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Post Info TOPIC: Message to Newcomers About the 13th Step


MIP Old Timer

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Message to Newcomers About the 13th Step
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Since I have been in AA I have had my share of people who have been trying to work the 13th Step with me. When I started AA this last time, I was extremely insecure, self-conscious and as so many alcoholics are by the time they get into AA, beaten down. I felt like crap, looked like crap and kept my head down for months and months not wanting to face anyone. After I had been attending meetings for a couple of months, I had some male members start to compliment me, flirt with me and some were interested in dating me. I was very flattered, and allowed all this to feed my ego because I thought the drinking had played a number on my looks. The age range of these men I would say is late 30's to 70's. Some are married.  I liked this attention from men. After I had more time in AA and had researched and found they even have a name for this-- 13th Stepping, I realized that this was nothing to be flattered about at all. For quite a while,  I try very hard to avoid hugging people who have intentions other than the business of AA in mind. I am friendly, but not too friendly around men, where it can be misinterpreted that I have an interest in them.  I always hold my head up now and always sit in the front-- not in the back, as well as I am very active in AA, and I am not as vulnerable as I used to be. Most of these men have not bothered me anymore.  One particular one is still interested. This started months ago and he hasn't given up. I have put up with it and have just tried to avoid him as much as possible. He doesn't come to as many meetings which I attend. Last night he did. After the meeting, I passed by him and two other men he was talking to and he made one of his inappropriate comments to me--right in front of those men. For the first time, I didn't put up with it. I stopped, turned around, pointed a finger at him and told him in a very firm voice that I was going to have to have a talk with him because I am not that new in AA anymore. I wasn't joking and by the look on my face he knew it. And he got a look on his face like he had been smacked. I have more self respect and more confidence than I used to and I feel I don't have to put up with this kind of crap anymore and by not doing anything before last night, realized I may have been encouraging his behavior. So that's my part in it.

"13th Stepping" is when someone who has been in AA for a while preys on newcomers. It is all over the internet. I guess despite being sober and working the Steps, there are some folks who are still needy and have the desire to prove it to themselves that they are desirable...either that or they are just plain ole horny. When someone with some sobriety time under their belt comes up to you, the newcomer (under a year of sobriety time), and asks you out or says sexual and other remarks that make you feel uncomfortable they are 13th Stepping.  In AA, it is suggested that newcomers wait at least a year before getting into a serious relationship. (These 13th Stepping oldtimers are fully aware of it--they just don't care about your sobriety. It's up to you to care.)  By that time, your mind is clearer, you hopefully have worked or are working the steps and you are better able to make rational decisions. Before that time, if you do get into a relationship and something happens, such as a breakup, it can cause you to want to drink again.

I am in my early 50's and have been amazed at the number of people who have hit on me since I walked into the rooms. Although I am not one, I have been old enough to be a "Grandma".  I have had a partner with me most of the time and it hasn't stopped people from approaching me when I am not sitting or standing near him. If they have done it to me, I wonder how much more they do it to younger women and ones who are by themselves. I am going to keep a watchful eye out for female newcomers and without mentioning names, will make them aware of the 13th Step. It is a shame that that "step" even exists. Since it does I feel if I can at least make other women aware of it, it may help. I noticed one very attractive 20-something woman who was attending meetings for a short while. The men flocked all around her. She stopped attending meetings. Maybe it had nothing to do with what I am talking about and she is going to other meetings and is still sober. I have wondered though if she felt intimidated and stopped coming because of it, though.

Oh, and it is not just men who are guilty of 13th Stepping--as there are some women who do it as well. We can be excessively "needy" as well. And I have seen another word used to describe a "13th Stepper", it is "Predator".

Stay sober,

BTY



-- Edited by betterthanyesterday52 on Tuesday 20th of May 2014 08:13:25 AM

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These people that you refer to are prime examples of dysfunctional thinking. Remove the alcohol and be prepared to address the root cause of your problem. Unfortunately, these thinking patterns are not addressed in spite of the rhetoric ascribed to working the 12 steps. The bottom line is these 13th steppers are passive aggressive predators preying on the malleable condition of a tormented mind and they disgusting perverts.

