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Applying Anonymity

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I believe the most important Tool in program is anonymity. Using this Tool made me free to grow—and I seemed to change my opinion on any given subject once a week.

At first I cried at every meeting. It was God’s way of shutting my mouth so my ears could open. I began to get a handle on my newfound freedom and learn who I was. I never heard criticism or condemnation for my changing opinions. When I was asked to give back what I had received by leading and qualifying, I felt instant fear. Could I trust others—in a way I could not even trust my own family—to keep what I said in confidence? I heard at meetings, “Do you practice anonymity?” and “Do you have faith that God will help you?”

My first year in OA was full of wonders and blessings, plus the pains of growing up. In my second year I walked through the Steps. With God’s help, I gradually opened up, sometimes in giant steps, sometimes in baby steps.

As I grew, anonymity’s meaning broadened, entering into every issue. I applied anonymity to each Step as I worked it, not comparing or judging others. I began to learn the meaning of respect. In the process of doing Step Four I claimed my part, and anonymity became more and more important. I tried out things I heard and stayed positive, trusting that anonymity would keep me safe to continue growing.

I now pass along in safety what God has given me. Anonymity is the reason I have remained in program, able to pass it on.

— Edited and reprinted from The Road to Recovery newsletter, Westchester United Intergroup, November 2004

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