members have always taken care to preserve their anonymity
at the "public" level: press, radio, television,
In the early days of
A.A., when more stigma was attached to the term "alcoholic"
than is the case today, this reluctance to be identified
- and publicized - was easy to understand. As the Fellowship
of A.A. grew, the positive values of anonymity soon
First, we know from
experience that many problem drinkers might hesitate
to turn to A.A. for help if they thought their problem
might be discussed publicly, even inadvertently, by
others. Newcomers should be able to seek help with complete
assurance that their identities will not be disclosed
to anyone outside the Fellowship.
Then, too, we believe
that the concept of personal anonymity has a spiritual
significance for us - that it discourages the drives
for personal recognition, power, prestige, or profit
that have caused difficulties in some societies. Much
of our relative effectiveness in working with alcoholics
might be impaired if we sought or accepted public recognition.
While each member of
A.A. 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
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.
An A.A. member may,
for various reasons, "break anonymity" deliberately
at the public level. Since this is a matter of individual
choice and conscience, the Fellowship as a whole obviously
has no control over such deviations from tradition.
It is clear, however, that such individuals do not have
the approval of the overwhelming majority of members.