The latest issue of About AA: A Newsletter for Professionals continues discussing anonymity. see post in February for earlier article
Anonymity — Then and Now Our previous issue took a look at A.A.’s tradition of Anonymity as it has developed through the years, delineating some of the aspects of anonymity that led A.A. co-founder Bill W. to call this important principle “the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.” Serving as a guidepost for both personal and organizational humility, “the principle of anonymity is an all-pervading spiritual quality which today keynotes A.A. life everywhere,” added Bill W. in Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, the A.A. book which spells out the fundamental building blocks of the A.A. program of recovery. “Moved by the spirit of anonymity,” wrote Bill “we try to give up our natural desires for personal distinction as A.A. members both among fellow alcoholics and before the general public. As we lay aside these very human aspirations, we believe that each of us takes part in the weaving of a protective mantle which covers our whole Society and under which we may grow and work in unity.” For A.A. members and those seeking to help alcoholics get and stay sober, the question of personal anonymity at the public level of press, radio, film, television and the Internet has always generated healthy discussion. “As a rule, the average newcomer wanted his family to know immediately what he was trying to do,” wrote Bill. “He also wanted to tell others who had tried to help him — his doctor, his minister, and close friends. As he gained confidence, he felt it right to explain his new way of life to his employer and business associates. When opportunities to be helpful came along, he found he could talk easily about A.A. to almost anyone. These quiet disclosures helped him to lose his fear of the alcoholic stigma, and spread the news of A.A.’s existence in his community. Many a new man and woman came to A.A. because of such conversations. Though not in the strict letter of anonymity, such communications were well within its spirit.” Adds the pamphlet titled “The A.A. Group,” “In our personal relationships with nonalcoholics — and with those we think might have a problem with alcohol, we may feel free to say that we are recovering alcoholics (without divulging the names of other A.A. members), although discretion is recommended. Here our openness may help to carry the message.”
Attributed to the Spring 2014 Issue of About AA.