What should you not say in AA?

Answered by James Kissner

When attending an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting, it is important to remember that the focus is on the recovery and support of individuals struggling with alcohol addiction. Therefore, there are certain things you should avoid saying during these meetings to maintain a respectful and supportive environment.

1. Personal Information: It is crucial to respect the anonymity of fellow AA members. Sharing personal information about yourself or others, such as full names, addresses, or specific details that could identify someone, should be strictly avoided. Anonymity is a vital principle in AA, providing a safe space for individuals to share their experiences without fear of judgment or consequences.

2. Acknowledging Prior Connections: If you happen to see someone you know from work or your community, it is important not to acknowledge any prior connection within the AA setting. The purpose of anonymity is to create an environment where individuals can feel comfortable discussing personal struggles without the fear of others outside the meeting finding out.

3. Gossip or Criticism: AA meetings are meant to be supportive and non-judgmental. Engaging in gossip or criticizing others, whether they are present or not, goes against the principles of the program. It is essential to foster an atmosphere of acceptance, understanding, and empathy.

4. Religious or Political Beliefs: AA is a program that welcomes individuals from all backgrounds, including diverse religious and political beliefs. It is crucial to respect these differences and avoid discussing or imposing personal beliefs during meetings. The focus should remain on recovery and sharing experiences related to alcohol addiction.

5. Unsolicited Advice: While it is encouraged to share personal experiences and insights during AA meetings, it is important to refrain from giving unsolicited advice to others. Each individual’s journey to recovery is unique, and the purpose of sharing is to offer support and understanding rather than imposing one’s beliefs or solutions.

6. Graphic Descriptions: When sharing personal stories or experiences, it is important to be mindful of the content and language used. Graphic or explicit descriptions of alcohol abuse, violence, or other sensitive topics can be triggering for some individuals. It is best to maintain a respectful and considerate tone, focusing on the emotions, challenges, and growth experienced during recovery.

7. Violation of Confidentiality: Confidentiality is a fundamental principle in AA. Anything shared within the meetings should be treated with utmost respect and kept within the group. It is essential to refrain from discussing or sharing personal stories or information shared by others outside of the meeting.

Remember, the primary goal of AA is to provide a supportive and confidential environment for individuals seeking recovery from alcohol addiction. By being mindful of what you say and respecting the principles of anonymity, you can contribute to creating a safe space where individuals can heal and grow together.