Tell Me your story here about Predators in AA

We are collecting stories of Predators both Financial and sexual in AA in Los Angeles.  Actually we want stories first hand from all who have been affected throughout the United States  But we think we need to stop turning a blind eye to this horrible behavior.

AA is a spiritual path. And none of this behavior by predators is spiritual. AA as a whole needs to clean up its act from the inside out and then go to the press and tell them what they have done. The word has been out for too long that we are the easy prey for sex addicts and take advantage of new women who are not strong yet. But, don’t get me wrong this happens to men too.

WE think New York needs to get on board and write literature with us and lets have it read add it to the preamble.

Australia and Great Britain wrote literature addressing this problem in 2001.

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213 thoughts on “Tell Me your story here about Predators in AA

  1. the man that killed my friend is in prison . this was a few years ago. i apologize for alarming you . i should have included that information in the post.

    the misogyny and victim blaming that goes well past the rooms of AA . law enforcement. the courts. the churches and in some places its all one in the same. what our over crowded, underfunded state systems are dumping into recovery programs is absolutely chilling at best. abuser/killer/child molester/rapist/woman beater etc. gets the invite card handed to him by the judge. and let me tell you, these men .. are very very dangerous. they have committed and been convicted of felony battery, sexual assault, assault 4 . attempted homicide. arson. etc..

    i am concerned for the safety of the women. i say to them, do we REALLY know who we are sitting next to at that meeting ?

    i do not stay silent so they can be comfortable.

    old feminist in recovery carrying the message.
    still pissed off about it. in washington state
    thank YOU very very for your service.
    XO

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  2. My friend met, and fell in love with a man in a outpatient program . He murdered her, choked her to death in her sleep, and tossed her naked body in a pond . I know this, because I was the manager at the sober living house that he lived in.
    I had called his probation officer three days prior, and reported that he was drinking and seemed “off” His eyes had changed in a way that was scary. I wanted him out of the house, he was dangerous. Probation responded with , ” “we will re locate him to another house on Monday. Your house is not a good fit for him.””
    That weekend, he murdered my friend in cold blood after I walked him out of my house with a 44m. He had broken into my home and was standing in my sleeping granddaughters bedroom watching her sleep. He was angry at me for reporting him to probation, and telling him he had to move out of the sober living house, because he had been drinking, using and panhandling in the city.
    He met my friend, in a meeting. He had 3 felony warrants out of another State nobody said anything about. One for battery the other for arson. I have also survived a AA marriage and divorce with a Narcissistic Abuser. During the divorce , the local groups supported the smear campaign of my abuser. I was shunned in meetings. Sponcee’s fired me. The phone literally stopped ringing while my abuser strutted around the rooms with the newcomer he had been having an affair with professing his love for her, and slandering my name.
    Washington State. Whatcom County.
    RIP Rubey H.

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  3. Rachel- It snever okay for then to grab your bum, Calling the police is what needs to happen. AA has become a free for all fill with sexual predators! Im sorry this happened to you. There are thousands …You don’t need AA to be abstinent. It sounds like you are in the UK…are you in a big city? There are other ex steppers there as well. I hope we can talk or Skye and that I may help you .

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  4. Omg the trouble I had I was 31 at the time, I’ve seen a very vulnerable very attractive young women completely abused by a very old man, she was so ill and it was so sad to see, I have had my bum pinched, had men follow me, pretend to b my friend use there resentments at me to bully, oh the list goes on and on when I rejected any number of men the scorn and backlash was horrendous, I was very emotionally unwell hating myself etc…… I was genuine and wanted to get well, I had to leave and that was the hardest decision of my life because all of my workers promote this place, but its no excuse to go back out and drink though I have to say you can work the steps naturally, I’ve found the women pretty awful also, I’ve been described as attractive zillions of times and I was told it was jealousy, I can’t see this, but I did notice the young attractive ones torn apart like wolves, I think the programme is great and pretty pure but many of if not z99% are not working it. It was heLl on earth, judgemental in the extreme and the reactions when people relapsed was horrendous outing people by turning the cold shoulder it is no word of a lieo dangerous when ur not strong enough at the beginning, it works if the women take you under there wings but I had none of that, it was inner city so pretty rough, I stood out like a sour thumb but I love down to earth places like that I was so naive, I’m only 33 now, I feel I have to take personal responsibility on a day to day basis, if I start getting angry I have to look within, I work them naturally as every time I did it more planned I became consumed and restless and anxious. m y higher power is my rock I still practice defects at times as its progress and if i take my eye off the ball just now I know it’s inward, I will never go through AA doors again and I get panicky at the thought of it just writing this here, eekkkk awful awful awful never agin!

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  5. Julie- Since I was assaulted, I used to plan and make sure that a close friend would walk me in, sit next to me and walk me out to my car. The problem was that I would get nervous before meetings (that I would see him) and even if he wasn’t there, I would cry after meetings (luckily with whichever friend was with me at the meeting) because it was nerve-racking.

    This should never have happened to you in or around a meeting. Sadly to say you are one of many who is being harassed, assaulted, and raped by AA men. I commend your spirit to try to bring change from within. I tried for 2 years. I can make a bigger difference outside where I am not a target for the violence or their bad vibes. I can feel how sad you are. I too grieved when I knew I as gonna leave.

    Many women are wonderful , but honestly many turn a blind eye and blame the women. Like a bad 1950’s movie, DADDY molesting children etc. mom looks the other way and blames little Sally. After seeing this behavior especially by the women I heard the literature for what it really is and quite frankly , the Readings make me sick and I saw through them. I could no longer listen to the lies.

    Perhaps if they read nothing and we just met and talked about our week etc, which is really what was happening in my old home group. ALot of honest sharing …..I might have been able to stay.

    Keep posting and blogging and let us know how it goes. Are you going to put on a workshop? Its a powerful tool.

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    1. I know this is old but I had to say something. I can remember being about 17, sitting at Stu’s Alternative house in Sacramento. This douche bag named Bruce fro NA came to the house to take people to a meeting. I had gone through detox and was at this halfway house. Newly clean off heroin, like maybe 10 days. This a$$#*%@ invites me to his house for spaghetti dinner and to “work some steps”. I was seven friggin teen. He was probably 40+. Nice. I’ve always been pretty street wise and saavy; u know, heroin addict and all. But jeez man really? I am very sad to hear it has only gotten worse.

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      1. kkh- WOW, Im so sorry to hear this. Was this a long time ago? Not that it matters. WHen it hot me that the middle aged guys that preyed on me and my sister over 30 years ago was predatory. I cried a bucket of tears.
        This crap is so f**ked up and needs to be exposed and stopped.

        Wanna talk, wanna be a part of stopping it?

        you can reach me at makeaasafer@gmail.com

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      2. Ya this would have been about 1985ish? I’m 44 now so…..ya what a creep. Sucks that General service turns a blind eye.

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  6. Hi, I have been thinking since I posted here a few months ago. These issues are really all about people (especially women) having access to AA meetings if it is their chosen path for sobriety.

    Since I was assaulted, I used to plan and make sure that a close friend would walk me in, sit next to me and walk me out to my car. The problem was that I would get nervous before meetings (that I would see him) and even if he wasn’t there, I would cry after meetings (luckily with whichever friend was with me at the meeting) because it was nerve-racking. I am sad because I loved meetings. They keep me on track with my sobriety and I used to love seeing friends there. Last night, I finally realized that I just can’t go to co-ed meetings anymore. I have done a lot of grieving and I finally reached a point of acceptance. But meetings are detrimental to me when they are that upsetting.

    The good thing is that there are 5 women’s meetings in my city. AA works for me as long as I am honest with myself about what I believe in terms of the principles and common practices. I plan to do some service work in the form of trying to get safety statements read at meetings (stating that the safety of members is important), but I know going into it that it may be shot down and I can’t be attached emotionally to the idea that people will support it. All I can do is put a bit of effort into improving women’s access to meetings.

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    1. Hi Julie, you said at the end of your comment. “All I can do is put a bit of effort into improving women’s access to meetings.” If you were so traumatized, and can only now go to womens meetings, why would you put effort into women’s access to meetings when you know they are not safe?. Maybe wait until you are able to have safety literature available at each meeting. I do not think it makes sense to invite women into unsafe conditions.

      You say there are 5 women groups in your area. Have you gone to them yet to see if you like those yet?
      It would be nice if people just went to AA who actually wanted to, but for most it is not their chosen path, they are forced to go by the judicial system. Often times with dire consequences.

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  7. A 16 year old female newcomer is driven home from her first meeting by a male member who stays up till 4am talking to her at her house. He harasses her repeatedly until she disappears from meetings a short while later. He then repeats these actions to a 19 year old female newcomer who also disappears.

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  8. PPS Oh and I Still have all the emails of his, posted them on the cloud stored safely and forwarded them to law enforcement. Just so they NEVER disappear so he can never ” lie his way out” of things. If he stopped the predation behavior and showed some conscience, was trying to make amends and showed remorse? These steps may not have be necessary …But he shows neither remorse, amends, conscience or any guilt for any harm he has done and keeps on going. For someone in a Program of ” Rigeoruous Honesty” well damn! What a LIAR! 😛 How does he sit up there and suck up all the admiration as if he is ” all that” ? None of us with conscience would be able to do that right? I don’t think so. Nite all 🙂

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  9. PS Wasn’t I in AA to recover from drinking? What am I doing with PTSD and worrying about this crap ? 🙂 *Jesus* . It has been hard, but I am strong and a bit older than some of the victims in early 20’s and I just want to get to a place where I can help them more, so they can’t fight for their lives, survive and not be subjected to this complete and utter abuse. I wonder what it would of been like if I had not had to deal with this horror? I wonder. Peace all, I am going to get a good nights sleep and onwards and upwards, we have a lot to give back.

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  10. James, I think your poster is serious 🙂 However, I am not racist so forgive me, but Joe said to me one time when he was angry as I had a lot of his sexual predatory emails on my computer….” I took pictures of you naked when you were asleep and i am going to post them on the internet so n*gger$ can masterbate to them…” (apologize I am not racist, this is just how horrible he can be when he rages..) Myself, ever having the sense of humor in the middle of tragedy called his bluff as I know he was lying and wanted me to destroy the evidence I had of him preying on people said ” Well, what if they are gay and like the pictures of you better? ” 🙂 ( I was kidding ) ….. * deep sigh * I cannot believe I was in the middle of this twilight zone…But at least I had some witty response to keep my sanity will dealing with the insanity 🙂 Just thought I would share. I have a “treasure trove ” of unwarranted threats…1001 ways a sociopathic AA sexual predator threatens you when you stand up for yourself, that will be the title of my book if I ever write it…Oh yes, with the sub title ” and the witty responses ” 😛 hugs, e.

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  11. So today I was thinking about ” we only have today”. Which is true, however when I confronted Joe Bourke on all of his abuse he would say to me ” WE ONLY HAVE TODAY AND TODAY! AND I I AM FINE TODAY!”..Yes he is fine, really? What about your victims and their families over 20 + years….Are they “ok”? What about the “days” Joesph you preyed on new comers and as you said in your words ” they have daddy issues and low self esteem so they drop their pants quickly..they throw themselves at me after hearing my “story”..” (Trust me it is a “story” as he leaves out all of the abuse elements he conducted)…..I then asked him what do you do? He said ” squirt and run” sorry to be gross, but this is verbatim. Then what about the “days” you used sex trafficking victims in massage parlors and never told them you had AIDS which is a Felony with special circumstances and their futures? What happens when ” you only had that day and you did that” Joe Bourke? What happened to them? Do you even know? What happened when you were in your words ” addicted to prostitutes….young mexican girls at the side of the road drug addicted that give me blow jobs and sex..”? What happened THAT DAY? To think of THEIR future when you did not tell them you had AIDS? And then you “hit a meeting later” with all of your sponsee’s as Mr. Guru and pretended you were some spiritual person that knew God? What happened on the “DAY(S)” That you USED your Senior Citizend neighbor for sex who CRIED in her church as she was humiliated and you talked her into unprotected sex and I had to find your genitals on the internet you sent to her saying “will you kiss it for me mommy”..And when I confronted you with it THAT DAY…YOu said Joe verbatim ” How odd that YOU would have compassion for her!” and you lef tthis woman to have a nervous break down AIDS or worse WHILE you STILL WENT TO MEETINGS IN FOUR 12 STEP PROGRAMS EVERY SINGLE DAY…Painting yourself as some kind of “leader” what happened on those ” days” ………What happened when you left your furniture at your ass and were using women in Pomona for sex, as well as people in Costa Mesa and other places and when I found out you had yet again “set up shop” and continued these behaviors with NO PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY WHATSOEVER……You told me “: we ONLY HAVE TODAY” ( just recently)….As you left a trail of victims and their families and were creating more….And when I told you this was WRONG! You threaten me with violence if I speak out TODAY! 🙂 Well guess what Joe Bourke, your “todays” have created a lot of miserable “tomorrows” for victims and their families and will continue too…You are the biggest idiot I have ever met in my entire life and your little AA slogans will not work to “explain this sh$t away” ..F*CK YOU JOE! Why don’t you get up in the morning and figure out what you are going to do “TODAY” to fix some of this sh%T? Oh, I forgot, you ran out of money for prostitutes (no offense to the women) and YOUR TOO BUSY! RUNNING Sex Addicts anon and having sex with vulnerable women in Costa Mesa as TODAY that is what you are worried about….Painting yourself as some kind of guru as opposed to a person with a sick personality disorder as an almost 53 year old grown man with a partner and a son..OH NO! YOU have to “live for today” which is about zero responsibility and getting it on with as many ill people as possible, not caring whether they DIE as they contract AIDS, never being there for them and then somehow allowing the AA doctrine and the 12 steps to be a “cover” for the sick murdering bastard you really are? So . TODAY…..all we have is TODAY JOSEPH? Your today’s are about taking a lot of peoples tomorrows and not giving a f*ck about them or their families. Screw you : ) Just had to vent, so sick of his ” today” BS I just got. *ugh* 🙂 e.

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  12. Hi, Kelly I can really relate to your story. Thank you for telling it. My story is very different, but the similarities help me to feel validated, which for me is a big part of healing.
    This whole website is so helpful to me. I like the principles of AA and my personal spirituality. There are things about the program that are negative, but I like the fact that it has kept me sober. I also like reading this blog because it helps me to step outside of the program and know that there ARE flaws and I can think about them without being a heretic.
    I had a disturbing experience with an acquaintance from AA this fall. For anyone who wants to read the story, I have written it below. It was so deeply upsetting. But what is more upsetting and disillusioning is the reaction of the men in the group to what happened. They have told me that its all over now and we can enjoy each day and be happy. Their solution is to “keep an eye on him.” That is unhelpful because its an enormous meeting and he leaves with women all the time.
    I want to implement the Australian guidelines in our group. People tell me maybe I should go to women only meetings (and I do sometimes), but my reaction is FUCK NO, I’m not leaving co-ed meetings. Women need to be safe at ALL meetings. I personally think the Australian guidelines are far too mild for predators. Predators need to be ejected immediately, but as an organization, AA is not ready for that.
    Has anyone on this blog tried to implement the Australian guidelines in an American group? I’d like suggestions. I’m thinking about taking a group of women friends to the group conscience of this meeting, passing out those guidelines and saying that we need to discuss them. I want to tell them this is the just the beginning of an ongoing discussion about a perpetual problem.
    I’m done waiting for men to take care of these problems. They have shown that they cannot fill that role. Women need to take action together.
    Suggestions for how to band together as women and change a meeting to make it safer?

