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Sexual predators (or predators of any type) in AA.

Old 03-14-2008, 10:46 AM
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Sexual predators (or predators of any type) in AA.

Rather than highjack another thread I am starting a new one as I find this worth discussing and would love to hear others opinion, thoughts, and experiences on it.

Sexual predators (or predators of any type) in AA.

After 7 years of being in AA I have run across my share of these types of people. Are they the majority in AA----in my experience that answer is NO.

THE PROBLEM: Sexual and other predators in AA.

MY EXPERIENCE: When I first started AA and was considerably more vulnerable and desperate for help than I am now it seemed as though I noticed these people more. Maybe it was because of what I was giving off. I have read somewhere (not that reading it makes is gospel) that predators look for people who are vulnerable, they stay away from people that appear strong because they are harder to take advantage of. The body language can often times say more than words about someone's vulnerability. Unfortunately, many newcomers both men and women arrive in AA vulnerable, beat up, and tired. This makes them viable targets for the predators.

Here is how I dealt with it in early sobriety. My desperation was finding a way to stop the insanity of my alcoholism. Finding a new love interest definately was not even on my list as my past experiences had proved to me that my picker was broken in that regard. When I would be approached by one I was polite the first two times I was approached (trying not to be rude) but the third time one would approach me the answer that always seemed to get rid of them was "I am not looking for a third ex husband. I have no interest in dating anyone. It is time to stop asking." I have never had anyone come back and bother me after that. Over the years I have grown and lost some of that vulnerability and no longer have predators hit on me very often.

THOUGHTS ON WHY THERE IS A PROBLEM: Predators are everywhere. They are in our AA meetings, our schools, our churches (yes, personal experience taught me this one at an early age), our work places, our jails, our grocery stores, etc.... Sometimes they are even in our own homes. AA in that respect is no different. People don't come into AA because they are healthy, sane, and happy individuals. I can look at myself and know that to be true. We also have the court systems dumping people into AA (although sometimes this has saved people's lives by introducing them to AA). Not everyone who comes in through the court system or treatment system is there with their primary purpose to get and stay sober. I have to keep in mind that some people that come into AA already sick are sick enough not to do the work to get healthier and use it as their personal hunting ground.


A SOLUTION: Fortunately, people in the individual groups do notice this and if they are like my home group the issue gets addressed so we can protect the newcomer. In my home group a predator will be talked to by the men of the group (assuming it is a man) and the potential victim is counseled by the women of the group in general (without naming names) about the fact that just as in the outside world some are sicker than others and until they get their feet on the ground in the program it is suggested that they stick with the women in the group to stay safe. IMHO each group has the responsibility to the newcomer to try and help them find a solution. Sometimes that solution includes trying to keep them safe from predators while they find sobriety.

YOUR THOUGHTS?
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Old 03-14-2008, 10:49 AM
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The Vultures need to be confronted with kindness and care as we would any sick person the first time. If that does not work, a group conscience will and or the Police. Just my humble opinion!
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Old 03-14-2008, 10:50 AM
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Well put Rufus.
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Old 03-14-2008, 11:00 AM
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It is a struggle, all around.


I like what Rufus said.
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Old 03-14-2008, 11:50 AM
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I went to a womans group and it was more helpful. Because people were not trying to impress each other. Found that I was more open with same sex meetings.

Heck can walk in there with sweats on and it was no big deal.
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Old 03-14-2008, 11:56 AM
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Like anyone new, I was fragile and vulnerable when I first started coming to meetings. One man in particular was routinely vulgar, especially so when I would leave the meeting to use the washroom. He would sit at the back, against the wall, and would waggle his tongue at me while looking me up and down. I felt victimized and frightened. Eventually, I became angry.
I was about 3 months sober when I arrived early to a closed meeting. I was sitting at a table where there about 4 other men, when this same guy walked in, and pulled a chair close to me before sitting down. He began telling me how good I looked, and he knew how to show me a good time, etc. I turned to look at him and said "back the f*ck off, little man. Talk to me like that one more time, and I'll squash you like a bug." He's about 5'5 and I'm nearly 6 feet tall. He never did that again. I still see him around, and say hello, but I give him 'the look' and I know that he remembers.
I've become a very strong advocate for other women in the rooms. I have no problem approaching a man and telling him to go help someone of his own gender, and to leave the women to help the women.
Sorry for the offensive language in this post, I just wanted to share my own experience.
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Old 03-14-2008, 12:05 PM
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They are always gonna be around...I mean, to be at a meeting or a member, all they have to do is have a desire to stop drinking right?

