A young woman posted this on my blog and I felt it was so horrific what was done to her that it needed to be on the front page. PLease support her with your stories and courage as to how to go to the police, sue AA and sue these men for sexual harassment. If this happened in her church, her therapists office or at her place of work she would and could sue. SHe can sue him and AA World Service in NYC with all of it’s millions in the bank and its insurance coverage for sexual harassment and she can go to DON CHAMPION from ABC NEWS in Denver who is covering this story on camera. I have his number and you can also find him on the ABC Denver website. He’s a great guy who cares.
Kelly on September 14, 2012 at 10:14 AM said: Edit
Ladies Beware! This is my story of being “13th stepped”. I am telling my story in hopes that I may be able to stop at least one woman from going through this very shaming experience. This is not an attempt to bash AA nor am I trying to say that people shouldn’t go. I simply want people, women especially, to know that there are predators in AA and we must protect ourselves.
I first entered AA in May of 2006 at the age of 26 and God knows I needed A LOT of help at that time! I was a mess. My drinking was causing problems in all areas of my life and I couldn’t stop. I was so happy to have finally found people who had a way out. My family was happy too that there was a group of people who had the answer and who were willing to help me. What they were teaching me in AA was that I am powerless over alcohol and I am insane because I keep doing the same things and expecting different results. The only way I could recover was to find a God, clear the “wreckage of the past” and help others. Well, ok I can do this I thought. It was also recommended that I find a sponsor, someone who could help me work on the 12 steps and they should be someone of the same sex. Over the years I have had a few female sponsors and they were all wonderful ladies that tried to help me. However, I still struggled. I had a difficult time reaching out to them. They all told me that it was my job to call them, that they wouldn’t be calling me. Over the years I have been in and out of “the program” but could never seem to grasp the principles of this so-called “simple program”. I asked too many questions, didn’t believe in God and had a hard time trusting anyone there. The more I tried, the more I failed.
I met a lot of people in “the rooms” of AA. There are people from all walks of life who attend these meetings and whose lives have been saved because they work the program. Alcoholism kills people and to date there is no cure. I could buy into that one because I have family members who died from Alcoholism. I could also see that I, myself, was dying a slow and painful emotional death. Each time I drank, I lost more of myself. I went from being a happy-go-lucky teenager who just wanted to have fun and fit in to a 32 year old woman who was depressed, and full of shame and self hatred. I kept going to meetings and trying to work the steps to the best of my ability.
I am a very determined person by nature and I think that’s why I haven’t given up yet. I joined a new group in May of 2012 because my work schedule limited the meetings I was able to attend due to the fact that I work evenings. So, I was going to meetings, sharing and listening to others. Everyone knew that I was going through a hard time and that I am still struggling to get sober time in.
After a meeting one night, a man I will call Jeff gave me his phone number and told me to call him if I wanted help. I took his number but never called him. I thought to myself, “what does this guy want?” The next week after the meeting he approached me again and said “I’m waiting for you to call me, I told my wife you would be calling”. I still never called the man. You see, I have always been an attractive woman and I have attracted all kinds of predators in my life and I didn’t trust men period. After the 4th time Jeff insisted that I call him he asked me if I would just meet him for a coffee as he just wanted to share with me his “awesome program.” Reluctantly, I agreed to meet him at the coffee shop and the very first thing he said to me was this: “First of all, I want you to know that I am NOT a 13th stepper. I am a happily married man with two children. I have 21 years of continuous sobriety and I have an awesome program. My only intention is to share my program with you and give to you what was freely given to me.” WOW, I thought, this is great. He does just want to help me! I was so glad that this man was for real. Finally! Someone who seems to have a great life and is willing to teach me the way! So, I gave him my phone number and he said that he would call me tomorrow to see how I am. He also gave me some homework to do and reassured me that he could and would help me. I welcomed his help.
Over the next month, I met with Jeff once or twice a week to work the steps and he even called me everyday. No one from the program ever seemed so eager to help me. I started to feel hopeful because this was a new approach to the program, I had tried and tried many times and my life was still in shambles. I was desperate for any and all help that I could get. Jeff told me that I had to do step 4 & 5 right away if I wanted to get better. So, for the first time I began to write down stuff about myself. They call it taking a “moral inventory”. I had always feared this step because I have been through a lot over the years and I certainly didn’t want to discuss that crap with anyone. I really trusted Jeff by this time so I did it. Steps 4 and 5 were finally done. I had been both searching and fearless (which is what is recommended) and left no stone unturned. The things I shared with Jeff were my deepest, darkest secrets, the shameful things I had done in the throws of my addiction, the things I was afraid of, my weaknesses, the people who had harmed me. Everything. It was hard but I felt good about finally getting it done and over with. Maybe I could move on and things would get better from here.
