Trusting Strangers

At the end of the meeting
after we’ve talked about our shame,
our failures, our defects,
the leader calmly reads
the admonition, “Please remember
our commitment to honor
each other’s anonymity.
What you hear here,
whom you see here,
when you leave here,
let it stay here.”
and everyone chants,
“Hear, hear!”
But what of the strangers
who came for the first time…
and what if they realize
someone has recognized them
because of the office they hold
in that town? Can the strangers
really be trusted?
It’s not like they’re therapists
who could lose their license.
The voice agreement with words,
“The purpose of this anonymity
is to protect all members
and stress that everyone
in the meetings are of equal value.”
But that was eighty years ago.
What happens when they
get on Facebook and spew
the gossip fodder?
Years later I don’t really
know how it works,
I just know it does,
“Hear, hear!”