A discussion has evolved from my post on the practice of 13th Stepping – having sex with a person who is more vulnerable than yourself. There have been comments denigrating the 12 Step program, partly blaming 13th stepping. Having worked for over 20 years in the recovery field I can only say that if someone criticises the 12 Step program and fellowship then they are ignorant about how beneficial and lifesaving it is for those who suffer from addiction. There are other programs such as cognitive behavioural therapies which may work for those who commit fully to them but nevertheless larger numbers have benefited from the 12 Step program. Now I will deal with this particular request:
If anyone has any ideas about how to curb 13th stepping at meetings, i would love to hear it. I feel so protective of the other young women at meetings, and I want to do whatever is within my power to encourage self respect, dignity, and focus on recovery. It took a lot of pain for me to see how abusive I was with 13th stepping people, and how abused I let myself be. I would like to do what i can to help these girls make better choices than I have. Thank you, Lauren K
Single people in early recovery are discouraged from entering into relationships because the idea of successful recovery is when you first develop a healthy relationship with self. That’s a life skill which needs honing before success can be achieved in a relationship with another person. However, in the fellowship as in any other part of life such as church groups, cultural associations or sporting clubs etc, lust and love tempt us into relationships which are perhaps too soon, therefore temporary and unsuccessful. Finding partners in the fellowship can be an end result that is fulfilling because it is within a mutual program and the communication is understood. However, there are in the fellowship a minority of people who are not ethical just as there are a larger number of people with integrity and who are good role models for recovery. The strategy for those who may be inclined to be 13th Stepped is to remember that in recovery I am not responsible for the disease but I am responsible for my recovery and therefore report any love interest to your sponsor and be guided. Look on it as being for a short time and when you are strong in your recovery you can choose the right partner more wisely. If you are like Lauren K and notice 13th Stepping in meetings, (1) one way of dealing with your fears is to share, when your turn comes, what you see and feel about the 13th Stepping going on, without mentioning names. (2) Another way is to ask that the topic at your meeting be “how to stop 13th Stepping” and this will mean that when people share on the topic the message will perhaps hit home to those who are the perpetrators. (3) Another way is to ask for a guest speaker who will speak on the subject at the beginning of the meeting. (4) If all else fails, or as well as, you can call for a group conscience meeting especially to ask for that problem to be dealt with, or attend the next group conscience meeting and put the subject on the agenda for discussion. (5) It will be more effective if you set up a group (2-3 members) who will act on this issue. Maybe you will find out another way of doing it but at least you have some suggestions to begin with.