From the September 1968 magazine.

Eleventh Tradition: Brake on Us Power Drivers?

OUR BOOK Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions reminds us of the reason for the origin of Tradition Eleven: to discourage the power-driver, the status-seeker. No one knows this better than I do, having achieved a position of some stature in my part of the country. During my drinking days, my ego combined with alcohol placed me squarely in the middle of skid row. There, thank God, I received some ego-deflation at depth. I saw for myself what "self-will run riot" could do. By the grace of God and the principles in our Twelve Steps, I have been able to rise to a position of dignity and service to my fellowman, both in the Fellowship and outside it. The Tradition of anonymity has safeguarded me from feeling that this AA outfit could not operate without me. Maybe we could call it humility or self-knowledge based on truth.

Anonymity at the public level is our assurance to newcomers that their membership in AA will not be disclosed by others, nor will they ever be required to disclose it themselves. It will be up to them to tell those they think should know, when and if they choose. More importantly, in the long run, the principle of personal anonymity helps discourage drives for power, profit, and prestige, which could divert us from our primary purpose: staying sober and helping other alcoholics achieve sobriety. Thus, anonymity at the public level assures us that no individual AA member will be publicly acknowledged as a spokesman or leader. Within our Traditions, members do not use their membership to further their careers, to promote their products or services, or to give weight to their arguments in public controversy.

-- P. A. G. W.

Oakville, Ontario

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