Leah’s Story: Anonymity

I froze when I got to my first Suppers meeting and saw a co-worker standing at the counter squeezing lemons. Flashing through my mind were the things I would not be able to talk about now because someone who works for the same company would be listening: my depression, my enslavement to certain foods, and the job stress that makes it all worse. But she was smiling, so she obviously knew something I didn’t know.

What she knew was that Suppers has torn a page out of the 12-step process, using first names only and requiring members to refrain from mentioning what is said and who is seen at meetings. My colleague volunteered to sit down with me and go over the newcomer’s welcome. She disclosed a few vulnerabilities of her own, which made it possible for me to start sharing my concerns right at my first meeting. Funny enough, the two of us have been juggling a lot of the same issues with food. I would never have known this to look at her; she always seems so together. And she thought the same of me.

Without a boundary for relationships that protects anonymity, I would not be able to participate in Suppers. The shame is too deep and the pain is too raw. But with that boundary in place, not only do I eat once a week among people who really know me, I have a friend at work who meets me weekdays at the salad bar.