Saturday, November 27, 2010


Since our Tradition on anonymity designates the exact level where the line should be held, it must be obvious to everyone who can read and understand the English Language that to maintain anonymity at any other level is definitely a violation of this Tradition.

the A.A. who hides his identity from his fellow A.A. by using only a given name violates the Tradition just as much as the A.A. who permits his name to appear in the press in connection with matters pertaining to A.A.

The former is maintaining his anonymity above the level of press, radio, and films, and the latter is maintaining his anonymity below the level of press, radio, and films--whereas the Tradition states that we should maintain our anonymity at the level of press, radio and films. (Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers, p264)

When I read the line about "it must be obvious to everyone who can read" I was on the offensive. I jump to feeling stupid. The unhappy kid within my jumps to the forefront. Just take a breath, Mr. Indistinct.

Views on what anonymity means various from member to member. Lots of opinions and since I'm the type of guy who's opinion seems to be the last one he heard it can get confusing. I understand about maintaining anonymity at the level of press, radio and films (and this blog because of it's public platform) but withholding my last name within my group or the A.A. community that I live in seemed to be of importance (for self protection, fear based) to me and to a lot of others. Dr. Bob is saying otherwise and if I can get past my resentments to his opening and just listen, I can understand the importance of sharing who I am. Without my last name, I am impossible to contact. How can I be of any help to anyone if no one can find me.

So, when sharing one on one, I will offer my full name and phone number when reaching out my hand to help another (while feeling just a bit fearful).

Trust God, clean house, help others.


Annette said...

I can see how you felt defensive. That line was kind of "snotty" for lack of a better term. lol But I have to remember that when I come across something that doesn't sit right with me, all of our material was written by sick people who were in the process of getting well. They aren't the authorities, they aren't perfect, and they haven't arrived. They have made themselves available to be used by their HP but sometimes a little bit of their own stuff shines through bright and clear. :o)

Sometimes I have trouble understand the "rules" of our programs. I like the way you make yourself available to people in real life, but you keep your blog anonymous. That sounds very wise and considerate of the anonymity tradition.

Also, thank you for your comments on my blog...your thoughts are always much appreciated.

Grace-WorkinProgress said...

I was told that anonymity was good because maybe the program didn't need or want me to represent everybody in it. I can understand that.

Syd said...

I give my phone number and name. People know how to contact me. It is important to be available.

Eli said...

That one scares me a little, too. When I go to a church-based recovery program, am I taking an unnecessary risk in sharing my first and last names? (At this point, I have not shared my problems publicly with my own congregation, only my pastor and leadership.)

There's a part of me that wishes I could be brutally honest and open with everybody. I have friends who do this, but they have nothing to lose - no position of authority, no family, no reputation to speak of. It doesn't really cost them much to be completely honest about themselves.