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MIP Old Timer

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I remember when I first came into AA...

A lady and myself went through steps 13...14...AND 15

13...Fell in Lust

14...Got Married

15...Got divorced :)

---------------

In this area today? The boys watch over the boys...and the girls watch over the girls...Seems to work well.



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MIP Old Timer

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I just remembered...
be cautious of online 13th Steppers as well, as they are out there also.

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13-steppers are, in my opinion, sick folks whose sickness manifests itself differently than my sickness manifests itself through me. Love and tolerance while we keep the newcomer safe.

In related news: When I first came into AA, the thirteenth step meant dying sober - and was something to aspire to.

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MIP Old Timer

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Same thing happened to me as Philip, except she kicked me out before we got down the aisle. Lucky escape. Unbeknownst to me I was just one in a long line, most of whom were willing victims.

A have to say that to get over the resentment I had to acknowledge and make amends for my part in it. I may have been an "innocent" newcomer, but I was not in that relationship for any of the "right" reasons. My actions were based in self seeking, lust, insecurity, and prestige instincts. I had no knowledge of or experience with right motives.

I survived and was able to learn from the experience because in spite of my poor behaviour in regard to relationships, I was very serious about recovery, and I was working through the steps the whole time. My behaviour was really the result of defects of character that had not been removed yet.

Alcoholism is a lonely disease. Many of us, as the alcohol leaves our systems, experience strong feelings and we don't always know what they are. We get better through working the steps, but the emotional maturity that brings balance to our emotional lives, can take a long time to develop. Our self seeking might not disappear over night .

Relationships and dating are common among AAs. We don't and can't apply rules around this. We try and gently let newcomers know the risks and dangers, and some of us will take a harder line with obvious predatory behaviour. It's very unfair for a member to hit on a newcomer who hasn't yet got their feet on the ground. If I see it I will speak out. Because if someone has not yet had their spiritual experience they may not survive the emotional upheaval that goes with these relationships.

But, as a 13 step survivor whose spiritual experience began during the relationship, I learned a great deal. One thing I learned was that other people are not the reason I drank. It was always my abnormal reaction to life, and that changed through AA.

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MIP Old Timer

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13th Stepping is a manifestation of the spiritual sickness that still exists in some of our A.A. members who have been hanging around the A.A. Fellowship for a long time, but have never worked the Program.  Sitting in a folding chair for a number of years doesn't change anyone's heart and mind.   Every newcomer should be able to feel safe in Alcoholics Anonymous.

Mike D.



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13 stepping isn't all about older members hitting on newcomers.  It's when any one tries to take advantage of the vulnerabilities of another for personal gain.  Be it sexual, financial, or whatever.  I have seen  a woman who had double digit years 13 stepped... after her son passed away... she was hurting, needy and vulnerable.  A man, with multiple years sobriety 13 stepped when his wife of 12 years relapsed... he was hurting, needy and vulnerable.   The Vultures swooped in on these folks.  Sometimes I have seen it be the newcomer that is doing the 13 stepping.. trying to use someone else's neediness to meet their own.

I was told early on that one 13th step is...

"My life is completely unmanageable, I ride a really nice bicycle, live with my parents, am looking for a job and have 32 days of continuous sobriety and I want to share it all with you babe!"

LOL



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MIP Old Timer

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I never knew that John, that's very sad.

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MIP Old Timer

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Great 'heads-up' post there John ... so glad you posted it ... thanks ...



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My wife recently went to AA. I had stuck by her side after 10 yrs of alcoholism ruined whatever intimacy we had together. I begged her to quit, and protected her from hitting rock bottom (my mistake in hindsight). She finally quit when I threatened divorce. She went through outpatient treatment, which required joining AA. 3 mos. later, and she is now sleeping with her sponsor 20 yrs her senior, and blaming me for her drinking. Yes, it's true. How's that for a "thank you very much"? PM me and I'll give you more details to validate the story. What a great organization you have AA! A predators dream...

