Respecting Anonymity

Just what does anonymity mean, anyway? Not the dictionary definition of the word, but what does it mean to me and my recovery? How can I put it into practice?

I think that:   It's up to me, and only me, to tell people that I'm in CoDA. I tell some people, but not others, about my being in recovery. I want to make that choice myself. I do not want others to take away my choices by breaking my anonymity.

I think that:   I only feel safe in meetings where I feel that my anonymity will be maintained by everyone there. I felt emotionally unsafe during much of my childhood. In recovery, I have an opportunity to learn how to create safe spaces for myself, and I want to be among safe people. Respecting anonymity and avoiding crosstalk are two practices that are crucial to my sense of safety.

I think that:   When I see somebody out in the "real world" that I recognize from a meeting, I should not speak to them (unless they give me a sign that it's OK). Maybe they don't want to be recognized and acknowledged outside of a meeting.   Especially if they are not alone, when a companion would ask, "How do you know her?" or, "Who's that?"

I think that:   I should not identify anyone else as being in recovery. I need to be careful that I not name anybody that I know from meetings. Even if I'm talking with other people in recovery.

I think that:   If I choose to give my last name or other personal information to someone, I expect that person to keep it confidential, that they not share it with others.

I think that:   Anonymity is crucially important to me, and to this program.

Judi T. (2000)