My First Experience With The General Public Should Be Characterized By Personal Anonymity

My First Experience With The General Public Should Be Characterized By Personal Anonymity

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Tradition Eleven
“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.”

In retrospect, my first experience with tradition eleven came long before I claimed myself a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. I had little to no impression of Alcoholics Anonymous. The reason being that I had not personally encountered any advertisements or promotions advocating Alcoholics Anonymous. A.A. members had not come knocking on my door and I cannot recall ever seeing a public or celebrity A.A. representative. I had no idea what alcoholism was, let alone an anonymous legion of drunks held together by a principle of anonymity. The Superior Court of California legally “recommended” that I attend AA meetings. I was nineteen years of age and torn to shreds; most of my family and friends thought I was doomed. My previous experience with A.A. was through Hospitals and Institutions. An A.A. panel brought their experience, strength, and hope to the adolescent unit where I was placed on a psychiatric hold. I was not willing to admit complete defeat just then at the age of Seventeen, but I did enjoy hearing your stories. In June of 2008 I attended my first meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. I had only seen 12-step meetings portrayed in movies and television shows, and needless to say this is surely what I expected. I came into the rooms sick as a dog and still experiencing withdrawal symptoms— all of my hop...


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...de from the newcomers I have met in the rooms of alcoholics anonymous, my contact with prospective A.A. members has been a result of friends recommending me. Some from the past and some who have only known me sober, but very rarely do these people know that I am an A.A. member. Some people know that I am sober as a result of refusing a drink or word-of-mouth— I have received many phone calls over the years from prospective newcomers because of this. The “Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions” states “ It is more than a denial of self-seeking. This tradition is a constant reminder that personal ambition has no place in A.A. In it, each member becomes an active guardian of our fellowship.” I have come to believe that this is true. My personal experience has reinforced this precious tradition; My anonymity protects me and our anonymity protects us.
Megan S.
Long Beach, CA

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