At the beginning of every meeting a “friend” is asked to read a short statement on anonymity. Part of the text notes that anonymity is a “spiritual foundation” of the program.
Early on, when we heard that anonymity was a concept that would be treated with the utmost respect, our minds were set at ease. Many of us had a lot of shame upon entering the program. We had done and said things which we deeply regretted. Part of our healing process was to be able to openly share about our past, as well as talk about the present and plans for the future. If we did not feel that we were in a safe place, many of us would have held back what was really going on in our lives. For an alcoholic or addict, a meeting is probably the only place that he or she can truly be themselves. That daily dose of honesty is only able to exist because of our respect for anonymity. We take this concept very seriously. When we meet someone from program in a social or a work setting, an outside observer might think we were meeting for the first time; though in actuality we have sat next to each other at a meeting for the past ten years.
Personal Reflection: How do you safeguard the anonymity of others?