Can AA exist in social media era?


Alcoholics Anonymous, the program for those who have an alcohol addiction, is supposed to be a safe place for the addicts to discuss their experiences with alcohol always worked in the past because the participants were able to comfortably not identify themselves while becoming close with their group.

The rule in AA is that when you speak you state your name, but only your first name.  This prevents people from finding out too much information about the person and possibly exposing others who may want to keep it a secret.

There are, however, people in the groups who get close enough to become not only a support system for one another but good friends.

Today, in 2016, it is not only common, but expected to friend or follow those you are close to, on social media.  And the way social media outlets such as Facebook work is mutual friends pop up on other news feeds.

Therefore, there is potential to distribute personal information that was never supposed to be revealed.

Some people in the program don’t mind because their family and friends know, but there are some people who want to keep it a secret from everyone they know.

One AA member, Caitlin, has been in the program for 23 years. She says “I do see a change with AA co-existing with social media.  I don’t see a problem with it, but I understand why some people do.”

Those who are comfortable with discussing it and don’t hide their addiction even follow the Alcoholics Anonymous Facebook page.

These people feel that it gives them another outlet with people who are going through the same experience they are.  This Facebook page acts as another support group.

Others who are in the program have deleted their social media accounts or changed their name to ensure their anonymous program stays that way.

Linda, another member of AA, is a mother and a wife.  She joined the program six years ago and no one in her family knows.

“I was friends with my husband and kids on Facebook, when my AA sponsor and friends started friend requesting me, I deleted my Facebook (account).  Some of these people write about AA on their walls and I don’t want my family asking questions as to why I have so many friends in AA,” she said.