    So my story is this:
    I had known this man for 3 years very casually. We have a ton in common. We were talking one night after a meeting and he invited me over for tea.
    So I went over to his house and he started to talk about personal space and how its bullshit and how he is just a touchy feely person. I saw that he had belladonna herbs in a baggie and I confronted him about why on earth he would have belladonna if he’s clean and sober. He went on and on about how he likes how he feels clean and sober and he’s not tempted having it in the house. Curiously, he didn’t answer with the simple alibi that he uses small doses for medicinal purposes. Anyway, it can also be used as a date rape drug (as I found out later) and it makes people compliant when crimes are committed against them.
    Then he gave me my loose leaf tea and I believe it had belladonna in it. Then he sat down next to me on the sofa and he was all over me. It was all so surreal and gross. I kept saying “do you do this all the time?” I just had this intuitive sense that it was a routine thing for him and I truly believe that. I kept saying I didn’t want to do anything with him and after an hour of talking about his awesome program and being all over me, he got frustrated, climbed off me (I was curled up in the fetal position facing down) and told me to leave.
    I was surprised the next morning when I woke up feeling raped. I thought “I haven’t been raped, so why do I feel all these feelings that go with rape?” I was on a roller coaster, feeling tearful, ashamed and violated, a roller coaster that is just calming down, a month and a half later.
    So why did I feel raped? Because I WAS violated. His behaviour was aggressive and predatorial.

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    1. julie- hi im back. So where are you in the US? Im in So California… we should talk. makeaasafer@gmail.com
      I created the first make AA safer workshop. We wrote literature. I wrote literature. We created posters. We had many workshops. The must do something. AA is being sued. Its not going to stop till we see AA made safer in more ways then you are saying here.

      I can send you the literature. We created a safety statement . We had months of weekly and monthly business meetings and took a group conscious. After many months we agreed to use this new literature that we approved unanimously. We were thwarted by the local area and undermined by the local district. Many groups …over 75 began to use the literature and read a safety statement of some kind.

      This is not enough. The Workshops are also needed so people feel supported. Why in hell woman and men dont through these guys out is beyond me. AA’s 12 traditions are not above the law. Sexual Harassment and assault are crimes both civil and criminal.

      I hope you contact me further and I can email you this information.

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  13. 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.

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    1. Kelly- Thank you for posting and welcome. I am so sorry to hear this but you are not alone. contact me and we can talk.
      makeaasafer@gmail.com

      I have so much to tell you. I was 13 stepped 37 years ago 2times at ages 18 & 19. I relate to alot of your feelings and story. What a creep he is. Out him. Get his full name.

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  14. arthur- Welcome to our site. So what are you doing there t address this. Have you forwarded this to tom Horvath in San Diego? PLease do. He needs to know this. However. Leaders are all trained for 0 tolerance with Sexual Harassment.

    How do you see this being stopped. We see a way. It is to go to the Courts, Judges, Parole Officers, Lawyers and stop it from happening at all.

    Ex. Like making it law they can not man date them to go there. They must bring the program to them in a safe room with a guard in a city, county room.

    Then all program scan be offered.

    What do you think. What do people in Smart think the answer is?

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    1. Massive,

      I just heard your great interview with Barry Lessin and I did call in. I have been in/out of AA for many years and have some ideals I think would benefit the movie you are making at this time. I still don’t know how to get into the chat room that is connected with Blogradio. How can I talk with you about a national campaign that needs to be waged against the corrupt recovery industry?

      Like

  15. It isn’t just happening in 12 step programs. Here in Australia, the jails/courts are pushing criminals into SMART Recovery. And plenty already went there. Any drug/alcohol recovery program will have plenty ofunsavoury characters attending it. It is the nature of the beast. All must be accountable, by all I mean each and every one of us. Shit happens when we turn a blind eye.

    Like

    1. Arthur,

      No doubt abuse and exploitation is wrong anywhere. But could you be a bit more explicit about how this could be going on in SMART meetings? They are run by a facilitator trained by SMART and meetings don’t generally have the coffee pot, recreation rooms, and/or “before the meeting” and “after the meeting” meetings like AA meetings do. SMART is also generally populated by a more serious group of people who are just glad to be anywhere other than an AA meeting.

      Are you an angry bitter AA’er who is upset that the truth is finally coming out in a public formum about the criminal activity that has existed not only for decades but since the founding of AA? Please don’t come into a public forum that is designed to discuss these difficult problems and spread senseless gossip about other programs unless you really have some evidence.

      I have participated in numerous alternative recovery groups and find nothing like the sneaky, manipulators in AA and NA.

      Like

  16. HI james and welcome.

    Im sorry to hear this is going on but I want to talk with you to see if I can help you see this situation in a new light. IMagine if your girlfriend was at work. and a grocery store or in a bank… how would she and you react if this happened. What would she do. This would be a legal criminal matter. Sexual Harassment is illegal to do in the US of A.

    So first make sure you know their FUll names and write them down. GO to the police and tell them she is being sexually harassed. Be prepared for them to blow you off. Ask them what are your rights. Have they grabbed her and touched her unwantingly?

    Still they can not make these sorts of remarks to her. ITS CALLED SEXUAL HARASSMENT. It is against the law.

    SO they are not worth you going to jail over so what are the other choices.

    How can I empower you and her. Can you tell her to go back there with two people at her side and tell them if they talk that way to her again she is going to call the police and hire a lawyer to sue their ass and to get the fuck away from her NOW!!! Sexual Harassment would be a civil case.

    It really has to start happening. AA members like you and your girlfriend have to begin to make alot of noise and tell them to stop or you are calling the police and calling a lawyer. Be ready to follow through. Then call Don Champion in Denver at ABC who is buidling and telling the story about this crap going on in AA. Google his name. I can give you his phone number.

    You can file charges first with the police. Then go to the church where the meeting is taking place and tell them she is being sexually harassed. You can sue the church for not protecting her.

    Then go to the secretary of the meeting. Now be prepared to be brushed off, so have your camera phone ready when the idiot starts moving their lips. I would love to hear what they have to say to you. Film the conversation.

    Next call NY GSO and file and written complaint and file a compliant with the State Attorney General in NY about AA itself. TEll NY GSO if they dont take action you will sue them as well.

    Keep all the paper work.

    Call me makeaasafer@gmail.com and we can talk. The Bullshit needs to stop. You have every right to be so mad. Women have been raped , molested, assualted and killed and AA stills thinks it’s shit dont stink. We know better.

    “A Coalition of Concerned Citizens for Victims of Crimes Committed By Alcoholics Anonymous and It’s Members”.

    Like

  17. QUEENS, NY CITY…I will not name the groups or people. If one more AA man says another inappropriate comment to my AA girlfriend, I am committed to breaking their jaw. Strangely, the comments are made when I happen to NOT be at the meeting. Once, recently, I went after a 13 step LOSER and he ran like a little B%T^H….I WILL break their jaw and then I will use my connections to make it look like I had to defend myself. I will not go to jail, but THEY will. Two wrongs don’t make a right….two wrongs make it even…..AMENDS will follow later…ahhh the beauty of the program….

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  18. Roy, I really appreciate your honest post to this situation. Would you be willing to do any activism with us towards talking to judges, Lawyers and parole officers.

    AA at every level thinks they can brush it off and until they are forced and sued I imagine they will continue on their current path of pretending they have special traditions and No policies, which allows for this crap to continue.

    Many of us have tried to get Ny Headquarters to address it. They speak AA nonsense language like rote cult members do. We tried to get the WSD in LA to address it with no success. And The Area still has done nothing.

    I was involved with a group where we had two workshops that were very successful in shinning the light on the cockroaches. I felt like I was dealing with the dark ages. They are a very mean spirited fellowship. Woman defending sexual predators.

    Anyway, if you are interested in doing more at any level let us know.

    Again thanks for the great post.

    Like

    1. I Would be happy to hear what you have in mind and how you think I might be able to help. As the father with daughters, and director of a non-profit that serves teens in general, this issue affects many that I care about and come into contact with.

      Like

      1. Hi Roy,

        I would like to ask you since you work with non-profits with teens. I have reached out to many child advocating groups about this issue. No one responds! Are there that many 12 steppers to the point that child advocates wont go to bat about this topic? I just dont get it. This is not a matter of opinion, this is really happening with violent felons and sexual predatoes going to meetings along with teens and very young adults.

        Any idea how to get any of them on board? Many are in touch with other child related agencies that could help etc.

        Like

  19. I have attended AA/NA fellowships for the past 18 years (clean the whole time) and have the following observations to make, at least as they pertain to southern California and the issue of predatory behavior:

    1) Under no circumstances would I ever suggest that a female, regardless of age, attend an AA/NA meeting without a strong friend or family member in their immediate presence at all times. Period. It is generally not a safe environment for traumatized and/or vulnerable women to be in by themselves. Yes men can be victims too, but for the most part women are the ones being preyed upon in alarming numbers.
    2) Predatory behavior is rampant and openly tolerated even by those in positions of service and leadership thus allowing sick behaviors to continue and escalate. I’ve seen it many times. I have seen more sickness co-signed in the name of tolerance than I care to mention. It’s very disturbing. Under the guise of being non-judgmental, the sickness is allowed to continue on unabated.
    3) Under no circumstances whatsoever would I ever bring minors to an AA/NA meeting, especially young girls. Period. I have witnessed countless times where young girls have been preyed upon immediately upon their arrival in the rooms. As the drug courts flood AA/NA with thousands of people, the situation only appears to have gotten worse. There are a lot of people arriving with an agenda that does not appear to include recovery.
    4) The 12 step recovery community needs to wake up and address this issue head-on. Everyone is responsible for doing their part. In spite of personal attacks and character assassinations, I will continue to speak out about these injustices and the destruction of the fellowships that is caused as a result. It saddens me to see where the fellowships are heading.
    5) In spite of their shortcomings, the fellowships still have a lot to offer. But it is only through concerted awareness and effort on the part of those who care enough to take a stand, that anyone else will be able to avail themselves of the benefits of recovery.

    Please spare me the “you’re bashing AA/NA responses.” I answer to a higher authority….GOD.

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    1. Roy, I appreciate your candor about what you are seeing in AA/NA meetings. Your post helps shed light to what is rampant in the rooms of AA/NA. I am most concerned with minors and young girls at meetings. Even though formal complaints have been filed with AA World Services and NA World Services, they refuse to do anything, other than to continue the practice of bringing felons from prison, and teens from high schools! They are in such denial and are so self absorbed they cannot operate with any sanity as an organization.

      Headquarters certainly is aware of these and other sites like this trying to get the truth out and warn people. Yet they turn a blind eye, which I find criminal. To actually tell teens that you are never too young to go to an AA meeting, with full and complete knowledge and support of bringing every criminal known to man into the rooms, with the help of our judicial system, is no different than the Catholic Church letting pedophiles stay on the church payroll and continue to molest boys.

      AA and NA is more concerned with their image and growth than putting children and teens first!

      AA/NA needs to stay off our campuses and leave our teens alone. Principles- JUST SAY NO TO AA!

      Like

  20. Well generally all along the Kent Valley. Which is south of Seattle about 20 miles. Auburn,Kent,and Renton was we area I ran in. And its been to long now as I don’t remember the names of any rehab centers. But I made em all at one time or another 🙂 I was court orderd all the time. It wasn’t til I finally got help for my PTSD ( from Nam) that I was finally able to stay sober. As far as more details I’m not sure as to what your asking. There isn’t much ” detail” in watching a man you know has time in the program,show up at a meeting, and zoom in on a new comer women and work his line of chit. Well basically it all was about the same as you saw in the bars.

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  21. I tried for over 20 years to get sober in AA. Preditors and their prey. I sat and watched time after time both men and women prey on the new comers for both money AND sex. The worse ones were those so-called Alcolholic Councelors (that many are court ordered to go to).They prey a lot on new comer women. Then preach honesty to everyone else. Well I’m sober 10 years now. And only beccause I quit trying to fit into your sick society.

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  22. john doyle- are you referring to the previous post about outing the offender? AA is not a secret club that gets to sexually harasses its members whenever it wants to and that includes men getting hit on my older sex addict type women with 25 years. I had no one to respond to you.

    can you ex[lain further?

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  23. Jim,

    I agree with everything Carolyn said and with antidenials comment:

    “I sense you are still conflicted with AA, and are trying to make sense of why you stay knowing what you know.”

    When I read your post, I was thinking along the same lines: Is this about convincing us that the positive aspects of AA outweigh the negative; or are you trying to defend your reasons for being there. We aren’t the issue here, we have made a decision. Thats why we challenged some of the statements that you made.

    Im sincere, when I say that Im not trying to be argumentive; because if this is the case, it’s got to be very difficult for you. I understand that you believe that AA saved your life and I respect that. If this were any other group or a therapist who had helped you, however; as time went by you discovered that there ethics were not up to your standards, wouldnt you end the relationship. You would be justified without feeling indebted or obligated to do so. Im not saying that this is the case, im just trying to understand. Once again, this is sincere and it’s not about challenging you. If Im wrong, I apologize. I just dont understand your intentions and your certainly not obligated to explain them to me. You have my word that i will not comment anymore.

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  24. Jim said:

    ” It’s the same kind of criticism on every anti 12 Step website. I agree that there are some very sick and abusive people and I’ve met my share!”

    This is not an anti 12 step site; it is for people whom have been 13th stepped or sexually assaulted in AA and need help!! They don’t want to debate and share philosophical views; in fact that is the last thing a victim wants to see or hear! There are so many other places that would love to indulge and welcome that type of interaction. As a counselor, I’m sure you can understand and appreciate this simple request. Please address those concerns somewhere else and do remember if you give advice; it could be dangerous since you hold a counseling degree in some capacity (you don’t want anyone suing you for advice they misunderstood-just an FYI). I thank you in advance for your co-operation.

    Anti D and Amy,
    Both of you know how close to home this subject is to me and I thank you for your hard work and diligence. You guys make a big difference for the frightened victim.

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  25. I must be missing something here! One person accuses me of “spreading pro AA propoganda”, another says that my “statements are typical and expected” and another is quoting me on something I supposedly said about “the magical 5th year ” ! I reviewed my postings and I don’t feel that any of this is correct! You could read other postings I made in July and September of 2010! I mentioned that I have witnessed both good and bad behavior in 12 Step Groups and I have voiced my concerns at meetings and actually confronted individuals. I have even been accused of being a trouble maker by some members but I refuse to be intimidated by anyone.I have stated openly in meetings that if anyone told me to “take the cotton out of my ears and put it in my mouth” that I would’ve told them to go F themselves. I’m sorry if my statements seem” typical and expected” but I feel the same way about some of the statements I’ve read here! It’s the same kind of criticism on every anti 12 Step website. I agree that there are some very sick and abusive people and I’ve met my share! A lot of the “big book thumpers are out of control! They have created a schism within the AA community! I had a big book thumper wave his book at me and scream that “there’s no way that God’s not in this book Jim” because I dared challenge him openly on his views and ideas! Horrible things happen to people in 12 Step Groups, myself included! I almost stopped attending 4 years ago when I felt I was shamed, rediculed and humiliated by some people in AA. I sat in meetings and said that “I hated some people in AA” and called out people on their 13 Stepping. A kindhearted man advised me that “people in AA will let you down but the philosophy itself won’t”. I will continue to be a vocal and outspoken critic of abusive practices in 12 Step Groups and I am a thorn in the side of many old timers and grandiose gurus because of the time I’ve been around! I’m well known in my area and people listen to me! Right or wrong the years I’ve been sober give me credibility and I use it to speak my truth! That being said I have seen many wonderful things take place – families reunited, health restored and hopelessness turned to hope ! It’s not all good but neither is it all bad and I firmly believe that the truth is somewhere in between! The 12 Step approach is not for everyone and that’s as it should be but it has worked for me! I’m a better person and my life is better because of it! I was a chronic drunk driver and on January 19th of 1992 I was stopped going the wrong way on a highway! I didn’t drink everyday and sometimes I would go for weeks and months without getting drunk! Sometimes I think about drinking again for a moment but then I realize that my life has been so much better without it! I am sorry if I offended anyone – we are all entitled to what we believe and what we’ve experienced!

