Its Necessity Today
I believe that anonymity–the spiritual substance of it–is more important than ever today. The spiritual substance of anonymity–self-sacrifice–is the cement that binds us, that allows us to stay alive and well and growing. Most of us arrived in AA as egomaniacs, power drivers, manipulators, glory seekers, and islands unto ourselves, self-obsessed and possessed. Here we learn that each of us is only a small part of a great whole; we learn that our unity is the most cherished quality that we possess; we learn that our lives and the lives of all those to come depend on this unity; and we learn that our AA heart would cease to beat without that unity and that therefore our world arteries would be unable to carry the life-giving grace of God–and his great gift to us would be aimlessly spent.
The anonymity that I focus on today tells me that it does not matter who carries the message. That the message continues to be carried is all that matters. This is the great reality. The highest I can go in AA is sober. With this in mind, the necessity for anonymity–self-sacrifice–is more important than ever today.
We often dwell on anonymity in relation to last names and in relation to the press, radio, and films. And we all seem to understand this anonymity even though we sometimes debate it, confuse it, and misuse it. I feel, personally, that we tend to overlook or perhaps not fully understand, the real anonymity that goes much deeper, to the core of our beings, that weaves its way through all our Traditions as the spiritual tie that binds us and unites us in love in this incredible Fellowship of ours. Our Twelfth Tradition reminds me that anonymity is our spiritual foundation; and, therefore, because of AA’s increasing role in society, its necessity has to be more important than ever to each of us.
The importance of the spiritual substance of anonymity has been indelibly shared with me since my earliest sober days. I was told that self-sacrifice meant that I would give up my personal desires in order to promote the common good and that I would give up my natural desires for personal distinction in order to take part in weaving a protective mantle for our society. I learned that anonymity is humility at work and that it expresses itself as we adhere to the following: as a society of equals it does not matter who does the job, only that the job gets done; we help others unconditionally without expectation of credit or reward; we acknowledge our dependence on a Higher Power, knowing that any success we may have is far more to his credit than ours; we remember that of ourselves we are nothing, that it is God within who does the works–that he has the power and the message while we are the channels and the messengers.
In service to Alcoholics Anonymous for almost twenty-five years, I have learned that we achieve humility as individual members by recognizing our true place in AA. As a Fellowship, we achieve humility by recognizing AA’s true place in the world. In Alcoholics Anonymous, we have something stronger than our human personalities to rely upon; this something is our spiritual principles–which are not our own invention but reflect eternal spiritual values. We AAs are richly blessed, gifted with the great opportunity to humbly rely on God’s power to carry the message of hope to those, placed in our path, who are suffering. Anonymity is a daily blessing that God offers each of us.