True Meaning of Anonymity

To be anonymous in AA means to be one among many, to accept ourselves as no better or worse than our fellows. This acceptance places us in a state of humility and makes us teachable.

~ 12 Step Literature

Anonymity in Tradition #12 means a whole lot more than just not gossiping. In most meetings you will hear: “who you see here, and what you hear here, stays here when you leave here. Here Here!” That is just a small part of it. In meetings, we are encouraged to refrain from saying things such as quoting another member by name or promoting one person above all others as the expert or the one with the longest term sobriety. This elevates one above others which is a breach of anonymity. No one is in charge in AA. We are all equal in sobriety. Even those of us who have been around AA many decades, just have today. The truth is, that whoever woke up earliest, has the most sobriety today. I got up a bit late today. I am still sober, but others have a 4 hour jump start on being sober for this day.

The thing about being on an equal par with all others, is that we can be afforded the opportunity to learn from people no matter how much education they may have or not have. I have learned the most out of people who come from the most humble beginnings. I must remain teachable, so that when the messages are delivered, I will be opened to receiving them. An old timer likes to say: “G.O.D. does not call those who are qualified to serve; G.O.D. qualifies those who are called to serve”. That make sense to me. None of us were born with innate knowledge on how to do anything. In fact, it took us at least one year to learn how to talk, walk, and feed ourselves. So, it is in AA. We need people to teach us to how to get and live sober one step and one day at a time. Remain teachable.


We are not Professionals

Tradition #8: AA should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers. ~ AA 12 Traditions

Fellowship is the key word for this tradition. We are all equal, there is no status or seniority. The one with the most seniority in AA is the person who woke up earliest this morning. If we remember this, we are not placed on an imaginary ladder of worth. We do not end up measuring each other by our outside appearance, rank, social status, etc. I thank goodness every day that some wise people many years ago decided we need the traditions in order to keep us humble, require that we respect each other as equals, and make us work in a truly democratic way.

That is why we do not let professionals run the show. We have many highly skilled and educated people among us, but they are encouraged to leave those at the door. We must remain teachable. So, when we come in it is best that we not presume we have all the answers, know what is best, or think we are smarter than the next person. Those of us from the healing and helping professions need AA and support as much as anyone else in this program. Those of us who have been around for many years need the newcomers as much as they need us. When we embrace this fact, life gets easier. What a deal AA has given us.