“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. Al-Anon Addition: We need guard with special care the anonymity of all A.A. members.”
When discussing their personal recovery with the media, members who are identified by their full names — such as the case of those who are already well known in the media — they should not also identify the specific name of their 12 step recovery group.
If members wish to discuss the benefits of membership in a specific 12 step group, such as Al-Anon or Alcoholics Anonymous, they then should not identify themselves except by first name only.
Many recovering members have the attitude “When I was drinking, everybody knew I was the town drunk, why should I hide my identity now that I am recovering?”
The answer is, for the good of the fellowship. The example is given of a famous athlete or television personality — a role model for youth — who gets into recovery and announces to the entire world that A.A. has saved his life. What happens if that person relapses? The kids say, “Well, so much for A.A.!”
Through my years in AA I have seen what promotion has done to AA as a whole, it has allowed outsiders to change our message, so many changes that insiders now hear a different message.
Slowly we have replaced “we get better” with “things get better,” we have allowed outside institutions to tell us that it does not matter which 12 step program you go to they are all the same. I got to watch a drug addict die at an AA meeting because alcoholics couldn’t relate to what he was trying to say, they didn’t understand and she died from withdrawal at an AA meeting.
By trying to save the world we are not adhering to our singleness of purpose — one AA helping another AA. Our hearts are in the right place, but as a whole we are doing more harm than good. AA’s early success rate was around 75 percent. Today’s rate has dropped drastically from all the promotion.
On an individual level AA’s seem to forget that we are responsible for being the attractions, by changing our appearance, how we communicate, dress, and conduct ourselves in and out of the rooms of AA. That’s part of carrying the message also, to let people see the difference that this design for living we were given has worked in our life.
When people SEE the four changes in our life — mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual — they are attracted. They need no promotion. This is a program for people who want it. Let’s not let others tell us what they think we are about. Let’s just be ready when the suffering alcoholic is ready to open the door and show him what we are.