Principles Before Personalities (from Tradition Twevle)

An hour or so ago I looked at this topic and thought briefly about what it means to me.  I then asked Carole what it means to her.  We had different but similar wrong ideas about this phrase.  Through the years, I’ve ended up at Tradition meetings a few times by accident.  It was common years ago to do a tradition on th fifth whatever day of the week since that occurs only four times a year.  I’ve never sought out a traditions meeting and I don’t give the traditions tons of thought.  I am profoundly grateful that they protect the existence of AA and do it so well that they don’t often come to my attention.  They are an integral part of AA’s success.

I’ve given Traditon Eleven some thought in relation to this blog.  I write briefly about it in the “about this blog” page, and to my understanding, I should not make my last name public nor should I show a full face picture of myself.  There are many bloggers who do this so maybe my understanding is wrong, but I think theirs is.  I have also seen AA referenced on Facebook, again with the person’s last name and full face picture.  Again, I understand that to be wrong.  Lots of people know who I am, know I’m in AA, and know I write this, but since they do actually know me, I don’t believe that violates the tradition.  I am very open to other views and I take this matter seriously.

I had a vauge notion that “principles before personalities” comes from the traditions.  That’s probably because I usually hear the traditions at least once a week.  Before I peeked at the book, I would have said that to me, the phrase means I should not take the bad behavior or my dislike of some individuals within AA to reflect badly on AA.  Carole’s guess had something to do with helping others within AA, even if I don’t personally like them.

Neither of those really goes with the beginning words, “anonymity being the spiritual foundation of all our traditions.”  I have at times let it briefly cross my mind that those first words don’t really jive with my interpretation of the the last words.  So today I looked and it seems I’ve been mistaken.

My new understanding of the tradition is that it further explains why anonymity at the level I described is necessary.  It goes through the history of AA and how it was a secret society, and how then for a time there were too many people who sought to join and how there weren’t enough AA members to handle the demand.  It talks about people being public about their AA membership, then drinking, casting AA in a bad light and so discouraging some potential members.

My first thought, before I read about it, along with Carole’s are interesting and good concepts, I think, they just don’t speak to the actual tradition.

I love it that I’m still learning.  And I still believe that AA blogs should not contain full names or full face pictures, and that Facebook should not disclose AA membership.

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