« the lonely man | Main | A mystery solved »

November 17, 2009


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Like your blog--you are a talented writer.

But I found this interesting:

"There is never, ever an acceptable motivation or reason to reveal what someone in AA has told you in confidence in the role of sponsor, be it in an inventory, or just plain telling you. "

Really? Never, ever?

Suppose your sponsee told you something along the lines of "Ya know that Baby Jane kid, the one everybody's been looking for? Well, I've got her in my basement! Yeah, I took her, and you know what? Instead of drinking tonight I'm just going to go home and rape her again."

An unlikely conversation, to be sure, but still marginally within the realm of possibility. And let's then say that you found it a credible story. Would you still hold to that "never, ever" philosophy?

I'm not trying to be a d-bag, really, but my personal experience is that the belief in "never, ever" is more likely than not to get me into trouble.

Mr. SponsorPants

Well, yes, I suppose that speaking in absolutes is perhaps not the best choice of words -- but really, we can hypothetical ourselves into any kind of extreme situation in which generally strong, healthy solid principle must be waived.

I believe very strongly in rigorous honesty, but (for example) I dont believe that, when the Nazis were looking for hidden jews in WWII, and they knocked on the door of the Frank house and said, Hey, you got any jewish people hiding in here? that the answer should have been Here? Well, I dont like to lie so, yeah, upstairs, turn right, hidden door behind the bookcase, ask for Anne. Of course lying is okay to protect innocents from evil -- but admitting that does not undermine my commitment to rigorous honesty in my own daily life.

I see and agree with your point -- absolutes like never ever are a bit of a set up -- but hopefully you see and agree with mine -- that an unlikely and extreme situation is not representative of the high level of commitment I must maintain to these principles for the whole deal to work.

If people are going to find healing in sharing with a sponsor there should be a powerful (very nearly) unbreakable boundary around keeping faith with a shared confidence -- a boundary that is so rarely crossed as to be *virtually* a never ever.


My Dear Sponsorpants,

For certain, I gave you an extreme example, but in my humble opinion it is by an examination of the extremes that we come to understand the limits of our devotion to principles. I think it also gives us an opportunity to examine the choices that must be made when our principles collide e.g. when the welfare of an innocent may trump something heard in confidentiality.

"we can hypothetical ourselves into any kind of extreme situation in which generally strong, healthy solid principle must be waived"

Not necessarily. Just FYI, in the Catholic faith, for example, Code of Canon Law, 983 ยง1 states that "[t]he sacramental seal [of confession] is inviolable; therefore it is absolutely forbidden for a confessor to betray in any way a penitent in words or in any manner and for any reason." In the hypothetical I posed, a Catholic priest would be committing sacrilege if he divulged the information he received under the sacrament of confession--even to save the life of the little girl--and he would face excommunication. Again, I realize that this is an extreme example (there I go again) of devotion to principle.

My point is simply that It's a choice that each of us must make on a case-by-case basis, and one that must be made according to one's conscience and not necessarily according to the letter of the law.

In all sincerity, I enjoy your blog and hope you are having a great day!

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad