Recovery Meetings Go Digital: Concerns About Anonymity


At Hemet Valley Recovery Center, we are continuing to do our part to protect the health and safety of our clients during the Coronavirus outbreak. Hopefully, you were able to read the article we published last week about how you can protect your recovery progress and prevent coming into contact with the deadly virus.

Since we wrote that post, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 has increased exponentially across the Golden State. While some other states have been far more affected, such as Washington and New York, California’s vast population and congested cities are making it hard to prevent disease transmission. The California Department of Public Health reports 1,184 confirmed cases of Coronavirus and 20 illness-related casualties.

In Washington State and New York, the crisis is even more severe. There are 1,512 cases, and 81 people have died in Washington. New York reports 7,100 cases and 38 deaths. As of 4:15PM PDT on March 20, 2020, there are 17,000 confirmed cases in the United States, and 223 people have succumbed to the virus. Thousands of patient tests are pending across America.

The HVRC team would like to express our condolences to everyone who has lost someone they love from the pandemic. Our hearts go out to you and your families.

Concerns About Recovery Anonymity

When we last covered this most serious topic, we informed our readers that some 12 Step groups were going digital. AA groups throughout the US have alerted local AA offices or hotlines that they are temporarily suspending in-person meetings, and have instructed their members to utilize digital platforms, conference calls, and social networks.

“By attending digital meetings, groups can focus on AA’s primary purpose: to carry its message of recovery to the alcoholic who still suffers.” 

It’s safe to say that members of the recovery community are in uncharted territory. Moreover, with the alterations to age-old customs and traditions, it’s natural that some in recovery have concerns.

Their concerns go beyond the heightened risk of relapse due to significant changes to recovery routines. Switching from in-person gatherings to digital conferencing raises concerns about anonymity. As many individuals in 12 Step recovery are well aware:

“Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.” 

It’s worth remembering that what is said in the rooms stays in the rooms, even if that room has digital walls. The General Service Office of Alcoholics Anonymous (G.S.O.) provides many valuable resources about protecting your anonymity and that of your peers. Such service materials from the G.S.O. include: Understanding Anonymity and Anonymity Online and Digital Media.

Each member of the Fellowship is responsible for their own anonymity and that of others when using digital platforms. One must never inadvertently break the anonymity of others. 

As an aside, we would also like to point out that the closing of meetings houses presents challenges for newcomers. Fortunately, they can find out information about attending digital meetings and can access The Big Book and Twelve Steps/Twelve Traditions Book online.

Beginning a Journey of Recovery

Anyone ready to begin a life-changing journey of recovery is welcome to reach out to Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat. We would like to inform you that HVRC is following the CDC guidelines regarding COVID-19. Our team is taking every necessary precaution to keep our clients safe as they learn how to lead a healthy life in addiction recovery.

Take the first step by calling us today at 866-273-0868 to learn more about our programs and services. We can provide you a confidential assessment over the phone.