Thirteenth Stepping occurs when a person in recovery makes sexual overtures to a vulnerable person, a newcomer or someone newly sober, sometimes under the guise of “sponsoring” or working with the newcomer.
- it violates the principle that we should help others without expectation of reciprocity or return favors, sexual or otherwise.
- it taints the apparent motives of other AA members who really desire nothing other than to help the newcomer get sober.
- it can give an entire group the undeserved reputation as a “meat market,” and it can deprive the newcomer of the feeling that there is at least one safe place to be.
- Do we at the very least avoid 13th stepping ourselves?
- Do we help newcomers, especially those who are vulnerable, by letting them know that they should generally be sponsored by someone of the same sex, and that 13th stepping is generally considered to be very inappropriate behavior?
- How do we avoid gossip while safeguarding the rights and safety of newcomers?
Defences Against 13th Steppers
- Talk to your sponsor.
- If you do not have one get a temporary sponsor,
- Talk to longer sober people of your gender
- If possible go to other meetings, especially ones that cater to your gender
- Be discreet about who you give your phone number and address to,
- Do not accept or offer rides to people who are suspect or who you do not know,
- Do not share your intimate or sexual history from the floor of a meeting,
- There is no sexual therapy in 12 Step Fellowships (sex addicts anonymous, for example, offers a program to overcome sexual and relationship problems – not create more).