    Like

    1. Jim, AA has worked enough for you in your opinion. I am glad you are doing better in life. Nobody is saying you are not entitled to your beliefs. That works both ways. The things that you have stated that you have witnessed in AA upsets a lot of people! Because they have witnessed it too-and worse. Many people have been hurt by 12 step programs. That is why this blogs are popping up. You say you almost left AA. Well there are millions that have left. When you come across as minimizing the problems in AA it upsets many people. Including me. When you state that AA is the only way for hardcore alcoholics, because they need constant support-that upsets people because most people on anti-AA sites do not BELIEVE that you need AA meetings for life. Or that you are powerless over your addiction.Or that you have to believe in a higher power.Or have our government force religion on citizens.
      The list goes on and on.

      I did find some of your statements quite disturbing if you are a counselor. I sense you are still conflicted with AA, and are trying to make sense of why you stay knowing what you know. But I do commend you for going to bat for the vulnerable members and standing up to other AA members. Maybe you can help make AA safer. if you counsel minors,PLEASE don’t send them to AA. They do not belong their.

      Like

    2. JIM-I will continue to be a vocal and outspoken critic of abusive practices in 12 Step Groups and I am a thorn in the side of many old timers and grandiose gurus because of the time I’ve been around!

      I’m glad you are so outspoken and do what you do “inside AA”. It’ can be a lonely ride. I did it for 2 years and 4 months. I created this site for victim, those who are fighting the fight inside or outside, I never imagined being outside AA when I began this site, and I hear what your saying about being a thorn in the side of oldtimers.

      I have stated openly in meetings that if anyone told me to “take the cotton out of my ears and put it in my mouth” that I would’ve told them to go F themselves

      I too was told stupid stuff when I was new and I was very feisty and told them where to go. Unfortunately , now I feel I should have left so many years ago.

      They said to me cause I was so young “I spilled more then you drank” and I said back “If you had not spilled so much you would have gotten here sooner.”!

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  26. Carolyn,

    Thank you so much for the great post. Somehow, i dont think Jim will be returning. His style seems to be; Making statements; as if there facts, then when anyone attempts to debate him, he avoids and politely excusing himself (after a few personal attacks).

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  27. That too! However, we are familiar with such avoidance and personal attacks:

    “you are as pathetic, narrowminded, prejudiced and arrogrant as the very people you criticize”

    I dont recall anyone here personally attacking Jim.

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  28. Jim also totally avoided the issues of minors going to meetings and the shocking practice of going into high schools trying to lure them into AA while dangerous felons are being encouraged to go to the same meetings.
    At least it didn’t try and defend that. I hope he tries to do even more than he says he has to stop abuses, I am sure he gets flack for it.

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  29. Jim G

    I wouldnt even take the time to debate your claim that AA is spiritual and not religious because;

    “to those that understand no explanation is necessary and to those who do not no explanation is possible”

    Your made this statement earlier:

    “addiction is a disease of the brain with complicated neurotransmitter activity!”

    Spriritual or Religious; take you pick. AA and the 12 steps is a useless, potentially harmful approach for treating someone with that condition. You completely avoided that.

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    1. The fact that you refer to AA as a ” religious support group” is further proof that you people have no idea what you’re are talking about. AA is a spiritual philosophy similar in many ways to Buddhism. The American Buddhist Movement was rocked with it’s own scandalous predatory practices purportrated by it’s leaders but that doesn’t make all Buddhists adherents predators! I agree that some AA groups can become cult like with narcissistic ego driven gurus but to think that this is the “norm” is a fanciful notion. Most Insurance companies no longer pay for long term care because they couldn’t make any money off them and many inpatient treatment programs have closed as a result. I always have been and will continue to be an outspoken critic of predatory behavior as well as the people who berate people for taking medication in 12 Step Groups in my area. I also have been told “to mind my own business” when I tried to warn more than one woman about notorious male 13 Steppers! I once thought that this site was a good resource for making people aware of predatory behavior in 12 Step Groups but it seems to have devolved into an all around 12 Step bashing forum! Again you are as pathetic, narrowminded, prejudiced and arrogrant as the very people you criticise! While you say my comments are typical of support for 12 Step Programs I view your comments as typical of all the other anti 12 Step Group bashing sites. As to the people who have suffered from abusive and predatory practices in 12 Step Groups I can truly empathize with you because I have been a victim too but the majority of the people I have met over the last 20 years have been incredibly helpful and supportive! This anonymous quote sums up my 12 Step Goup experiences best for me
      “to those that understand no explanation is necessary and to those who do not no explanation is possible”! I humbly take my leave and let’s agree that we disagree! Peace to all!

      Like

      1. OK Jim,
        I read enough of your pro AA propaganda on an stop 13 steppingaa site, where you as an “Educated Addiction Counsellor” can clearly know the difference. Earlier you claimed that no one or thing is perfect in our society; so true. However, the difference is most imperfect or harmful “Things or Programs” get altered or removed from the public to prevent additional harm. A few examples, saccharin (was the sweet for the diabetic-caused cancer), lead laden paint had to be removed and announced if used in buildings, Paxil caused birth defects the list is ad infinitum; including the imperfections in AA 12 step program and it’s increasingly harmful integration of felons. AA has had numerous opportunities to correct it’s program and has refused (safety, helping AA members, answering their phones and changing an out dated program and gear it to the 21st century). In the 1940’s it was acceptable to spank your child, however, now there are over 100 studies that prove that spanking not only begets violence, but lowers the child’s I.Q. from the lack of gray matter developed. Certainly, you have taken Psychology and statistics, which show that constant degrading and negative labeling causes lower self esteem, with drawl and/or the need to please to avoid the negative consequences. This is not a healthy environment in itself and should have been changed at least 30 years back. When people are dealing with addiction (and I know you are aware of this Jim) they beat themselves up. They don’t need sponsors/members constantly hitting them with negative slogans-they need to be lifted up. TELL THEM WHAT THEY ARE DOING RIGHT, not all the things you see wrong from ones judgmental view (who made all of you God?). Also, the “MILLIONS” of AA members they have helped is WRONG-there are millions of members but statistics from AA HQ themselves states the success rate is only 5% in the United States and 3% in the U.K. That means 95% to 97% aren’t getting the help they need. You stated you have seen everything (pretty much) in your 20 years and crime occurs everywhere; you are absolutely right! However, I don’t have a Judge mandating a criminal to my book reading class, to sit next to me on an airplane or next to me in a movie theater. If that was the case I would have been warned previously and if one of them grabbed me, they would have been escorted to the police. AA is in bed with the judicial system, funnels criminals into AA with the innocent public and when attacked; AA won’t take responsibility (AA takes our money but refuses our phone calls or help). As for the other programs you introduce to them; I will assume you are still teaching the rehab clients the 12 step modal. I have been to smart recovery and the HUGE DIFFERENCE from AA is the meetings are held at a hospital, there is no labeling, you receive affirmations instead of ridicule, they literally live/work in the solution rather than ruminate in the problem (always an alcoholic-never be better), talk about your past trauma (the reason I drank), come up with new solutions instead of listening to another drunk-a-log, aren’t in a dark church basement-open cheery room and I AM SAFE AND FREE OF CRIMINALS and their behavior.

        So let’s recap:

        Problems with many things in the world……they change or are eliminated-AA has caused a lot of harm and won’t update their program which is conducive with proven psychological studies for emotional abuse/healthy productive changes which includes affirmations

        AA is great and does more good than harm…..need to look at stats and see how many stay sober after leaving, how many were harmed and how many made it past that magical 5th year. I believe that’s the time frame you stated AA excelled from the rest.

        Been an addiction counsellor for 3 years and a member of AA for 20 years, but does offer info on other programs. I can’t believe you have the audacity to claim all this pro AA hype when you have NOT concluded your experiment by spending 3 years in another program and 20 years in a personal non aa program. It’s like me eating Wheaties and saying it’s the best cereal in the world without tasting another brand. It’s all one sided and as we have expressed, this is a site for people whom have been 13th step and not egomaniacs who wants to change a entire group and argue.

        We are trying to help what your fellow members caused and help put back the pieces. As a Counsellor, I’m sure you don’t want to cause any further harm and move on to another site that may need your assistance.

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  30. I want to say more here but I have to go out…. but anti denial said Actually I don’t think addiction is a disease and SMART is ahead of those that think it is. It is promoted as a disease so that Insurance companies will pay for expensive treatments, and keep people on the hook that they have an incurable brain disease, which is junk science.

    I was just thinking about this ranting to my hubby that AA was not called a disease in the mainstream until they got congress to pass a bill ( 1980 or 81) I will ask JR to help dig this one up….to let insurance pay for addiction treatment and the beginning of the rubbish AA circus began in the rehab billion dollar industry not a “fellowship ” industry. So there is a big lie they read to themselves every meeting about AA being a fellowship. Its not anymore. Its a “program” of sorts.

    Someone should tell the judges ” How dare you send someone to a “fellowship” for help. What is this the 1600’s?

    When I return I will read the rest.

    Anti D- agree 100%!

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  31. “You said that addiction is a disease of the brain with complicated neurotransmitter activity.”

    When that is the case:
    Why are treatment centers employing the use of a religious support group — the 12-step program of AA — as the main treatment modality for alcoholism and addiction doesn’t make much sense.

    On one hand they are saying you have a disease, and the other hand they are saying it is your character flaws, sins, etc. We don’t treat any other disease by telling the individual to confess their sins, make a list of their character flaws, tell them they are powerless and force them to turn their life over to a higher power and we shouldn’t be treating alcoholism disease or disorder in this manner either.

    Recovery from alcoholism disease and addiction is not only possible, but much more likely to be successful when the recovery approach focuses on restoring balance to the neurotransmitters in the brain. While the success rate of AA is less than .05 percent for more than five years of sobriety, the success rate for treatment centers that address neurotransmitters is 74 to 90 percent.

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    1. Amy, I don’t know why people can’t get that contradiction. When I finally “got it”, I literally felt like that cartoon light bulb appeared over my head and years of constant self-berating washed off me like so much accumulated dirt. I still battle the fearful thinking, but it is so much better since I found sights that discuss this very concept; how do you treat a “disease of the brain” with religion? So either it’s a disease or it’s not.

      My personal opinion is that alcoholism really is “but a symptom”, but not in the way AA means (which is a symptom of our horrible, evil, disgusting “selves”). I believe it is a bad coping method that people take on dealing with horrible life situations or untreated mental problems such as depression, OCD, bi-polar, an so forth. How many treatment people will tell you that many, many alcoholics were abused children then go tell those people to take an inventory and make amends for their part and God will allow them to get well. WTF? Does anybody ever think of this stuff when they say it?

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  32. @Jim Grinham,

    I do not see the purpose of this blog to be the promotion of people with alcohol problems moderating their drinking. I believe the purpose of it is to give people who have had negative experiences in 12 step groups a place to share those without confrontation and turning the blame back on them, and to discover what they can do positively from here. I have not seen anyone say “everyone in AA is bad” here. I have seen the truth, there are MANY people in 12 step groups who will take advantage of others, especially those who are in a very tough spot in their lives already. I agree, not all AA is of the extremely fanatically kind, but a lot of it is. And there are groups and treatment centers that form their own mini-cults around charismatic leaders. I was in one such long term treatment center and the guru-therapist there was exposed as having faked her MSW, after she preyed on new women for sex for years and tried to create a New Age cult within the place. I also had a friend tell me that she was raped by a man in AA when we were newly sober. That was all almost 20 years ago. I still attend AA, but I also get a lot of helpful perspective from AA-critical forums, since criticism of AA within the fellowship is ALWAYS viewed by a personal failing of the one making the criticism.

    There are many perspectives, Jim, and experiences. It is good to be open to the experience of others, we all learn best that way.

    Like

    1. Dear Border Collie Mix,
      I Agree.And, I have to say to Jim Grinham, I am an RN, an I spent years working in Psych and Chemical Dependency BEFORE I ever started drinking, so I do have some understanding of chemical dependency treatment.I was not saying AA was bad when i posted. I WAS saying I was victimized by a sexual predator,a therapist here in Detroit who works with sexually abused women, who singled me out using the information he garnered at the tables in a closed AA meeting. And i think thats beyond reproach. but, since we’re in AA I’m not even sure i know his last name. He gave me one, the last night when he video taped me, but it’s so generic i doubt it’s real. And no one in “the fellowship” who knows him will tell me his last name. Of course, HE knows MY last name-he made SURE of that. This has been the most terrifying, most humiliating experience of my life.

      Like

  33. Your response is absurd and I’d be interested in what your experience is in the treatment of chemical dependency! How much time have you spent with people in 12 Step Groups! Well not for everyone 12 Step Groups have helped many more people than they have harmed! I have never had anyone advise or suggest that I trust people in AA or any other 12 Step Group indiscriminately! Quite the opposite I had people tell me to “take what’s helpful and leave the rest”, “take who’s helpful and leave the rest” and ” if you like everyone in AA, you haven’t been to enough meetings”! As I counselor I informed, gave out literature and showed videos promoting Rational Recovery, Moderation Management, Recovery Inc., Women for Sobriety and others! Jack Trimpey’s Addiction Voice Recognition Training and “the Beast is talking to you is no different than the AA ‘s “the disease is talking to you”! Your ignorance of the subject is preceded only by your narrowmindedness and lack of knowledge! You obviously have an axe to grind and you exhibit all the characteristics of black and white thinking – all or nothing / all good or all bad! I admitted that 12 Step Groups aren’t all good but neither are they all bad! Like most things in life the truth is somewhere inbetween!

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    1. Even though you state that you showed people alternatives to AA, you certainly come across as very pro AA and stating that ” To think that predatory behavior won’t occur in other Groups like Rational Recovery, Smart Recovery and others is naive and reckless! Other groups like this may work for early stage alcoholics / addicts but are dubious at best for middle and late stage cases where constant support is crucial! The number of 12 step groups and meetings available speaks volumes as to their effectiveness”.

      I think it is irresponsible as a counselor to tell people they need constant support. The truth is that many people quit on their own without a lifetime of meetings. AA just creates another addiction. SMART Recovery is actually based on the most advanced research on addiction by professionals. To say that only AA ( that is proudly unprofessional) can do the job is setting addicts up for failure. Many people have remained sober through alternatives like SMART, without a lifetime of dependency on AA. You are basically saying AA is the only way for real alcoholics. That is absurd and narrow minded. Typical 12 step speak.

      Yes I have an ax to grind alright ! I am appalled at the behavior of AA and NA in how they are going into high schools and telling them meetings are just a microcosm of society. That teens are addicts and have to abstain for the rest of their lives. That is total and complete crap. Minors have been sexually abused and raped by 12 step members because of these practices.

      Also as a counselor you should know that having young children sit in on meetings listening to horrific horror stories is emotionally damaging. Yet AA does nothing. My focus is to protect the vulnerable and hold AA and NA accountable for their deceptive business practices.

      If AA would take responsibility and change, they could help a lot more people. But they act like the Big Book is the Bible and cant be modified. Bill W. did not walk on water, and the BB should not be treated like the Bible.

