What if, at the lowest time in your life, those who are supposed to help you, prey on you? It happens every day, in countless AA and NA rooms across the world. The story has the same lame routine and ring to it every time. The new, freshly sober gal comes to a meeting, hoping for clarity and a new way of life, and before you know it, there’s a man schmoozing her up, trying to get on her good side, with more than just good intentions at hand. This has been termed “13th stepping” and most women new to the program have no idea what 13th stepping even is. The one thing most freshly sobered up AA and NA patrons usually don’t count on is meeting other people who are more sick than themselves. They come in with rose colored glasses on, ready to see the world with new eyes and never figure that the problems they might encounter in the rooms themselves may be as bad or worse than the problems they already have. The question is, why don’t the old-timers and those who have been around the program for a while help these women? Better yet, why doesn’t the World Board in both programs set forth clear rules on this issue?
Those within the walls of AA and NA include those that want to be sober and are there of their own free will, those that aren’t sure if they even have a problem but want to check out a meeting or two, those ordered to attend by judges in cases such as drunk driving, and then there are those who have to come as part of a treatment program for other problems such as sexual crimes or other felonies they have committed. There are countless felons in AA, who by all standards are not all bad, but there are those who have committed sexual abuse, there those that have tried to kill their wives and girlfriends, those who have raped, and pedophiles. The list goes on and on. Perhaps judges in criminal courtrooms should stop ordering those who have committed sexual offenses into these programs and instead insist that they get individual counseling or inpatient treatment. Sadly, that wouldn’t entirely solve the problem even if such orders were issued however, because once those with sexual addictions figure out that meetings are a place to meet vulnerable women, they keep going back, even after court ordered sanctions have ended.
Frequently in the rooms, people say, “Keep your own side of the street clean, and take your own inventory.” What this means essentially is don’t worry about what others are doing. It is none of your concern. This is precisely the response that one newcomer got from from the World Board of NA after calling to call attention to a man with seventeen years of sobriety that made 13th stepping a regular habit. “What this man does is single out the newcomers. He’s around fifty years old and keeps an eye open for any fresh meat that comes through the doors. Doesn’t matter their age. They could be his age, or even under 18. If they look good to him, he pounces. He got to me when I had about thirty days sober. What these guys do is take women like me who have to leave everything behind in order to start a new life, and they sort of brainwash us I guess, make us feel like we can depend on someone and that all is not lost. What eventually ends up happening is that these girls and women build their foundation upon him and other men like him, and eventually they find out that not only is he lying to her, he’s screwing just about every other chick in the room. I’ve talked to women who wanted to kill themselves over this guy, and let me be real clear about this, it’s not just the guy that makes them feel this way. It’s the head game. These women are already at their lowest and desperately just need to feel like someone cares and we all know that’s human nature. This one man in particular is known on a national level in NA and has even gone as far as to pick up a sponsor on the World Board. I have no doubt that was intentional. He serves on state boards in Nebraska and attends national conferences where he is invited to speak often. Everyone knows about him, and when I called the World Board to report him and the damage he was causing, I was essentially told to go call someone who cares, that they don’t take anyone’s inventory. This isn’t a joke. The guy has something like 14 felonies, is one of the most manipulative men I’ve ever met and people just laugh it off while high-fiving him for being the guy that has three girlfriends in every state in the U.S. Meanwhile women keep relapsing over it. Some have relapsed over and over because he just doesn’t stop. This one guy and his actions have the potential to kill several, and he’s only one of hundreds, if not thousands who are lurking,” said one anonymous NA member.
Are you shocked yet? Undoubtedly, if you’ve been around NA a while, you know his name, but chances are you won’t say it, due to that darn anonymity crap, which is evidently just another loophole for the sick and demented to be able to get away with this kind of stuff. Alcoholics Anonymous is no different. “I wasn’t so much a newcomer anymore but had one man approach me who seemed very nice at first. I wasn’t very trusting of anyone, but somehow he convinced me that I could trust him and we built what I thought would end up being a solid friendship. I confided in him, and he in me, and then things went south. He started making crude comments to me and at first I laughed it off, but when I asked him to stop, it continued. I had other women in the program telling me that everyone knew he was a predator and that I really needed to be careful. It didn’t stop and one day I became very angry and decided to let him know, in no uncertain terms, that I’d had enough, and he better stop. The end result was horrendous. I ended up losing several friends whom by all accounts, I needed in my fellowship, and he accused me of ‘playing victim’. He said he’d done nothing wrong and that my not saying anything to him at first was me giving him permission to treat me that way. That’s no different than telling a woman she deserved to be raped because she wore a dress and not pants. After it was all said and done, I realized that this man had even gone to such an extent to get close to me, that he offered to be a sponsor to one of my family members who was also in the program. That’s pretty sick,” said an anonymous AA member.
The World Boards of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous both have no position on this issue apparently. AA members have seen men come in drunk into meetings and be asked to leave, but the predators are allowed to stay. Naturally, the women who come in drunk are welcomed with open arms. Perhaps that shouldn’t be such a surprise however, as the founder of AA, Bill Wilson, was an incredible womanizer himself. He was so bad, apparently, that he had to have others keep watch over him in meetings and functions and when he’d get that familiar gleam in his eye, the other members would distract him. It is rumored that one woman named Helen Wynn, one of his mistresses, still getspayments to this day from his estate which are taken out of donations in meetings that are sent to World Services. Both of these facts are common place knowledge but it’s become part of the unspoken code. What does that tell you? It really isn’t surprising that evil lurks. Bill did, after all, write the 12 Steps of AA with the help of a ouija board and that is no secret either. Incidentally, the NA program was modeled after the AA program with a slight tweaking of the steps that members follow.
As a side note, men aren’t the only predators in the programs, as women have been noted to 13th step men too, but it is rare and the destruction caused by men is unparalleled. Women have died at the hands of male predators in the programs. Google ‘predators in AA‘ or ‘predators in NA‘. The results will make you sick to your stomach, and yet, even the old-timers who have watched it happen for decades simply turn a blind eye. They know which ones are sick, and yet do nothing. Women who feel uncomfortable in the rooms need to come forward, and they need to come forward in droves and demand that this criminal behavior not be tolerated any longer. It needs to be stopped, and it needs to be stopped now. Those who ignore this issue are as bad as the predators themselves. Perhaps a few lawsuits would set the World Boards straight?
see the link here …http://voices.yahoo.com/a-gathering-place-predators-12365031.html?cat=9
Writers note: There is a documentary type film being made on this issue, which I have no direct connection to, but found online while talking to others and researching this topic. It is called “The 13th Step” and the Facebook page can be seen here:https://www.facebook.com/pages/13stepping/469973469749422. If you’d like to view preview trailer on the film, there are several links on the Facebook page, this one included:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YlfIdCwzYQ&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D_YlfIdCwzYQ&app=desktop.