In 1956 the U.S./Canada General Service Conference of AA adopted unanimously the following statement of “AA’s Public Information Policy”:
In all public relationships, AA’s sole objective is to help the still-suffering alcoholic. Always mindful of the importance of personal anonymity, we believe this can be done by making known to him, and to those who may be interested in his problem, our own experience as individuals and as a fellowship in learning to live without alcohol. We believe that our experience should be made available freely to all who express sincere interest. We believe further that all our efforts in this field should always reflect our gratitude for the gift of sobriety and our awareness that many outside AA are equally concerned with the serious problem of alcoholism.
In short, this means: Tradition Eleven reads: 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. Nothing more and nothing less. I am still struggling to deal with the lack of passion to maintain the 12 Step Program’s bylaws standards and wording as necessary to maintain our nonprofit status. It is true that we are all just an organized bunch of soberdrunks, but we still have to function in a world of rules and regulations. How we word our bylaws, how we handle our funds, and how we keep abreast of the legal paperwork is essential in keeping the doors of AA open. So, when they say “easy does it; don’t forget the remainder of that saying “but do it!”
Here are some questions to ask yourself, and to help others understand how Tradition #11 can be honored going forward: https://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/smf-131_en.pdf
1. Do I sometimes promote AA so fanatically that I make it seem unattractive?
2. Am I always careful to keep the confidences reposed in me as an AA member?
3. Am I careful about throwing AA names around—even within the Fellowship?
I am not as fervent about sobriety as I have been in the past. I used to want to rescue every drunk in my life. But, I have learned from many a bruised ego event, that staying sober and practicing “live and let live” is the best I can do for loved ones. I do talk in general to my sponsor about certain difficult personalities that I encounter. I am sure I have worn her ears out. But, in all other matters, I do keep my confidences. If someone is hurting, I may ask others to pray for them or to give them a call. And, I never drop names of who I know or where I know them from. I like to say, “she/he is a friend of a friend.” (they do not need to know that friend is named Bill W.!) So, we have learned a few more things about tradition #11. I will introduce some more tomorrow. Have a great day.