In 12-step fellowship groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, anonymity refers to the practice of only being identified by a first name. In describing the “Anonymous” part of the Alcoholics Anonymous title, fellowship literature says that the 12-step group does not want any members’ full names or faces revealed in any television, radio, newspaper or new media technologies, including the Internet, Facebook, Twitter and other social media. It also states that members do not tell other members’ names to people outside Alcoholics Anonymous.
Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of Alcoholics Anonymous. The practice of anonymity is a discipline that helps the fellowship govern itself by principles rather than personalities. Alcoholics Anonymous is a program of recovery and a society of peers, not individuals participating in a program. The reason for this is that the individuals attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings should be focused on their recovery. Alcoholics Anonymous wants other people to feel welcome to join in meetings and not feel constrained or concerned that details of their personal lives will be made public. Anonymity, therefore, is a basic tenet of Alcoholics Anonymous. Other 12-step fellowship groups have similar language and practices regarding anonymity.