Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.
The last line of the text:
We are sure that humility, expressed by anonymity, is the greatest safeguard that Alcoholics Anonymous can ever have.
The oft misunderstood “principles before personalities” comes from here. It does not mean, though it could, that because we are fellow ship wreck survivors, trying to work the program of recovery, we need to let go of and overlook the faults of our fellow AAs. For sure, I love most of the people in the program just because they are there, but AA should not be, in my opinion, any kind of harbor for criminals or worse.
Over the past month I’ve read in the news about people arguing that anonymity is out-dated and needs to go. On the one hand, they are right, I believe, that alcoholics in recovery do not need to be embarrassed by our present state of affairs, although I have plenty to be embarrassed about in my past. But my status as an alcoholic in recovery is not of itself a shame-worthy thing.
Those people are missing the most important aspect of it anonymity, though. First, they are NOT being humble, and second, they are risking the reputation and good name of AA by publicly attaching themselves to it.
THE GREATEST safeguard that AA can EVER have. AA saved my life and it’s extremely important to me that it be there for people in the future. Yes, for my children or possible descendents, but people unrelated to me as well. I want it for the future of human beings more than I want nature or religion or culture or government for them. Why would I take a chance with the greatest safeguard ever?
I’m happy that I read the traditions and I’m very happy that I’m done with them for now. The exercise has increased my knowledge and understanding and appreciation of the program. Over the past few months, I actually witnessed (through the kitchen door) a slightly heated argument between two people at a meeting regarding the traditions. It’s the only argument I witnessed at a meeting lately (because the time some, um, gentleman? tried to call me out at a meeting, I didn’t respond, and so, no argument). It’s one of the only two topics I’ve seen in the news about AA (the other being the Toronto groups who edited the steps and still want to be recognized by AA – which probably is a traditions topic as well).
I was recently listening to a talk Bill W gave and part of what he said had to do with circumstances that came together in provident ways to bring the program into being. These traditions are a whole other truck load of magic to me.
I love AA!