Addiction recovery programs that follow a twelve step model often include support group meetings. Because of the stigma of addiction, those peer group meetings almost always demand nondisclosure and anonymity by and for members.
So when—if ever—is it OK to break the rules and out someone as an addict?
A young woman attending AA on the advice of her lawyer tackled that question and turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for moral judgement on her answer.
Redditor thespiciestbagel asked:
“AITA for telling my brother I met his new girlfriend at an AA meeting?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“My brother started dating this new girl and I realized I recognized her from AA. I’m not an addict, but my lawyer recommended I attend some AA meetings to help strengthen an ongoing case against me.”
“I know it’s her because I remember her very unique name from the AA meeting and she also talked for a very long time.”
“I thought it was important to mention it to my brother because I’m worried about her as a partner to him. In AA, she mentioned that not only did she use hard drugs, but also that she feels like she can’t control herself.”
“She also admitted to drugs making her verbally aggressive and unstable emotionally, and at the time she was not sober.”
“I know my brother, and I know that he holds himself and his partners to a high standard and that he hates drama in his relationship. I told him what she said and he broke up with her, and she basically stalked me and also called me an untrustworthy bitch who ruined her experience with AA.”
“Honestly I think I was just trying to help my brother out, but some of my friends think it was messed up for me to tell him. But I think it’s better for him to know what kind of person she is ahead of time.”
The OP added more information after receiving negative feedback.
“TO CLEAR SOME THINGS UP BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE ASSUMING A LOT: I am fighting my case because I believe the legal system is corrupt, but I want to be accountable in other ways.”
“I don’t regularly drink and drive, I don’t even drink at all, the night was the worst night of my life and I would take it back in a heartbeat.”
“I do NOT condone drinking and driving and think it’s a very serious crime and I understand the gravity of my actions.”
“I’m not saying I didn’t do it, but I don’t think I should have a record for this. I have my life ahead of me and this could be held against me by employers.”
“Plus my case was mishandled. You can take accountability outside of the justice system.”
“I haven’t pled guilty or been found guilty, my lawyer and I are fighting it because the charge wasn’t done 100% fairly.”
“I do take my DUI very seriously, I just don’t want to be judged on one night for my whole life.”
The forum proved to be very contentious for the OP.
After being declared the a**hole, the OP posted an update to their story.
“My reception last time was not very positive, and I realize that my approach at the time wasn’t the best. So in this update, I’m going to try and be emotionless as possible and just give you guys the facts.”
“I showed my brother the thread. We talked about it.”
“He told me he thinks I have a drinking problem. That was hard to hear. He also reached out to his ex, I don’t know the results of that.”
“I reread my replies. The stories about drunk drivers killing loved ones hit me the hardest.”
“I felt a lot of guilt realizing what I did and went into a depression spiral. I think everything I bottled up came out, and I quit my job.”
“I emailed the AA group leader with a lengthy apology. She was upset, of course, but was very kind.”
“I’m banned from AA, but she matched me with someone to talk to. I’m not banned from AA in general just the AA meeting I went to.”
“I texted my brother’s ex with an apology and an offer to meet up in person. She didn’t reply for a few days.”
“Eventually she did, and said that she acknowledges, but she also went in on me and went into detail about how much pain I caused her. She said she cannot forgive me yet.”
“I talked to my lawyer, we’re trying to figure out the logistics of a guilty plea without conviction, because he thinks that what I did in AA may affect my case. I’ll likely get my license revoked and have to pay a fine.”
“I’m currently jobless, and I’m probably going to move back in with my parents until I can be better.”
“There is also a tweet going around saying someone knows me and outed me to my brother… this did not happen. This person was trying to capitalize on a messed up situation for internet points.”
“My brother and I have never met nor interacted with this person.”
“At the moment, I am still very depressed. I’m trying to right my wrongs but I don’t think I can ever do that.”
“However, I think that this was going to come eventually and the thread didn’t make me depressed, it was the consequences of my own actions. Thank you for helping me see the pain I was causing before it was too late.”
Hopefully the OP is on a better path now.