The fact that there aren't more threads warning females of this predominant behavior tells me that this post will be deleted by the mod.  BTW, google AA predator... warnings are all over the web.  



-- Edited by Heisenberg on Friday 27th of May 2016 11:32:39 PM



-- Edited by Heisenberg on Friday 27th of May 2016 11:33:19 PM



-- Edited by Heisenberg on Friday 27th of May 2016 11:33:36 PM

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MIP Old Timer

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You can blame 'all of AA', but the truth is that A) the people in AA freely provide information and cautions about any number of things that people in AA should be careful about, and this is one of them. It's certainly not kept under wraps. It's spoken about openly in meetings and among AA members. And B) it's far from "predominant behavior" as you describe it, and it's no more prevalent in AA than anywhere else in life. There are a few self-centered jerks who attempt to take advantage of others in EVERY aspect of life - in the work place, in your circle of friends, in the church, and yes, sometimes in AA. It is absolutely inexcusable for someone to do what your wife's sponsor did, and I understand how that could make you have a terrible opinion about all of AA in general, but that simply is not the case.



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MIP Old Timer

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It was easy for me to lump all of AA together and blame the organization on different things which happened to me not long ago. I stopped going to meetings and working the program. I relapsed and have had drunk days and sober days. I wasn't interested in getting back into it. The only thing I did do was come to this board everyday. I trust this board and the people on it more than the people I got close to in the rooms, so I think I can thank this site for any sober days I had and the fact that I didn't totally lose my mind. I got another sponsor and we are working the Steps and I am going to meetings everyday. AA never stopped working--I stopped working. I don't want to drink myself to death. AA helped me stay sober for over two years. I know in my heart if I do what I am supposed to do and what the program tells us to do to stay sober, I will stay sober.

There were several people I got involved with---nothing sexual--just "friends". I got hurt not by one--several. My trust is gone in people. I have been betrayed, stabbed in the back, gossiped about, lied about and openly called names. The last thing I really want to do is go to meetings and be around not only those people who did that, but also to possibly set myself up for more hurt and pain. I'll do it though because I want to stay sober. There are assholes everywhere. Not everyone is one. There are kind, loving and caring folks in and out of AA. I have to learn and believe that. I have to protect myself from the self-centered manipulative SOB's who have their own issues going on and have some sick need to try and make themselves feel better while causing pain to others. I have to be around people who are focused on the program and working the Steps rather than focused on hurting me. My eyes are open wider than ever now. There are different types of predators in AA and that is my point.

I know you are hurting. I was betterthanyesterday and wrote that post above before I changed my ID, so I know all about the sexual predators in AA. I had the advantage of realizing that it is not okay for that kind of behavior. The fact of the matter is, that sponsor your wife had does not represent AA, nor does AA condone that kind of behavior. That sponsor made his own choice as did your wife, even though she was vulnerable, she made her own decision(s). Not AA. Just like I made my own choices as to who my "friends" were. It is impossible for AA to warn us about people like this. We have to exercise some amount of common sense. (Your wife is a married woman--it is not using common sense to ever mess around. Been there, done that--I was a fool and caused a lot of hurt and pain to my own family before I got sober. Been going through some serious Karma for years and now and fully believe "what goes around comes around". I was sitting in a bar drunk when I met a "winner" like myself which changed my life forever as it did others close to me. I can't blame the bar, the car that I drove which got me there. I can't blame the bartender or the place he worked that I went to that day. I made that choice to be with this person which ended my marriage. I wasn't in AA, nor was he. So we make stupid choices sometimes. That's life.

And for what it is worth, if your wife stays sober and stays in AA long enough, that relationship prob. won't last. It is certainly not a match made in Heaven. She is going to be a different person than who she was when she first walked through those doors. She may not want to stay with a person who is really not emotionally sober. And that "man" she is with is not really interested in her for who she is other than being "new" and "vulnerable". Fresh newcomers will be more appealing to him and he may leave her. I have seen that kind of thing happen over and over.

