The New York Times published an article titled, Challenging the Second ‘A’ in A.A by David Colman.
This article questions the value of anonymity and wonders what harm, if any, is done by someone who publicly admits that they are “recovering” or a part of a treatment program.
This debate isn’t a new one. What is new is the willingness of some to even consider changing what is a stated tradition for AA.
While the article mentions the 11th tradition, “Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films” it fails to cite in the more important 12th tradition. The 12th tradition states (italics added for emphasis), “Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our principals, ever reminding us to place principals before personalities.”
So does something “foundational” need to be reexamined?
No, it doesn’t.
What needs to be explored here is what one is doing in their own lives about recovery. Not what they are saying about it.
It is not surprising in today’s celebrity-obsessed ego-driven culture that people want to be associated with something successful like AA. But being associated with AA and succeeding in AA are two different things.
Success in AA requires steady, humble, and yes, anonymous action. That’s what makes it spiritual. After all, it’s called Alcoholic’s Annonymous.