares, and readers were interested and hopefully helped. Now I’ve written a new article about my first year of sobriety and the ways in which I got through it. The magazine will be publishing the new article soon and  I am considering using my real name as author this time – sort of finally owning my story and giving my journey the respect it deserves. But will I really be owning my story by simply giving it my name? And if I choose not to use my name, would this mean that I deem my story a shameful one which should be denied a name?

To tell you the truth I am wary of opening up myself for criticism I might not be all that ready to handle. I still consider myself new to this having only been sober for one year, and while I think I have a better handle on minimizing self-judgment, I am not sure I am ready to handle negative judgment from strangers who are not on a similar journey.

I know that accountability is important to me and I know I have nothing to be ashamed of. I have made mistakes and poor decisions while under the influence of alcohol, and sometimes I do still feel remorse and regret that certain things happened. But those mistakes don’t make me a mistake. I don’t feel ashamed of myself any more. I have accepted that those mistakes and poor decisions are a part of my past and I  endeavour daily to be a better person. And in fact, most days I am even proud of where I am now. But, in this case, I wonder what hiding behind a pseudonym would mean. In doing so am I saying that the person I am today is unwilling to be held accountable for mistakes I’ve made in the past? Or more simply, would staying anonymous mean that am I unwilling to be accountable to myself?

I have much to think about.

~*~

This is my first post, A, in the A to Z Blogging Challenge 2015. My 26 posts are inspired by the quotes from Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra, two Emmy award-winning animated television series created and produced by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko. The setting for both series is in an Asian-influenced world of martial arts and elemental manipulation. The shows drew on elements from East Asian, South Asian, and Western culture, and (aside from the beautifully developed characters and kick-ass story lines) are where I found a wealth of inspiration and perspective on my own life.

The rest of my A to Z 2015 posts can be found here. 

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21 comments

    1. Hi Soberman. I’ve been thinking about it too. You are right, I do respect my journey and I am proud of it. Whether or not I use my real name or a pseudonym should not change that. 🙂

  1. Man…my son used to watch that show, he may still. I remember walking around the house and it being on and occasionally getting sucked in.
    I think you’re asking all the right questions here…breaking anonymity is big. It would be great to say “oh, I don’t care about any stigma, etc:”..and I think there is a place for that, and a time, but at a year? Maybe not… don’t know.
    Im not sure if you do AA…if you do then there’s that bigger question to tackle.
    Glad yure thinking about i, ad really glad that your artless are helping. maybe that’s the thing…do you want people to know that it’s you from an ego stand point? It has got to be hard to get noticed for anonymous writing! But checking all your motives might be helpful…even a big pro/con list.
    Anyway, whatever you decide, please keep writing about it, I’m interested.

    1. You have a point there Mishedup: What are my motives? I know I truly want to share my story to help others, so maybe the author name is not as important as the message.
      Thank you for your kind words and encouragement too. Have no fear, writing helps me to be me, so I’ll never stop.

  2. I had a whole reaction written out and pushed the wrong button and now it’s gone. It’s wrong button day anyway because I pushed your unfollow button unintentionally.
    I am too scared to come out. I am ashamed and I don’t think I would get a job ever again in the small world that I am in. Also I need my energy to myself and not dealing with people who project their ideas on me. Maybe I this will change when I’m sober longer. I should work on the shame in due time. We shall see.

    Congrats on being published! I am happy for you! 🙂

    xx, Feeling

    1. Thank you Feeling. I understand about feeling ashamed but I have to tell you, you are doing very well and there is nothing you should feel ashamed about. Hm, I should take my own advice. 🙂 But yes, it is also important that I focus my energy on moving forward and improving, instead of defending and dealing with any negative criticism that might come my way.