It is up to you if you want to wait it out and will still have the patience which you have had and want to be with her when it does happen. Mine waited a long time for me and by the time I got sober and more sense, his patience ran out and he moved on.

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MIP Old Timer

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It is well known that We, in AA, highly recommend you get a sponsor of the same sex, from the beginning, unless you're gay ... because of the nature of our relationship in recovery, we suggest this so as to discourage romantic involvements ... it's an individual's choice ... and we do not 'enforce' any rules to prevent people from go'n ahead and make'n bad decisions ...

Lay blame however you choose to see fit ... but you should try to see past the blinders you've put on for just long enough to know AA's real purpose here ... 'to help other alcoholics to recover from alcoholism' ... pure and simple ... if you think we have any ulterior motives, then you're just be'n very short-sighted ... plus, every basket has a few 'bad apples' in it ... besides, before recovery, AA'rs are some of the worst people on earth ... (which just goes to prove the 'miracle' God has chosen us to be a part of) ...


Just say'n ... ... ...



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MIP Old Timer

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Heisenberg wrote:

My wife recently went to AA. I had stuck by her side after 10 yrs of alcoholism ruined whatever intimacy we had together. I begged her to quit, and protected her from hitting rock bottom (my mistake in hindsight). She finally quit when I threatened divorce. She went through outpatient treatment, which required joining AA. 3 mos. later, and she is now sleeping with her sponsor 20 yrs her senior, and blaming me for her drinking. Yes, it's true. How's that for a "thank you very much"? PM me and I'll give you more details to validate the story. What a great organization you have AA! A predators dream...

The fact that there aren't more threads warning females of this predominant behavior tells me that this post will be deleted by the mod.  BTW, google AA predator... warnings are all over the web.  




-- Edited by Heisenberg on Friday 27th of May 2016 11:33:36 PM


 

 

 On the contrary, I think this type post should be occur more frequently as a 'heads up', to 'new-comers' ... AA was born from the efforts of those who'd been devastated by alcohol and those who sought a solution to this devastating disease ... Preditors abound everywhere, even in the churches around the world ... they're around every corner ... 

The main message I want to convey??? ... AA is not, was not, responsible for your wife's actions or decisions ... she was ... 

 

Pappy, ... ... ... (one of the Mods. here ...)

 

 

 



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There is no Step 13 in Chapter Five(How It Works) in the BigBook.

Marc


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MIP Old Timer

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Excellent point Marc ...



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MIP Old Timer

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Just had a thought, which is no mean achievement from me. Predators exist in all walks of life so in one sense we are no more at risk in AA as anywhere else. However, the one fact that became apparent to me was that AA 13 steppers can get between the newcomer and AA, and that is highly dangerous. In my own experience as the willing victim I found I could not be in the same room with this person after it all busted up. I quickly realised how dangerous this was for me. I had no other options than AA. If I could not find a way to deal with this issue, I would not likely survive.

Through prayer and meditation over a period of weeks, I came to see that I was also at fault. I had been in that relationship for all the wrong reasons and I needed to make amends for my part. The other persons faults were not discussed. This set me free and saved my life at the same time. I don't buy the no relationships for 12 months or whatever. It's not AA. I am all for letting the newcomer make their own mistakes. That's is how we learn and grow. My job is to help with the learning and growing, not make the decisions for them.

It is incredibly sad to hear fo a sponsor busting up a marriage like that. I wonder what price he will pay. We all seem to pay a price for not trying to practice these principles in all our affairs, and the sad thing is that the compleltely wrong message about AA has gone into this man's community, which may well spell disaster for some still suffering alcoholics.

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I've seen many a newcomer warned of predators and to avoid relationships for the first year, only to ignore all suggestions, and get involved with someone. The main thing one must remember that there are many in AA not drinking, but not sober. I had to be responsible for my own recovery, and responsible for my choices.



