Tradition Twelve (Short): Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.
Tradition Twelve (Long): And finally, we of Alcoholics Anonymous believe that the principle of anonymity has an immense spiritual significance. It reminds us that we are to place principles before personalities; that we are actually to practice a genuine humility. This to the end that our great blessings may never spoil us; that we shall forever live in thankful contemplation of Him who presides over us all.
C.A. World Service Manual 2023-01-23 Edition p. 14
“We believe that the concept of personal anonymity has a spiritual significance for us: 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 addicts might be impaired if we sought or accepted public recognition. While each member of C.A. is free to make his or her own interpretation of C.A. Tradition, no individual is ever recognized as a spokesperson for the Fellowship locally, nationally or internationally. Each member speaks only for themselves.”
AA, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, P. 184
THE spiritual substance of anonymity is sacrifice. Because A.A.’s Twelve Traditions repeatedly ask us to give up personal desires for the common good, we realize that the sacrificial spirit—well symbolized by anonymity—is the foundation of them all. It is A.A.’s proved willingness to make these sacrifices that gives people their high confidence in our future.
AA, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, P. 187
The promoter instinct in us might be our undoing. If even one publicly got drunk, or was lured into using A.A.’s name for his own purposes, the damage might be irreparable. At this altitude (press, radio, films, and television), anonymity— 100 percent anonymity—was the only possible answer. Here, principles would have to come before personalities, without exception. These experiences taught us that anonymity is real humility at work. It is an all-pervading spiritual quality which today keynotes A.A. life everywhere. Moved by the spirit of anonymity, we try to give up our natural desires for personal distinction as A.A. members both among fellow alcoholics and before the general public. As we lay aside these very human aspirations, we believe that each of us takes part in the weaving of a protective mantle which covers our whole Society and under which we may grow and work in unity. We are sure that humility, expressed by anonymity, is the greatest safeguard that Alcoholics Anonymous can ever have.
Clarifying Questions and Answers:
Q: Members of C.A. believe what? A:Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions.
Q: It reminds us to do what? A: Place principles before personalities.
Q: What are we to practice? A: Genuine humility.
Q: That what may never spoil us? A: Our great blessings.
Q: That we shall forever do what? A: Live in thankful contemplation.
- Do I anonymously help others and perform service work seeking no recognition?
- Do I respect the anonymity of an addict who shares a confidence with me?
- Do I refrain from complaining about other members’ negative behavior?
- When it will help another addict, am I willing to share that I am a member of Cocaine Anonymous?
- Do I refrain from fanatically promoting CA?