anonymity at a funeral

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anonymity at a funeral

Postby kaosxtech » Mon Feb 26, 2018 4:06 pm

This past 6 months has been rough for our local AA district. It seems like there are more people passing away then usual. It did bring up a question I had in my mind: Do we continue to protect a persons anonymity after they die? This man who passed that I was close to had over 40 years sober and was very active in AA. I had met his children at the alano club where he volunteered. It did not seem as though he would mind if we shared how he helped us in the program (and many did share at the funeral about this). Do I need to worry about the people left behind and changing their view of the departed by sharing that they were an addict or alcoholic (even if its about how they helped me)?
Selfishness—self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. (Alcoholics Anonymous, page 62)
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Re: anonymity at a funeral

Postby Blue Moon » Mon Feb 26, 2018 10:17 pm

The man is not going to care either way, and would want to help newcomers. But be aware that family members etc. may be yet to come in.

So we do talk of the deceased member, but IME generally don't break "anonymity" in terms of last name. (Of course, this is a bit odd, as maintaining anonymity among ourselves in a meeting is as much against the Traditiom as announcing our AA membership in a TV interview.)
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Re: anonymity at a funeral

Postby positrac » Thu Mar 01, 2018 3:48 am

My grandmother was one of the early pioneers of women in AA back in 1955. When she passed she had 53 years sober and it was my honor to express that as she was one of my hero's because it gave me hope back in my early days of sobriety. I would say it is up to the family if they want to let the cat out of the bag....
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Re: anonymity at a funeral

Postby PaigeB » Thu Mar 01, 2018 12:07 pm

Anonymity is as much for the friends of the alcoholic as it is for himself and the family. If you say, "He was in AA 50 years!" Anyone who looks around the the odd variety of unknown people at the funeral will guess that all those folks must be from AA ~ Thereby outing all his contacts, but also that unfamiliar cousin who is NOT alcoholic, might be misunderstood to be one.

I think it is best to keep a lid on it.
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Re: anonymity at a funeral

Postby Layne » Fri Mar 02, 2018 12:02 am

You could mention that he was a great inspiration, mentor, and role model that helped you work through some personal issues. Alcoholism and AA do not need to be mentioned.
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Re: anonymity at a funeral

Postby Greywolf » Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:24 pm

kaosxtech wrote:This past 6 months has been rough for our local AA district. It seems like there are more people passing away then usual. It did bring up a question I had in my mind: Do we continue to protect a persons anonymity after they die? This man who passed that I was close to had over 40 years sober and was very active in AA. I had met his children at the alano club where he volunteered. It did not seem as though he would mind if we shared how he helped us in the program (and many did share at the funeral about this). Do I need to worry about the people left behind and changing their view of the departed by sharing that they were an addict or alcoholic (even if its about how they helped me)?


Too late to help with the perceived problem, but when has that ever stopped me before?

As I muddle through this response, I am struck with this thought: Why didn't this "kaosxtech" guy go to one or two people in his group with some long term sobriety for answers? (I also wondered why some other of us haven't raised the same question.)
This might be a good time to consider 2 traditions. 11th tradition: Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.
12th tradition: Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us of placing principles before personalities.

Were your friend alive to have a say in the matter, he might worry that you make too big a deal about his 40 years sober in AA than he would letting some prospects know that sobriety is possible by using his 40 years as witness. (We alcoholics are sometimes a joke. We aren't concerned that everyone in our community knows we drink excessively BUT God forbid anyone find out we are sober for an extended period of time.)

Your post indicates to me your relative newness. You aren't making a 12 step call, you are acknowledging your friends achievement of 40 years sobriety. There is no real need to be concerned about his anonymity, Just don't mention AA.

Personally, I'd ask all his old AA friends if any of them would say something at the funeral to honor him but keep his anonymity.

A few years ago one of my close friends, someone I got sober with, passed after 50 years of sobriety. I checked with the group and asked if we could use a portion of the next meeting to honor Jean. Unanimous agreement. We set it up for anybody who wanted to to say a few words about jean and what she meant to their sobriety. Word got out and quite a few showed up and all wanted to say something. We used all the meeting time and could have used more.

All who spoke thanked me for setting it up and said "getting complete" with Jean helped in dealing with her passing. It was out of the ordinary, outside meeting guidelines but a very good AA meeting. The things that were said were not appropriate for a funeral.
Last edited by Greywolf on Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: anonymity at a funeral

Postby Bovine Scat » Tue Jun 12, 2018 12:53 pm

It is not up to us to tell another person's story. I have met the families of several A.A. members. I never speak of alcoholism unless they bring up the subject. Many years ago I would take my mother to the grocery store. Once in a while, a certain A.A. person would be there. We would stop, shake hands and talk for couple minutes. On several occasions my mother asked who the person was. I would say that I knew the person "from around". For a while she thought that I knew him from the bars. One day she realized the person was in A.A. It wasn't up to me to tell any one he went to meetings.

The same applies to A.A. funerals. There is no reason to mention the dead person was an alcoholic. That fact could easily offend the family if strangers are talking about the dead person's alcoholism. Also, being among strangers, some of which might be A.A. members, by talking openly about a person alcoholism a fellow member might be offended. His anonymity might be breached. And breaking his anonymity make cause unforeseen problems for the person.

So here is my point. We should not talk openly about any person's alcoholism. Traditions 11 and 12 state the importance of anonymity. That applies to being in public also. It's not up to us to tell another person's story.
Last edited by Bovine Scat on Wed Jun 27, 2018 8:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: anonymity at a funeral

Postby Roberth » Tue Jun 12, 2018 3:39 pm

A person’s anonymity after they die? Well that is and should be left up to the family of the deceased. Memorials are held in the rooms for many where there is no restriction anonymity but when it comes to the 11th tradition it’s up to the family.
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