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There is so much useful information in this post and for me the 13th step came to be a "spiritual relapse" additionally I came to understand that alcohol and sex together or separate both caused much the same consequence a "nerve ending" reaction a most powerful one; additionally the planning and circumstances fit easily within my "risk taking" personality.  I vacillated between yes and no at time and then gave myself over to the program entirely especially the 4th and 11th steps and my relationships with the fellowship and Higher Power.

As I newcomer I was "invited" and then didn't at first because I didn't want a continuation of what was happening with me before coming to recovery.  I did slip a time or two which fortified my desire to quit that step which isn't near the spirit of our primary 12.  Employing compassion and empathy for the other suffering alcoholic helps to have it gone.   Keep coming back ((((hugs)))) smile



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MIP Old Timer

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I know that relationships for me have always been tricky. My new sponsor told me to dress down (which I have been doing since I first worked the Steps) and be aware that I may have men interested in me since I have relapsed. (Really????? So pathetic!!)

I am not that desperate. It would be nice to be in a meaningful healthy relationship in the future. I do yearn for that sometimes. Had I not picked up again that would be a possible option for me. Right now I am not mentally healthy enough to be in a romantic relationship. The most meaningful relationship I am searching for is one between God and myself and having meaningless sex with one or more men who I have to see in AA meetings on a regular basis is not appealing to me at all.

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John wrote:
"My life is completely unmanageable, I ride a really nice bicycle, live with my parents, am looking for a job and have 32 days of continuous sobriety and I want to share it all with you babe!"

LOL


 Roger bought that story Hook, Line, Sinker and got suckered into being a Mod. :)

 

ZingEmWithoutMalice...

 

Marc

 



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The primary fact that we fail to recognize is our total inability to form a true partnership with another human being.

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MIP Old Timer

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So true, Enigma....
I cannot even figure out myself...sure don't want to try and figure out someone else enough to get into a serious relationship with them. I do not know who my true self is--yet. A lot of work has yet to be done.

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Here is some Joe and Charlie stuff which can be done with or without a sponsor.
12stepping.org/workshop/download/
You have no more excuses...


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MIP Old Timer

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I do have a sponsor.
Thank you for the link. Good stuff and I appreciate the time you spent in posting it, Marc.

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Pythonpappy wrote:
Heisenberg wrote:

My wife recently went to AA. I had stuck by her side after 10 yrs of alcoholism ruined whatever intimacy we had together. I begged her to quit, and protected her from hitting rock bottom (my mistake in hindsight). She finally quit when I threatened divorce. She went through outpatient treatment, which required joining AA. 3 mos. later, and she is now sleeping with her sponsor 20 yrs her senior, and blaming me for her drinking. Yes, it's true. How's that for a "thank you very much"? PM me and I'll give you more details to validate the story. What a great organization you have AA! A predators dream...

 

The main message I want to convey??? ... AA is not, was not, responsible for your wife's actions or decisions ... she was ... 

 

 

Pappy, ... ... ... (one of the Mods. here ...)

 

Pappy, the difference here is that broken people at their bottom walk through those doors for help, not to be preyed upon by perverts.  AA sponsors have power over those people, and these predators abuse that power for their own selfish gains, aware of their vulnerability.  My wife is on lexapro for depression and anxiety as well, and combined with sitting on the "pink cloud" of new sobriety right now, she is in a state of euphoria with the newness of this relationship.  She has replaced the dopamine releases of AH with new sex, and this guy is not helping her one bit by doing that.  

AA recommends no new relationships in the first year for this reason.  So much for consensual sex, when the perp is in a position of authority over a broken person with an altered mind, and as a seasoned AA member he is breaking tenets of the program for his own pleasure.  

 


 



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MIP Old Timer

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"Some are sicker than others" and "s*** happens".


It may not have made any difference--she may have gotten with someone else in our out of the rooms. I have been vulnerable at times in my life and have not been too picky. Just having someone seemingly interested in me was enough for me. We either depend on people to help make us feel better about ourselves or we depend on God.

