Anonymity: Then & Now

Anonymity: Then & Now

Anonymity: Then & Now

In the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, Tradition Twelve states, “Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.”  It goes on to say, “THE spiritual substance of anonymity is sacrifice. Because A.A.’s Twelve Traditions repeatedly ask us to give up personal desires for the common good, we realize that the sacrificial spirit—well symbolized by anonymity—is the foundation of them all. It is A.A.’s proved willingness to make these sacrifices that gives people their high confidence in our future.”

This morning, I was in conversation with another member of A.A. who is often times my voice of reason around matters of Tradition or Concept.  She reached out to me and asked about a post made in a secret Facebook group for a large, once-monthly, A.A. meeting that occurs where a flyer was posted with the full face of a speaker for an upcoming workshop series using the Joe & Charlie study.  She reached out to me and asked what my thoughts were on that flyer.

She shared this in an email to me, “Since being made aware of the Posthumous guideline last year, which includes all deceased AA Members, I’m seeing these types of flyers in a new light.”  She went onto say, “From pamphlet: Understanding Anonymity – “Facts about anonymity in A.A. It is the A.A. member’s responsibility, and not that of the media, to maintain our cherished Tradition of anonymity.  A.A. members generally think it unwise to break the anonymity of the member even after his or her death, but in each situation, the final decision must rest with the family. A.A. members, though, are in agreement that the anonymity of still living A.A. members should be respected in obituaries or in any type of printed remembrance or death notice.”

She also reminded me of the November 2020 Quarterly Report from G.S.O. where it shared in the Public Information section of the report, “The committee recommended that the following language be added to the G.S.O. P.I. Policy on the Co-Founders’ Posthumous Anonymity: An anonymity protected image of the co-founders may be provided to news media upon request, when appropriate, from the G.S.O. Public Information desk.”

When she read that, she reached out to the P.I. desk at G.S.O. for examples of the Anonymity Protected pics for Bill and Bob and they sent two examples (the two images on this post).  That conversation with her was a great reminder of what we are taught in the Twelfth Tradition itself that anonymity IS the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions.  Why?  For me, it’s a reminder of the humility I need to embrace on my journey.  My life today may have come from some work I did to get me here, but being a recovered (not cured) alcoholic comes primarily from my willingness to turn my will and my life over to the care of a God of my understanding and to realize that left to my own devices, I cannot do this on my own.  I need to sacrifice my personal desire for recognition and stay focused on the common good.

I’m grateful for that reminder this morning.  Thanks T.


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