Just posed this one on the Recovery Pipeline, where the topic this week is Anonymity — which, by the way, is as difficult to type as it is to say.

I think one of the original reasons AA adopted this tradition was that a pretty famous person (a baseball player, I think) got sober and told the world he was part of AA. Then he relapsed, and the credibility of AA took a blow.

But the three reasons you’ve listed are perfect, and I think the most important is so that people can share freely and be honest. The first decision I made in MA, after I decided to keep coming back, was to not BS the group — BUT if I thought people were talking about me, judging me, etc., I would not have felt safe being honest, and then I would not have stuck around.

I still struggle with this, though: talking about what others have shared in meetings. When I am talking with friends in recovery, sometimes we will share news that we heard about other people’s lives, which we heard in their shares. Or we will try to guess which newcomers are going to stick, based on what they shared. Or we will use a person’s share as an example of what works or what doesn’t.

Thank you for reminding me that all of this is breaking anonymity, even when I am saying positive things about somebody. What happens in a meeting stays in the meeting! Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, and I am grateful for that reminder today.

Paul Gerald

I am the author of several books on hiking, camping, eating breakfast and chilling out. I am also a freelance travel writer, publisher, hiker, and inveterate traveler.