And yes, people are vulnerable when they get to AA.

It is my responsibility to get to know the newcomers and the members of my group, and also to protect my AA sisters (and brothers) - who to stay away from, who to be wary of, who can absolutley be trusted, those who I really don't know.

I have noticed over the years though that old habits break hard, and a lot of newcomer girls are automatically attracted to, or drawn to rather the bad boys, who probably aren't as concerned with the newcomer getting sober as others may be.

I have more than once, come across as a jealous fool telling someone "You know, it may be best to stay away from that guy, he may be detrimental to your sobriety" - I come across as trying to c-block the guy.

Now I just let God guide my actions and ask for help when I am confused- been around AA for more than 7 years - and just learned to do that in the last year or so...
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Old 03-14-2008, 12:57 PM
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AA should be a Safe Haven for newcomers and the rest of us to recover,and help others,it is our responsibility to do it!

Several yrs ago,a friend of mine went to a retreat in SC.
He met a man from Florida and they talked a lot.The man told him of a inicident that happened in his former home group.
A man would come to meetings and he eventually hit on a few of the younger men in the group,during the meeting sometimes.One day the sicko hit on this young guy and he said no,well,the next day he hit on the younger guy again and the younger guy went to his car,got a pistol and went back into the meeting and shot him dead..
Probally destroyed the group.That is a sad case of a group sitting by doing nothing,a young man fed up with it,and a sicko allowed to continue to carry on his sick stuff..

Each group has the right and responsibility to do whatever it needs/wants to do to insure that kind of stuff from happening,including running the sickos off,and banning them from the meeting.It`s their choice.

Now you will hear a cry from folks who do not understand the traditions, "we cannot kick him out of AA"....when they say that,they do not understand..apathy I call it and plain ignorance of the traditions

tradition 3 is the only leg the sickos have to stand on and hide behind and try and justify their sicko behaviour.Unfortnately for them,it just ain`t enough.
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Old 03-14-2008, 01:01 PM
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nandm,by the way,tks for this thread..it needs discussing..along with the sex thread.
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Old 03-14-2008, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by bballdad View Post
nandm,by the way,tks for this thread..it needs discussing..along with the sex thread.

I reiterate that!

Thanks nandm and Rufus
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Old 03-14-2008, 01:35 PM
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I do agree predators are everywhere, and I also think there is a huge distinction between a true predator and a horny man/woman at a meeting...we are being honest right?

Unfortunately I believe that aa gets a higher concentration of both than say a work environment, church and grocery stores. Lets face facts "were here cause were not all there". btw really dislike that slogan too!!! lol

aa tells newcomers "we will love you till you love yourself" this slogan gives newcomers in my opinion a false sense of security. The immediate acceptance and feeling of unconditional love lends itself to people not using proper judgement when assesing anothers motives.

I would say from my experience men out number women and singles out number married people. In addition many people have destroyed past love relationships and are looking for a new life...a new chance at love...aa in my opinion becomes a perfect place to do this. Right or wrong? Depends on who you ask. I personally have seen "oldtimers" move in on newcomers....totally forgetting the "no dating for a year" guideline. Wrong for sure.
Nature of the beast.
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Old 03-14-2008, 02:03 PM
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Bugs, I respect your opinion and realize that it comes from your personal experiences. Just as my opinions are based upon my experiences.

I still believe that the amount of predators varies from group to group and ultimately depends on how the group handles them. The ones that ignore predators will attract predators. The groups that promptly make it clear the behavior will not be tolerated tend to have very few if any predators. In that respect it is no different than a church or a work place. I have run across just as many predators in both of those places as I have run across in AA.

