One of AA's standard practices is that all members remain anonymous, both publicly and to one another. When speaking at meetings, members use only first names, and there are no membership rosters or initiation practices. Anonymity was used initially as a way of protecting members from the stigma of being known as an alcoholic, but it became a way to protect the group as well. If members sought publicity or were known to the press or public and fell off the wagon, the founders figured, it might harm AA's reputation and threaten the group's survival. Anonymity became one of the cornerstones of the organization, explained in the last of AA's 12 traditions: "Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities."
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