A.A. members have always taken care to preserve their
anonymity at the “public” level: press, radio, television, and films.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 AA grew, the positive
values of anonymity soon became apparent. First, we know from experience
that many problem drinkers might hesitate to turn to AA for help if
they thought their problem might be discussed publicly, even inadvertently,
by others. Newcomers should be able to seek help with 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 AA is free to make his or her own interpretations of AA tradition,
no individual member is ever recognized as a spokesperson for the Fellowship
locally, nationally, or internationally. Each member speaks only for
himself or herself.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.