whats 13th stepping

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Re: whats 13th stepping

Postby Blue Moon » Tue Jun 06, 2006 12:29 pm

Originally posted by hussar:
The suggestion that men (oh, so concerned men) hitting on vulnerable women is the fault of other women for not talking to them is staggering. Can't see that one in the AA literature anywhere.
There's lots said and done in AA meetings that you'll not find in any AA literature.

But our home group was discussing this recently. The general consensus was that women don't look out for women in meetings.

P.S. my old sponsor used to call it "13th Tradition" because everyone was doing it.
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Re: whats 13th stepping

Postby hussar » Tue Jun 06, 2006 1:10 pm

Quote 'There's lots said and done in AA meetings that you'll not find in any AA literature'

and hitting on vulnerable women is one of them!

'But our home group was discussing this recently. The general consensus was that women don't look out for women in meetings'

Can't see how this is sharing experience strength and hope. Key question is why some men don't look out for women. Many men are absolute gentlemen and it shows. Others (a small minority) sleeze in with all sorts of 'holier than thou' AA stuff and but its quite obvious what their agenda is, to some people anyway. AA is meant to be a safe place and its neither moral nor sufficient to say its because women don't look after their own. Thats surely a form of denial? We should all look after our own. Sorry to go on about this but I have seen people damaged by smooth talking people who got what they wanted and then moved on in a cloud of self rightousness, damaging people.
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Re: whats 13th stepping

Postby theogirl » Tue Jun 06, 2006 2:59 pm

This whole thread, the thought of "13th stepping" is just hideous. Human nature, maybe, but wrong nonetheless.
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Re: whats 13th stepping

Postby The Pooka » Tue Jun 06, 2006 3:26 pm

I agree Theogirl. Our purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety. To tell you the truth, I don't think it's really all that common. Or I'm just not paying attention... :roll:
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Re: whats 13th stepping

Postby curtis s » Tue Jun 06, 2006 5:05 pm

Boy there are a lot of reactions here.

First off let me say that I have known several couples who met at AA and today have successful marriages. And I have known others who deveolped valuable relationships that just didn't work out. AA membership does not imply total celibacy vis a vis all other members.

That being said I for one was certainly ready to use a romantic relationship to replace my drinking when I first came to AA. This is a very common human desire and perhaps not even always a bad thing but it would have been looking for another quick fix on my part and was not what I really needed. So rushing into these things when we are new can be unwise. On the other hand I met my wife outside of the rooms with about 6 months sobriety and we've been married over 20 years now. So what rule should I be applying??????

THere are people in AA who haven't worked through all their rescue fantasies and similar issues who will quickly let themselves fall in love with a newcomer and create a situation that can create all sorts of difficulties for both parties. There are people with control issues who at some level figure they can dominate a newcomer. There are people just so desparate and lonely that when the temptation to take care of a newcomer is too strong they give in. Combine all these with the power of infatuation and sex and serious difficulties can arise even if both parties thought they were well meaning.

That's the 13th step for folks who meant well but maybe should have known better. Then there are the folks, far fewer in number, who don't even mean well. THey come in both sexes also and are often terribly charming. If I had one piece of advice about this it's to watch out for gurus that you are sexually attracted to. Because of course this isn't limited to heterosexuals.

I know one man who has given the virus to several women in the rooms without them knowing it. He knew and didn't say because he just had to have his conquests. He's lucky no one has tried to shoot him. Instead he is a guru. How I don't know since what he did is not exactely a secret.

I thought one of the comments here about the men taking responsibility for their own actions and motives was right on the money, although I think the same is very true of women. AA is a fellowship of men and women. It is not two separate fellowships, one of men and one of women. I personally would not choose a sponsor of the opposite sex because I think I would have some intimacy issues with that. Like I would fall in love with them.....But I have some very close women friends in AA. The men with men and women with women is a cop out in my opinion because if I subscribe to that I am saying I relate to you first on the basis of your gender an only secondly on the basis of either your humanity or our common problem of alcoholism. That being said if I am reaching out to the young attractive women and not the older physically unattractive woman then I have to ask what's up with that.

