A Letter to the Media About Anonymity
And a thank you from the General Service Office of Alcoholics Anonymous for continued cooperation.
From time to time we reach out to our friends in the media to thank them for helping us observe our long-standing tradition of anonymity for members of Alcoholics Anonymous.
First, we'd like to express our thanks. From the beginning of A.A. over 85 years ago, we've recognized that word-of-mouth is not enough to carry the A.A. program's message of hope and recovery to the many people still suffering from alcoholism. We've needed help -- and the media has been a vital part of this effort. Today we estimate that there are more than 2 million successfully recovering members of Alcoholics Anonymous in more than 180 countries, and much of this growth can be attributed to the willingness of journalists and media professionals around the world to take an interest in our Fellowship.
Second, we invite your ongoing cooperation in maintaining the anonymity of A.A. members. The principle of anonymity is at the core of our Fellowship. Those who are reluctant to seek our help often 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 healthy guardrail for A.A. members, reminding us that we are a program of principles, not personalities, and that no individual A.A. member acts as a spokesperson of our Fellowship.
If an A.A. member is identified in the media, we ask that you please use first names only (e.g., Sofia M. or Ben T.) and that you not use images in which members’ faces may be recognized. This helps to provide members with the security that anonymity can bring.
Again, we thank you for your continued cooperation -- in helping to carry our message to those in need of it and for helping keep the focus on the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous rather than any personalities.
If you would like to know more about A.A. you are welcome to visit the “Press/Media” section of aa.org. We hope you will take a moment to watch a brief video on why anonymity remains a vital principle in Alcoholics Anonymous. Our Fellowship does not comment on matters of public controversy, but we are happy to provide information about A.A. to anyone who seeks it.