62nd General Service Conference
April 22nd-28th, 2012
"Anonymity: Our Spiritual Responsibilty in the Digital Age"
Contributions to the The General Service Office can be made online Here
Here are the 62nd Conference results as voted on and decided by the individual committees that focused on each of these topics(agenda items) and the results of the voting by all A.A. delegates and conference voting members from across the U.S. and Canada. This gives a good view of how A.A. members as a whole feel on these items as expressed by the voting decisions(Recommendations passed or failed) and the suggestions(Additional Considerations) made on each of the items facing A.A. today.
Full Report on the 62nd General Service Conference:
Please send an email to the delegate concerning these things if you wish to.
Anonymity in the Digital Age
From the delegate
This year’s conference theme is to initiate some awareness and discussion on this issue concerning these two things. 1. The digital age and 2. A.A. Anonymity.
There is some relevant discussion going on concerning the theme and I would like to share it with you as the delegate to the Conference and the representative for Area 66.
It starts with an excerpt from “AA Comes of Age” Page 43. This touches on the problems that come with personal anonymity breaks, or when members affiliate AA with themselves at public and press levels. It says it best by pointing out the TWO aspects of anonymity.
“…With none of us throwing our weight around in public, nobody could possibly exploit A.A. for personal advantage - that is sure. For the first time I saw A.A.’s anonymity for what it really is. It isn’t just something to save us from alcoholic shame and stigma; its deeper purpose is actually to keep those fool egos of ours from running hog wild after money and public fame at A.A.’s expense. It really means personal and group sacrifice for the benefit of all A.A.”
Membership in A.A. still does have a stigma about it. Not all members feel free to openly make known with family, social networks at work, at city offices, or other community functions their membership in A.A. So we respect each other’s anonymity. The second aspect of anonymity came about when early members were introduced as authorities of A.A. to speak to medical societies or radio talks shows. Early members also sometimes could not resist the urge to speak and wave the banner of recovery in A.A. in their introductions for public speaking or when being quoted in paper publishing media. This level of anonymity break came as and proved to be an expense to A.A’s effectiveness to the suffering alcoholic still out there. Therefore our Tradition 11 concerning anonymity at the level of press, radio and film came to be and is still important.
Now in this digital age of social networking we are publishers in a real sense. It has crept in on us without much effort or awareness to it. We have access to posting pictures and discussions in places where we do not have complete control over how many “friends of friends” might be able to view or read them. Waving the banner of A.A. over this type of posting and publishing can be an expense for A.A.’s effectiveness as a whole.
Once we avoid the temptation to personally affiliate A.A. with ourselves or other social groups, the ability to use this digital media for information on A.A. is extremely efficient and effective. It is a way to connect ourselves together and to spread the message to our communities and professionals about A.A. I personally find it very difficult to perceive that Bill W. would not have used the internet for distributing information and connecting the fellowship as much as possible. Our websites and social media outlets are very useful for distributing information about A.A without bantering our own identity in recovery. The General Service Office is considering the making of a Facebook page with information only. There will be no discussions or names mentioned as I understand the effort that is being initiated. Many area websites and district websites are a great place to suggest to public officials and professionals to visit. There they can find what A.A. is and what A.A. is not, meeting schedules, and pamphlets for distribution to clients. Please refer family, professionals, and others to visit www.aa.org for a complete listing of Public Service Announcements, pamphlets, and media documents for information on A.A.
We are finding that the Area66 website is being used more and more by members looking for meetings in a particular city. Please help to keep your city’s meeting information up to date by sending changes and updates to email@example.com. This is another great use of the internet.
Thanks for the opportunity to pass on some of these discussions and the opportunity to be in the loop of information swirling throughout the fellowship.
I can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is the excerpt referred to from AA Comes of Age: Spoken by Harry Tiebout (Non alcoholic psychiatrist-Friend of AA ) at the 1955 Service Conference.
“I can accept more truly the necessity of organization and of structure to curb as well as to guide; I believe there must be meetings like this one to provide the sense of belonging to a big working organization, of which each individual is but a part. And I believe that any group or individual who fails to participate in the enterprise of the organization is rendering himself and his group a disservice by not submitting to the disciplinary values inherent in those activities. He may be keeping himself free of entanglements but he is also keeping the ego unstopped.”
Reprinted by permission. Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, page 251
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Agenda & Background Material by Committee: