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I have recovered from the disease of Alcoholism. I believe there is only one person really,.. everybody. And that peace of mind is everything. -So treat your neighbor as you would treat yourself, because your neighbor IS yourself. I think most of recovery is what I would call common sense, but that learning to be ordinary is a true gift very few people acquire. My ambition is to accept everything unflinchingly, with compassion, and therefore be intrinsically comfortable in my own skin, no matter what. I am comfortable being uncomfortable and am willing to go to any lengths to improve my life. I believe the Big Book was divinely inspired, and is extraordinarily powerful. Unfortunately AA's best kept secret a lot of the time. (In my opinion). I just try to do what works, no matter what it is.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Rescuing a newcomer from a 13th stepper

13 stepping seems to be as rife as ever it was. I went to a meeting last week where there was only one female newcomer and so I went and spoke to her right at the very end. I didn't waste much time. Within 30 seconds a creepy bloke less than five years sober who looked to me to be a bit dodgy was over at the speed of light and asked her in a particularly manipulative fashion to go for coffee. On the face of it it didn't appear to be a particularly aggressive or overbearing request but it was extremely manipulative and it didn't escape my attention.

The poor newcomer didn't know quite what to say so agreed to go for coffee. Even I would have found it difficult to roadblock his seemingly inoffensive invitation to coffee at this point. Instead I waited until he had gone and I said to the newcomer "do you really want to go for coffee with that person?" Sure enough she said that she didn't really want to. I also said "you realise that it is considered bad form for men in meetings to befriend women who are very new and ask them to go for coffee?" I asked had she heard of 13 stepping? I said to her "what do you think this behaviour tells you about his sobriety?" I said "I would say it is not a good recommendation for either his sobriety or the type of person that he is." I told her "I'll handle it" we went outside of the meeting and proceeded to make our way to the usual coffee place.

We made no effort to invite him or include him in the group. While we were walking up the road he very silently and stealthily managed to catch up with us and just started walking alongside us like he was part of the group that was invited. Nobody said anything. After about 15 seconds of him walking alongside silently I just turned and said "we've changed our mind, so it's just us not that will be be going for coffee if that's all right." He didn't know quite what to say to that. He mumbled some statement and stopped following us up the road. None of us said goodbye to him, we just carried on walking.

Sure enough when I had more time to speak to the newcomer it turned out that he had previously tried to manipulate her into some kind of sexual situation to which she had objected. There's one in every meeting it seems. You have to be careful and really watch out for the new women because there is nearly always one sexually predatory or lonely male in every meeting. They are very clued up as to who has the most easy to manipulate and will always make a beeline for the newest woman. We ended up having a really nice evening because we went out for coffee with the newcomer and she was very relieved to have escaped it the clutches of the dodgy bloke. She learnt that you can stand up for yourself without being aggressive or strange, and to be a lot more cautious about people she meets. Meaning she shouldn't assume that everybody in the meeting has her best interests at heart. We ended up having a lot of fun. I'm just very glad I managed to get to speak to her quickly before the other guy got there first at the end of the meeting. Anyway I hope you had a nice weekend and thanks for taking the time to read this.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bless you for looking out for this woman and protecting her. Can someone talk to the predatory male about his behavior, so that he will stop doing this?

Syd said...

I am glad that you were there. I've written about 13th stepping in the past. It doesn't happen as much in Al-Anon, or at least, I have not seen it. But I have read about AA's trolling some Al-Anon meetings looking for vulnerable women. I am reminded again that just because a person is in a meeting doesn't mean that they are in recovery or even healthy.

Di-Git said...

Good to read this share. When I was new I remember fellows trying this and that my sobriety was first so I just ignored them.

twodogsblogging said...

It's an age-old problem, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

I hate it when I am talking to someone the another walks in the room and interrupts and dominates the conversation, it happens often. The new party assumes they are the center of the world and it is rude. Just like the men who are court ordered to go meetings yet stalking women. yes often I heard men commenting on the hot chicks at a AA meeting. Beware. Dysfunction abounds at these meetings. Look not at personalities focus on program.

