Are AA’s Eleventh And Twelfth Traditions Outdated?

A few pages inside the AA book Twelve Steps And Twelve Traditions is the date of the first printing. It reads 1953. At the end of the book it lists a general synopsis of the Traditions.

The Eleventh Tradition states. “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.”

The Twelfth Tradition states. “And finally, we of Alcoholics Anonymous believe that the principle of anonymity has an immense spiritual significance. It reminds us that we are to place principles before personalities; that we are actually to practice a genuine humility.”

My time in Alcoholics Anonymous enabled me to grow both spiritually and as a person until I was able to do so on my own. I broke my anonymity with a book I wrote and continue to do so with a blog I write. I say this not for shameless promotion. I say it because I’m not ashamed of talking about my life and calling myself a “Recovered Alcoholic.” I want to shout to the world how AA, and more importantly, The Twelve Steps changed my life.

I have read and understand the Traditions; I know they are important to Alcoholics Anonymous as they apply to the Fellowship itself. However, my point is that The Twelve Steps are what helped me most in my recovery, and I can’t find in any of them where it suggests I need to remain anonymous.

I didn’t break my anonymity for fame and wealth. I wrote from my heart what I believed would help others with addiction. I talked about my fears and insecurities and how The Twelve Steps helped me to overcome them.

We were a much more private nation back in 1953. Our politicians and celebrities weren’t as exploited by the media as they certainly are today. Perhaps we were also a more spiritual and humbler nation back then too. These days it seems everybody and their brother wants and needs attention, and will do and say anything to get it.

When I think about what genuine humility means to me as mentioned in The Twelfth Tradition; I know I am a more spiritual person than before. I do put principles before personalities. And that I am surely being both genuine and humble in expressing my experience in AA and in life.

On the first page of chapter five in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous there is a sentence that states. “Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like today.” I can’t think of any better way to gain attention as it can literally save lives. So to those anonymous people who have already come forward to talk about their addiction; thank you.

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