Question: A memoir writer, who is also a member of S.L.A.A., has a publisher for her proposed memoir. She contacted FWS to inquire about her desire to disclose in this memoir that she is a member of S.L.A.A. and further details of her sex and love addiction recovery as they pertain to her life story. Specifically, she wanted to know if such an acknowledgement would be a violation of the 11th Tradition.
This is a direct violation of Tradition 11 since the author will use her real name and make her membership in S.L.A.A. known to the public. If her real name is on the book and she says she’s a member of S.L.A.A. then it is a violation of Tradition Eleven. This is totally unambiguous.
If the book is successful, she would likely become a public figure and, in turn, a spokesperson for the organization. This violates Tradition 11. We should have no spokesperson at the level of press and media.
Anonymity protects S.L.A.A. and the author. To mention S.L.A.A. by name would be a violation of the 11th tradition.
S.L.A.A doesn’t need protection. Members are always known to relapse; this is based on humility. It is part of our 12th step to spread the message. As long as it is made clear that she does not speak for S.L.A.A.
This sounds like a way to carry the message to the addict who still suffers. There are many sex and love addicts who know nothing of our program. Tradition 5 speaks of our primary purpose.
The AA 12 & 12 mentions autobiographies. There is a difference between autobiographies and memoirs. An autobiography is written by a famous person about his/her life. A memoir is written by a person who is not well known but simply has an interesting story to tell. So we really have no precedent for this.
I don’t think we can tell a person that they should imply an untruth by omitting a significant part of their personal story. Could any of us write a memoir and not mention recovery? Perhaps she could say she’s in a recovery group for people with relationship issues and avoid using the S.L.A.A. name. This would be acceptable if she used a pseudonym.
Reminded of O.A. book on tradition 11. No person’s name should be associated with the program. May serve best to be anonymous.
If she chooses to publish under a pseudonym, the book must be written in such a manner that her true identity cannot be determined by someone who doesn’t already know her.
What do you think?
The CSTCC is a group of volunteers, some of whom were ABM delegates, and others who volunteered out of interest. We do not represent a group conscience of S.L.A.A., but are committed to bringing thoughtful discussion and study of 12 Step Fellowship literature and experience to the questions that are brought to us. We offer this summary as the results of our discussions. We present the major points of concern in the hopes that wider discussion in the Fellowship will help us evolve our customs and practice of the S.L.A.A. program of recovery to better represent the loving guidance of a Higher Power. Always, we affirm the autonomy of each group and the need for each individual to follow her/his own conscience. No decision of this group, or any other, is ever forced upon another, even when we believe a practice is clearly in conflict with the Steps, Traditions, or Concepts.