Tradition 11 on the Internet

Tradition 11 on the Internet

“The Twelve Traditions were slowly evolved during an era when large-scale publicity was causing new groups to spring up like popcorn on a hot griddle. Many a power-driven ego ran hog-wild among us in those days, and it was the Traditions which finally brought order, coherence, and effective functioning out of the noisy anarchy which for a time threatened us with collapse.”

AA Co-Founder, Bill W., June 1960  — “The Language of the Heart,”

Thank God for the traditions. A huge part of our longevity as a fellowship is due to adhering to the traditions. I do see a disturbing trend I want to discuss; that being how we practice Tradition 11 on the internet.

I am quite concerned about the fellowship of AA. I’m sure this is not a new sentiment. No doubt all throughout AA’s history periods of growth and growing pains alternate. Perhaps accompanied by concern and a bit of confusion.

I am referring to push in the last few years to ‘put a face to addiction’. Please don’t get me wrong. I am more than in favor of removing the stigma of addiction. I do propose we do our part to eliminate the shame, but I can’t help wonder if we’re crossing a line which may bring the fellowship to its knees.

Between the internet, the social media platforms, the photographs, the videos, no wonder the AA World Convention created a huge section devoted to the use of photography in Atlanta this summer. The faces we reveal, although amazing and beautiful, make me pause for reflection.

Let us consider the reason we suggest anonymity at the level of press, radio, and film.

Some advocate we change the tradition to include the internet for such a thing did not exist at the time the traditions were written. This issue gets bantered around a bit, and may or may not come to fruition.

If we understand the tradition, we must apply this to the internet whether written or not. Do we understand the underpinnings of this tradition?

We’ve all heard the reasoning that one might be the only example of sobriety and the program a person knows. We are fallible. If we fail, the program appears weak and ineffective.

The humility required to honor this tradition is sizable. To refrain from boasting about our drug-free accomplishment takes a measure of restraint worthy of admiration.

This goes from announcing where we are when we are at a meeting, to announcing our sober anniversary on the internet.

Let’s consider our level of humility when tempted to blow our own horn on the internet. May we remain mindful of the intent behind the traditions for when they were written the internet did not exist.

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