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      1. Again you have nothing to offer based your own personal experience with regard to treatment issues or 12 Step Groups except your blatantly prejudicial and pessimistic attitude! You are basing your statements on a small minority of fanatic fundamentalist adherents to ” the big book”! These people are not the norm and are not taken seriously by the majority of people! Again 12 Step groups are not for everyone but to suggest they are all bad is pure nonsense! How much more of an openminded approach would you like me to take! Alice Klishine who was an AA critic and founder of Moderation Management a so called “controlled drinking program” killed several people in a car accident while driving drunk! How’s that for denial and harm! She went to jail and admitted she was wrong to try and encourage people to think they can control their drinking! There are plenty of good people in 12 Step Groups who confront and challenge inappropriate behavior to suggest that there isn’t is further evidence of your lack of knowledge and experience! You echo the same kind of fanatical rhetoric against 12 Step Goups as the people in AA whom you criticise! Smart Recovery is hardly at the forefront of addiction research my friend and the cutting edge research acknowledges that addiction is a disease of the brain with complicated neurotransmitter activity!

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      2. Your statements are so typical and expected. The ol’ ” it is just a small group of people” in AA. Also anyone who does not follow the 12 steps is not really a AA member. Actually some people can manage their drinking and be responsible and not drink and drive. Hello- alcohol is legal. There are some people who should just give it up. It is AA that has black and white thinking.

        I never said that their were not good people in 12 step programs. In fact almost all that are on anti- AA sites were once in AA. I have spoke to many in AA that actually wanted to do more to protect members and also to follow the 12 step principles. A common statement I heard was a true fear of being blackballed from the group if they tried to stick up for the vulnerable and do the right thing. Some AA members have good intentions but horribly misguided.

        Actually I don’t think addiction is a disease and SMART is ahead of those that think it is. It is promoted as a disease so that Insurance companies will pay for expensive treatments, and keep people on the hook that they have an incurable brain disease, which is junk science.

        Yes I am pessimistic and prejudicial about 12 step for good reason. I have had experience with AA/NA members in our community that that have threatened the lives of local citizens. AA and NA I found is an incredibly arrogant organization that asks their members to take responsibility and make amends yet Headquarters nor many members will not do the same. I am pessimistic because both AA and NA have made decisions to do NOTHING to protect minors.

        They have only built a perfect storm for them to be harmed. So it looks like it will have to be outside pressure and awareness of the hard cold facts for AA to change their evil ways.

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  34. I just celebrated 20 years of continuous sobriety and I know AA saved my life! I also worked in a Dual Diagnosis Treatment Program as a counselor for over 3 years! Are 12 Step Recovery Groups perfect? No! Have they helped a lot of people? Yes! AA in particular has grown from a small grass roots organization of a few to helping millions worldwide! Were it’s founders perfect? Absolutely not, they were human and subject to the same sorts of issues we all struggle with! Are there sociopaths and predators in 12 Step Groups? Absolutely! AA, NA, Alanon and all other 12 Step Groups are like any other organization of people – the best thing about them is the people and the worst thing about them is the people. I have had my share of problems with people in AA – both male and female! I’ve heard of and witnessed horrible and abusive behavior perpetrated on fellow members! I’ve also spoken out and confronted people who take advantage of others and will continue to do so! All members of 12 Step groups need to step up and confront both new and long term members when abusive and predatory behavior occurs! There are a lot vulnerable people both women and men who attend meetings. They have histories of trauma in their lives and will be taken advantage of by predators inside and outside of 12 Step Groups! This is an unfortunate fact of life – we live in an unsafe world! To think that predatory behavior won’t occur in other Groups like Rational Recovery, Smart Recovery and others is naive and reckless! Other groups like this may work for early stage alcoholics / addicts but are dubious at best for middle and late stage cases where constant support is crucial! The number of 12 step groups and meetings available speaks volumes as to their effectiveness worldwide and those other groups will never duplicate such critical mass! There are good and bad people everywhere and the majority of people I’ve met in over 20 years of particpation in AA and other 12 Step Groups are good! We can be part of the problem or part of the solution! I choose to be part of the solution and not ” throw out the baby with the bath water!

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    1. You admitted that you have witnessed predatory behavior in your 20 years in AA. For you to say that SMART Recovery is only for early to mid stage alcoholism is absurd! To say they would not be any safer than AA is absurd. You leave out of your argument that AA encourages all to trust other members without question. To give out there phone numbers. For them to confess their sins to addicted untrained addicts.

      If you want to be part of the solution as you say, then promote choice in recovery. Promote awareness of the dangers in 12 step meetings. Help stop AA going to high schools encouraging minors to attend AA meetings when the same people are going to the jails and encouraging dangerous felons to attend. Including sexual predators and murderers. Stop trying to brainwash people by saying AA is just a microcosm of society. That is very deceptive indeed! Courts do not mandate rapists to a grocery store, or to Boy Scout meetings.

      The only thing AA meetings are a microcosm of is our jails, prisons and mental institutions! If it was not for the courts, AA would be a mere shadow of itself. AAWS knows it. Many AA and NA members have left 12 step groups because of safety reasons, and will continue to until AA/NA change their policies and step up and take responsibility.

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  35. Thank You, Massive.I really didn’t want my name and face on my post, but I didn’t know how else to post my story, and i thought it was important. As I said, in AA they tell us to look for our part in these things, and take responsibility for our actions. I have a friend, a member , who told me this week that i shouldn’t discuss any of this, or my son , or my family, that i needed to look at myself as the cause of my drinking, and only bring up myself and MY character defects at the tables, and that I needed to get honest w/myself about my role as a victim, and how I liked being a victim because it allowed me to drink. After he sat and yelled at me for about 20 minutes(this was not during a meeting), I just hung my head and cried w/shame. I do acknowledge my part in this, and it’s tearing me apart. At least I’m sober.

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    1. FS- Tell your friend to go to h#####ll . I hope you can find someone with some time to go to him and give him a piece of your mind. I would gladly do it for you. I would find a Smart Recovery Meeting….maybe try something new. AA is not the only way. Are you aware there are alternatives to AA?

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    2. I am sorry, yelling at you and belittling you is not decent human behavior. Only in AA is this kind of crap forced on people as “help”.

      Please don’t buy into their shame cycle. Many, many people drink over stress; especially people who have had horrible abuse in childhood. If you can find a real therapist that will approach what you are going through and not just focus on the fact that you drink, that might be useful, if it’s something you want. Don’t let these people take your self-worth just to make them feel better. Doesn’t one person yelling at another have a part in that? It is abuse!

      I am so sorry you are going through this. You do not deserve to be abused all over again just because you are currently having life problems.

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  36. I am a 51 year old struggling,recovering alcoholic.I’ve been drinking for 5 years. I’m also a sexual abuse/incest survivor.I go to a local Alano Club for my meetings where my friends are…where I felt safe.Just this November my only son told me he was leaving in January for his second tour of duty in explosive ordinance disposal. My husband was in Long Island, NY, and had been for 3 months, leaving me w/no support, financial or emotional. I was falling apart, and I went to the tables and told the people I thought would support me how I was struggling, and about my fears for my son. One of the people at the table was a man who was a therapist who counselled sexual abuse survivors.I knew and liked him- he was always very supportive and helpful. He had over 20 years sobriety..After the meeting, he spent over an hour talking to me, helping me w/ the fear about my son.We also talked about my marriage, lack of support, etc. He revealed that his marriage was not good, but that he was trying.He said he would talk to me again, and asked for my number, said maybe we could go see a movie sometime as friends.I trusted him, so I said OK. Long story short-He knew exactly what to say to get me where he wanted me.I ended up having an affair with him, doing things w/ him I would NEVER have done.I even let him videotape us having sex because I trusted and cared for him so much. After he videotaped us, he stopped calling, and wouldn’t take my calls. I felt so sick inside, so used. It was like being raped all over again. I take responsibility for participating in the affair, for deciding to do it, but I have to believe that he targeted me exactly because I was struggling in my sobriety,alone and vulnerable, and, most despicable of all-a sexual abuse survivor that he could manipulate into trusting him completely.I believe he is a dangerous predator, and has NO business being a counselor to women of ANY KIND.But, he has that video(he said he deleted it, but i don’t believe that for a second), and I know if I make any kind of a ruckus,it might make it’s way to my husband, or the internet, or wherever.

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    1. Ferne- I am so sorry to hear this. This sounds very traumatic. I hope we can help you here. Where do I begin.
      I hope that I can help.

      “One of the people at the table was a man who was a therapist who counselled sexual abuse survivors.I knew and liked him- he was always very supportive and helpful.”

      I would bite the bullet and report him to the Board that controls his licenses to be a therapist. His behavior is predatory for sure. I am so sorry about this horrifying experience especially the filming. google predatory behavior by men in AA and see the other sites.

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  37. Sam,
    I would suggest many different coping/managing tactics to implement, while you are emotionally vulnerable. I had this problem to the extreme enormity and know exactly how you feel. You need support!!!! You are not getting it from your group and I can assume from your sponsor (same with me). They may as well be placing a drink in your hand…….despicable!

    First, If you feel you need AA (in person) and are gay, change to a different meeting that is straight. You have planted yourself in the middle of a lions den. You should be able to attend any meeting and retain your civil rights, but until that actually happens, you need to use defensive tactics.

    Second, Assuming you are gay, get a female sponsor-they don’t want women either. So it fits the “RULE” men have men sponsors, women have women sponsors UNLESS YOU ARE GAY. Get a hard ass LESBIAN for a sponsor.

    Third, If you are sexually harassed, assaulted etc call the police and file a complaint. If they wont come out to you, then go to them and file a report (that was my mistake-I let the secretary of my group “HANDLE” it and nothing changed).

    Fourth, This is NOT a dating or “BUMPING” service! AA states it is a ‘SERVICE FOR RECOVERY’. I don’t know when you stopped drinking, however, this type of pressure and stress is not only against the law, but not conducive for staying sober. These asshole are not healthy or right in the brain. GET A MONGOOSE and get the HELL OUT of the SNAKE PIT!!!!!

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  38. I am a man and am having some serious trouble with gay men in AA. I am a sober drunk who likes attention and for some reason fear offending people. The gay men take onto this and now there is one who found me at a time when I am in need of a job and I feel that his intentions are to lure me into some point of ownership. I am seriously thinking to myself as a bitch to the world at this point in sobriety and now I am being lulled into a place where I hear the quote to my self “we have to make sacrifices.” What price would you put on your ass? I am seriously sick here and am backed into a corner.
    I wish he would leave me alone so that I can continue doing what I know is right but I know he won’t, he knows my weaknesses and is determined to have me, which I want to say he never will but I am so lost I am looking for “Daddy” to tell his son what to do. All other sponsors know that we must come to them or be blamed for something and left behind but they gays break the rules and immediately come to us and start wiping up our tears. I know this is the way of the world but I don’t know which part I am playing. I am a real man without the barriers.

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    1. SAM Welcome! Sorry to hear this. I heard that this was a huge problem in West Hollywood January 2010. DIrectly from a gay man with 20 years sober. He asked me if I could help him.

      I know a guys stagg meeting to where the gay men are running so they can be left alone there is so much sexual harassment in Gay meetings by SICK OLD TIMERS < FAT

      GO to http://www.leavingaa.com go to the top of the home page Click on Tools and you will see the pDF. You can print it or I will mail you some.

      DOn’t be pushed around by them. There are other choices today like SMart Recovery and SOS. Sexual Harassment is against the LAW. Tell them to FUCK off and then warn them you will go to the police.
      I would not be easy on them. They are Bully’s.

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  39. I have attended thousands of meetings dating back to the 1980’s. I believe I have detected a double standard. Men and women are labled “predators” if they are less than physically attractive. They are labled spiritual if they are physically attractive. For example, I know a former college football/basketball player who hugs, kisses and gives very sensuous hugs to as many women as possibe, also, he is constantly voicing doube entendres and sexual inenuendoes as if they were a secret code not understood by non-players.. If anybody dares to say anyting to this six foot seven inch black man he screams the race card. I feel like defending him in the name of “principles before personalities” is analagous to defending sex offenders in the name of religion.

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      1. Oh yea, many of them quote the BB back & forth, they recite passages from the 12 & 12. Let me vomit. I am ashamed I stayed in AA so long. Oh well. I will make the most of my activism.

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    1. Double Standard- Welcome- Thanks for posting

      I agree. In the 10970’s there was a guy named Johnny O who came from Oklahoma. He was hugging and rubbing every young woman in the meeting with his cowboy hat and boots.
      Of course he had relations with my friend who was new in AA about 90 days when he had years. He was also about 20 years her senior. Sick fuck. People still idealize him back there. I was her room mate so I knew his trip.

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  40. I haven’t had any problems with sexual predators in AA because I’m faithful to my husband. I do know of a couple of guys who have caused trouble with other women.

    I’ve been hurt by female predators, but it wasn’t SEXUAL abuse. Rather, 2 or 3 domineering women took advantage of me emotionally and spiritually. I was an easy mark because I desperately wanted women friends in recovery. I was able to let go of two of them easily, but the third one has been tough because for a long time, I liked her. I used to wonder “Why did she change?” but in reality I think she finally showed her true colors. This was platonic, but still a very unhealthy and codependent relationship. NOT ALL PREDATORS ARE NECESSARILY SEXUAL!

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    1. Amy, Good point. There were alot of financial predators in a Men’s stagg meeting in Hollywood. I too was bullied early on in AA when I was very young from other older woman. Im sorry to hear this happened to you. Thanks for posting. Atcually our pamphlet addresses this as well along with sponosr abuse which happens ALL THE TIME.

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  41. Wow! I know my comment is months late, but I just saw this site and had to show my support and throw in my $.02. One thing I never try and do is initiate a hug with anyone especially females. I HATE the people who come off as creepy predators and would LOVE to handle it with an old fashioned ass whooping! Because of people like this and my own morals I have to keep in mind to toe the line when speaking to a female member. I live in Akron, Ohio – the birthplace and can’t stand the dudes who try and “hug” all the younger girls. It makes me sick. In turn, when I am just being nice to a female I get the feeling that she thinks I am creeping on her(I am a tatted up, 31yr old former Marine who is a total type A). Because of this I make sure to say upfront that I am not one of those guys and can’t stand all the creepy dudes who hug up on all the woman and try and be best friends. I usually also try and tell new girls to watch out for that behavior because AA is not a hotbed of mental health. LOL. You woman are so strong and I feel so bad these things have happened to you. It is never the victims fault and anyone who says “look for the part you played” needs to not sponsor anybody. Anyway, I am done rambling. Love you all and keep coming back!

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  42. All of the posts on this site are talking about people with psychopathic traits. They are people without a conscience. Because of that, as long as they are part of the AA organization, they will be a threat to those who are vulnerable. Predators tend to target affinity groups – people who share common values or beliefs. The collective trust that members of these groups have in one another and the common belief system that they share provides a perfect cover for the person with psychopathy. When they are able to accurately mimic the beliefs while in the presence of members of the group, trust is easily gained and the true motives of the psychopath are less likely to be discovered.
    Try this website for information about predators, how to spot them and how to deal with them. http://aftermath-surviving-psychopathy.org/
    Those victimized are left with emotional, spiritual, and for some physical damage that takes time and skilled help to recover from.

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  43. I am finally responding to Massive Attack’s request to support Bill and Rowena/Rhonda.

    I have lost count of the number of predators (both male and female) I have seen in AA. I was lucky because I was warned by my first sponsor to stay away from anyone who wanted to spend time with me alone. I was still hit on, and so was my husband.

    The unlucky ones marry the predator, and end up losing everything they have. That happens as much as the rapes, the innuendo, and the “borrowed” money.

    Not all of us who went to AA are predators, and we welcome you here and let you know that we understand

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    1. Lucy,
      thanks so much for your comment. Yes we know all are not predators. Its just that so many are very vulnerable and don’t speak up and have a voice. Things have gotten really bad since all the DUI’s and criminals being sent. Its not just them. There are many regualr members that are just horrible with the sexual harassment etc.

      anyway, thanks for posting. Speak up. Make announcements that sexual and financial harassment is Not oK.

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  44. Hi Sugarmom,

    Thanks for the comforting words. You have my full permission to share my experience with whomever you deem appropriate! Thanks, Bill

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  45. Bill, I am so sorry for you. My husband was 13th stepped and we are now divorced. It kills me that these unscrupulous people always take advantage of people when they are most vulnerable, as your wife probably was after her relapse and due to the separation which always rocks someone’s world. I would also like permission to reprint your story. I have a collection coming out soon of all the people that have lost family members to the sick parts of recovery programs. I wasn’t a member of AA, but since you were it is a double shame that he dogged another member of the fellowship. You would think that he would at least honor one of his brothers.

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  46. Thanks, and yes feel free to cut and paste my post on the stinkin thinkin site. Jack lives in Rhode Island, as do I. Thank you for your support!

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  47. Hi,
    I live in Rhode Island and was very grateful to find your site. I have been attending AA since 2002. I met a beautiful person in 2006 in recovery and we now share a beautiful two-and -a-half year old boy. We were experiencing some diificult times in May of 2010 and thought it best to separate for a while. I subsequently learned that she had left my two-year old son with a nineteen year old babysitter and “attended” two AA conventions, one in California and the other in San Antonio with a man with 24 years of “sobriety”. She had relapsed in February, 2010 and had less than three months sobriety when I later learned that this man had e-mailed her and offered to take her on these “trips”. When I came across these e-mails two months later, I learned that he had dropped a gift certificate for a pedicure in her mailbox before the trip, told her he did not want her to worry about money as he would have “all the money we need for the trip”. He bought her turquoise jewelry, cowboy boots and a hat, t-shirts, souvenirs, lavish meals – even one t-shirt that said “Sober But Sexy”. (She is 46 years old and very attractive). He told her he had arranged for secret travel to and from the airport, told her what clothes to bring “You look great in basic black”. He even acknowledged that he was doing these trips on the “QT”.
    This man pontificates regularly at local AA meetings how it should be the “men with the men, and the women with the women”, the height in hypocricy! I confronted him after finding the smoking gun e-mails and he immediately went on the defensive, first telling me that what happened between he and my son’s mother was none of my business. His tone later switched to absolutely nothing inappropriate went on and that he was a “73 year old man” and “What did I think he was going to do?” Needless to say this whole thing made me sick personally and cast many of my assumptions about persons with long term “sobriety” into doubt. This man frequently travels all over the world attending AA functions, and has, I have learned, paid other newcomers to be his “Arm Candy” in the past. His name is Jack. If anyone has suffered any similar 13th stepping by this man, I would love to hear about it. Thanks.

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    1. Bill,
      thank you so much for telling this story here. I highly suggest you go onto http://www.stinkin-thinkin.com and write about this horrible stuff. You will find alot of support.
      I want to support you and you can contact me directly at makeaasafer@gmail.com I am making a short. Meaning a short film about this problem that is just scratching the surface. It will be done in two weeks.

      WE had a woman who came to my womens home group who came to our workshop who was approached my man & women with teen years of sobriety hitting on new women saying they will fly them around the country to go to conventions. It turned out they were prostituting the women. Or intending to do so! we were so shocked.

      I am really glad to hear that you had the courage to say something. WHat he did is so inappropriate and in your gut you knew that.
      PLease contact me and if you want we can talk on the phone.
      I am a part of a grassroots movement in Southern Cali dealing with Sexual and Financial Predators in the rooms.

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      1. Bill, may I cut and paste your story and put it on stinkin thinkin for support?
        I can contact the blog manager, FTG and I are friends. She could put this on the front page of her blog? Let me know.
        Again , I am so sorry.

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    2. Sorry Bill for what happened and welcome to the site. Do you know what state he is from-this Jack? You could expose him to his local group and headquarters. They want always do anything-but it is at a minimum frowned upon and could at least expose him to his own. Maybe get more details about him and expose him in a bigger way as the poster boy 13 stepper!

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    1. violet,
      thanks, thanks so much. I think no matter what anyone says. I bet more then 100 people were listening today. ANd if 101 were listening thats fine.
      WE all get to say the TRUTH to the world with our voices, not just on a blog in writing. It was very powerful!

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  48. Just wanted to say hello. Glad this site is still going. Though I certainly NEVER appreciated getting hit on by predators in the rooms, I can say that in a way it is good that it was done in such a creepy, ridiculous way. This, as well as the many weirdo sponsors I had clued me in to the real answer. This, for me, has been to stay sober to to GET THE HELL out of AA. I still feel very, very good about leaving. For a long, long time I beleived I would die or at least relapse without AA. I thought my “disease” would take over. But the truth is this: I have a good life. I go through stress, I have resentments, I have some emotional pain. But I have tremendous joy, too. ANd I do not feel like I constantly have to weed myself out of excess drama that is not my own. I finally extracted myself from the cycle that was ruining me more than any addiction ever would have.

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    1. violet,
      thanks for checking in again. your post made me laugh outloud! I know what we both went through is not funny at all, but your take is interesting.
      may I use your letter in my work for activision in AA in the press adn also send to NY GSO with 50 others posts like yours. Let me know. I wont use it without your approval. But I think you are a great example of what many have done.

      Which is RUN FOR THE HILLS!!!

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  49. This is astonishing. I am a 50 year old female who has only 6 months of sobriety. I also was going through a horrific divorce and as a result was losing my home. I was hit on by two male members of AA both with years of sobriety. I succumbed to the advances of one and my life has taken a dark turn since. He is a sponsor with over 30 sponsees. Three of them live with him in his home. Because I was broke and desperate to be able to live in my home before having to move out I took his suggestion to have two more of his sponsees move in. He began gradually taking over my life, becoming jealous and possessive.When I disagreed with him and stood my ground he accused me of being “bi polar”. (I’m not). He uses the big book as a weapon in my opinion and keeps telling me that because he has years of sobriety he “knows more” and I still suffer from “twisted perceptions.” For the record the female he went with before me who moved in with him was a newcomer. I am a newcomer and I refused to move in with him. He asked me to take in a female (straight out of jail with two dogs, no job and early in sobriety, into my home and I said “no” because I need people here to pay rent or at least to pay their own bills. I simply cannot afford it any other way. My room mates felt the same. I also don’t want dogs here. He accused me of being mean spirited (and bi polar again) and now has moved her (another newcomer) into his home. I am lucky in that I can check in with my sponsor and she tells me he is a predator. He ofcourse would happily have it that I am “crazy”..and in trying to communicate with this individual I certainly feel as if I am sometimes. What bothers me is that no one else in his home group seems to challenge this individual on his sexually predatory practices which tells me that his behaviors are accepted as “normal”. They aren’t. No doubt he has hurt alot of women (none of his past girlfriends attend meetings anymore and while I came close to breaking with my own sobriety as a result of what I experienced with him, I won’t attend meetings where he attends. ) The “prniciples above personalities” is often trotted out as an excuse for these predators to hide behind. My take on it is that if the group conscience is unprincipled and immoral in the way it conducts itself with newcomers by calling predators into account, then it’s not AA, but simply a pick up joint. That’s not what I went for. I will take it as a personal lesson though and use it to help me develop stronger boundaries in future. Thank you for giving us space to draw attention to this issue.

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    1. oops, “Rowena” is me, Rhonda. Same message, i forgot I posted earlier. (two mistakes, he has over 20 sponsees, not 30, he has now moved the newcomer (female) into his home (why do I care?), yet had turned down a male relatively newly sober guy ( Young homeless veteran) earlier. I am having a very hard time coming to terms with all of this.Thanks for your responses though. No I won’t break my sobriety. No I won’t attend meetings where he goes. No I won’t take on board what I believe now is his stuff. I will however keep trying to push ahead and heal and focus on the healthier female friendships I have thusfar made within AA and find safer meetings to attend. The whole experience has been crazy making.

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      1. Im so sorry for this all. Its a problem in so many AA meetings. There are very few meetings that have a sense of what is right. They take the traditions and twist them for there own use.

        please if you want please contact me at makeaasafer@gmail.com and if you want we can talk privately.
        thanks for posting your story. What city are you in?

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      2. This disgusting. How about going to taht meeting with some other friends in program, stand up and share what happened to you and point him out. Why does he get to prey on vulnerable new women. Crime on crime on AA members is a travesty.

        It happened to me, it happened to you andit needs to be “outed”.

        It needs to stop! GO tell it on the mountain! Stop being so nice. Was he nice to you. Does anyone really care where you are going to meetings.

        Ask yourself, who really cares. Ask them for their support. If you dont get it, please visit http://www.stinkin-thinkin.org

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  50. I have six months of sobriety today. My ex husband left me for another woman a month or so earlier and I was in the process of trying to heal financially and emotionally. I was a wreck. I began divorce proceedings, maintained a fulltime job and attended meetings. One chap with 8 years sobriety asked me out. I didn’t take him up on that, but I did accept transportation to and from meetings with him (I felt safe, it was with a group of people.) A few weeks later I accepted an invitation to go to his 8 year sobriety anniversary barbecue. And there he “hit on me” and I must admit I reciprocated to a point. I was so hurt from how my marriage had ended and felt very raw and unattractive, it felt good to receive this kind of attention. We formed a relationship but he grew more and more controlling. He would get very jealous. I became more anxious and doubted myself alot. Finally he told me that he wanted to end it (basically because I would not fall asleep and go to bed at the same time as him- it was 11.45 on a Friday night- my week’s work ended and I was looking forward to a lie in on Saturday morning.) I challenged him on it, he refused to speak about it and he said our relationship was over. I was very upset. Next day he came back to give me my house keys and he told me he believes I am “bipolar” (I’m not by the way) and that he would like to take me to see a doctor to get medication for it. What is disturbing is how I have let this man slowly infiltrate my world. (Two of my room mates are his sponsees). He has 20 sponsors. He has often used the big book as a sort of weapon against me (quoting it to prove me “wrong” or “incorrect”). Basically he is an ambient abuser. It is disturbing to think he is in a position of power and influence in our local group. I know it’s about “principles” not personalities. But sometimes there are some unprincipled personalities lurking about. I will take my experience as a lesson (I’ve spoken to my own sponsor about all this), and work on me and leave relationships alone until I have at least a year up (I now understand the wisdom of that advice). And all I can do is pray that he doesn’t prey on someone else so vulnerable and perhaps lacking with the support needed to get away from him.

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    1. dear rhonda,
      I am so sorry to hear what has happened to you. I too met many creeps over the 3 decades I have attended AA meetings.
      PLease take care of yourself. I have seen this behavior in Hawaii and now I only go to womens meetings except when I speak. I am working on a grass roots project called MAke AA Safer. dealing with Predators of ALL kinds in AA meeting including bad 13 stepping.
      please take care.

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    2. That’s pretty standard operating proceedure for a preditor in AA, I’m afraid, using the “program” against you for control. I am married to a man in AA and thankfully one problem we haven’t had is using the “program” against each other (we do have other things we have to work on, just not that since we vowed to keep that off limits).

      Keep in mind this is hardly all on you, he should realize that after 8 years he needs to leave women who are just beginning to live without alcohol alone if he has any decency. He has no decency so he engages in such behavior, keeping a stable of “sponcees” to sing his praises and deflect from any “bad press” no doubt. Don’t blame yourself, that is the bottom line. Don’t drink and realize that creeps exist and it was your misfortune that one was in the vacinity to detect your vulnerability. People like him smell a vulnerable person like sharks smell blood in the water. Sociopaths don’t have the conscious of a normal person, so actions like this don’t “get them drunk”.

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  51. Jim G, Thanks for your post. I totally agree with this…We are supposed to help others not help ourselves to others! How can anyone not want safety literature adn something said before every meeting?

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  52. One of the hardest words for an alcoholic/addict to say or to hear is no! It is estimated that 1 in 4 of all women in the general public have been sexually abused! I have been sober for over 18 yrs and have observed in conversations with women in AA / NA that this figure is much higher. These traumatized women have had a difficult time saying no all their lives. They mistake sex for love and approval. They are not victims but targeted prey by unscrupulous men in the rooms who know this and count on it. Get your heads out of the sand! These women and sometimes men need our protection, empathy and support. Unfortunalely our co-founder Bill W was a predator and a very flawed man. Tom Powers fired him as a sponsor because of his marital infidelity! As it says on page 86 of the Little Red Book – ” honesty is a prime factor in the lives of all members and leaves no room for adultery “. We are supposed to help others not help ourselves to others!

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  53. Unfortunately the assumption I have noticed is that when a woman is not by nature a hugger they must have some horrible sexual abuse issue they refuse to work through. I had a well meaning person infer that to me about my ackwardness at hugging one time. Not that there is any shame in having issues, it us just a faulty assumption to base such things on a person’s own natural desire for personal space. I am by nature an introvert that needs a great deal of personal space and is not comfortable touching non-family members, I’m just that way. My husband, mother, sister, nieces, and my dog I am fine having in my personal space. Most others make me slightly uncomfortable. I have gone ahead and participated in the hugging ritual in AA for the past 18 years, so I would fit it, but I do it poorly and it shows. I really wish it weren’t such a strong ritual and that people didn’t read so much into it. I especially wish, in light of the importance placed on it, that it wasn’t being used as a means to abuse others.

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  54. This is so cool. I thought I was the only one who didin’t want to hug in AA. I told people in AA I didn’t want to hug, this just made them more persistant. Fo one thing, I hate going home to my wife smelling of perfume, for another, I was raised to not touch other men. It is so awkward when an attractive young woman aproaches me for a hug. I don’t want to offend her but have to take a defensive stance.

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  55. the reason why this is going on is because women are to work with women and men with men. and there are no healthy boundaries set my ourselves. we are not victims. we can say no and leave. no one can take you hostage unless you let them. the guy with the gun should of been asked to put it away. no police need to be called. find a different meeting if this is to rough. start a different meeting. i think when we do not allow an alcoholic to help another alcoholic regardless of the gender, we create this sick shit. we should be able to seek help from who we are comfortable with, or who we can hear that helps us stay sober. Yeah the gays, and tranvestites, and lesbian can not work with the same sex. it get insane when we dont have a sane sex life. that is on the 4th step. I guess if we were doing the steps out of the big book we would not be taking our clothes off. I dont remember Bill or Ebby, or anyone in the stories doing this? Please let me know where these people read this. Maybe people should read the literatue, and keep the traditions, instead of coming to the rooms with all the special needs and unique sickness, and dual diagnosis. AA is for Alcoholics trying to change their life, get a new mind, and have a psychic change. I am sorry but most are hopeless and beyond HUMAN AID!!! What is not clear about this? This is a spiritual path. And we are not children saying he made me take my clothes off. Bull shit, plain dishonesty. . . . What does a sane sex life look like, what does the big book say, what does the traditions stand for about are anonymity. (sp??) This witch hunt is getting hokier by the minutes. Work the steps, traditions, be of service and quit expecting people to straighten you life out. BECOME GOD RELIANT, NOT SELF RELIANT. There comes a time when a mere code of morals or a recovery program does not keep you sober. Lack of power is our dileman. READ it and reconize that its not a program of saints, take what you want and leave the rest. I am a woman and i have attended meetings and been sober for years, and i laid the law down when i seen some sleeze ball hit on me. I have told them out loud, very loud dont sit you ass down here by me, and try your sick shit. and i did not bump my head or feel bad about calling you on your shit, haul ass. Just like i told any drunk in the bar that harrassed me. I have never been raped, used financially, or asked to take my clothes off, because i let others no in the rooms of AA this behavior is not acceptable. But I stand up, and I dont care who gets upset or mad. OLD TIMER OR NO OLD TIMER. Grow some back bone and draw some boundaries for how you allow people to treat you. if you do not feel safe dont go there. thats about as simple as it gets. if you dont feel comfortable BE TRUE TO YOURSELF!!

