“Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.” Alcoholics Anonymous
From its earliest days, A.A. has promised personal anonymity to all who attend its meetings. Because its founders and first members were recovering alcoholics themselves, they knew from their own experience how ashamed most alcoholics are about their drinking, how fearful they are of public exposure. The social stigma of alcoholism was great, and those early A.A. members recognized that a firm assurance of confidentiality was imperative if they were to succeed in attracting and helping other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.
Over the years, anonymity has proved one of the greatest gifts that A.A. offers the suffering alcoholic. Without it, many would never attend their first meeting. Although the stigma has lessened to some degree, most newcomers still find admission of their alcoholism so painful that it is possible only in a protected environment. Anonymity is essential for this atmosphere of trust and openness.
Not only does AA have such a foundational structure, Narcotics Anonymous and other 12 steps meetings also function in a similar fashion. All recovery groups also require anonymity in way of confidentiality. “What is said here remains here” is stated at the beginning of most meetings. Also, some meetings remind the group members that there is to be no favoritism nor gossip of one another. One is free to be open and honest about the pain in their lives, caused by their own addiction or the harm done to them by others. There is healing in the rooms of a healthy twelve-step support meeting. Part of that healing process is feeling safe, knowing that one’s identity is guarded, and one can be who they really are. They can reveal their true identity.
This week’s Torah portion is a continuation of the story of Joseph and his brothers’ reunification…and the revealing of his authentic self! His true identity!
Joseph guarded his anonymity while practicing discernment and wisdom as he tested the very ones that caused untold grief and trauma to him. Not only to him but to his father, Isacc and younger brother, Benjamin.
There is great wisdom in guarding one’s heart when dealing with toxic people.
I want to touch on forgiveness and reconciliation. Because that is not the focus of this week, I am not going to say a whole lot on the topic. However, I do want to say this…forgiveness is a process and when a person does forgive a person of great harm, it does not mean that reconciliation is a must. No. Sometimes, depending on the situation, reconciliation is not wise. There is great wisdom in testing those that profess to have changed…many abusers will weep and cry and appear to have repented, but, once allowed back into the relationship, the abuse once again begins and quickly escalates. A snake will bite its victim again, it’s only a matter of time before they show their true identity. . A snake is a snake.
But, all things are possible through Him, people with abusive tendencies can be moved by the Ruach Ha Kodesh to have a truly repentant heart and teshuva…
As, apparently, was the case with Joseph’s brothers.
Resurrection does happen. People are resurrected from the dead every day! He brings back to life the dead! From skid row bums to the board room, junkies to substance abuse counselors, hopeless dope fiends to law-abiding citizens…murderers on death row truly do find Him in their prison cells, porn and sex addicts do get free and become pure again, marriages can be resurrected after affairs!
Dry Bones do come back to life!! The breath of Life still does breath upon mankind!!!!