MY THOUGHTS ON TRADITION TWELVE
"Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities."
Traditionally AA members have taken care to preserve their anonymity at the public level press radio television and films in the early days more stigmas was attached to the term alcoholic than this reluctance to be identified and publicized was easy to understand
As the Fellowship grew the positive values of anonymity soon became apparent we know from experience that many problem drinkers might hesitate to turn to us for help if they thought their problem might be discussed publicly
Newcomers should be able to seek help with complete assurance that their identities will not be disclosed to anyone outside the Fellowship another reason for anonymity even if your willing to break your own we all must have respect for the anonymity of others
The concept of personal anonymity has a spiritual significance for me today it deflates my ego for finance romance or self importance that have caused many difficulties in my past where I had to be the most important person in the room
While each member of is free to make his or her own interpretations of A.A. tradition, no individual is ever recognized as a spokesperson for the Fellowship locally, nationally, or internationally. Each member speaks only for himself or herself.
A.A. is indebted to all media for their assistance in strengthening the Tradition of anonymity over the years. From time to time, the General Service Office contacts all major media in the United States and Canada, describing the Tradition and asking for cooperation in its observance.
Some members break anonymity deliberately at the public level this is a matter of individual choice and conscience the Fellowship has no control over such deviations from the traditions such individuals do not have the approval of the overwhelming majority of members.
For the newcomer who is scared to death and reluctant to disclose himself the anonymity tradition can be easily confused as a veil of secrecy to hide behind to the old-timer anonymity all to often just means not using your last name public levels
No one says the newcomer has to tell all about them-self most understand the need to take time to identify and to begin to feel secure members should practice patience tolerance and understanding with newcomers.
They are sometimes on very thin emotional ice and we do not want to destroy what little faith they have in AA by making demands on them the fear of exposure is a very real fear most newcomers believe that if their community knew they would be ruined or mocked publicly
People who have had a chance to get their spiritual feet on the ground and who now have a support system behind them It is in these people that a lack of understanding of anonymity becomes an obstruction to living a more spiritual life and of helping newcomers do the same.
Today I am grateful for my sobriety and I am willing to help others by letting them know I am a recovering alcoholic
Incorrectly applying the principle of anonymity in my life I do cut myself off from Spirituality I need to tell others seeking help that I am an alcoholic and have a program that teaches me the way to a new life free from the clutches of alcohol
At the level of service work I do not share secrets but do share the fact that I am alcoholic and I am in recovery in AA. Being exposed as what we are, instead of what we want others to think we are, gives our friends and neighbors an opportunity to see and judge us in a new light.
It is in this manner that we demonstrate the principles of AA in our daily lives for others to see and judge. If they like what they see, and if they or one of their friends needs help, they can come to us or go directly to AA. It sounds so simple to be saying this but this is the primary way we carry the message.
We can hardly be of help if our own fellowship doesn't know how to get in touch with us by extension we cannot reach other suffering alcoholics by referral if our nonalcoholic friends and neighbors do not know that we are alcoholic They simply would not know where to send loved ones for help
If we remain anonymous level at the person-to-person level and the fellowship level we would not be able to help anyone being anonymous at this level is the same as being secret and this is the exact opposite of carrying the message