Why Anonymous Alcoholics Keep Addiction a Secret

Most people can agree there’s a stigma surrounding addiction, and that many believe addicts to be dangerous, unkempt, and mentally unstable. Because of this stigma, many addicts keep their struggles with addiction under wraps to avoid discrimination, and to avoid disappointing loved ones. Keeping your addiction secret does have some advantages, but sharing your secret with other anonymous alcoholics at AA can help you overcome addiction more successfully.

Are you struggling with addiction and aren’t sure where to turn for help? Call our 24/7 confidential helpline at 800-839-1686 immediately to discuss your options for alcohol rehab centers that can help you achieve lifelong sobriety.

Respecting Anonymity in AA

Anonymous Alcoholics

Due to the stigma, many addicts choose to keep this issue a secret.

AA meetings are open forums in which members can freely discuss and share their experiences with alcoholism and addiction. However, what goes on in AA stays in AA, and is never discussed outside of AA. While AA respects anonymity in and outside of meetings, the fellowship encourages members to be open about their struggles with addiction during group.

Keeping addiction a secret from everyone can cause your problem to grow worse, and delay your recovery. But sharing your addiction at AA can help with the healing process.

Advantages of Keeping Addiction Secret

While AA encourages its members to be open about their struggles with addiction during meetings, many in the fellowship understand why you want it kept secret from the outside world.

For instance, keeping addiction secret can prevent loved ones from suffering along with you, and from worrying about you as you work toward overcoming addiction. When looking at the big picture, this approach can benefit family members who already face enough stress and burden in their own lives.

Keeping addiction secret can also help you avoid discrimination from friends, people at work, and other people who can negatively interfere and use addiction against you. Regardless of why you choose to keep addiction a secret outside of AA and rehab, keep in mind that your health problems — including addiction — are personal, and nobody else’s business.

How Can I Honor the Anonymity of AA?

How Addicts Can Safely Share Their Secret

Each person’s addiction recovery needs are unique, which is why some may benefit more than others from keeping addiction a secret. But when you’re ready to tell people about your addiction, doing so can help relieve your emotional and psychological burden.

First, hold a meeting with people closest to you who should know about your addiction. This can include your partner, friends, and family members. Next, tell the group about your problem with addiction, and what you’ve been doing to get help.

If you haven’t sought treatment for alcohol addiction, your loved ones may step in and help. But if you’re already getting help, explain to your loved ones why you decided to keep your addiction secret. In most situations, your loved ones will be supportive, and willing to do what it takes to improve your journey to sobriety.

Are you struggling with addiction, and keeping it secret from everyone to avoid emotional trauma? Call our 24/7 confidential helpline at 800-839-1686 immediately to speak with an addiction counselor about your options. We’ll help you find Anonymous Alcoholics meetings devoted to helping you overcome addiction.

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How our helpline works

For those seeking addiction treatment for themselves or a loved one, the AlcoholicsAnonymous.com helpline is a private and convenient solution.

Calls to any general helpline (non-facility specific 1-8XX numbers) for your visit will be answered by American Addiction Centers (AAC).

We are standing by 24/7 to discuss your treatment options. Our representatives work solely for AAC and will discuss whether an AAC facility may be an option for you. Our helpline is offered at no cost to you and with no obligation to enter into treatment. Neither AlcoholicsAnonymous.com nor AAC receives any commission or other fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a visitor may ultimately choose.

For more information on AAC’s commitment to ethical marketing and treatment practices, or to learn more about how to select a treatment provider, visit our About AAC page. If you wish to explore additional treatment options or connect with a specific rehab center, you can browse top-rated listings or visit SAMHSA.