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Re: whats 13th stepping

Postby theogirl » Tue Jun 06, 2006 5:25 pm

I thought one of the comments here about the men taking responsibility for their own actions and motives was right on the money, although I think the same is very true of women. AA is a fellowship of men and women. It is not two separate fellowships, one of men and one of women. "

Bingo. I wasn't assigning blame to one gender...actually, I see it equally in both. What I have seen that I detest is the flirting and leaving and coming back and disrupting meetings all in the name of fellowship. There should be a differentiation of the two.
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Re: whats 13th stepping

Postby Blue Moon » Tue Jun 06, 2006 7:30 pm

Originally posted by hussar:
'But our home group was discussing this recently. The general consensus was that women don't look out for women in meetings'

Can't see how this is sharing experience strength and hope. Key question is why some men don't look out for women.
Not much ES&H in this thread either, but that's not stopping you from taking every male AA's inventory with what is generally an "outside issue".

Answer to key question: if "women stick with women" was actually practiced by most sober women, men wouldn't, and shouldn't, need to.

AA is supposed to be a safe place ... for recovery from alcoholism. However, it's not reasonable to assume that newcomer females are just passively standing by. I've known people in AA get harassed, pursued, verbally abused in meetings, doors banged, even threatened with knives by members of the opposite sex - and in very nearly every case the purpetrator was female. I've known more men driven out of AA by self-seeking women than women driven out by self-seeking men.

Does that mean I blame all women? No. It just means that AA is full of people who are alcoholic and, almost by definition, not well equipped to handle relationships with anything other than alcohol even if sober for some time. To accuse one gender of abuse is just trying to create a victim smoke-screen mentality for the other. It's not accurate, not helpful, and not even healthy.

Strange how you didn't know what 13th Stepping was, yet apparently know so much about it in AA meetings...
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Re: whats 13th stepping

Postby Jake B » Tue Jun 06, 2006 11:25 pm

this is an outside issue and has absolutely nothing to do with recovery or aa as a whole.
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Re: whats 13th stepping

Postby SteveC » Tue Jun 06, 2006 11:36 pm

Actually, it's not an outside issue as it takes place in the rooms of AA. If we're going to call it an outside issue, then we're just sticking our heads in the sand and hoping it will go away.

One of the first suggestions I heard at meetings was "No major changes in the first year." Don't buy or sell a house. Don't quit a job. And don't quit or start a relationship! Usually by the time a newcomer has a year of AA under their belt, they're equiped to make better, more sound decisions.

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Re: whats 13th stepping

Postby hussar » Wed Jun 07, 2006 12:40 am

Quote 'but that's not stopping you from taking every male AA's inventory with what is generally an "outside issue"'

As it happens I am a man and I am taking no ones inventory. Also I do listen carefully in meetings but I am reluctant to ask certain questions. I had a sponsor, who I lost very quickly when this apparently upright man started making unpleasant, salacious comments to me about a young women (who turned up the same month as me) who he was at the time, it transpires, secretly also sponsoring. So I am finding out what goes on and what has been said in this thread has been very helpful to me, thank you everyone. I am a great fan of AA so don't get me wrong. Most folks I have met are top dollar.

It seems to me that relationships happen and thats fine. The dodgy bit is when someone is a sponsor. Then the sponsor should stop being the sponsor. Its like a cousellor or a professor developing a relationship with a student or client. The correct behaviour is very clear, though hard to do.

Thanks everyone again


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Re: whats 13th stepping

Postby Blue Moon » Wed Jun 07, 2006 6:56 am

Originally posted by SteveC:
Actually, it's not an outside issue as it takes place in the rooms of AA. If we're going to call it an outside issue, then we're just sticking our heads in the sand and hoping it will go away.
If it's something that's going on within the rooms of AA, then I'd agree it's not an outside issue. But from what I see and have heard from others, very often AA is simply a place where people meet and then they pursue a relationship outside. If/when it doesn't work out, sometimes someone brings it back into AA and blames AA instead of accepting responsibility for their own behaviour.

I don't recall ever seeing a sober AA member hitting on a newcomer in a meeting. A newcomer hitting on a newcomer, yes. Sometimes a wet drunk hitting on a sober member. But I've not seen sober alcoholics doing it.

An AA meeting has relatively little control over what you or I choose to do inside a meeting, and none whatsoever over what you or I choose to do outside.

What does sometimes happen is a newcomer thinks she's somehow special and pursues a sober individual, who'll hopefully try and steer her towards other women, and hopefully other women will be giving similar suggestions. Whether she takes the advice or continues to pursue and ends up getting burnt is her choice, which can hardly be the fault of either AA or the sober alcoholic.

That said, I do still think the women, in general, could look out for the newcomer women rather more. Too often I've 12th Stepped a female newcomer in a meeting and called over some of the sober women to talk with her and give her their numbers. As a male, I shouldn't have to do that, and as a female she shouldn't be needing me to.

I myself was not 12th Stepped adequately within AA either. The focus is so much about getting people in off the streets, less so on looking after them once they're here - encouraging them, offering the recovery program, offering numbers, talking, and so on. I've known people die from suicide after finding AA. This isn't a 13th Step problem, it's a 12th Step problem within AA's rooms and so-called 13th Stepping is really just another symptom of that.

So yes, if we set aside the "13th Step" and look to the real problem, it is something we can address within AA. I just don't think most alcoholics are willing to, choosing instead to blame someone else. We just shouldn't be so focused on 13th Stepping, but be looking to the real issue.
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Re: whats 13th stepping

Postby curtis s » Wed Jun 07, 2006 1:54 pm

This seemed like more of a unity within AA topic than a newcomers topic, so I moved it.

Ian I agree that this really in many ways is a 12 step issue in that we have a message to carry and the message is not that we can solve our problems by using relationships or sex the way we used alcohol.

At the risk of sounding politically correct I still have to repeat that there are women who 13th step men also and that the emotional damage is just as severe. The 13ths step isn't usually really about sex, it's about taking hostages. (for those who don't know this particular saying it is sometimes said that alcoholics don't have relationships; they take hostages)

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Re: whats 13th stepping

Postby Jenny » Fri Jun 16, 2006 5:37 pm

I agree that both men and women 13th step. My understanding of 13th stepping is not a relationship but a notch on the belt. Someone who is not that interested in a long time relationship, or the sobriety of the newie. It is in my belief, when an older sober member (whether male or female) deliberately set out to get a notch on the belt and then drop that new vunerable person. Or withdraw the "support" abruptly.

Relationships happen. I have seen some very happy ones come out of early sobriety, I have also seen some disasterous ones.

I have also seen men and women who just want a notch on the belt for their own self esteen. Although I don't understand how someone can buiild up their own self esteem, by hurting the vunerable new people who are still lonely, guilt ridden, and need genuine support.

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Re: whats 13th stepping

Postby ShaneL » Sun Jun 18, 2006 8:52 am

Sad to report, it isn't just a hetrosexual issue either. I have seen men with sobriety go after other men that are newly sober and confused about their sexuality. One shared with me that his first (and only) gay experience was the result of being 13 stepped when he first came to AA.

:confused:
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Re: whats 13th stepping

Postby ShaneL » Sun Jun 18, 2006 8:54 am

I have also seen men and women who just want a notch on the belt for their own self esteen. Although I don't understand how someone can buiild up their own self esteem, by hurting the vunerable new people who are still lonely, guilt ridden, and need genuine support.
They need to do their sex inventory in Step Four.
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