Anonymous said...

beware dysfunction abounds focus on program

asjimseesit said...

I'm confused. How is you taking her out for coffee different than him taking her out for coffee?
Last week she was talking to people at a bar and she was Ok, why do people assume she won't be Ok talking to men who are not drinking and trying to live by spiritual principals? Did you judge his intentions and find them lacking? Maybe he was lonely and wanted a friend, or to BE a friend, kind of like you.

I'm 14 years sober in A.A. and don't sleep with ANY women in the program -- newcomer or NOT -- but I respect them enough to let them make decisions for themselves.

Just my thoughts. Love your writing, though. Thanks for sharing it.

asjimseesit said...

LOL! Didn't realize you were a woman!

Still, not all men are trying to get over. Some of us use the women in the program to make amends to all the women we hurt prior to A.A. We have good intentions and are valuable friends.

Raging Alcoholic said...

Nice explanation on 13 stepping.
I had a vague idea of what it was but the woman who told me also told me that her sponsor taught her how to pick up men.
Sounded a little odd to me so I just sort-of let it go. She also told me that not all people at AA are nice and to using common sense. I am cautious by nature so that was easy for me.

I met her in a drunk driving diversion class. I have certainly learned a lot since them.

New people need to be looked after. sometime they are not really there to stop drinking and sometime they are but they are too naive for their own good.

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Pablo said...

Thank you, for your service on behalf of that woman, A.A. and recovery. What that fellow did was not for the common welfare of the group---Tradition One---but for his selfish gain.

Pretty creepy. May your tribe increase! It was wonderful seeing you exercise boundaries with this thirteenth stepping man. Critical if we want to be safe, having peace of mind.

I invite you to visit my blog. Recovery is key for me, too.

Wishing you a terrific new year.

congodog said...

AA Hierarchy Does Not Exist
Sexual Predators Victimize AA Women

My sober experience includes attendance at thousands of AA meetings, including many in distant parts of our world. While they may at times look and sound somewhat different than those to which I am acquainted, the underlying dynamics, set by our founders, remains the same. A level playing field, the baring of our inner most secrets, the dynamic of shared experience, all laced with honesty, humility and acceptance.

But there is no top rung on the AA ladder and the highest rank we have in AA is 'sober'. We are not leaders but rather trusted servants, each guided by an individual's higher power who may be manifest in the powerful intimacy of shared experience and perhaps our group's conscience.

Self-anointed gurus and would-be AA dignitaries claim their importance through bloated egos and the self-centeredness of a kind of ‘corporate’ mindset. They have no inherent authority or power over the rest of us.

Sadly, some of these men use their 'status' to prey on vulnerable AA women. It creates a differing power ratio where the self-proclaimed guru is gaining power over someone who is weaker or emotionally damaged in some way, and it can endanger their prey's sobriety and continue to diminish their own. These men generally are incapable of establishing healthy relationships in general and use their self-deemed AA status to pervert the true nature of sobriety. Ulterior motives may lurk in the frequently suspect alcoholic mind, even if only in the murky world of fantasy.

Male conduct relative to women and their sobriety is an extremely delicate and precarious phenomenon, wrought with many inherent dangers. These vulturine men usually are frequently incapable of establishing genuine relationships with other men and are ineffective sponsors as they simply parrot what they have heard. Their results are usually more likely to be of the "dry drunk" quality, which mirrors their own shallow humility, their thinly veiled arrogance and a bloated sense of superiority.

Many women and men come into AA as emotionally fragile beings looking for relief from their damaged souls. In the vast majority of cases, the sobriety dynamic is more effectively achieved in intimate dialogues with members of their own gender.

The 'guru' is a braggart, void of true honesty and humility, who shields himself from true sobriety by name-dropping, cockalorum and ignoring meeting protocols in order to bore others with his selfish rants. These men create a sort of static ambience where the healing power of shared experience is near impossible.

Alcoholism does not go into remission, but remains active like a deadly patina on our psyches, relentlessly attempting to undermine our ability to make quality sober choices. Long time sobriety is not seniority and there is no tenure.

'Life is a sum of all your choices. So, what are you doing today?'
Albert Camus

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