Our public relations
policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always
maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, [TV,]
Thus we respectfully ask
that no A.A. speaker — or,
indeed, any A.A. member — be identified by full name in published
or broadcast reports of our meetings. ...
The assurance of anonymity
is essential in our effort to help other problem drinkers who may
wish to share our recovery program with us. And our Tradition of
anonymity reminds us that A.A. principles come before personalities.
Copyright A.A. World Services, Inc. Reprinted with permission.
The fundamental principles of AA anonymity are not changed when
electronic media, such as the Internet, are used to facilitate
communication among members. The name "Alcoholics Anonymous" implies
both that individuals may retain the degree of privacy they wish
regarding their membership in the fellowship and also that no single
member speaks for the whole of AA at the level of press, film,
radio, or television. The tradition of anonymity is explained
in depth in AA publications such as The Twelve Steps and Twelve
Traditions, and the pamphlet "Understanding Anonymity." This
Online Advisory Statement is intended to clarify some special situations
which arise when AA meetings occur on the Internet.
In addition to the formal statements of AA traditions, well established
customs have developed that are applicable to the online environment.
It is customary in service activities that members provide each
other with sufficient identification to be reached easily and quickly.
Members who accept service positions sacrifice some of their privacy
in order to serve best. If personal circumstances prevent such
openness, the member should decline or step down from the position.
Online AA meetings are inherently more private than traditional
face-to-face AA meetings. That is, members who meet electronically
are unable to see and hear each other and must rely on the written
word to share their experience, strength, and hope. We have learned
that powerful relationships can be formed in this new medium, despite
great physical distances, and, more importantly, we have learned
that the AA twelve-step program of recovery works effectively online
in writing, just as the writers and publishers of AA's early print
The most widely used online AA meeting technique employs email.
This technology effectively solves the problem of working together
while preserving anonymity because a return address is provided
to each recipient with each message, and the sender can be reached
quickly by return email. A sender of email may include a first
name, full name, or simply a username, as desired. Postal addresses
and telephone numbers are seldom necessary in this environment,
though they may be useful for some transactions, such as transmitting
funds by mail or coordinating service committee work among several
members by telephone. Where it is clear that the common good requires
further identification, further identification should be provided
or the member should perform other service that permits a higher
degree of privacy.
A special circumstance of online AA anonymity is that communications
that are intended to be private, or only for the use of a known
group of recipients, are received either on the addressee's monitor
screen or on paper. It is the duty of recipient members to guard
the confidentiality of these messages by not sharing them with
other persons not addressed by the writer. This article of "netiquette" is
widely agreed upon by online users, whether or not they are members
of Alcoholics Anonymous, but the topics of AA meetings add a duty
and responsibility that online messages remain as private as the
OIAA, Inc. ("Online Intergroup") respects the privacy
of every individual who visits. This privacy statement provides notice
of the standards and terms under which the Online Intergroup protects
the privacy of information supplied by visitors. This privacy statement
provides notice of our information collection practices and of the
ways in which your information may be used. This policy may change
from time to time, so please check back periodically to review this
The Online Intergroup may collect personally identifiable
information in a variety of ways, including through online forms
and other instances where visitors are invited to volunteer such
information. The Online Intergroup may also collect information about
how visitors use our web site, for example, by tracking the number
of unique views received by the pages of the web site or the domains
from which visitors originate.
We may use "cookies" to
track how visitors use our web site. A cookie is a small file that
a web server can store on the visitor’s computer and use to identify
the visitor should they visit the web site again.
How We Use Information
The Online Intergroup may use personally identifiable
information collected through our web site to contact visitors regarding
new activities and services. The Online Intergroup also may use
information collected to improve
the effectiveness of the web site.
Disclosure of Information
The Online Intergroup does not lend, lease,
sell, or otherwise intentionally transfer visitors’ personal information
to any third party.
Maintenance of Information
Information about visitors and members
that is maintained on our systems is protected using industry standard
security measures. However, we cannot guarantee that the information
submitted to, maintained on, or transmitted from our systems will
be completely secure.