The long form of the Twelfth Tradition starts on page 565:
“12.—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. This to the end that our great blessings may never spoil us; that we shall forever live in thankful contemplation of Him who presides over us all.”
I really love this reading; it helps me remember that there is something bigger than me. Bigger than the conflict between me and that other person who wants us to do it her way instead of my way—the right way. It makes me want to act like a saner and more giving person.
Often in OA we get stuck on the idea that anonymity is about not using our names with public media. That is one of the meanings of anonymity, but it is not the only meaning.
One of the synonyms of anonymity is “namelessness.” That is why we do not put the names of speakers on OA event flyers or schedules. The emphasis is on the topic rather than the person. We do not put names of authors on OA literature either. We say, “my sponsor told me….” rather than “Jean told me…” When I say my sponsor says to read xxx; I might as well say the OA program says to read xxx. That way I honor the process and the program, not one specific person.
I love doing service at a “high” level, but I try to stay humble about it because I have seen people get very wrapped up in being the person in charge or who is at the top. In OA we only hold positions a short time and then we rotate on to other positions and allow someone else to fill the “top spot.” Sometimes I have seen people gain weight after being in a top-level position. I know that I have certain strengths, but I also have weaknesses and so do other people. I do not want to lose my abstinence after being in a high position. I know that my recovery is worth far more to me than any OA service position. This “Long Form of the Twelfth Tradition” helps me stay right-sized.
Margie G. – Region One
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