About Confidentiality
By johngd
8/9/2010 10:56:29 AM
I attended 12 recovery meetings, each one from 1-12. It was great and just what I needed to help me overcome my addiction. My last attendance was a couple months ago.

Yesterday my bishop asked to speak with me. He talked about my calling and a program I'm part of. Also some other general things. Then he mentioned "How are those meetings you've been attending on X evenings?"

I voluntarily began attending these, wasn't referred by anyone. I have not told him I was attending. How did he know?

I understand that anyone can see me walk in or out. And another person meeting can tell others. I get that. But is there a standard practice of the group leader informing your bishop who is going?


That's unusual,    
"The LDS addiction recovery meetings are supposed to be completely confidential, even from Bishops. Unfortunately, sometimes word can get out about who's going. This is why a lot of people choose to travel several miles to go to a group meeting that's a comfortable distance from their home.

Maybe you shouldn't suspect the group just yet though. Could someone in your family have told him? If not, then maybe it wouldn't hurt to talk with your group missionaries/facilitators about confidentiality."
posted at 14:16:56 on August 9, 2010 by ETTE
"Thanks, that's what I thought about the confidentiality aspect. I just wanted to check because I don't want to go back to the Bishop and ask "by the way, how do you know..." if I should check with my wife first. He is a caring Bishop and even sounded like it was awkward/difficult to ask me. I didn't want to ask the question when we met because a) I'm proud of my attendance and b) it caught me a bit off guard and I didn't want to be defensive.

My wife may have mentioned it to him. I need to ask her. If she did, she's (in my opinion) entitled to because it would be out of love for me. But I didn't want to ask her quite yet because she may not have...and feel awkward in the future knowing that he is aware. I don't want any more stress on her. But I need to talk to her about it.

Thanks again for commenting. I found this site by way of a quick search and may begin to use it as it's intended, a blog for my thoughts and feelings. Thanks."
posted at 14:52:40 on August 9, 2010 by johngd
"I spoke to my wife, she did not discuss my attendance with the Bishop. I then spoke again with him and he indicated that the group leader, a former bishop, had seen him and asked about me...would I be continuing to attend, and if so there would be a new group leader.

I'm disappointed a bit, but I'm not ashamed for my participation in the program. In several ways I didn't mind who if anyone saw me attend. But confidentialiy was not maintained.

I went voluntarily 1-12 and at the conclusion felt great about the decision. I learned a lot and grew spiritually. While there clearly wasn't the level of confidentiality I understood, I believe that it was probably because most who attend (in my area?) are referred by their bishop and the group leader expected he was aware. My advice would be for anyone going voluntarily who wants to remain anonymous to let the group leader know."
posted at 10:27:31 on August 12, 2010 by johngd
Thanks Johngd    
"I am so sorry that the group leader broke your confidentiality. That is rule number one! Some group leaders REALLY need to be reminded of this. I hope the fact that his heart may have been in the right place will hep you forgive him. The ARP program is great but the leaders are still very new to this sort of thing. We're still learning! Good luck to you. And you will always be welcome!"
posted at 12:55:13 on August 12, 2010 by Anonymous
about confidentiality:    
"who goes to our meetings is held at the highest confidence. This information is held sacred. We only keep track of first names only. When a bishop asks if _____ was there ,We tell them that we only know someone by their first name only. If a participant wants a bishop to be in the information loop the participant would have to tell the group leader, and only then would any information be shared. We are often asked by a spouse if their husbands are attending or was at a certain meeting. We give them the same answer, we cannot disclose any information. We do have bishops, wives, and the courts give the participant forms that they have us sign to verify they were in attendance, but that comes from the participant. If your bishop found out don't blame the program. Our rules about this is set in stone!!!!! . This does not mean that a group leader did not screw up or made a mistake, this is not a perfect world when imperfect people are involved. I too hope you will forgive those involved. I also hope you attend for more than the 12 weeks of new material. I am a missionary for the program going on my 5th year, and was a participant for a year before that. I have been an addict for over 35 years, most, if not all theripists will tell you that it takes at least 3 years to break free of an addiction and change your brain patterns, for me it happened sooner, but I still benefit from every meeting I have ever, and still do attend. Many in our group have been coming for many years. I am often asked what is our our success rate for recovery from porn addiction, I tell them that you cannot come out of our meeting without being a better person, so be boast a 100% success rate. Our meetings are directed under the direction of the Holy Priesthood and I feel the Spirit so strong at each and every meeting. I would encouage anyone who is ensnared to come, all meetings are not all alike or equal, even though they are supposed to be. If you have a bad experiece at one do not give up on the program, just go to a different meeting. I have a testimony of this program it does work.
If you cannot tell I am very passionate about the LDS 12 step program.

I wish you all the best. I hope you will keep coming.

posted at 14:08:25 on August 12, 2010 by harveyf
Have you worked step 5?    
"Brethren, I think that your concept of confidentiality may be a bit extreme. We schedule our meetings on evenings when there are supposed to be no other activities in the building. If this is not possible then LDS Family Services, the Stake Pres. and Bishops will have to make other arrangements. If anyone should know who attends the meetings it should be the Bishop.

If you have worked step 5 you have "...admitted to your Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ, TO PROPER PRIESTHOOD AUTHORITY (usually the Bishop), and to another person the exact nature of your wrongs." By this time our Pride Cycle should have been broken and our humility and faith in the Atoning Blood of Jesus Christ will have made us new creatures.

To get all bent out of shape because the Bishop, (the man that the Lord has placed there to be a common judge in Israel) knows that you were attending the meetings tells me that it's time to go back to step 1. Do not think that I am being judgmental. I am going through the steps for the 4th time. It is a life long commitment. Even if you go to another Stake, your Bishop needs to know how you are doing in the program. He has your eternal welfare on his shoulders. His prayers are needed for your sake.