      1. Thank you Phoenix :-). I had a nasty encounter this morning, spoke with somebody on the phone whom I told I was in a bad place and needed to organise myself and she actually laughed. Not just laughed but laughed at me. I believe the word is derisively. That was… new. In a bad way. First thing I thought was: what if she had known about my addiction? It was sad. Made me realise that outside the sober blogworld is a whole world that does not care with people who feel better about themselves when they can elevate themselves above somebody else. It is nasty. And hard to deal with today. :-/ And now for something with ‘this too shall pass’ 🙂 🙂 🙂
        xx, Feeling

        1. Most hurt people hurt others too. She was wrong to be so insensitive and cruel. The good thing is that you can rise above it and have control over how you react to the experience. Let it go Feeling. A lesson has been learned: perhaps this person is not one you can lean on for support, and yes, that is okay too. Lean here. I got you. 🙂

          1. Thank you Phoenix, your comment makes me realise that ‘taking control’ is exactly what I have been avoiding – which is why her reaction can hurt so bad, because I was not taking care of me. 😦 There was a time that learning opportunities were funner :-). I’ve come to those which hurt. Hmmm… Need to make sure I will pick it up. Thank you for comment. 🙂
            xx, Feeling

  3. I love this posts and the thoughts and actions you ponder on. I think that being private in no way reflects shame. I have many friends and relatives that have been very successful for years in the journey to sobriety, some love to share and even bask in a sort of limelight whilst others are very private, but certainly not ashamed.
    If you are a private person and you like pseudonyms, give yourself that gift, WHY NOT? If because you area FAB writer and you deserve credit for all you do you wish to use your name WHY NOT? Just be true to yourself and go easy on yourself, anyone can see the dignity and power your writing.(OOOPS… I am a mom… always giving advise)
    #Blogging from A-Z swinging by to meet and greet. I am 471 and 472 in the long list, with MOVIES & What’s in a NAME Hope you swing by to 4covert2overt and Defining Ways. Hope to meet up everywhere @M_C_V_Egan
    http://4covert2overt.blogspot.com/
    http://mariacatalinaegan.com/
    .⋱ ⋮ ⋰.,;***;,.⋱ ⋮ ⋰
    ⋯¤♥¤⋯.(^_^)⋯¤♥¤⋯
    ⋰ ⋮ ⋱…_/l\_…⋰ ⋮ ⋱
    ♫ ƤҼƌҪҼ ƌƝƊ ĻƠṼҼ ॐ βԼƐֆֆїɳɠֆ ƌƝƊ βԼїֆֆ ♫…

    1. Wow! Thanks for the ego boost about my writing, and for taking the time to comment and share your experience with friends and relatives who are sober. I will check out your blog too. Good luck with the rest of the AtoZ. 🙂

  4. Big issue. I do think being public brings some pressure to remain sober. It’s hard to know how that will impact you, even if you are comfortable and confident in your recovery.
    If you have any doubts protect yourself first and foremost. You will be helping others regardless.

    1. Thank you A. I think the fact that I am examining my intentions and the possible outcomes means that I’m not quite ready. You are right, either way my article will still help others.

  5. This is an amazing theme…I’m a huge fan of A:TLA and Korra. I admire your ability to be open in your writing, despite the fears and tough decisions that can creep up.

    1. Thank you Mariel. Writing actually helps me to figure things out so the more honest I am with it, the further I get. Oh, and yes, ATLA and LOK rule!

  6. My mother is a huge Avatar fan. I had to resort to importing the DVDs from the US because it was taking months between releases here in the UK. It’s a brilliant theme to use for the A-Z. 🙂

    I don’t feel that there’s any shame in using anonymity with your writing on such an important subject. It’s not that you’re not holding yourself accountable, because you clearly are, and your writing is helping other people too. I think those are far greater things than the name attached to the article…

    -Pax, (currently) 504 on the Blogging A-Z list

    1. Thank you Pax.
      Did you know that there have been several graphic novels set between the Book 1 and Book 2? Your mother might love that. 🙂
      Good luck with the rest of the A to Z.

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