Unfortunately, not long after I completed these steps I had a relapse. I ended up in detox and was again emotionally and spiritually broken. I wanted to die. My thoughts were consumed by suicidal fantasies. I called Jeff and told him that I was in detox. I was scared that he would be mad at me and would stop helping me. But no, Jeff told me it was ok and he would never ever stop helping me no matter what. He claimed that my relapse was a positive event that would catapult my recovery. Oh good I thought to myself. I’ve still got hope yet. Jeff called my family and told them that I was ok and assured them that he would help me. They, too, were grateful for him and the fact that he was willing to spend time trying to help me. When I got out of detox he picked me up and we went for a coffee to talk and make a plan. At that time, he invited me to go to his cottage on the bay and told me that I had to get in touch with my higher power there. Good idea, I thought. So Thursday morning I met him at the coffee shop and we drove out to his cottage from there. We brought our big books and went through it, highlighting the relevant parts that I needed to study. The whole time we were studying I was thinking to myself that I was so grateful to have Jeff’s help!
When we were getting ready to leave Jeff came and sat next to me and said “you are such a wonderful person with so many good qualities, you are so beautiful both inside and out… I love you”. You love me? What? Um, that makes me feel uncomfortable. But, I never said anything. I should have because it was then that he tried to kiss me. I pulled away and started crying. He said “why are you crying?” I said “because I should have known this was going to happen and I believed you when you said that you just wanted to help me!” he said “I do, I do! I’m so sorry! I have defects too you know!” He told me that he would never do that again and he would still be able to help me”. I should have known at that time that it was over. I should have just told him then to never call me again. I didn’t because he already had me sucked in to his promises. I was already dependant on his phone calls, his promises of serenity and his claims that he could make my life better.
I left there feeling so confused. I didn’t know what to do! I honestly felt like I needed his help or I would die. But deep down inside I felt sick. I had just told this man everything about me. When I got home I cried some more. That night I prayed that this would all go away and Jeff would be able to keep helping me without wanting anything from me. But that’s not what happened. The next night we met at the meeting early and sat in his car to talk. He again apologized. I told him it was ok. Then he told me that he would do anything to have sex with me. I was speechless. He told me that I needed to work on my issues with men and sex and that he could help me through that by allowing him to teach me how to let people love me. He said he was trustworthy and wouldn’t hurt me like so many have before. Without letting on how shocked and disgusted I was, I got out of his car and went and stood by another member because by this time, people were showing up for the meeting. I didn’t get back into his car. Instead, I went into the meeting and took a seat at the back. It was an open meeting that night and Jeff was to be the guest speaker. The meeting began and my mind started racing. It was surreal to me. Of course, I am NOT going to have an affair with this man. As “sick” as I was, I knew that this was WRONG. Jeff spoke that night at the meeting and the more he talked the more I realized that I had been fooled. He spoke about how he had an honest program and that he worked had everyday to keep his defects in check. I looked around the room and I could see how engrossed everyone was in his every word. I could see how much of a con man he was! I wanted to get up and tell everyone that he was lying! I wanted everyone to know what he had just proposed to me in the car! I didn’t though. I left the meeting and cried the whole way home. Now what do I do? The next morning I talked to my parents and told them that Jeff wasn’t my sponsor anymore and this is the reason why. It turned out that I didn’t have to do anything because my father took it upon himself to call Jeff up and threaten him. He was not to call me or go around me at all or dad would call his wife. So that was the end of Jeff, or so I thought.
Since that night I have been feeling hurt and angry. I still can’t believe that I didn’t see through his lies. I am angry and embarrassed that I ever did a 4th and 5th step with this predator. Thankfully, I got a new sponsor who is FEMALE and who is willing to help me. I have been trying to move past this but Jeff has recently been trying to call me and I refuse to answer because I don’t want to talk to him or see him. I feel scared to go to meetings now because I don’t want to run into him but I can’t stop going to meetings because apparently AA is the only path to freedom! Plus, I don’t want to give that man the satisfaction of knowing that he messed with my head. The Monday that just passed, he showed up a meeting and just stood outside of car and stared at my car. I went into the meeting and he never came in. He called me 5 times on Thursday and finally left a message that he wanted to “make amends to me”. I talked to my sponsor about this and she said that she would call George, who is actually Jeff’s sponsor, and just ask him to tell Jeff to “leave me alone”. When she did, Jeff’s sponsor said that she shouldn’t believe me, that I have a history of doing things like this and not to let me fool her. Jeff would never do anything like that. His reputation is impeccable. I was and still am shocked about what George said! It’s NOT TRUE! So now my sponsor tells me that I have to LET IT GO! And she is right. I have to let it go… and I will. I just wanted to write this experience out so that perhaps I can warn other women who might be hurting and desperate for help. Do not be fooled by men claiming to have a great program and claiming that they can help you. There are predators out there who want nothing more than to feed their own ego and try to get vulnerable women to satisfy their sick, uncontrollable urges.