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      Sober Nation

      Putting Recovery On The Map

      10-06-11 | By

      Alcoholics Anonymous And Anonymity

      Often times those of us who have loved ones or friends that are members of Alcoholics Anonymous have many questions about the meetings and the process that is meant to help those we care about get sober and remain that way.  While it is only natural that you have questions and some curiosity about these meetings you need to understand why your love one may seem reluctant to disclose what occurs inside these meetings with you and it all has to do with Anonymity and understanding that Alcoholics Anonymous has a steep tradition of protecting the anonymity of it’s members on a variety of different levels.


      Within The Organization Itself

      First of all, most people who are not members of Alcoholics Anonymous and have never attended a meeting know little more about these meetings than what they see on television.  That “Hello, my name is Bill and I am an alcoholic” scene that is played over and over makes it seem like Alcoholics Anonymous is simply a bunch of strangers who meet to discuss their problems with alcohol but, never really get to know one another.  This really isn’t the case, the whole idea behind Alcoholics Anonymous is for alcoholics to help one another whenever possible.  This means that the people within the meeting give each other their full names, addresses and phone numbers.  This is so they call each other for help or encouragement when the need arises.

      Anonymity And The General Public

      However, while Alcoholics Anonymous members share information such as last names, addresses, and phone numbers with other members they usually do not share this information with their friends, family members or co-workers.  There are good reasons for this.  First, when AA first began alcoholics were looked down upon and revealing their identity and their problem often meant losing their jobs and their position in the community.  This meant that in order for Alcoholics Anonymous members to help one another they needed to protect one each other’s identity.  This is still true today.   Many new members of Alcoholics Anonymous simply don’t want to be gossiped about or feel as though they are in some kind of spotlight.  Revealing a members identity to those outside the group is betraying a trust and would result in the member leaving AA forever and being force to try and deal with their alcoholism on their own.  This defies the principles and the entire purpose on which AA was founded.

      Alcoholics Anonymous and The Media

      One of the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous is humility and a person who speaks publicly on the radio or in print about those he helped in AA is not practicing humility but, rather tooting his own horn and holding himself up to be some kind of savior. This is not something that AA condones and they have made it clear that anyone speaking public about AA is speaking for themselves not the organization.  While no one objects to a member of Alcoholics Anonymous stating publicly that the organization helped them personally they do take exception when members speak publicly on behalf of the organization or about other members.

      So, now that you understand a little more about Alcoholics Anonymous and the issue of anonymity perhaps, it is easier for you to understand why your friend or loved one does not talk openly about those meetings that he attends.  He is not trying to be secretive but, rather is protecting the anonymity of those who have placed their trust in him.

      From our 12 step articles section.


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