There is no shame in attending the program. We have had people knock on our door all the time and then say sorry, wrong room or whatever.

The real issue is not that someone in authority knows that you are there, rather it is that your particular reason for being there is to be held in strict confidence. The Bishop invites people to attend. I am hoping to become a facilitator with the program. I have reached out to many people and have invited them to attend without any knowledge of the Bishop. As they work the program and go to their priesthood leader, (it should be the Bishop but doesn't have to be- it could be your Elders Quorum Pres.) re-emphasize that you would like this to be held in confidence. I have told my High Priest Group Leader, My Bishop and my Stake President that I am attending these meetings. Even the Relief Society President knows.

This program has strengthened my testimony about the height and breadth and width and expanse of the Atonement. I know that you will be blessed beyond measure. The Lord needs priesthood brethren who are STRONG in recovery. Don't let Satan throw you a curve ball by getting all tied up in the Confidentiality issue.

Tell me what you think JohnGD"
posted at 20:46:44 on August 12, 2010 by migail3
Confidentiality - What Confidentiality?    
"Hey John I understand your concern. I must say that the first day I walked into the meeting I felt so many emtions but the biggest one was shame. I felt ashamed to be there. I actually informed the Bishop of my desire to attend on confession day (same day after having confessed to my wife). I also said enough is enough and wanted to see an LDS counselor. Since then most of my family have learned of my problems.

During the week I got a kind call from the couple who lead up the meetings in our area inviting me to the meeting. Getting inside the door and sitting down is anoher matter completely. I think the feelings remained for a few weeks but then dissapated once I got to know friends there.

Here is one for you, the couple in our group, know everyones addiction and so too to the group. A new face arrives and the brother asks hey so and so whats your addiction? I never told anyone what mine was but they heard me sharing confidential info to another group member as I knew he shared the same addiction. Then fast forward a few weeks and the brother before the lesson brings 2 materials to the meeting. One that let virtue garnish thy thoughts pamphlet as well as the ensign based mostly on how families can deal with pornography problems.

Do I care no not at all, is it still shameful when someone finds out yes. It has been a blessing to bring this all out in the open, there is no way I can ever keep it secret again, part of doing all I can do."
posted at 09:47:04 on August 13, 2010 by ruggaexpat
To MIGAIL3    
"You wrote: 'I think that your concept of confidentiality may be a bit extreme. We schedule our meetings on evenings when there are supposed to be no other activities in the building.'

Not extreme if the understanding from the mission statement is the declaration, 'Our meetings provide a safe place for honest sharing because we adhere to the principles of confidentiality and anonymity.' Yes, I understand that it's a building used by many people and I've even seen stake presidency vehicles parked there when I leave--I didn't have an issue with who sees me go, just that my expectation based on the program mission was that names weren't shared.

I'm not bent out of shape and yes you are being judgemental. Why does the Bishop need to know how I am doing in the program? First, it's my decision, and second, Step 5 is relevant if 'anything that was illegal or a sin or a misdeed that would have prevented us from having a temple recommend.' I had a very good conversation with my bishop about the matter and hold no ill will against him or the facilitator...I simply wanted to know if the disclosure was standard practice. Now that I know it isn't supposed to be, I am disappointed but life goes on.

I would say your interpretation that 'The real issue is not that someone in authority knows that you are there, rather it is that your particular reason for being there is to be held in strict confidence' is at odds with the plain and clear language of the mission statement and what most people would understand from it.

To those who have asked if I will return, the answer is no not at this time. My reason is that the group has been reformed with a new facilitator and the participants all have challenges/additions related to pornography. I do not. While I understand a person could benefit from such a group meeting regardless of the focus, I sense that the context of the meetings will be very centric to that subject."
posted at 10:03:34 on August 13, 2010 by johngd
"HarveyF, you are absolutely right that "this is not a perfect world when imperfect people are involved." I know that I am loved and there is concern, that no other reason prompted the facilitator to mention it to my bishop. We do need to accept this as we understand we are not perfect but need to strive to do all we can to improve and seek perfection. And the meetings are filled with the Spirit and attendance has been a blessing in my life. Attendance is so worth it for anyone who desires to overcome addiction."
posted at 10:11:41 on August 13, 2010 by johngd
Thank you JohnGD    
"Yes, I understand. I would feel extremely out of place and these PORN AR meetings should be held separately. More later. Wife is calling me to the table. Take Care"
posted at 17:10:51 on August 13, 2010 by migail3
I've been thinking!    
"I have been thinking a lot about your comments. Have your ever heard of ? This is a recovery group for Latter-day Saints who are afflicted with Same Sex Attraction.

Why do I bring this up? This program is invisible to the general LDS population. The knowledge of this program is INVISIBLE, totally anonymous and confidentiality is absolute. Do you think that by making LDS/AR invisible, the meetings would be better attended by those who need this program. That is, keep it "Invisible"! I think that this idea has some merit.
Those who are struggling with the very idea of or better yet, the status of being found out as someone who goes to "those" meetings might feel more comfortable if they could be re assured that the meetings are in total confidentiality and anonymity."
posted at 14:08:54 on August 15, 2010 by migail3
Note taking    
"I was wondering about note taking in the Meetings. And going on hand held divides during the meeting?"
posted at 16:01:00 on April 18, 2012 by big daddy
Note Taking    
"I think Note Taking is a positive thing and encourage all that wish to do so. Consider it a form of journaling. I personally find hand held devices distracting in a meeting. Just my $.02."
posted at 17:26:17 on April 18, 2012 by John07

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