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      1. Newcomers, some of them are not strong and don’t know how to say no, and stand up for themselves! We are not talking about the people who come to AA who have their stuff together. There have been 2 accounts brought to my attention in the past 2 weeks where the grabbing is going on in the meeting…not outside the meeting.

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  56. what did i just read, call the police. are you serious? after all these years people are going to start calling the police on the alcoholic in the rooms of aa. the meetings will go underground. those meeting are to be a safe haven for alcoholics to get sober. not go there and be exploited in anyway. the person that has been violated needs to take the action against this individual. they are the only ones that can resolve this. aa is getting wacky more each day, because they have lost the singleness of purpose and are no longer honoring the traditions. wow, what will happen next? i think the meetings need to go unpublished if this is going to happen, and let them go underground. then that way the people that want to get sober and use the oringinal 164 pages, can do this. the principles and steps work if people are GOD reliant. I am appalled at all this, sexist behavior about a disease that means life or death for the recovered or recoving alcoholic. No one should be calling the police. But we should be principaled in all our affairs. Calling the Police is not in the best interest of the rooms of AA, or what is a place for ones to heal and change the alcholic behavior.

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    1. Yes, if a crime is committed CAll the police thats what I said! CAll the police if someone rips you off. If someone rapes you and rape has been going on for years I am finding out. To women and
      gay young men. This crap is kept secret Why? You think AA people are allowed to screw each other and get away with it? Why??? That’s ridiculous.
      A man is going into a meeting and pulling out a gun and putting it in his lap intimidating everyone!!!!!! go figure. That’s against the Law in California.

      A man raped a woman and sat in the meeting saying crap about every new woman who raised her hand. Did you know that? Did you know that 20 years ago they took that asshole out back and beat them up. That it was their fists and not the traditions that keep them in check. Did you know that they are still doing that in Hawaii? DId you know that young Gay men have been getting raped and coerced to have sex with old double digit sober gay men and these scared men don’t go to the police cause they have already been arrested for prostitution right before they got sober. None of this is spiritual. I guess cause Bill W sexually harassed lots of new women years ago it’s just gone on and on for years. But Rape…good God.. please A Crime is a Crime. Even the BoyScouts do background checks now for safety.
      And small children have been molested by sober men in AA. Women trsuted them cause they thought” this is a trustworthy guy cause he is in AA and sober.
      WRONG!!!

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  57. Hi, I just attended my first NA meeting, and it was the men who warned me to lean on the women of the group for help and to stay away from the men. They didn’t know that I am a married woman to a sober (and very BIG) man, but still, I was surprised. When the first man told me this, I thought he was joking. I never heard of this, but know intuitively to watch (I am not inclined to trust easily). Then, as I sat down for sharing in the circle, a second man introduced himself and warned me. I said “You mean so-and-so wasn’t kidding?” He replied “No, be careful. We’re not lepers by any means, but be mindful that we are all sick and still struggling, and this is something you need to be aware of.”. I’ve already connected with three women in the group and have their contact info, and one of them spoke to me last week and we committed to meeting eachother there. I just wanted to chime in here because, in light of what I’ve read here and my experience at my first meeting, I now know about the “13th step”. Thank you very much for having this information on here as I AM vulnerable, but I am also a 35 year old married woman and off the market, so to speak. I also have a great appreciation for the two men who cared enough in the group to warn me. I did notice a few eying up the “new girl” (me), but it sounds as though I am in a good group. Thanks again for this info, and I am sorry to all of you who have had this experience of being preyed upon, both men and women. I am going to another meeting tomorrow night (I’m committing to as many meeting as I can as I just surrendered tonight) and feel safer now with this information. TY with all my heart.

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    1. Im so happy to hear these guys looked out for you but I am not surprised. NA has taken some great action to address this issue head on from their main Board down through the groups. Very different then AA.

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  58. the rooms are filled with narcissium, sociopath and psychopath. alcohlics really need to educate themselve about the folks. they are what the big book identifies and can not be honest they were born that way. So there are red flags with these men and women, and when the speak in the rooms about their experience listen closely. they have no empathy, conscious, or feelings. they are truly the walking dead. Pay close attention, these are the good looking, chrismatic, and reflect who we are. Watch closely they are many of them in and out of the rooms of AA. They take advantage of people, their finances, they destroy marriages, they cheat and do not care about who they hurt. They like Power, Sex and Money. Very destructive indivduals. The internet is full of them. The only way not to be a victim is to educate yourself on them. They seem wonderful and attentive and kind. But look closer. Its just like in the bar, tell them to go fuck themselves. I always tell the men when i have a girl thats trying to stay sober, and shes someone they want to pick up on. I tell them straight up to stay away from them and dont be hitting on them. People have to quit being sick about this. What are we taught we are only as sick as our secrets. Okay and lets take the gender out of it. Women and Men are predators.

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  59. You want me to name names?
    Im just pissed of about how the so righteous elder members of 12 step programs have their heads in the sand on this one.
    There is one fellow here in Morristown, Tennessee that is a # 1 offender that no one but me has said anythind about.
    Predator # 1 Micheal C. has knocked up female members(Married woman), takes advantage of woman who come in loaded or medicated, uses his motorcycle as a P.M. Once you get on, you cant get off, stalks female members, First one to jump on female newcomers.
    It seems like the meetings have become his personal dating service and playground.
    This has to be exposed since the elder members refuse to acknowledge anything is wrong with this behavior.
    Oh and by the way, I doubt he has any clean time himself.

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    1. Just start calling the police. Any thing he does that’s a crime. Raise awareness there. Put on a workshop right where he goes to meetings. I’ll send you how we ran our workshop. Put up flyers about what is sexual harassment and sexual battery. I will help you. CAll me or write to makeaasafer@gmail.com contact your delegate and ask them to help you put on a workshop.

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    2. how are things going there. WE have a blog radio show where we are discussing 13 stepping in AA. Maybe you want to call in to talk.

      My next show will be March 8 tuesday at 6PM PST 9 PM EST. Follow my links and you can listen on your computer.

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  60. SOBRIETY IS AN EQUAL OPPURTUNITY~ Please give this some thought what I mean by this – when we try to discriminate with sobriety as far as gender this creates this wastland of predatory behavior. So no one of any gender should not reach out to an alcoholic. So then if your not the same sex I cant help you. Poposterous!

    If this type of behavior was not an issue we could create a sane sex life in and out of the rooms of AA. Where alcoholics have more than their share of sex issues. We need to conduct ourselves and tlalk about the type of behavior that must be practiced in the rooms of AA no matter what sex you are dealing with. In other words there are basic suggestions that effect both genders and should be applied to both. This way an alcoholic is an alcoholic. We would not be focused on the gender or sexual side of things and much as the steps and traditions. No one should be violated even if you working with the opposite gender. If people are getting abused then this is just as bad as us abusing alcohol and abusing ourselves with drinking. So bring it up in your home groups, and discuss what is expected of helping a newcomer. Do not seduce, take advantage of them financially, or abuse them verbally, physically if so you will be asked to leave the rooms of AA because of this behavior. Now how would that be proven? Thats why I say we must make it an EQUAL OPPURTUNITY ENVIROMENT TO STAY SOBER IN NOT A SEXIST ENVIROMENT. Our sexual preferences cannot be allowed to effect how we carry the message of AA. Just carry the message and no matter if your working with men or women no one would be violated. Just the message if the Spirit would be transferred.

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  61. in addressing this matter of predators – HOW?? Just How it this going to be policed?? Also when you have double digit sobriety the women, most women fall of the face of the earth and you are expected not to lean on the men in the group. Even though this is contradictory to When an Alcoholic reaches out we are to be available.

    Also when I was newlly sober and we had a bus of women coming from a treatment center and the men were 13th stepping these women and they could not return to the rooms of AA, because of the bar behavior that was over looked. I was in my first few months of sobriety, I stood up in the meeting there was a topic anyone would like to share about, I brought up the behavior that I was seeing. I have always believed the Truth be made known to all makes people act differently. The Guilty usually stop, and the cowards join together and speak up. I just identified it since this was my home group and stressed this was killing the women in the group. That was 15 yrs ago. But I see a different problem now with the Gay, Bi, world showing up more than ever today in AA. Newcomers in these two categories are prey to be hit on by Predators that might look like they are working with the same Gender. So now this has become more complicated in the rooms of AA. We must all help the newcomer, We must all be Principled in all our AFFAIRS, We must all rember this is a Life or Death Disease. And I have had double digit sobriety and was unable to find a Woman Sponsor. So somewhere we need to mature, and I mean Spiritually mature and reconize that this type of behavior kills men and women who have the disease of alcoholism. This is just not men hitting on women, but men hitting on men, women hitting on women. So lets all grow up and get over the sexual bar behavior and become responsible and not use are sexual powers lightly or to hurt others. I do believe AA is sexist when they say women work with women and men work with men. We are creating a breeding ground for this type of behavior. Let all rise above this prejudice and reconize God wants women with double digit sobriety in the rooms of AA not just the boys club. Please remove the prejudice and pratice what we have been taught about principles before personalities. I had double digits and no longer have that because I was alone and could not find good sponsorship among the few women in the rooms of AA. Now i am dealing with the prejudice when someone relapses. My God of my understanding is not prejudice, we are dealing with a disease that is cunning, baffiling, and Powerful. I believe Predators no matter what gender they are display these traits. Groups need to discuss this openly and reconize the Sexist overtones in the rooms of AA against women working with women. And women need to reconize they can not use their sexual powers to manipulate situations because they are not God Reliant but self reliant. Everyone is responsible for their sobriety and applying the principles we have learned here. So lets all get honest about what is going on. Alcoholic men and women should not be taking advantage of anyone, anywhere, let alone in the rooms of AA where we are the most vunerable.

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    1. mag,
      it needs to be kept in check by all of us who are in the meetings and know better. When we see it happening go up to that guy or gal and tell them “we don’t do that here” if Unwanted touch happens we need to call the police. 911 it’s considered a violent crime. If I kept hugging you in Vons Market and you really didnt know me and I told you to stop. It’s the same thing.
      The culture of what you hear here and who you see here has become a culty saying that makes newcomers feel they can’t talk about stuff that is wrong and going on IN THE MEETING ROOMS!
      not outside. AA members are numb to stuff that would horrify a normal person. This is not a good thing. Bill W. sexually harrassed so many women that the oldtimers made a skit about it and performed it on the stage in the 1960’s. This crap has been perpetuated for decades!
      there is so much we can do. Write safety statements that are read in the beginning, put up sexual harassment posters, encourage members to call the police when a crime is committed. WRite literature, simple direct, put something on all our websites of what is sexual harassment and that we as a fellowship have a zero tolerance policy regarding this. Never mind this bullshit that we can not make any member act a certain way. What? If someone is committing a crime we sit around and say oh we are spiritual because we are doing noting because we are victims? It’s 2010 not 1936. AA needs to wake up and get real. I don’t care who you are. No AA members are above the law.

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  62. TIP; girls dont go to meetings alone when vulnerable take a sensible girlfriend with you

    i went to n.a and some a.a in sydney with a marijuana /binge drinking problem when i was 23 years old(20 years ago).the worst mistake in my life.the meeetings in australia are 80%male members
    .i was this young pretty middle class thing,vulnerable as hell-i got eaten well and truly.One lover was the a.a counselor from the 12 step rehab i was inpatient in – it didnt end well-he was 5 years clean at the time.I had n.a 13 steppers lovers asking me how much my dad was worth-really opportunistic sleazes.
    .i had ptsd & also anxiety/paranoia frm smoking marijuana which the program didnt address.i shouldve been put on sedatives-i was premanic .instead after 2 years clean, my mum died suddenly and i self medicated with trying heroin-clearly i needed professional help.id never used heroin before but was chronic depressed/paranoid/ isolated,dropped out of uni etc.
    also Alot of n.a members used to neg rave about how good heroin was.
    N.a is bad for vulnerable young women on their own.i just needed some short term sedatives probably but n.a purists swore me off psychiatrists.20 years later im clean again but sticking with therapy and occasional a.a meetings-more women go there.GOOD LUCK.

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    1. You know I think you should write your letter to NA. You can just email this post. They need to hear it and stop thinking that they are handling it. They are better then AA when it comes to confronting their problems. YOu can’t imagine the resistance we are up against, but I will not stop till something is done or the cat is out of the bag. The Public needs to get that AA is Not safe in its big Urban Cities. EVen in town like Covina and Pasadena this is true. And so fellow AA’rs need to wake up and talk about it, put up warning signs, write literature, and hold workshops everywhere.

      That there is a Zero Tolerance for Sexual Harassment in Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. From Man to woman and Old Cougar Woman to vulnerable new men.

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    2. Don’t you think it’s about time there was an alternative to AA? Some do. I do. It’s safer to be in a bar. At Least there are realistic boundaries of “I should not trust anyone there
      till I know them, till they prove to be trusted? But The AA/NA culture lends itself to think we are so special and that “we” are different. Sadly to say, some are. SOme are life long amazing friends.
      But most are friends from the 70’s. When most young people I knew getting sober took the spiritual path along with AA seriously. In LA this is a joke. IN 2010 I am living is lala land if I act and
      believe that. I could get raped, ripped off or get an STD from a smooth talking sober member who is using the front of AA and his/or her sobriety or connection to teh program to make them seem like they are okay or good or better. There have been serial killers in AA. This is a fact. Fortunately his is dead now, but he once sat among good well meaning folk who HAD NO IDEA!!!
      AA could have spent years doing out reach in Colleges and Universities, But no …years and years of out reach in prisons. Good God, enough! GSO and all it’s connecting links needs to open it’s eyes!

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  63. Hi
    never written on a blog before, but I was relieved to find this, actually. I was 13 stepped twice, and both times left in humiliation, the second time was 10 years ago and I never went back. I don’t drink and take that very seriously, as I have a lovely daughter now, but no way would I go back to AA. Neither instance was rape or even force. It was just that I was young, 24 the first time, 27 the second time. More than young, I was sexually abused by my father, so I was just messed up, lonely, and really withdrawing from alcohol. The first guy just messed with my head. He was sober 5 years or so, and known for being handsome and dating a lot. He pursued me, I fell for it, he dumped me, said really mean crap to me (you are not pretty, I only wanted to see if we could have sex), bla bla bla. I left from sheer embarassment more than anything else. My sponser said I was being slutty and that was “my part”. Okay. I drank again and came back about a year later because the drinking was just horrible and out of hand. The second dude is the one it is hard to talk about. The first was a jerk, but this guy was…..scary. Not only did I leave AA after he was done with me, but I tried to kill myself. It was too much. My father and than this guy. I will not go into particulars, it is just too sad and not worth typing about. I think a lot of women have this sexual abuse in their past when they come to AA. Just a guess, I could be wrong. But if so, this place is awful for them. I would never recommend it to any female, especially a young female. I do miss the steps and some of the people, though. If AA could start making it clear that this is not tolerated, maybe it could be better. Or maybe, with the nature of some predatory people, this just is not possible and womens only groups could sort of provide an alternative. Than again, this the nature of the world, unfortunately, always has been always will be. But I am so much, much, much wiser now. I can’t even recognize that girl I was. Live and Learn….and stay the hell out of AA if you are young and vulnerable!

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    1. Cindy, Thanks so much for writing your story. I am so sorry this happen to you but I am glad you are doing good now. The ignorance in the rooms is unbelievable to some of us about the fact this is happening all the time in certain meetings. New comers can not discern when they look in a meeting directory which are the good or bad meetings. I believe AA as a whole needs to take this problem very seriously and start to make safety statements read in all meetings. SOmething could be put in the front of the meeting directory as well.

