Our Twelfth Traditions states, “Personal anonymity is the right of every D.R.A. member. We practice anonymity at the level of public media.”
There are two parts to this Tradition; respecting the confidentiality of other DRA members, and not publicly disclosing that we are members of DRA. Confidentiality and Anonymity.
In DRA we recognize that all members have a right to confidentiality. Anything we hear at a meeting, or in confidence from another member, whether it be in person, on the telephone, or over the Internet, is considered confidential.
One of the most important tools we have for creating a safe environment of Emotional Acceptance, Support, and Empowerment (EASE) is that anything said at meetings or in confidence to another DRA member, goes no further. This type of confidentiality establishes a foundation where trust and healing begin. We may break our own anonymity in the process of trying to help another, but we do not break the anonymity of another.
Personal anonymity means honoring the confidentiality and right to privacy of others. Personal disclosures made in DRA meetings are always treated as strictly confidential. For instance, if someone has friends outside of DRA who are acquainted with other friends who are in DRA, disclosing even small apparently harmless confidences picked up at meetings may impact relationships and the lives of others in unforeseen and serious ways. What is said and seen in meetings, stays there.
Personal anonymity also opens the doorway so new members will attend. Many people are concerned that their employers, business associates, friends, or the public not find out that they have two no-fault illnesses. They are concerned that if word got out it might damage their lives in some way. Anonymity offers them an island of safety so that they can come and see if our fellowship is for them. We are guided by the Twelfth Tradition so we may best carry the message of DRA to others who experience dual disorders.
We practice Anonymity by not identifying ourselves as members of DRA in the press, radio, TV, or any other public media. Public media might be a web site on the Internet, a megaphone at a public event, or a cable access show if those mediums were available to the public at large.
Anonymity at that level is important for several reasons. It ensures that the mistakes of one person don’t affect the fellowship as a whole. It helps us all grasp and maintain a level of humility that is conducive to personal dual recovery. It helps ensure that we all have an equal partnership in dual recovery. It helps us remain free from public controversy. It discourages members who might use or exploit their DRA membership to achieve personal notoriety or elevated status. It reminds us to place principles before personalities.
We may certainly disclose our full names and contact information in a DRA meeting or to a prospective newcomer. How else could we be of service to each other in times of need or develop friendships with other people in dual recovery. We are free, if we choose, to tell our family, friends, counselors, doctors, or clergy, that we are members of DRA and attend meetings. We don’t need to hide the fact that we are in dual recovery from our significant friends, family, and the people that help us. We have the freedom to choose which individuals we wish to disclose our involvement in DRA with.
We are careful not to appear as or be personally identified as spokespersons for DRA. Yes, the general public does need to know about DRA, but our relationship with the public at large ought to be characterized by personal anonymity. Our names and faces as members of the fellowship of Dual Recovery Anonymous ought never be published or broadcast. This does not mean people who happen to be members of DRA can’t become public figures or become famous. It simply means that they do so without disclosing publicly that they are in DRA.
The Tradition of anonymity does not preclude members from speaking publicly about their own personal recovery; however they do so without mentioning DRA by name or by remaining anonymous.