How Can I Honor the Anonymity of AA?

Being able to honor and preserve your own anonymity and the anonymity of others during and after your AA membership is one of the most important parts of the program. Call 800-948-8417 Who Answers? to find rehab centers that utilize 12-step methods and will allow you to recover safely and effectively from alcoholism and substance abuse.

The Importance of Anonymity in AA

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, “Interestingly, there is a notable lack of research on 12-step-based programs, which have for nearly three decades been the most prevalent model of treatment” for addiction.

Anonymity of AA

Treat fellow AA members the way you’d like to be treated.

One of the reasons for this is the strictly enforced principle of anonymity, which has been important to the program since its establishment in 1935. Anonymity is so important to the practice of AA because

  • It allows for honesty, which is very important to recovery.
  • It protects members from harm and social stigmas.
  • It helps members discuss their thoughts, feelings, and experiences without fear of others finding out.
  • It protects the program from connecting with any other organization and allows it to focus solely on helping members.

Honoring the code of anonymity and privacy is extremely important to your membership in AA and not only to your recovery but to those of every other member you encounter.

How Do I Honor the Anonymity of AA?

It is easy to say that you must simply avoid talking about anything said in your meeting with others who weren’t there. But it is important to explore why this is so important and how you can better train yourself to do so.

  • You may want to discuss something someone else said during the meeting with a friend or family member, but first think:
    • Would you want someone else telling others about your experiences?
    • What if your friend or family member knows the person you are discussing and does not know they are in AA?
  • Treat others not only as you would like to be treated but also with the respect you know they deserve.
  • If you absolutely need to discuss something that was said in AA, consider talking to your counselor who will not reveal what you have stated.
  • If you see someone else you know during the meeting or a public figure, remember that they have a right to their anonymity just like everyone else.
  • Avoid talking in code or only sharing certain things from the meeting. If you do so, you could still end up sharing someone else’s information.

According to the World AA Organization, each individual person has the right of their privacy and should be able to make the decision of whom they will tell that they are attending AA. Remembering this is essential to honoring the anonymous nature of the program.

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