.

The 12 Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous, the principles that hold our groups and society together.

.

Postby Twenty Thirteen » Thu Apr 16, 2015 4:48 pm

.
Last edited by Twenty Thirteen on Thu May 07, 2015 4:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Twenty Thirteen
 

Re: Sponsor broke sponsee's anonymity by going to police

Postby ODAAT » Thu Apr 16, 2015 5:37 pm

This is another case, if bona fide, of several recent cases involving AA "confessions," where the issue of AA confidentiality is demonstrated to have no possible legal privilege. These cases will have a major impact on AA culture. Over the years, we will all learn that it is foolish for sponsors or other AAs to withhold important information from the police about certain serious crimes. Actually, in some cases, it is illegal and punishable by law.

Traditions 11 and 12 are not pertinent in this case.
ODAAT
Forums Enthusiast
 
Posts: 141
Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2009 6:01 pm

Re: Sponsor broke sponsee's anonymity by going to police

Postby PaigeB » Thu Apr 16, 2015 9:46 pm

I advise my sponsees that if they have committed crimes that they share THAT info with a lawyer or a religious leader.

I can be subpoenaed to testify in court, as ODAAT said, because I have no legal privilege. They can give me the short story by doing their own connection to the defects & fears which usually present themselves in patterns.
If I'm not able to say how I'm working my program today, then I'm not working my program.
The e-AA Group's 7th Tradition link: www.e-aa.org/group_seventh.php
User avatar
PaigeB
Trusted Servant
 
Posts: 10392
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:28 pm
Location: Iowa USA

Re: Sponsor broke sponsee's anonymity by going to police

Postby kenyal » Sat Apr 18, 2015 7:17 am

Does this mean then that after we take a new person's 5th step, we are then obligated to take a laundry list of their offenses to the cops?

The guy I did mine with died sober, so that's cool, I'm covered. But I've heard a lot of 5th steps and some of them were not angels out there...those men must be staying awake at night, listening for the knock on the door.

I think instead of following the rat's example, I'll choose to keep in confidence those things I'm told in confidence. Feels odd that this should even be in question.
kenyal
Forums Long Timer
 
Posts: 560
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2012 5:17 am

Re: Sponsor broke sponsee's anonymity by going to police

Postby whipping post » Sat Apr 18, 2015 9:38 am

This makes me wonder do any of you refer your sponsees to clergy for their fifth step? I see Paige does for crimes. What about for the whole fifth step in general. It seems like I read a post before from someone that said they always refer their sponsees to clergy because they did not want the burden.
User avatar
whipping post
Forums Contributor
 
Posts: 386
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2014 10:20 am

Re: Sponsor broke sponsee's anonymity by going to police

Postby ODAAT » Sat Apr 18, 2015 5:53 pm

whipping post wrote:This makes me wonder do any of you refer your sponsees to clergy for their fifth step? I see Paige does for crimes. What about for the whole fifth step in general. It seems like I read a post before from someone that said they always refer their sponsees to clergy because they did not want the burden.


I would definitely refer someone to clergy for a 5th step. First, that's the instruction/suggestion in the Big Book for all.

It's also consistent with the AA pioneers' solution to the problem some clergy had with "confessions" being done by lay persons in Akron in 1935-1938.

There is no moral or legal right afforded an AA sponsor or member to keep secret important evidence about certain (not all, of course) crimes such as those involving children or murder.

Withhold such at your peril.

I chafed at hearing a 5th step a year or so ago. I told my sponsee that I really did not want to do it. But he kind of insisted. I am more educated on the subject now and more confident in my belief that clergy or a psychiatrist should do it, so I probably won't do the next one, whenever it may come.
Last edited by ODAAT on Thu Apr 23, 2015 5:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
ODAAT
Forums Enthusiast
 
Posts: 141
Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2009 6:01 pm

Re: Sponsor broke sponsee's anonymity by going to police

Postby desypete » Sat Apr 18, 2015 10:17 pm

i did my 5th with a monk, i was told its the best way to go about the 5th as all aa members have clay feet. i well remember a time a lady with long term sobriety ended up picking the drink up again in her drunken state she caused a few aa memebers some real hurt and embarrassments by telling others about the secrets she had been trusted with

one women lost her husband over it as the drunk sponsor had repeated all sorts to her family and friends, so i would tell anyone not to use an aa member for the 5th step and find an outside source purely based on the safety aspect of it all.

if a sponsor insists you do the 5th with them then tell that sponsor were to go and get a new one, they should be happy to help you with or without you doing the 5th step with them.
desypete
Forums Contributor
 
Posts: 405
Joined: Sun Jul 25, 2010 10:23 pm

Re: Sponsor broke sponsee's anonymity by going to police

Postby Niagara » Sun Apr 19, 2015 1:41 am

Just a question - my sponsor and I had a long talk about the step 4. It wasn't merely a confession, it was a fresh set of eyes that helped to highlight some behaviours that I wasn't even aware of

'we have a written inventory and we are prepared for a long talk'

Do clergymen give feedback on the fourth step as a rule, or just hear it?
If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn't sit for a month -
Theodore Roosevelt
User avatar
Niagara
Forums Old Timer
 
Posts: 1235
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2014 5:38 am

Re: Sponsor broke sponsee's anonymity by going to police

Postby Brock » Sun Apr 19, 2015 6:22 am

My first choice was to seek out a priest, but the local church gave the impression that the time of a priest was limited, not someone you could spend hours with. I believe the best way would be to split it up between two people if you have really deep stuff, the instructions on p.61 of the 12 & 12 are that you should look for someone else for certain revelations.