It ultimately is the responsiblity of the group to keep the meeting a safe place for newcomers. Some meetings will not have a group conscience that realizes that this is their responsibility or even be aware that this can and some times is a problem. I have no problem being responsible not only to myself but to the newcomer. I do not tolerate that behavior in my home group and don't tolerate it around me no matter where I go. I am at a meeting to stay sober and give back what I have been given and that is the only thing I am there for.

It has been my experience that if I don't like the way a particular group is doing things I have one of two choices. I can either step up and work for change or I can sit back and complain. Only one of those actually is productive.
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Old 03-14-2008, 02:24 PM
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I dunno how much of a problem this is (I'm assuming you're talking about "13th stepping"). From a guy's perspective, I have known a couple guys who got 13th stepped when they were new in sobriety, but mostly it is talked about in reference to women.

There's not many women in AA anymore where I am (according to old timers I know, there used to be a lot more). Now, the minute a new woman comes into AA (especially if she is young and good looking), she is immediately surrounded after the meeting by women. Most of these women are old, bitter, divorced, and often unattractive. They go on about "watch out for the guys they are all predators....don't take rides... don't even talk to them...." basically trying to scare the hell out of the new girl. There are some very bitter and territorial women in AA, many of whom are desperate for a relationship. They don't seem to like it when a women gets attention from men. The irony is that they tell other women to stay away from men in AA, but they don't get along with other women or have any fellowship together.

Don't get me wrong, I have had women friends in the program who I hung out with, and after the meeting all sorts of creeps were coming out asking her if she was coming for coffee, completely ignoring me. This made me very uncomfortable... On the other hand, I don't think the creepiness got any more serious than this (from what I know), and these women would often tell me how they had strange men coming up to them outside the program all the time too.

What's my point? There's some messed up, brain dead guys in AA, as well as women who are just as bad. The same as outside of the program. I just feel bad because it seems like women have no chance in the program anymore, and pushing a culture of fear onto them after their very first meeting doesn't seem to do anything to deter them from getting into a relationship early in sobriety (in or out of AA), nor does it help them get into the fellowship or stay sober.
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Old 03-14-2008, 02:42 PM
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i dont' ever remember going to an AA meeting
and
like,
honesty, open mindedness, willingness
big book, steps, slogans, coins, phone numbers, service, helping others, topic meeting, sharing from the heart, qualifying your strenght, hope, experiences, meeting someone you used to party with or grew up with i walked over to j and said "i'm glad you are here", keep it simple, higher power

any real life experiences with this would really help me
i may be a little naive
are others really that way in AA?
do they have other character defects, too
like ......................................
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Old 03-14-2008, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by bob_sapp View Post
What's my point? There's some messed up, brain dead guys in AA, as well as women who are just as bad. The same as outside of the program. I just feel bad because it seems like women have no chance in the program anymore, and pushing a culture of fear onto them after their very first meeting doesn't seem to do anything to deter them from getting into a relationship early in sobriety (in or out of AA), nor does it help them get into the fellowship or stay sober.
Bob, You have brought up some valid points here. It can also be unhealthy to instill fear of others in people.

From a woman's perspective, I have seen women (and had it happen to me) come into AA and wind up being leered and looked up and down, had crude remarks made about them, and in general harrassed by men who failed to see anything wrong with their sexist behaviors. They failed to see how hurtful it can be to a woman. It makes most women's skin crawl. Unfortunately many women have been raised to be "polite" and accept this behavior as the norm and not show that it bothers them. They don't want to make waves, so they just giggle or smile at it which unfortunately only encourages the behavior as the man thinks "oh, she's smiling at me" or "oh, she thinks I have a good sense of humor, she's laughing." While all the while the woman just wants to crawl under the table and get away. Yes, there are women who prey on men by flirting and playing the little games and IMHO that is just as wrong. AA is not a dating site. It is a place to get sober. Bottom line is that it is extremely difficult for someone to work on a new found sobriety and go through the stress and work that a relationship takes, let alone the stress and pain if that relationship breaks up. That is why people suggest not getting involved in the first year. Yes, there are people who do not abide by that suggestion.