There is a man who has a habitual habit of pursuing newcomers. I have yet to see him with someone with years of sobriety. He was interested in me and made passes at me. When he realized he wasn't going to get anywhere with me, he left me alone. I had a little over a year of sobriety, a newcomer came to the meetings. This man used whatever charms he thought he had and they started sitting together in the back of the room at the meetings. They chit chatted during the meetings which distracted her from hearing the shares. After some of the meetings, she would leave her car parked and get in his car and they would leave together. She was married. This woman had asked me to be her sponsor (before she started getting in the car with him). My sponsor had said that I was ready to sponsor others and told me I needed to say "yes" when asked. I had noticed what was going on, I warned her about this man. I told her that he was preventing her from hearing what she needed to hear and that it would be good if she would sit near the front and with other women. I told her that he had tried his best to get with me and I told her about 13th Steppers. My warning made no difference to her. I have no idea if anything sexual happened between them and I really don't want to know. She told me flat out that she wasn't going to call me everyday saying "I don't even know you. Why do I want to talk to you on the phone everyday?" She said she was not going to attend meetings everyday saying she had more important things to do and she really wasn't sure if she was an alcoholic or not. She got upset when I told her about this man and told me she would do whatever she wanted to do and that she was not going to take "orders" from me. I found myself getting resentments about her attitude as well as unwillingness to follow most of my suggestions. When she started getting in the car with this man I really got upset and called my sponsor. I was so concerned about her and so po'd at that man. My sponsor told me to let her go because of her unwillingness and also because of the affect it was having on me.

My point is.....people are going to do what they want to do. I warned that woman above. Did no good. If your wife had any time in the program at all, she probably was warned as well or at least had heard about it. If not, she still had some common sense. She just chose not to use it. I was vulnerable and a mess when I first came in (and since the relapse, I still am however, am getting better every day). I may not have had a Hell of a lot of common sense, however, I did know that what these perverts was doing was wrong and thought they were creeps.

Perhaps some therapy can help you learn to cope with all that has happened. Al-Anon is another good source for you.



-- Edited by leavetherest on Tuesday 7th of June 2016 09:10:27 AM

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MIP Old Timer

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Heisenberg wrote:

 

Pappy, the difference here is that broken people at their bottom walk through those doors for help, not to be preyed upon by perverts.  AA sponsors have power over those people, and these predators abuse that power for their own selfish gains, aware of their vulnerability.  My wife is on lexapro for depression and anxiety as well, and combined with sitting on the "pink cloud" of new sobriety right now, she is in a state of euphoria with the newness of this relationship.  She has replaced the dopamine releases of AH with new sex, and this guy is not helping her one bit by doing that.  

AA recommends no new relationships in the first year for this reason.  So much for consensual sex, when the perp is in a position of authority over a broken person with an altered mind, and as a seasoned AA member he is breaking tenets of the program for his own pleasure.  

 


 

Your statement that  "AA recommends no new relationships in the first year for this reason."  is accurate ... but, AA ALSO recommends that you choose a sponsor of the same sex, unless you're gay, for the purpose of avoiding the very problem you find yourself involved with now ... AGAIN your wife did not heed the advice to choose a sponsor in this way ... again, it was her choice ... 

I am in no way condoning what has happened and I can see why you have this poor attitude toward AA ... but AA is not responsible when new members do not listen to time proven ways to sobriety ... it's unfortunate, but we do have some members that do not uphold our basic ethics in recovery ... ... ... 

AA and it's 12 step program and it's 12 Traditions is a solid method for recovering from alcoholism IF the one who suffers from it follows a few simple rules ... 

I wish you the best in the circumstances ... I wouldn't wish what you're go'n through for anyone ... I pray things will work out for you ... 

 

 

Love ya and God Bless,

Pappy



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Ah, the 13th stepper...pathetic, really. So desperate that the only quarry they can conceive of pursuing are sick and confused. Losers.


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Amen ...



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