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  64. A GRASS ROOTS movement in Los Angeles is addressing Predators of all kinds in AA meetings right now. AA co ed meetings are filled with creepy predators. RAPE, rampant 13 stepping by older long time members taking advantage of new vulnerable members. This is not like a BAR. People come in a think they can trust these special people. That is BULLSHIT! Tell everyone you know. WE have written literature and it is being passed out for Member Safety.

    Nicky, I will send you all the materials we have collected and help you have a workshop up there.

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  65. I live in San Francisco and would like to get involved in addressing the predators in A.A. problem. How should I go about doing this?

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  66. I’m so glad i found this web site. I joined AA several years ago when I had hit bottom. I was so emotionally ignorant that I was easy prey for an older, AA male member, who gave me a place to live. I assumed I would be paying rent…money…but he wouldnt accept any, he wanted sex for my room and board. I was devasted, and ended up on the couch of a friends for awhile, and I stopped going to AA meetings all together. I have recently started attending an AA group far away, as I have moved to a new area, hoping to find things differnt, sadly I see the same stuff. I have been attending one group for only three weeks now and already the predators are out in full force. It starts innocently enough, one has asked if I want to go for coffee after the meeting, one has offered to fix some minor repairs on my car, (free of charge) of course, and another has made comments about sex, and wanting to do anything to help me.
    I have a sponsor that just told me to stay away from the men. Stay away ? They out number us women 10 to 1. There is NO woman’s only group, as our numbers are small.
    Please, WE need to put a stop to this behavior from some members that are predators, alot of women entering AA are so broken, that they cant see the danger in starting a friendship with these types of men. Some meetings I am the only woman in my group, and I have made it well known to everybody, that I am only there for one person, ME…
    I feel bad for the new comers that get caught by a predator. Pls. can we stop them?

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    1. Lori, Thank you so much for writing. This is horrible and I am so sorry this happened to you. I am getting e mail after email and I am documenting ALL OF IT> It has to be stopped and The Public needs to be warned. Period. AA is not SAFE AT ALL ANYMORE! WEll it never was but in the past 10 years…wow…what a cesspool. The Gay community in West Hollywood has told me horror stories as well with not only rampant 13 stepping but rampant rape with newcomer young me who were already on the street.
      PLease contact me at makeaasafer@gmail.com at any time.

      And yes we can stop them. Add a Safety statement to the beginning of your meetings. Get our literature. Pass it out. Raise awareness. Talk about it. Ask everyone if they think it is a problem.

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    2. Hi Lori,
      How are things going? Have you considered trying a different modality like Smart Recovery or LifeRIng SOS or Women FOR Sobriety? Just checking in to see how you are doing.

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  67. I am a man wto has been sober for over 18 yrs. I have heard of and/or witnessed many predatory sexual practices in AA. A little over 2 years ago I was in a lot of emotional pain associated with a relationship. I sought help and support from a well respected and idealized man with over 35 years sober. He is often “quoted” at meetings and is always saying that “we don’t take peoples’ inventory in AA. He freely dispenses advive to people regaring personal issues.
    During the course of our conversation he revealed that “he never had a problem finding women to have sex with in AA” ! This man is married! I now understand why he is always hanging around younger women. He is a predator and I feel he uses his view on “inventory taking of others” to justify his own wayward and hypocritical behavior. I have discussed this situation with others and I was amazed as well as appalled at how many people accused me of being judgemental. Needless to say I will never seek this man’s counsel again as “this Emperor has no clothes”. I try not to judge people but I do judge behavior. I consider his dishonest and dispicable! I am grateful though that he has shown me what not to be as a recovering man.

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    1. You are not alone. There are many who have had enough with what is going on with these old timers. SOmeone needs to call them on their bullshit. Lots of good people have left AA. Not to drink. just left. They can’t take the Predator vibe anymore. What are the principals of AA. Honesty, an open mind, Integrity, Patience, Love, Service. there are more I could list. WE are suppose to practice them in ALL OF OUR Affairs. Right?
      SO this guy has no integrity, no morals, no ethics. AA has become a cesspool. But there is no warning at the door. There needs to be something on the wall of every meeting hall. AA is NOT SAFE. It never was but over the past 20 years things have gotten bad and gone to worse.

      Like

    2. Gosh there was this guy at our meeting people treated him like a celebrity I felt really uncomfortable around him, anyway one meeting I looked at him funny at the beginning and he seemed off his game in his shares anyway I went outside first he came very quickly giving his advice I think he new I picked a bad vibe off him it was just creepy he would stare at me in meetings and I felt bad as everyone loved him,, I found out later that he had young girls at his house “recovering” and told others he had sex with them and many other disturbing things I do not want to mention, he’s still there they idolise him and the men are like little puppies trying to please him, your story brought this back to me, please be the change and talk to everyone on a level, you are not wrong to question this, people do not like the truth, it isn’t judging its making a sound perception on what is wrong in the rooms, there should be a thirteen step for sexual predators will be prosecuted and chucked out, lol. So good to see that a guy has seen this and commented as there are many men who are not like this but they get overshadowed by the ones who are!

      Like

      1. Rachel- hi and welcome, this is disgusting. He need to be outed I agree. What is wrong with these people… just don’t get it anymore. I can help though…I know you have already emailed me as well. Will any more woman come forward?

        Like

  68. Don’t ever let someone join AA. Save your energy, mind, money, reputation, innocence, freedom, spirituality, love, everything.

    They will go out of their way to rob you blind of everything and ruin your life so you become dependent upon them. Don’t fall for it. A healthy healing path is out there — FIND IT!

    Professional counselors should be used for sponsors. Don’t let them feed off you. It’s not worth it.

    Like

    1. this is a great site thkyou my heart goes out to girls who have been referred to a.a as a last resort only to get 13th stepped.
      .unfortunately a.a/n.a is the only social support in many cities for girls/women with alcohol/drug problems .
      where im from men just out jail use n.a meetings as a dating service.its really sad/ugly. the females often dont stick around meetings for long-they flee to a.a.
      A.A dosent have that jail/crim element.A.A it seems has its share of predators too sadly.
      off topic-the steps are wriitten in a very patriarchal fashion.the language is set back in the 1950’s,it would be great to see them revised.

      Like

  69. How did this happen? I thought this was a spiritual program?

    I thought it was a requirement that we live these “principals” (12&12) in all our affairs?

    To address some of the more common arguments:

    Ignorant Statement #1. “If I were a newcomer, this info/brochure would scare me.”

    Sane Response: “You are not a newcomer in 2010, so your not in a position to make that call.” OR “So, you’d rather run the risk of NOT informing people of their surroundings and hope that nothing happens, than create an atmosphere of informed thinking and allow newcomers a safe environment to recover?”

    Ignorant Statement #2 “This is an outside issue.”

    Sane Response: “Directing someone on who to vote for in the presidential election is an outside issue.” OR “We spoke about this issue at PRAASA, at 2 Westside combined district meetings, and at 2 Area Assembly’s. Members of GSO have even emailed members of AA to let us know that we are autonomous and that this is exactly where we deal with these issues. We have GSO’s correspondence in PDF if you’d like a copy.”

    Ignorant Statement #3: “Page 69 of the Big Book tells us to stay out of the debate over anyones “sex relations.”

    Sane Response: “Our legal system in the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA says its illegal to rape or have sex with a minor- “Alcoholics Anonymous is not above the law.”

    Ignorant Statement 4: “Whats your part?”

    Sane Response: “The person who is/was violated sexually or financially… their part is that they walked in the door of an organization that has commercialized itself through the Court System yet pretends to be anonymous- and these VICTIMS trusted they would be safe- Now whats your part?”

    As a woman on the other side of the 12steps, I can tell you that we are venerable when we get here. We are broken, we have less then zero self esteem, and generally speaking- we have burnt too many bridges to count, hence we have found ourselves in a position of “willingness”. This willingness also requires a belief that we are going to be safe in this new environment. At the very least, safe enough to let go of our guard down (i.e. our obsession to fix ourselves by ourselves) and trust that the people in AA can help.

    Too many times I have heard speakers say “Place your trust in the AA group until you can tap into your own Higher Power”. This is an unfortunate and terrifying statement for me to hear because it is indicating that the AA group is safe.

    I really hope your group is safe, because mine is not. The two Alano clubs nearest my home are despicable. They have become a resting place for the homeless and a sexual predators playground. The first month I went there, I did not shake one hand, speak too or initiate eye contact with one single person because I had a gut feeling that it just was not safe. And the first person I did smile at, ended up in my bed after I told him NO several times. So, do I have an axe to grind with this topic, maybe. Do I feel alone in this experience? No.

    My new sponsee told me after just three visits with her, that there were several men at my local Alano club that had gotten her phone number even though she didn’t give it to them. She is so young, but like me, she knew she is an alcoholic and she continued to go to meetings until we found each other.

    This is sickness is happening right now- in real time- just a few blocks from my house.

    Unfortunately, the General Service response to all this sadness is that it will take 3-10 years to develop and procedures or literature- if anything ever happens at all! I couldn’t believe it!
    Where is the 1st and 11th tradition in that response? Where is the Sanity in it? Where is the Spiritually in it? How many people will be taken advantage of before something is done? How can we, as human beings, turn the other way and be ok with saying…

    Ignorant response 5: “Its been a problem since the beginning, what makes us think it can/should/will change now?”

    Sane Response: “Oh My God! This has been happening for over 75 years and no one has done anything to help? How sad. How truly frightening.”

    Like

    1. I wish I could write how I feel like you have done here.

      So well put! I agree. 100%! Yes you are right. We have to fight back.

      Bigger causes have been fought, Women having the right to vote. Segregation. Slavery. Catholic Church Sexual Abuse. But change has happened. And together we can fight for change and awareness. Im not giving up yet.

      Like

      1. I can’t seem to reply… But I’m feeling better. The predator is still doing what he does best.. That’s leaving carnage where ever he goes.. Thankfully he’s going back to Spain again in November. Let’s hope he stays there. Never to return to out Hertfordshire. He has hurt do many people and has just got away with it. Loraine.

        >

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  70. I am an Alcoholic. I am writing because I am an Alternate GSR, Secretary, and Cleanup person for three meetings in my area. And based on the literature I have received (i.e. the upside down triangle), and what I was told via our “trusted servants”- (ie our delegates) it is my understanding that I AM THE VOICE OF AA.

    SO I WANT TO BE HEARD!

    I was recently copied on an email addressed to another AA member in response to a letter she wrote to GSO where in which she express some of her concerns regarding Sexual and Financial Predators in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. Following is the response she received.

    “There is no AA answer to rape or scams. These are matters for outside authorities to handle, just as any other illegal activity. As we know, AA members are not above the law.– Doug Richardson;General Service Staff”

    So, we, the “AA members” are supposed to be at the TOP of the heap (as represented by the upside-down triangle)? Yet when she expressed her concerns to GSO (whom we pay through our donations to be our “PUBLIC FACE and PR VOICE”) she was clearly patronized- SEE ABOVE!. So my question here is, If GSO is not responsible for addressing this, just what exactly do they do? And how the hell am I going to be heard, short of going to the media with my fellows…?

    With that being said, I’d also like to inform you about what others are saying about AA. These “others” are not AA members. And they do not credit this program with saving their lives. So these individuals are even less likely to keep this issue “internal” so to say.

    One non-member said:

    “It has been said that if a person has been taken advantage of by members of her group, that it is his/her own fault for not taking basic precautions. The problem with this is that AA is not a place where people enter with the ability to take these basic precautions: they are vulnerable, addicted, confused, and emotionally fragile. And they are led to believe that AA is a place where people will care. These predators will justify their actions by saying that it is the same as walking into a barroom.

    Devastated and broken people getting together in a ratified space, with no oversight, and no standards, are instructed to trust the group; instructed to let go; instructed that their best thinking got them there; instructed to take the cotton out of their ears… If AA is going to instruct people to let go, they have got to provide a safety net. But they won’t, and when you hit the cement, it’s your fault for trusting”

    It is also interesting to note that these people see the same filth I do, yet when it is brought to the attention of our KRUSTY OLD BOARD MEMBERS, I am made to feel as though I am “insane” for speaking about such a thing. Bullshit.

    It is 2010. No one gets away with abuse anymore, and neither will AA.

    SO WE WILL BE HEARD. WE WILL CONTINUE TO MAKE NOISE UNTIL SOMETHING HAPPENS.

    Like

    1. That is right on the money. I agree with you. Just like the Catholic Church with Ordained Molesters …the crap is going to hit the fan sooner then later if this issue is not resolved NOW!!!!

      Like

      1. READY TO TAKE A STANCE … LOUDLY AND BOLDLY. This sick behavior MUST STOP. We are experiencing a huge problem here in Akron Ohio with a very very sick individual that even announced it at a few meetings WHAT HE WAS and the young woman are his prey. He’s a 53 year old pervert that even admitted openly to a few groups that he is spreading std ‘s deliberately . He even went to the women’s sober house and told on himself , and they turned a blind eye.

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      1. That is against your civil rights. I would throw him out and call the police and tell them he is harassing the women. Stop accepting this behavior at any level, call the police, make them file a report on him and dont take no for an answer!!! If he is giving them aids its a felony. .

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      2. I so agree. I was married 25 years when I came in broken … Then met the preditor of all preditors. … Had access to my bank account ( yes I allowed it.. Yes put myself in the path to be hurt) but all I heard in AA. we as honesty honesty honesty How did I know he was lying. I’ve lost everything. That was 10 years ago. Then after 7 years of sobriety as they say don’t drink no matter what I did …. 3 years back out there. Terrible.. Come back in and another on hit on me.. Used me and dumped me.. We are lonely and desperate when we enter these rooms… And someone coming onto you .. Well I did I thought it was kindness. How wrong I was.

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      3. HI Loraine- It was not your fault. These guys know what they are doing. You didn’t put your set in the path…you thought you were in a safe environment. They say “let us love you till you can love yourself”

        Are you okay now?

        Are you aware there are other free support groups Like Smart Recovery, SOS and Moderation.org?

        makeaasafer@gmail.com contact me if you need to talk .

        Like

      4. No not ok. I’m drinking. I don’t know where to turn… Why do I allow it to happen … AA tells me I put myself in the path of harm… Look at my part in it. I’m going to smart on Friday. I don’t know where or what to do. Thank you for answering. Loraine

        Please take care and tell me how you are. at makeaasafer@gmail.com

        Like

  71. Sorry to hear this. I’m glad you were strong. But eventually it drove you away , right. Which is so WRONG!!! This is another example of the ridiculous immaturity of sober alcoholic men. Someone please write a book for these guys. It’s really important that those of us who still go to meetings, take a stand on changing the behavior that is eroding the program. It doesn’t matter anymore to me that Bill W. was such a womanizer, therefore the wording about sex behavior on page 69. What matters is that it is 2010 and sexual battery and harassment in AA needs to stop. This assumption that we are so close after one meeting. That we have so much in common. People who use a spiritual program to use and abuse people are down right evil. That’s not even sick, that is completely f up. Please contact us at makeaasafer@gmail.com for ways you can be a part of this movement growing in Los Angeles where there is a HUGE problem that we are addressing. I understand if you no longer go to AA. Some of us are on the verge of starting something new if it gets to a place where we feel we can not make enough noise and change.

    Maybe it is time for a new social and spiritual fellowship to address alcoholism. I have ben giving this serious thought for many many months now. The more horror stories I hear ( rape, scams, date raping newcomers, I am sickened!

