Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions.

One funny thing about an Alcohol Awareness Month is that much of recovery is based on anonymity and therefore pretty much the opposite of awareness. People come to recovery through a number of different means, but the most widely accepted and best known method is through the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.

AA literature states “anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions.” Whenwe first come to the program, many fear being branded with a pair of scarlet A’s on their chest. This tradition protects the newcomer, and everyone in recovery – as we often say, “I can tell anyone that I am an alcoholic, but I can’t tell anyone that you are.”

Anonymity also protects the program itself. Let’s say Lindsay Lohan goes to AA & straightens herself out. It’s plastered all over the news, “Praise God, it’s a miracle!” A couple months later, the headlines are screaming about Lindsay’s latest drug & alcohol fueled exploits. We say, “See, that AA stuff doesn’t work – it couldn’t keep her sober, it won’t work for me.” (I use Lindsay Lohan as a general example; I don’t actually know anything about her drug/alcohol use or attempts at recovery.)

The truth is that AA has been instrumental in maintaining the sobriety of millions of people worldwide. However, it is important to maintain our anonymity at the level of press, radio & films, so as not to become a spokesperson for AA. We are all human and quite capable of failure. I am quite capable of failure and do not imagine myself any sort of expert. I just know a few things and wanted to share in the interest of increasing awareness.

My name is Laurie & I am an alcoholic… and if you think you may be, too, I am bound by the principle of anonymity to not speak to anyone else about it without your express permission.

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