Media

The Media and 12-Step (Anonymous) Groups

We are eternally grateful to our public media friends for helping us observe our long-standing tradition of anonymity for members of 12-step "anonymous" groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous and Gamblers Anonymous.

12-Step Groups Appreciate Media Support

12-Step Anonymous groups, and Alcoholics Anonymous in particular, have a long history of cooperating with public media -- press, radio, TV and internet.

This co-operation is built in the spirit of helping members in our communities who are struggling with their addictions. Cooperation helps sufferers to overcome their fears of seeking help, and helps them feel safe while they are in the process of recovery. From a positive perspective, such recovery has vast benefits, not only for people with addictions, but also for their family, friends, and the whole community.

From a negative perspective, acting outside this spirit of cooperation can have disastrous consequences for individuals whose anonymity is breached, and for the people around them.

A.A. New Zealand on National Radio

Listen to Kathryn Ryan discuss A.A. with Ian Hastings, spokesman and non-alcoholic trustee of A.A. in New Zealand, and an A.A. member who has 23 years sobriety:

Investigative Article about Alcoholic Anonymous

 

This historical article, published in 1941, marks a highlight in A.A. history.

It sparked the first great surge of interest in A.A.


Anonymity - Our Protective Mantle

Almost every newspaper reporter who covers A.A. complains, at first, of the difficulty of writing his story without names. But he quickly forgets this difficulty when he realizes that here is a group of people who care nothing for acclaim.

Probably this is the first time in his life he has ever reported on an organisation that wants no personalised publicity. Cynic though he may be, this obvious sincerity quickly transforms him into a friend of A.A.

Grapevine, March 1946; "As Bill Sees It" page 316;
Reproduced with permission AA World Service

Moved by the spirit of anonymity, we try to give up our natural desires for personal distinction as A.A. members, both among fellow alcoholics and before the general public. As we lay aside these very human aspirations, we believe that each of us takes part in the weaving of a protective mantle which covers our whole Society and under which we may grow and work in unity.

"Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions", page 187
Reproduced with permission AA World Service

Moved by the spirit of anonymity, we try to give up our natural desires for personal distinction as A.A. members, both among fellow alcoholics and before the general public. As we lay aside these very human aspirations, we believe that each of us takes part in the weaving of a protective mantle which covers our whole Society and under which we may grow and work in unity.

"Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions", page 187
Reproduced with permission AA World Service

“Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions,
ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.”

 

 

This A.A. pamphlet explains clearly what anonymity means
both within and outside A.A.

 

 

Anonymity at the Public Level

A Note Of Thanks

Firstly, let us express our gratitude to you

From the first 12 step groups, which began with A.A. in 1935, 12-step group members have recognized that word-of-mouth is not sufficient by itself to carry each 12-step programme’s message of hope and recovery to the many people still suffering from their addictions. The public media has been a vital part of this effort, and today there are million's of successfully recovering members of 12-step fellowships in more than 180 countries.

These people have recovered from a myriad of ailments - alcoholism, bulimia, hoarding, overspending, anxiety, gambling addictions, drug addictions to name a few. There is an ever-growing range of 12-step fellowships.  Currently there are in excess of 160 different types worldwide.

A Request For Cooperation

Secondly, we respectfully request that you continue to cooperate with all 12-step fellowships in maintaining the anonymity of our members.

The Benefits of Respecting Anonymity

The principle of anonymity is a basic tenet of all of our fellowships:

  • Those who are reluctant to seek our help may overcome their fear if they are confident that their anonymity will be respected.
  • In addition, and perhaps less understood, our tradition of anonymity acts as a restraint on our members, reminding us that we are a program of principles, not personalities, and that no individual 12-step group member may presume to act as a spokesman or leader of any 12-step fellowship.

Media Action Needed to support people in recovery

If a 12-step group member is identified in the media, we ask that you :

  • please use first names only (e.g., Bob S. or Alice F.) and that you
  • please not use photographs or electronic images in which members’ faces may be recognized.

Thank you again

Again, we thank you for your continued cooperation.

More information

Those who wish to know more about any of our fellowships are welcome to contact us. Although our fellowships do not comment on matters of public controversy, we are happy to provide background information about any fellowship to anyone who seeks it.

 


Resources for the Media