Today my newspaper headed the people section with the news that Lindsay Lohan has attended AA meetings. My first reaction, “well so much for anonymity.” Then I thought, “What happened to the good old days when the news media had respect for AA and complied with the request that last names not be used.
I figured that those days are over…and besides does anyone really want to say instead that “Lindsay L. went to AA”...that doesn’t actually help does it. So do we care?
After much mulling I decided that I do care and not so much for Lindsay—though I do care that even this young celebrity is not going to be able to attend an AA meeting in peace and that—shame on us—someone in those AA meetings was gossiping and violating our tradition of anonymity—but it’s the other less famous young women that I care about.
Think about it. Young women who emulate the “It” girls whether in NYC or LA or Madison Wisconsin are getting lots of messages about drinking and drugs and eating disorders and other abuses. Now, even what might be a positive, this celeb young woman trying to clean up her act, is announced in a way that would scare a young person off. “Oh, I see, this AA has people who gossip, who care more about whispering about a famous person in the room than about the sobriety and one day at a time that we profess to believe is the most important thing. What happened to “the one who got up earliest today is the one with the most sobriety”? And what happened to, “I just want to be another Bozo on the bus”?
Shame on the media for not thinking through what it means when AA attendees are exposed, but really, shame on people in AA rooms who whisper and gossip and talk outside about who they saw there and what they heard.