Perhaps, though, your relation to him is such that you would care to reveal only a part of your story. If this is the situation, by all means do so, for you ought to make a beginning as soon as you can. It may turn out, however, that you'll choose someone else for the more difficult and deeper revelations. This individual may be entirely outside of A.A.—for example, your clergyman or your doctor.


Niagara was wondering about feedback, the Big Book does say words to the effect that we must let the person know what we are doing and why, but I expect there would be little of the type of feedback a fellow alcoholic might give, a recovered alcoholic priest would be the ideal for me.

Earlier on in this thread, the full names of alcoholics who have been involved in cases where the 5th step went wrong were included. I think we should show a little more respect for their anonymity, it does not matter if these names are already “out there,” repeating something that is wrong is still wrong.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
User avatar
Brock
Forums Coordinator
 
Posts: 3168
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:45 pm

Re: Sponsor broke sponsee's anonymity by going to police

Postby Jaywalker Steve » Sun Apr 19, 2015 7:07 am

If we cannot or would rather not do this, we search our acquaintance for a close-mouthed, understanding friend. Perhaps our doctor or psychologist will be the person.
-page 74 Alcoholics Anonymous


Paige said it best. If I'm hearing a 5th Step from someone who has committed a crime and not been caught, I suggest they take it to someone with client/attorney/patient privilege. They'll need to face the truth, but would be better served by someone who knows the best way to face it. I'm a drunk with a book nothing more.

As to the topic of anonymity, here's our 'official' position.
http://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/p-47_und ... nymity.pdf

We do have a duty to obey the law. For me this was a foreign concept as I was too self-centered to grasp the 'greater good' concept.
Every group has men and women who put too much thought and effort into their daily sobriety and not enough of themselves into their daily living. - Ed B., Akron, OH
Jaywalker Steve
Forums Long Timer
 
Posts: 680
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2011 5:36 pm

Re: Sponsor broke sponsee's anonymity by going to police

Postby ezdzit247 » Mon Apr 20, 2015 5:03 pm

Twenty Thirteen wrote:This lady made a confession to her sponsor, who ratted her out to the police.
It's a break of Traditions 11 and 12, if you ask me.

(Link deleted per forum policy)


Thanks for posting this topic.

After reading the details of this particular case, I have to agree that the sponsor who chose to report this lady's confidential disclosures on past drunken indiscretions to the police violated both the spirit and intent of AA's traditions, totally disregarded our primary purpose as AA members, and has probably done some serious damage to AA's reputation with this particular newcomer as well as other prospective newcomers. Hopefully, the newcomer lady will find the help and support she needs to get and remain sober in church, therapy or some other recovery program.
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
User avatar
ezdzit247
Forums Old Timer
 
Posts: 2077
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2014 4:38 pm
Location: California

Re: Sponsor broke sponsee's anonymity by going to police

Postby ODAAT » Tue Apr 21, 2015 12:09 pm

Brock wrote:
Earlier on in this thread, the full names of alcoholics who have been involved in cases where the 5th step went wrong were included. I think we should show a little more respect for their anonymity, it does not matter if these names are already “out there,” repeating something that is wrong is still wrong.

Let me respond to your conclusions, Brock, and to make a few points. First, in the 3 cases, the 5th step did not go "wrong." In one case there wasn't even a 5th step. Nor was there a 5th step in the second case. There was a 5th step in the third case. Nothing wrong with that 5th step. The AA member told her sponsor that she had murdered a woman by shooting her in the head. Done. The sponsor said nothing to anyone else at that point. What went "wrong" was that this AA member told another AA, who wanted to help her with her 6th and 7th steps. That other AA did go to police fter he realized he had a moral and legal responsibility to do. Still, no problem with the 5th step.

The police investigated and questioned the sponsor, who declined to reveal what she knew about the murder. This was a serious mistake on the sponsor's part. It was corrected and she told what she knew and eventually testified in court, where the person was found guilty of murder. Still, nothing "wrong" with the 5th step. It was done conventionally and, presumably, effectively.

Nothing "wrong" with step 5.

What actually may appear to be "wrong" to you is that the AA sponsor divulged, after the 5th step was long over, what knowledge she had of a brutal murder of a 20 year old woman. But that cannot possibly be wrong since the sponsor had a moral and legal obligation to testify. To fail to do so would have been, at the least, obstruction of justice. Further, the family of the murdered woman would have been denied justice.

Brock, there is nothing in AA, not in the steps, not in the Traditions, not anywhere else, that prohibits an AA member from testifying truthfully about something he or she knows about.

There is no contract, direction or authority for any citizen, including AA members to commit obstruction of justice in a murder case.