    Like

  72. I’m a married women, and knew to stay away from blatant 13th steppers, but what I didn’t know was how manipulative some AA men could be. Several latched onto me with the pretense that they wanted to help me, be my “friend.” These guys even believed this themselves. One eventually admitted he was in love with me, so I steered clear of him, but that was awkward. Although nothing had ever happened between us, he acted all hurt and wouldn’t look me in the eye for months. Once he emailed me and said because he and I were no longer talking or interacting with each other, rumor had it that we’d had an affair and had broken up. Great, probably rumor started or at least not discouraged by him!. Another guy kept up this annoying, “I only want to be a good friend” rap, while constantly calling, emailing, wanting to give me rides, go to coffee, etc. He was married, too (though obviously unhappily), and he often reassured me he had absolutely no romantic intentions towards me as that would jeapordize our all-important (to him) friendship. The emotional desperation he displayed as my “friend” got to be really weird and annoying. He was constantly buying me gifts, analyzing everything about our “relationship,” worrying whether I liked him, whether our “friendship” was strong. When I had a little more sober time and clarity and tried to draw boundaries, put some distance between us, he was so “hurt” that I wasn’t being a good “friend.” Jeez, I wish these guys would leave newcomer women alone. I finally got so I couldn’t stand the sight of him, and stopped going to meetings.

    Like

    1. There is a grass roots movement in Los ANgeles that is writing literature about Sexual and Financial Predators in the rooms and meetings and going all around shinning light onto this really bad stuff!
      After 75 years the truth needs to be told.

      Like

    2. kaye,
      you see men like this in AA all the time. ALthough when I went to mixed meetings I did meet some good men, However alot of them have run off to a Men’s stag along with women running off to their women’s stagg.
      One big mass exodus.

      Like

    3. Something a lot like this happened to me too. Sometimes they’re much bolder. Once, just before a meeting, this guy I sorta knew from the fellowship came up to me and hugged me, then said, ‘I’ve been wanting to do that for a long time.’ I kinda ignored the comment and went back to what I was doing, but he just started going on about himself. I listened while writing out a shopping list but didn’t say much. I went into the kitchen to get some water after the meeting started, and he followed me in there. He went up to me and asked, ‘You single?’ I told him I wasn’t. He then asked how long I had been with my boyfriend. I told him several years and he said, “Call me when you’re single.” This guy is 60; I am in my mid-thirties.

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  73. Women, in my opinion, are foolish to put their phone number on a mixed group’s call list for obvious reasons. I also believe the Preamble should be followed by a short list of transgressions, with sexual advances toward women leading the list. It would be mandatory that any complaint made by a woman would require a group consciousness meeting to consider the matter, and if the man was guilty of unwelcome advances or inappropriate language, he would be expelled from the group. I called the district office in my state with this suggestion, but no one called me back. I did this because one young man in the group was known to make absolutely foul comments about the women. Unlike most members of the fellowship, I never let AA become my life, but found the supportive atmosphere helpful. When it degenerated into frat house nonsense and worse, it became impossible for me to attend.

    Like

  74. Another thing I wanted to note about my story was this: a woman who is an old-timer in AA was friendly with the man’s wife. The predator at one point could not drive. So, the woman in AA pressured other people INCLUDING OTHER WOMEN to drive this man to meetings. This female, AA old times KNEW that his behavior was suspect, as other women told her, but her loyalty to the couple pervaded her judgement. Sickening.

    Like

    1. It would be great if everyone who sees any of this Predatory behavior would speak up and if victims’ would go to the meetings where the Predators are sitting, stand up and “out” them right there and then. This crap would come to a screeching halt !!! I predict this day will come.

      Like

  75. Thank you for having this site. AA IS NOT A SAFE PLACE FOR ANY WOMEN. BUT IT IS CERTAINLY NOT SAFE FOR *YOUNG* WOMEN. Though I will say I have heard unattractive, middle aged women grumble, “I am sick of hearing about thirteen stepping.” I have heard comments like, “She should not be wearing that.” Huh. She deserved it, did she? Thought that went out with 1950s sexism. Here is my story:

    I came into AA the second time in a serious way when I was 33. (Recently.) I was in the middle of a divorce and in the middle of a horrific custody battle (with the heroin addict I had met in AA when I came in at age 21). I have an issues with narcotics. Before I came back in, while I was still married, I met a guy, who would come to my work and hit on me. He told me he was in AA. He kept coming to visit. I knew he was a junkie. As I was not sober at this time, I asked him to hook me up. He did, for free. Later, I tried to come back into AA seriously. I thought I was going to die. I was in trouble, but I think this was drama-fied by people in AA telling me that I would die. Anyway, this guy was always lurking behind every corner. I had a crazy relapse and ended up hooking up with him. (Ick. Need to mention the guy is my Dad’s age. ) I was out to lunch and was going through a scary, Benzo withdrawal when it happened. Again, when I tried to come back in, he was around every corner. He told me he was in love with me, the whole thing. I was so vulnerable. He was married, too. And , interestingly, his wife is a well-known Alanon member. They ask her to speak all the time. The AA people think all this is OK because he “made an amends.” Astounding. This is one example in oh, so many. WOmen are thirteen-stepped all the time. PEople do talk about it, but it truly gets swept under the rug. Maybe if the program would evolve out of its sexist, male Big Book and disease theory, they would have a chance. AA is sexist. AA hate women.

    Like

    1. I’m so sorry this happened to you. There are so many out there that this happened to. CAn you come to our workshop in Los Angeles April 3rd to tell your story?
      IF you don’t live near LA what big city do you live near? WE are going to meetings and talking about it all the time. In our shares. Making announcements
      about Make AA Safer Workshop. I will contact you through your email.

      Like

      1. i did get back to you via email, but if you get enough attention from this… i live near boston, nh and portland maine. would love to see women take act/ even notice this issue here…

        Like

    2. “Maybe if the program would evolve out of its sexist, male Big Book and disease theory, they would have a chance. AA is sexist. AA hates women.”

      Really interesting perception. I’ve done 12 step based “therapy” and come to this conclusion, and really think someone should write a book elucidating it. There’s a pop psych writer, Melody Beattie I believe, in whose books my “therapist” seemed to get a lot of his ideas (I figured this out by looking in the bookstores to see what in the world he could be reading, amazing to find professionals whose reading tastes are in pop psych and not serious psychology); she is the promoter of the idea of codependence; I see she is published by the Hazelden foundation. She alleges / is alleged to be “feminist;” she isn’t …

      Like

      1. Z, yes it is sexist. The BB is archaic, the fellowship is dead, and dying, and There are other solutions Smart Recovery, Rational Recovery, Buddhism, Good therapy with a good Phd. who knows what they are doing.

        AA is not the only way. It’s dying treatment modality.

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  76. Dealing with predators

    The Central Region’s 2001 Regional Forum took a bold step by holding a special session to discuss the issue of sexual, spiritual, and financial predators at AA meetings. Predators are AA members who take advantage of other members in various ways, such as:
    • sexual harassment
    • sexual attack
    • pressuring members to join a particular religious group
    • borrowing money
    • selling goods for personal gain
    • offering investment schemes
    • theft of group funds.

    While they aren’t at all common, the damage they do can be enormous. The saddest thing about this type of activity is that it is often practised on vulnerable new members who are least able to use their judgement and defend themselves.

    The discussion started with one member giving an account of being assaulted by another member just after she had joined the fellowship. This quickly set the tone for the meeting:- predation is an extremely important matter. It was agreed that the best way to handle the problem is to deal with it quickly at the group level. Several simple but effective methods are available.

    • Talk to other members about it and raise the matter at a group conscience meeting. Take care that you aren’t just passing on rumours. Make sure you have well-established facts to work with.
    • Discuss the problem with the person suspected of preying on other members. Listen to their side of the matter. Let them know the group disapproves of predatory behaviour.
    • Make sure other members stay with the suspected predator whenever he or she is talking to vulnerable new members.
    • Raise your concerns with any of the members you think may be at risk from the predator.
    • Don’t think the matter ends with your group. The predator may leave your group and move to fresh hunting grounds. You may need to warn members in other groups.
    • Barring someone from meetings is an extreme step and should only be taken when other steps have failed.
    • In certain situations you may need to notify the police.
    • Under no circumstances should members resort to vigilante action and use violence to try to solve the problem. This would be totally against the spirit of the Fellowship and could turn the situation into a worse problem.

    It is clear that older members and office holders have a moral obligation to help protect vulnerable members. It’s possible they may even have a legal obligation to do so. Certainly we need to do everything we can to ensure newcomers know an AA meeting is a safe environment.

    Authorised for publication by The General Service Board of Alcoholics Anonymous Australia

    Like

    1. I find it interesting that some people idiolized Bill W. I once did too. But, Bill hit on woman way back when. He cheated on Lois…sober. One of his mistresses still
      get monies to this day because of his ‘Will” from our dollars in the basket. It’s common knowledge. And Let s get one thing clear…
      People in AA who are scamming others for money, old guys with double digit sobriety hitting on 24 year old women new comers for sex have nothing to do with the 3rd tradition. forty year old Guys with 7-10 years getting all chummy with young girls with 34 days is just WRONG!
      Just like the Catholic Church, it’s wake up time for Predators in AA. WE are done, sick and tired of hearing these stories from newcomers who come running to our meeting.
      WE are not tired of them but rather what is happening to them. The light is a shinning!

      Like

    2. For those who don’t know this AA in Australia and Great Britain addressed this issue country wide.
      Narcotics Anonymous addressed it 4 years ago. CODA in the USA has literature already in one of their pamphlets. Al-anon made all Al-ateen sponsors to be registered so no Sex offenders could become a group leader or sponsor of a teen group. Gee what a concept.

      Like

    3. i actually had a O.S.M member who never talked to me invite me to her house for tea then up to her bedroom were she showed me her “dream life” collage then she hit on me financially to join AMWAY-was very strange it was.

      Like

      1. NOLONGER GO TO NA BECAUSE I RAN INTO A PROBLEM WITH A LONG TERM MEMBER WHO HAS GONE OUT OF HIS WAY TO BREAK THE ANONYMITY OF AT LEAST THREE MEMBERS. (SCOTT DIED OF AN OVER DOSE BUT WE KNOW THIS PERSON BETRAYED HIS FRIENDSHIP) THIS IS NOT A MISTAKE OOPS NO THIS IS ACTING WITH MALICE, CONTACTING FAMILIES AND EMPLOYEERS – LEADING TO JOB LOSS. MARK KELLY YOU CAN NOT HIDE IN NA IN REVERE ARLINGTON BOSTON BROOKLINE NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS. THIS IS A SOCIOPATHIC USE OF TRADITIONS. DO WE ALLOW A PEDOPHILE TO RUN THE BOY’S CLUB. SHOULDN’T WE IDENTIFY A THREAT TO THE SPIRITUAL FOUNDATION. AND IT ISN’T ABOUT ME WORKING STEPS. THE POINT IS THIS PROGRAM WORKS FOR PEOPLE WHO AREN’T PSYCHOPATHIC-NON CARING WHAT HE DID AND WILL DO WILL HARM INOCENT PEOPLE. SO NOLONGER A MEMBER AND WILLING TO SPEAK OUT ABOUT THIS DEFILEMET OF RECOVERY

        Like

      2. HI.
        This is a very serious post. And I want you to know how sorry I am for what happened. Is there something that was done that is so criminal that you can go to thepolice or is it just unethical what her is doing. Are people running from NA because of it? I would think so. Are you still in NA or have you left?

        I am glad that you posted here. I am now getting some other horror stories about NA as well. I guess the traditions are kiddy laws that do really do anything.

        More of Bill WIlson’s made up mumbo jumbo

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  77. I got sober at almost 22 years old. I was very vulnerable to several oldtimers who made it clear that they wanted sexual favors when I went to them with an emotional problem and just wanted advice. Fortunately, I was able to eventually get strong enough to see where I did not want to go and who might not be good for me to talk with. I was not discerning immediately. I had no boundaries and I had no idea who would victimize me. Eventually I learned to trust my inner self and stayed away from the losers. I had been molested by my uncle so I didn’t know who to trust for a long time. Now I know I can trust myself.

    Like

  78. It happened to me as well I was 19 when I came into AA. I had no idea of what to do. I was 13 stepped alot but the one person that was really good at it I married. It didn’t stop there. He picked up any young newcomer female and told them if they didn’t do step 3 with him they would drink. He had veneral diseases that he spread around the AA community. When we got divorced he remarried a girl who was just getting out of rehab. He is still out there using to this day. I agree this type of behavior needs to stop and newcomers need to at the very least be made aware. I used to hear that many a man thought AA was the place to meet women. When I came to AA I was dying. If not for the old timers that I met I don’t think I would be here today. We need to get the message out.

    Like

  79. I was 18 when I got sober and some guy with five years 26 years old hit on me. He dumped me after 2 weeks. He 13 stepped hundreds of girls …most whom did not stay sober after he was done with them. EVery one in the community knew what he was doing. Only one women and one man confronted him. I thought this crap stopped but recently people are telling me lots of horror stories!

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    1. Well I still have trouble reading where YOUNG or OLD women or men can not say NO to who they have sex with. If your high school age and dont know how to say no then this is consider molestation. There is a serious problem if people are in these rooms and are not old enough to go to a bar. Women and Men can no longer yell victim. When I first got sober if someone wanted to hug me, which i had no desire to hug anyone I SAID NO! I would tell them I will shake your hand, its like anywhere in life if you dont like someone, DONT ASSOCIATE OR TALK TO THEM. I made a 13steping fool who had 8 yrs and birthed twins in the group with one woman, never acknowledged his 2 small girls, the entire goup did, but their Dad would not even look at them. He was and still is allowed to make birthday cards, make AA anouncments, and do service work for conference, while he continued to screw women that had less than 30 days sober. The men and women should said no we can see your dishonesty and your sociopath behavior, and it is very destructive and is not in “THE BEST INTEREST OF THE GROUPS UNITY!” let alone sobriety. What did everyone do LOVE HIM UNCONDITIONALLY, AND HE HAD NO GUILT OR EMPATHY FOR INNOCENT CHILDREN ! So if we really think we can stop these sociopaths, personality disorder losers with no conscious we should see they are not seeking a spiritual or psychic change. They are Dangerous. So age has nothing to do with you be responsible with your sexual powers. I see many little girls who think they are women, and yeah get used because they are playing a part they are not emotionally equipped for. CHILDREN DO NOT BELONG AT AA MEETINGS! They over hear things that are not demonstrations of healthy activity. It is the disease of alcoholism. Take your children to a place of safe and healthy actions, not the rooms of AA. Swap off with another person that can be trusted, establish health childcare boundaries. This is what people do at daycare centers.

      I talked to an old 30 year sober woman and she is stuck in the 50-70’s and thinks “oh! its just hormones between men and women!” I told her she needs to be careful, and she says I believe in God! I guess that makes her bullet proof for when the gun goes off she wont be hurt. Ignorant and this is why women are not staying sober in the rooms of AA. By now it should be compounding the spiritual law is ‘YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW!” What have we been sowing since the start of AA? Sexism, Control, Abuse, Lies, Denial, etc. Now we have a ripe crop of harmful dangerous individuals! I have no desire to go to meetings and experience such sick behavior, its why I left the bar. So now tell me what is the difference!

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      1. AA/NA needs to step up and state “NO MINORS’ at meetings. It is child abuse plain and simple. Stop the abuse!!!!!!!!!

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    2. It is complete insanity for minors to be at AA meetings. I have witnessed children at meetings where they are hearing horrible horror stories of drug and criminal activities of members.This is emotionally damaging for children and even underage teens.Plus minors have been raped and sexually molested by AA members they came into contact with at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and Narcotics Anonymous meetings.

      Why is both AA/NA promoting children and teens to meetings when they know sexual predators are mandated to them? Plus their are no background checks! AA/NA actually goes to the jails and institutions to start meetings and once offenders are out they are told to go to a 12 step meeting the first day of release!

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