Tradition 11

Short Form:

“Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films.”

Long Form:

“Our relations with the general public should be characterized by personal anonymity. We think A.A. ought to avoid sensational advertising. Our names and pictures as A.A. members ought not be broadcast, filmed, or publicly printed. Our public relations should be guided by the principle of attraction rather than promotion. There is never need to praise ourselves. We feel it better to let our friends recommend us.”


Overriding Idea of T11:
Attraction Rather Than Promotion

Reading Assignment:
12&12: Pgs. 180-183


From the Foreword of the 12 & 12:  “A.A.’s Twelve Traditions apply to the life of the Fellowship itself. They outline the means by which A.A. maintains its unity and relates itself to the world about it, the way it lives and grows.”


Attraction Rather Than Promotion

Bill W. once said, “We had no public relations policy except for a fear of public relations. Our relations with the general public should be characterized by personal anonymity. There is never need to praise ourselves. We feel it better to let our friends recommend us.”

Good public relations are A.A. lifelines reaching out to the fellow alcoholic who still does not know us. For years to come, our growth is sure to depend upon the strength and number of these lifelines.

Conversely, think about this. Should we identify ourselves by our first and last name when we speak at closed meetings of A.A? Does this violate the eleventh tradition? Of course not. We are only anonymous at the level of press, radio, and films. The press has not attended any closed meetings I have spoken at, so I am free to use my whole name. The final paragraph on page 37 of the pamphlet “Frequently Asked Questions About A.A.” states: “It should also be noted that within A.A., at A.A. meetings and amongst themselves, A.A. members are not anonymous.”

Step-Tradition Parallel

The eleventh step is related to the eleventh tradition: by praying only for knowledge of his will for me and the power to carry that out, I become a source of attraction to God and give Him all credit for my wonderful life.  The eleventh step poses the question, “How can we improve our conscious contact?” The eleventh tradition answers that question by pointing out that when we do not take credit for the good we do, we become closer to God in our prayer.

(Excerpts from the text above come from the Traditions Study developed by the Unity Insures Recovery Through Service A.A. Group, Los Angeles, CA.)

Tradition Illustrated



As it states at the top of this page, the 12 Traditions were created to help each A.A. group maintain unity and relate better to the world about us.  With that in mind, they have been widely used in helping us learn how to be in better relationships with everyone in our life.  Below is a snapshot inventory you can take to see how well you are honoring the spiritual principle found in this Tradition (in and out of the rooms of A.A.).

(The foundation of this inventory is from the A.A. Tradition’s Checklist first published in the A.A. Grapevine)

  1. Do I sometimes promote AA so fanatically that I make it seem unattractive
  2. Am I always careful to keep the confidences reposed in me as an AA member
  3. Am I careful about throwing AA names around—even within the Fellowship
  4. Am I ashamed of being a recovered, or recovering, alcoholic?
  5. What would AA be like if we were not guided by the ideas in Tradition Eleven
    Where would I be?
  6. Is my AA sobriety attractive enough that a sick drunk would want such a quality for himself?