Nov 04: Anonymity


I’ve been thinking about anonymity and all the different meanings it has had for me over the years in AA. At first, all it meant was that no one would know I was in AA, therefore an alcoholic. I was fearful about judgment and the stigma I attached, thinking it meant I was weak and/or defective.

After making amends and telling people I was in AA, I lost most of that fear. I have never has anything negative happen because someone knew I was a sober alcoholic.

In meetings and with sponsors I began to see anonymity in a different way. It had more to do with humility and my growing love for AA. I wanted to adhere to the traditions and respect the idea of being anonymous at any public level. I am not much of a social media person, but I think it is an area where many people question the bounds of being an anonymous member of AA.

Today anonymity means that I don’t disclose my membership in AA in any public way. I was on a vacation in Italy last month and the wine flowed. I was careful about alcohol (it was in desserts) and some people noticed that I didn’t drink. I’m careful in those situations because I’m never sure if it makes people uncomfortable. When I do disclose it, it’s always fine, but I hesitate to be totally transparent.

I wonder how others understand anonymity and how/when to share being in AA with strangers, in social media, in various groups, etc.