AA Sponsor and Criminal Activities

What happens when you are disclosing to your sponsor some illegal activity. Do they have a duty to report it?


This is a difficult one. It mainly rests on two factors:

  • The attitude of your sponsor
  • The type of illegal activity involved

Let's deal with the first. All sponsors are different and you need to gauge how yours will react to your revelations. If you do not feel comfortable disclosing information about illegal activities you have been involved in then don't tell them and get a new sponsor one that you can trust with your deepest secrets.

What do you mean by duty bound? Duty to who? If all sponsors felt duty bound to report knowledge of criminal activity then the rooms of AA and NA, in particular, would be empty. This is your call, if you trust your sponsor with such information, go for it. If not find a new sponsor or share this with someone you know will keep your confidence.

As for the second factor. There are illegal activities and there are illegal activities. We all expect, for example, NA members to have been involved in buying illegal drugs, maybe selling drugs, stealing to maintain their habit and so on. However, there are some illegal activities that are beyond the pale for a lot of people, and these are better not shared, regardless of how well you know/trust the person as their reaction cannot possibly be predicted when it comes to such illegal activities.

In short, then, use your own judgement, sound out your sponsor first as to his/her attitude toward certain illegal activities/practices, if unsure of his/her reaction then err on the side of caution and keep quiet, or look for an alternative person with who to exorcise your demons.

Comments for AA Sponsor and Criminal Activities

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Nov 20, 2011
Protect yourself.
by: Calvin

Just ask youself one question. Is this something you would do if you were not in recovery? Trusting relative strangers with highly confidential and personal information puts you at risk. This is one of the inherent problems with recovery programs such as AA. People are duped into believing they have some kind of camaraderie with other addicts. The last person on the planet you should trust with personal and potentially damaging information about yourself with is another addict. Get yourself a licensed professional counselor who is bound by patient doctor confidentiality agreements. The last thing you need while you are in recovery is to have someone violate your boundaries. While in recovery, you are not capable of making these kind of decisions without the help of formally trained licensed professionals.

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