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The following quotations from Al-Anon Conference Approved Literature stress the importance of the principle of Anonymity in Al-Anon, as well as any other 12-step fellowship. This concept may seem foreign or difficult to newcomers. It will become clearer, even familiar, with continued exposure to the 12-step way of life. As personal growth takes root through meetings, practice of the steps, and sponsorship, the importance of Anonymity, and Principles above Personality, will become the basis of a safe and loving environment.
"Al-Anon is an anonymous fellowship. Everything that is said here, in the group meeting and member-to-member, must be held in confidence. Only in this way can we feel free to say what is in our minds and hearts, for this is how we help one another in Al-Anon." (Taken from the Suggested Al-Anon/Alateen Welcome)
TRADITION ELEVEN: "Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, TV and films. We need guard with special care the anonymity of all AA members."
"…it is important that we remain visible and available to those who seek our help. So we carry Al-Anon's message of hope with the help of the press, through public service announcements on radio and television, and in our Al-Anon literature…On the other hand, we are not here to sell ourselves to anyone…instead of recruiting, preaching, or proselytizing, we apply the principle of attraction and let the success of this wonderful way of life speak for us." (p. 120, How Al-Anon Works for Families and Friends of Alcoholics)
"We are especially careful to preserve the anonymity of AA members. The stigma of alcoholism can ruin a reputation, even after the alcoholic has gotten sober… So when we speak of our Al-Anon experience, we make sure that it is our story, and not the alcoholic's, that we tell." (p. 121, How Al-Anon Works for Families and Friends of Alcoholics)
"It is results alone that speak for Al-Anon. Those who have found comfort, enlightenment and a richer life are its best salesmen. The attraction of this fellowship, on its merits, is powerful and unfailing; we rely on this to spread its beneficent influence. Personal anonymity is part of this attraction. It assures those who seek us out that their privacy will be guarded by every member." (pp. 62-63, Al-Anon Family Groups)
TRADITION TWELVE: "Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles above personalities."
"Perhaps the single most important principle in Al-Anon is that concerning anonymity. Anonymity is our spiritual foundation because it is the basis of the trust that makes our program possible…Unless each of us is free to share as openly as we like without fear that our words will be repeated, none of us can safely use the resources available to us in Al-Anon…Although there are no rules in Al-Anon and no enforcers who will force us to protect one another's identities, we have to trust that our anonymity will be carefully guarded. We count on the 'obedience to the unenforceable' on which all our Traditions depend." (pp. 121-122, How Al-Anon Works for Families and Friends of Alcoholics)
"The spiritual principles underlying the Twelfth Tradition encourage us to act according to our own conscience rather than seeking the praise or attention of others…In fact, anonymous gestures can mark some of our greatest and most worthy accomplishments.
"Practicing the principle of anonymity in these ways teaches us humility…As we grow we learn to choose behavior that we can feel good about…we choose a path of personal integrity--we become people who keep confidences, refuse to gossip, and respect the privacy of all we encounter." (p. 123, How Al-Anon Works for Families and Friends of Alcoholics)
"Here the word anonymity goes far beyond the simple idea of keeping the identity of members from exposure. It says, in effect, that the principles by which we find our help are of far greater importance than the individual who gives or receives that help…no matter who you are, or what your views, attitudes and wishes may be, all this must be subordinated to the spiritual principles established for the greatest good of the greatest number…Acceptance of this idea may come slowly to many of us; it requires real humility." (pp. 63-64, Al-Anon Family Groups)
"Anonymity makes it possible to leave not only our surnames, but all the labels and expectations with which we have been burdened, outside the Al-Anon rooms. Through our commitment to anonymity we can put aside what we are and begin to know who we are." (p. 20, Courage to Change)
"If I want the benefits the program has to offer, I have an obligation to extend to others the same respect and courtesy that keep me feeling safe, free from labels, and free to be myself." (p. 20, Courage to Change)
"…individual differences are unimportant within the program. We set aside any desire for personal distinction and meld willingly into the group. Freed of worldly constraints, our principles, as practiced in the meetings, provide a secure environment where we can heal and grow spiritually as equals…Anonymity breaks down barriers." (p. 356, Hope for Today)
"Anonymity unifies our fellowship by removing individual status so we can listen to the message rather than the messenger." (p. 237, Paths to Recovery)
Alcoholism is a family disease. Those of us who live with, or have have lived with, this disease as children or adults sometimes have problems which the Al-Anon program can help us to resolve. If you have answered yes to some of all of the above questions, Al-Anon may be of help to you. You can contact Al-Anon by checking your local telephone directory, or from the Resources page. Phone numbers and Contact Information for the Austin Area are listed on the Contact Page of this website.