Tradition 11 – Episode 95

DSC_5860Do you switch the tv-channel when the commercial kicks in? Are you tired of being reminded of something which you know would be good for you but you just don't want to, and now giving in would just feel odd? Do you wonder why some annoying people always have to emphasize where and how they get their stuff? But are you curious why that person, despite all the obvious problems in their life, has a smile on their face? And how do we practice anonymity in our podcast?

Ruth and Spencer talk about Tradition 11, “Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, films, and TV. We need guard with special care the anonymity of all AA members.” We used these questions to guide our discussion.

– There is a lot in this this tradition and I would like to start with the last sentence: the anonymity of the alcoholic. Why it is important, for them for us. How was it when we were new, or even before before we learned about the concept if the desease.

  • If we break our anonymity we may break the one of our relatives too.
  • How can we share our story without breaking the anonymity?
  • Various aspects of anonymity: our background, education, finance, status … not just names.
  • As important as it is to experience people who have what you want to have, it is important not to connect people with program (principles over personalities).
  • What can we do, what do you do to let people know about AlAnon?

I asked on twitter: how would you translate the 11th tradition into your personal life and I get a very good response from “the bubble hour”: “attraction not promotion means we can stand on our integrity in all things, without controlling outcomes or people.”

  • How do we practice Tradition 11 in this podcast?
  • We share only our own experience, strength, and hope.
  • We do not use our full names, and some of us use pseudonyms.
  • We don’t try to “sell” Al-Anon.
  • We often use phrases such as “loved one” when we mention the alcoholic(s) and/or addict(s) in our life.

A Slogan for Tradition 11: “Take what you like and leave the rest”

How do we practice this tradition in our life?

  • Being an example.
  • Act as we expect to be treated (“Golden rule”)

Upcoming topics include isolation and caretaking. Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
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anonymity – a meditation



11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, films and TV. We need guard with special care the anonymity of all AA members.
12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

Al-Anon Traditions

I have spent some time thinking about anonymity. What is it? What does it mean for me? What does it mean for this podcast? How can I tell my story and maintain appropriate anonymity? Recently, I attended a screening of the new documentary, The Anonymous People, which encourages us to speak out in support of recovery, to work to remove the stigma of the disease of addiction. It raises some questions. How can we speak out while hiding our identity? Does feeling that we need to keep our recovery secret just perpetuate the stigma and shame?  What is important about anonymity?

For me, there are four important aspects of anonymity as captured in Traditions 11 and 12.

First, I believe strongly that my anonymity is mine to protect or unveil. I can control what I reveal and what I hide. I can decide to be fully open about who I am, what I do, where I live, or I can decide that it is none of your business and not reveal any of it.

However, tradition 11 asks us to not put ourselves forward as representatives or spokespeople for our recovery program. No one person can represent the program. If I were to say, “I am the true voice of the program,” and you decided you didn't like me, you might also reject the good of the program. Or, if you took my word as gospel, my experience might not be right for you, and you wouldn't find the help you need. Thus, in this podcast, I remain as anonymous as possible, trying to share my experience, strength, and hope, and nothing more.

Tradition 11 also asks us to protect the identity of any members of AA that we might know. In fact, just as I can control what I reveal, I believe that it is your decision and responsibility to decide what you might reveal or hide about yourself, and that I must defer to you in those decisions.

Tradition 12 tells me that it is important that what I share in meetings comes from my own experience, that I share from that experience, and that I do not put myself forward as any sort of authority. If, for example, I was a therapist, I should not use that as a basis for recommending any solution or course of action. I say only “this is what I experienced”, “this is what I did”, and “this is what happened.” In that way, I share from principles and not from my own person.

From this, I conclude that Al-Anon does not require me to be silent about my recovery. It only requires that I do not reveal things I learned about other people in the program, and that I do not put myself forward as any sort of representative or authority about the program. I am free to share my experience, my strength, and my hope, within those boundaries.

At least, that's my opinion.

A meditation for September 25, 2013.

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Anonymity – Episode 27

Our 12th Tradition says “Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions…” Why is anonymity important? What does it mean to be anonymous? Does it mean that we actively hide our identity? Is it about only sharing our first name (and initial?) Or is there something deeper here? What can we share about ourselves? What can we share about other people in our lives? And especially, what can we share about the alcoholics and addicts whose behavior has so deeply affected our lives?

We were prompted to this topic by a listener, who wrote, “I would like to make a show suggestion: can you do a show on Anonymity? It’s another thing I struggle with. How much about my life can I talk about in my share? Should I keep details like what I do for a living or where I go to school to myself? When I have heard the most profound thing at a meeting and want to share it, can I tell someone what I heard? I some times feel like al anon is shrouded in mystery, where are the boundaries of the secret?”

Kelli, Swetha, and Spencer, with some help from our friend Mark, discuss these questions and other aspects of anonymity in the program.

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