Attraction Rather Than Promotion

Tradition Eleven:  “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.”

When I hear people discuss the concept of “attraction rather than promotion” in meetings, it usually doesn’t have to do with the tradition it comes from.  People talk about these words in relation to how we try to give AA to people we know who need it.  We’re told to tell our own personal story, to tell how the program changed and saved our own life, what it all means to us, instead of telling others why we think they need it, how we know it could help them.  I’m supposed to live my life, and share my life, in a way that makes a struggling alcoholic want what I have.

Hard and sad experience has shown that there really is no other way, and that often even that way isn’t sufficient.  But so many of us balk at a promoter.  A hard sell is certainly not the way to spread the good news.

The history of the tradition is written about in the AA literature.  In the early days, some people became AA spokespeople and all kinds of bad things happened as a result of that.  I honestly admire the way Bill W tried to not take over and stay in charge.  I see how someone from the past could have derailed or ruined AA from personal association.

Today, it seems to me like it’s celebrities who threaten AA with breaks in anonymity.  Not that AA would or could be ruined by any of them, but that they can make a bad impression, especially when they slip and slide or engage in psychobabble on talk shows.  That is not AA.  I also disapprove (I almost wrote resent) the fact that they break this tradition in that way.  There are famous folks who are well-known members of AA, not because they say they are members, but because it is known.  There’s no helping that, and that’s different.

As for the day-to-day attraction of real people in real life, there are several on my prayer list, and I keep hoping that AA will be attractive enough to them before it’s too late.

3 thoughts on “Attraction Rather Than Promotion

  1. Greetings from Kent, England.
    I know exactly what you mean, and I’m glad there are people in the fellowship who can express it better than I can.
    But if you can get an internet podcast from the BBC of a venerable radio programme called Desert Island Discs, try listening to Tony Adamson. Possibly not known in America, he was captain of Englands football team. He is the only person in more than 50yrs of the programme to choose the Big Book as his read for the Desert Island.
    I think he carried a powerful message in a situation where many fans would know his story and o pretend otherwise would be pointless
    Best Wishes,

  2. Perhaps the AA organization should reconsider the affiliation it has forged with the drug and DUI courts, as tradition 7 clearly states: “While an A.A. group may cooperate with anyone, such cooperation ought never go so far as affiliation or endorsement, actual or implied. An A.A. group can bind itself to no one.”
    Most members don’t seem to realize that the GSO instructs CPC committee members to approach judges and probation officers with the suggestion that they court-order offenders into AA.
    This can clearly be seen in the instructional material for CPC committees available of the GSO website>

    Isn’t the program alledgedy intended Only for the willing? The court mandated unwilling have certainly been doing more than their share of giving AA a bad reputation as of late. A lot of members don’t appreciate having to share the room with resentful people who don’t want to be there. If AA stopped promoting itself to the courts, perhaps the courts would stop sending all kinds of offenders to AA.

    • When anyone, anywhere reaches out for help , I want the hand of AA to always be there. And for that I am responsible. In our group we welcome everyone and treat everyone the same. It appears you are not
      capable of following the pledge.

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