Home Tools & Concepts Anonymity A Particular Function

A Particular Function

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Since coming to program in 2006, I’ve struggled with the idea of anonymity as a Tool of recovery: a Principle and Tradition, yes, but a Tool? The other Tools (a plan of eating, sponsorship, meetings, telephone, writing, literature, action plan, and sponsorship) have an identifiable action or directive I can take, plan, do, go, call, write, or read. Anonymity felt like it didn’t; it felt more abstract.

The dictionary defines a tool as, “a device or implement used to carry out a particular function.” I asked myself, “What is the particular function of anonymity?” OA’s pamphlet The Tools of Recovery says, “Anonymity . . . guarantees we will place principles before personalities . . . . we are all equal in the Fellowship, whether we are newcomers or seasoned longtimers. And our outside status makes no difference in OA; we have no stars or VIPs” (pp. 6–7). This means I can use the Tool of anonymity by treating all of us in program as equal.

I know from my own experience that I can gain as much from what the newcomer shares as from the longtimer. I can use the Tool of anonymity by not giving anyone more credit because of their status in the outside world. I need only to rely on their experience as a compulsive eater. I can also use the Tool of anonymity to seek my own humility by not promoting my years of abstinence as evidence that I have this all figured out.

Anonymity reminds me that we all only have today.

— Tracey G., Olympia, Washington USA

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