Are 12 Step Programs Really Anonymous?
Everyone has heard the term anonymous when they talk about 12 step programs. It is important to think about the context of these meetings being anonymous. 12 step programs rely on people wanting to remain anonymous themselves. It counts on people’s desire to remain anonymous themselves. There are no guaranties when it comes to anonymity. In order to remain truly anonymous, you need to take things into consideration before joining a 12 step meeting.
Where they are Held
12 step meetings are often held in public places. These places are often churches, school, community centers, and other places where people come and go. When you are selecting a meeting and do not wish people to accidently see you, it is important to know where the meetings are held. If they are held in a public place, the chance of you remaining completely anonymous for any length of time is lessened.
Who is in the Meeting
People are often the deciding factor when it comes to anonymity. The people that you go to meetings with need to be trustworthy. In the past press, counselors, and friends have infiltrated meetings for their own purposes. The anonymous nature of the meetings depends entirely on who is in the meeting.
If someone you know from the community attends the meeting, they will know you are in a 12 step program. This can be compromising under certain circumstances particularly if you’re in a trusted job such as law enforcement or medical care.
Who you Talk to and What they Share
What you say in a room full of people might be anonymous and it might not. People can always repeat what you say when it comes to sharing at meetings. It is an unfortunate fact that sharing might not be the way to go when you have a trusted job.
Meeting Outside of a Meeting
If you live in a small community chances are you will run into someone that you’ve been at a meeting with. It is very difficult to keep recognition from showing on your face when you see someone you know. Not everyone is going to be able to remain passive. Then there are the questions from friends and family when they know you have seen someone you recognize. These questions can be difficult for you or the person you recognize to lie about particularly if you are not used to it.
What is Truly Confidential
According to HIPAA, the only true confidential treatment are the ones that are protected by the HIPAA laws. Most 12 Step programs are not. Fortunately, treatment centers are confined and governed by the HIPAA laws. Professional counselors, doctors, and treatment centers are all bound by the HIPAA privacy act whereas your standard 12 step community meetings are not. They are bound by each individual remaining silent about your treatment.
How to Find a Confidential Treatment Program
In order to find a completely confidential treatment program you might need help. For all of the help you need with both 12 Step programs and confidentiality call 1-800-895-1695.