If you think about it deeply, Brock, you will conclude that the best possible outcome was achieved in all three cited cases--AA, and its members comported themselves morally and legally in two brutal murder cases and one that involved endangerment to children.

If any of these AA members had withheld the important information they had it would have produced two abhorrent results:

1. It would have SERIOUSLY damaged the reputation and validity of Alcoholics Anonymous. AA is not outside of or superior to the law. It cannot act as if it is either.

2. It would have SERIOUSLY damaged the consciences of the 4 AA members who were told the stories of murder and child endangerment. They very well have gotten drunk over the harm they would have caused to the victims' families and to society by remaining mute and hiding the truth. Too much pressure.... Too much guilt...

Regarding your conclusion that it is somehow "wrong" to state by name that these AAs members all committed brutal or odius crimes, I really don't see how that could be correct. Alcoholics Anonymous has, to be sure, some practices it espouses regarding member anonymity. To my knowledge, there is no policy or principle that would call for the censorship of facts which are reported in the public news media or in the criminal courts.

Alcoholics Anonymous does not promote censorship of any kind, certainly not regarding heinous criminal acts. So, one can dislike the mention of names in discussions--for any personal reason. But it is not "wrong" to state the names in or outside Alcoholics Anonymous.. No disrespect is present in the mere mention of the names.
ODAAT
Forums Enthusiast
 
Posts: 141
Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2009 6:01 pm

Re: Sponsor broke sponsee's anonymity by going to police

Postby ezdzit247 » Tue Apr 21, 2015 1:19 pm

ODAAT wrote:
If you think about it deeply, Brock, you will conclude that the best possible outcome was achieved in all three cited cases--AA, and its members comported themselves morally and legally in two brutal murder cases and one that involved endangerment to children...



You've made some good points regarding the moral and legal responsibilities of AA members and I would agree that these points apply to the other two cases you cited but disagree regarding the first case. In that case, the sponsee went to her AA "appointed sponsor" (local custom?) after she had already lost custody of her children to her ex-husband in a divorce court hearing 10 days earlier due to the incident she described to her sponsor and she was merely coming clean with her sponsor. The minor children had already been removed from her home, the sponsee was already attending sex addiction therapy sessions at her church to get help with her problem, there was no child endangerment issue involved, and the testimony recorded in the divorce court custody proceeding was sealed by court order. In this particular case, the sponsee's behavior had already been dealt with via judicial proceedings and the sponsor had no moral or legal obligation to betray her sponsee's confidential disclosures. In fact, this particular sponsor's reckless disregard for the judge's court order sealing the custody hearing testimony may earn the sponsor a night in jail for contempt of court.
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
User avatar
ezdzit247
Forums Old Timer
 
Posts: 2077
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2014 4:38 pm
Location: California

Re: Sponsor broke sponsee's anonymity by going to police

Postby positrac » Wed Apr 22, 2015 3:17 am

PaigeB wrote:I advise my sponsees that if they have committed crimes that they share THAT info with a lawyer or a religious leader.

I can be subpoenaed to testify in court, as ODAAT said, because I have no legal privilege. They can give me the short story by doing their own connection to the defects & fears which usually present themselves in patterns.



I've done both of my 5th steps with a member of clergy and it is because of the confidentiality and my story is pretty thin compared to others who have confessed before me.

I know when in counseling it is up front about notification if some kind of law may have been breeched in a crime and or involvement of some crime.
Like Paige said being served to testify isn't fun and it is far from being "just' hear say.

I don't look good in orange and so I stay out of this arena because we do encounter risks if we become sponsors. Being open and expressing what is at stake is IMHO a good rule to live by.
You must live your life from beginning to end: No one else can do it for you.
Hopi Proverb
User avatar
positrac
Forums Old Timer
 
Posts: 1135
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2014 4:03 am

Re: Sponsor broke sponsee's anonymity by going to police

Postby kenyal » Wed Apr 22, 2015 11:08 am

I suggest guidelines be made available to sponsors that make clear what level of nasty behavior require us to file police reports on those we work with. There is a government Bureau of Statistic list which specifies crimes in the US in their ascending severity, so it is a handy tool to use in establishing and firmly setting the finkbar. I see that drunk driving is #37 on the list, so I feel that only those crimes in #36 position or higher should be considered as must-rat offenses. No, scratch that. We should only act on those more severe than burglary. Or...theft.

Is bar fighting assault? If so, then we should definitely move only on those more serious than assault. Unless crashing a car while drunk could be considered assault with a deadly weapon, in which case AA as a body, should not keep confidences on things on the crimes list more awful than that.

Or anything I did while blacked out, which may have been anything.

By general agreement to what AAs should hold in confidence, we can avoid hysteria setting in and our national police force being deluged with jaywalking reports by sponsors seeking to be responsible citizens and cover their as*es. If we later should find that the required public action level was set too high, it can be lowered and all those reports that were earlier held back can then be filed...on those we are trying to help recover.
kenyal
Forums Long Timer
 
Posts: 560
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2012 5:17 am

Next

Return to The 12 Traditions of AA

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest