Those who are familiar with the 12-step program know that a 13th step exists. The 13th step is not an official component of the AA program. Rather, it is a term that refers to an individual who has been sober for more than a year and starts a relationship with someone who has less than a full year of sobriety. And or more simply put, when someone with recovery-time takes sexual advantage of someone new to the rooms of recovery. While this may seem harmless at first glance, this extra step has potentially tragic consequences.
The 13th Step in Recovery Programs
There is a widespread fear that the 13th step is quickly becoming a part of addiction recovery programs far and wide. This type of predatory behavior should not be tolerated. Recovery programs are meant to provide support to those struggling with their addiction. It is imperative that newcomers are aware of 13th stepping and proactively defend against succumbing to its inherent dangers.
Dangers of the 13th Step
The problem with the 13th step is the imbalance of power. It creates a dynamic in which one individual gains power over another who is comparatively weaker. This step has the potential to sabotage the sobriety of both individuals. The 13th step is not strictly limited to men. Both men and women qualify as predators in the context of 13th stepping.
Look Out For Predators
Although some enter into relationships with recovery program participants in a sincere manner, predators also exist. Predators are those who make it a habit of targeting recovery program participants, especially those who have recently made the decision to become sober. If you were to poll AA members across the nation, you would likely find that a surprising percentage of female participants feel pressured to date or engage in sexual relationships with group members who have been in the program for a significant period of time. Some predators even target underage members. Though it is hard to believe, many of these predators actually encourage their targets to leave the recovery program, scrap their medication and refrain from extensive interactions with their family members. This is one of the most dangerous ways in which these predators can hurt people in recovery.
Be Wary of New Relationships
Plenty of people who are in the early stages of the 12-step program find that flirting with potential flames is an excellent means of connecting with others without the presence of alcohol. Yet these connections can lead to relapses if they aren’t handled in the proper manner. The key is to distinguish between healthy flirting and dangerous advances that can ruin one’s mission to remain sober. Unfortunately, it is difficult for the average recovering addict to make such a distinction from his own subjective viewpoint. It often helps to obtain the viewpoint of another person, whether it is one’s sponsor or a friend of the same sex. Another set of eyes on the connection will help you determine if the 13th step will put your quest for sobriety at risk.