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What is the 13th Step?

If you are new to 12 Step programs, you may hear people speak of the 13th Step. It may not make much sense since the literature makes no mention of any step past the 12th. Generally speaking, the 13th Step refers to an old-timer in the program seeking out a newcomer with less than a year of sobriety to sleep with or date. This type of behavior occurs across both genders, and is something that has great potential to threaten a person’s sobriety.

Newcomers to sobriety are vulnerable and susceptible to others who show them attention. Old timers know this quite well; they should let the newcomers do their own thing, heal, and grow into their own sobriety, but not all of them do. These types of relationships can be devastating for people new to recovery. Dating is a huge distraction from the work it takes to rid ourselves from our demons, and transform into sober individuals. If the relationship fails, relapse is a common outcome.

13th Stepping can also be the result of betrayal. As newcomers, we often trust others that have been in the program longer than we have. When a seemingly innocent invite to coffee to talk about the program turns into something more, it can be quite surprising and sometimes, disappointing. Other times, it may be flattering to the newcomer to have this kind of attention directed at them. Relationships can feel foreign in early sobriety because most of us don’t know how to act or what to expect from others and ourselves without the involvement of drugs or alcohol.

Relationships are a frequent topic of discussion in treatment. Starting new relationships and any that are with other patients or newcomers on the outside are strongly advised against. The risk of relapse of one or both individuals is extremely high, they usually don’t last, and they may cause those involved to feel negatively toward sobriety because of a relationship gone wrong. Simply stated, it just isn’t worth it. Give yourself a chance to heal and discover who you really are. If you let someone come in between that, you may lose the greatest opportunity you have at lasting recovery. If you want that opportunity, call us. We can help you start on your journey today; don’t put your life on hold any longer.

The Serenity Recovery Center stands as a landmark of the Encino Hospital Medical Center offering the best of detox. Committed to providing comfort and care, our private detox program supports the first foundational steps of sobriety. Contact us today for information: 866.294.9401