Dear Guts Is The Key friends. I wrote this article 7 years ago, in reply to some concerns from a friend in a major 12 step organization. I did not publish the article article. But the content really needs to be shared. So, I’ve found a way not to specifically mention the name of the organization and change a couple minir things, so that I can share the article. This may help in many of you, that are in This 12 step organization, with the topic of Anonymity. At least it will help you think it through.
What anonymity is-What it is not.
To a (Bills Friends) friend,
Because I respect you as a brother and a friend, I have taking your comment that I posted into consideration. I have prayed about it. This note is only to try to make my side of the street clean. Not take your inventory, because I believe you were acting in good faith and trying to do the right thing.
I have taken a hard look and what I believe anonymity means and does not mean, to me.
To me, it means:
1. Not to reveal the interests, discussions, or nature of anything revealed to me, in an aa meeting or by any member of (Bills Friends), even outside a meeting. That others should be able to share with me safely, in strict confidence.
2. Not to specifically mention (Bills Friends) or any exclusively (Bills Friends) matter in press, radio or film. To avoid any direct mention of (Bills Friends) in the public marketplace of ideas.
3. Anonymity also means to me that I will do things for other people in and out of the program, without wanting other people to know, or trying to get credit or some good, in return for doing those things.
4. Anonymity also means that there will be many times that I choose not to say what I know, just as there will be times that I am led to say what I know. Willingness not to say and be silent regarding a matter is certainly a part of what anonymity means to me.
5. Anonymity means that I am always willing and wanting God to be glorified through my words and actions , even when this means personal sacrifice or silence.
6. Anonymity means that I should be willing to listen prayerfully to the suggestions from others in the program, who are trying to safeguard aa interests. Without revealing the nature of said discussions in public.
7. Anonymity means to me that concerns for my personal benefit should always be second to concern for God’s Will, & the welfare of others.
Now on to what anonymity does not mean for me
1. That I am in any way ashamed of my affiliation, with the organization so used by God to help save my life.
2. Anonymity does not mean that I cannot discuss the principles that guide the program in the public market place. They have changed my life. I want to be a messenger to help others. In and out of the rooms. If I am careful not to mention any direct inference to aa, there will be contexts in which I mention the powerful good to be gained in 12 step programs. There are 44, 12 step programs mentioned on Wikipedia and many more, that are not listed there. One can refer to a 12 step program, without directly referring to (Bills Friends). There are many articles out there attacking the validity, and legitimacy of 12 step programs. I want to be a voice defending that 12 step programs can be a tool that God uses to reach people and save their lives. I intend to be very careful to avoid any direct discussions of (Bill’s Friends) when I do this. ( even more careful, after this situation).
3. (Bills Friends) will never be mentioned by me in any book. As a matter of fact it is not mentioned in any one of the 600+ articles that I have written online. I have never used the program to promote my book, nor will I. I know you meant well. But that hurt, because it was the furthest thing from my heart or intention.
(Bills Friend), anytime you would like to sit down have a cup of coffee and talk about this or just shoot the bull, it would sure be my pleasure. I always appreciate it when someone tells me directly, concerning a problem they have with me. And I am thankful for your candor.
I wish the best to you (Bill’s Friend) and I’m thankful for your fellowship. While my views may not be yours, I hope that this lets you know that I have prayerfully considered and done my own inventory about the matter.
Tim C. – aka “Slam”