How Anonymous is Alcoholics Anonymous?

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Smartphones, tablets, and social media. Everywhere someone goes, there are a million stories waiting to be told. Members of Central New York might want to use Alcoholics Anonymous to feel supported and surrounded by people who know what they’re going through, and they might want to share their own stories. But what does it all come down to? Privacy concerns. How anonymous is Alcoholics Anonymous?

In 2019, more than 4 billion data breaches occurred. Technology today is better than ever, meaning that there is more information being shared and more threats to privacy. Privacy threats can jeopardize both health and recovery. Fortunately, in A.A., anonymity is a priority.

The Rules to Know

Much of A.A.’s rules come down to integrity and decency, as they can’t enforce privacy in personal conversations had outside of meetings. Don’t reveal your membership, and respect others’ privacy. Group members can spread awareness, as addiction is an important issue. Group members can talk about recovery, but the identities of others should remain unknown. So what about confidentiality and marriage?

48% of marriages don’t last more than 20 years, and the chances of divorce are increased when alcoholism is involved. People may go to A.A. in search of support and gain communication skills, accountability, and support. We know that relapse rates are high during early recovery, and a person is more likely to remain sober when they have more support. Those in A.A. have to make the personal decision whether or not they will disclose to their significant other their involvement in A.A. Even if they decide to share their membership, it is expected that they keep other people’s names out of it when talking about their experience.

Measure the Pros and Cons

Research shows the earliest stages of recovery are the most challenging. There are withdrawal symptoms and damaged relationships. Judgmental parties and a lot of guilt. The stigma has decreased but stereotypes exist, so potential members should weigh both the pros and the cons. If word gets out, what could happen? How can they protect others when appropriate?

The reality: exposing someone in the program is akin to criminal behavior. It’s wrong, frowned upon severely by other members, and it has a lot to do with common sense. As long as members show each other respect, new members should feel their privacy is protected.

Members have to take their time, do their research, and talk to the right people. They might have to try out different locations for meetings to find the right people that they feel comfortable with. The fact is, Alcoholics Anonymous has been around for more than 80 years. There are an uncountable amount of success stories, and those success stories started because people took the scary leap to trust people with their stories. To find an AA meeting near your CNY location, click here.