There are many types of predators in the world. There are the sexual predators, the predators that come in to try and get money, there are those just looking for what ever they can take from someone else. Predators can be women or men. Neither sex has a monopoly on the predator thing. What comes to most people's minds though when they think of predators is the male sexual predator.

I have even mistaken someone in sobriety for a sexual predator only to realize that he genuinely was just out to help people get the program of AA and stay sober. My reason for believing he was a predator or "dirty old man" is because he mainly helped women. He would show up early when I was secretaring the meeting and there alone. He also did the same thing for the female secretaries of the other nights meetings. Come to find out he came early because he didn't want a woman to be alone in that neighborhood setting up the meeting. He was actually trying to look out for us. Today I do try to be sure about motives before I consider someone a predator. Yes, I will not hesitate to advise a newcomer, female, to be careful if I know there is currently a predator still lurking in our group. I don't plan on changing that as I do consider it my responsibility as someone else looked out for me when I needed it.

I am confused about your statement "women have not chance in the program anymore." I have met many women who do quite well in AA. Some new to the program some old timers. I met a woman with 50 years sober a few weeks ago. One of the most spiritual people I have ever met is a lady with 40 years in the program.
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Old 03-14-2008, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by fraankie View Post
i dont' ever remember going to an AA meeting
and
like,
honesty, open mindedness, willingness
big book, steps, slogans, coins, phone numbers, service, helping others, topic meeting, sharing from the heart, qualifying your strenght, hope, experiences, meeting someone you used to party with or grew up with i walked over to j and said "i'm glad you are here", keep it simple, higher power

any real life experiences with this would really help me
i may be a little naive
are others really that way in AA?
do they have other character defects, too
like ......................................
Frankie, that is a good question. I hope I am understanding it right. Yes, there is nothing wrong with going over to a newcomer and saying "welcome, glad you are here." In fact that is a very positive thing to do and is part of working the Steps of AA (carrying the message). All newcomers should be greeted by both men and women. All people in AA have character defects. AA is no different than the regular world. The big difference is those that utilize the Steps of AA are trying to replace those character defects with positive characteristics. No one is perfect, nor will anyone be perfect. Hope that answered your question.
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Old 03-14-2008, 03:05 PM
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I have watched this particular practice with fascination over the past few years. It has never been a surprise to me that it is somewhat pervasive, after all many who find AA were "residents" of the bars, meat markets and other social venues (myself included) and that culture still seems to exist in many folks minds. They (men and women) found their companionship in an environment that was centered around alcohol, and in fact so is AA. Different approach to that alcohol, but still many of the same players.

I am sure that the problem of 13th stepping is more male at female, but there are in many instances just as many "helpful" ladies as well. I was astounded after a couple of months how many friendly women with a few years offered me their help. Never aggressive, but determined. If you are male, single and have a home and a job, with a “respectable” auto, the "grapevine" (and I don't mean the AA magazine, seems to let it be known that "we have a new eligible man.”

I was flattered and in fact went out with a few. I can now say that after taking a few laps in the “pool,” I decided that I was going to HAVE to sleep with one alcoholic the rest of my life IE. Myself, but I would be better off keeping it to just this alcoholic. It is as has been said previously, confusing and lonely for the newcomer, be they male or female, and any attention is welcome. My judgement about what would work and what wouldn't was non-existant in those first few months.

After adhering to my better judgment these last few years I am happy to say that I have a plethora of wonderful women friends in AA, and they are coffee friends and meeting after the meeting friends, but for me at any rate my social life is different than my AA life in the romantic sense at least. I toss this in simply to relate the fact that there are indeed women "helpers" in AA. I would hesitate to call them predators, but there does sometimes seem to be a rather “healthy” (not in the mental sense) "competition” by some women, for those “eligible" males, as well as the more aggressive male to female problem.

I have long sense learned that as a male member of the fellowship if I see what I "think" is unhealthy attention by a man or men for the affection of a new lady I have many times simply taken the "hunter" to coffee and "suggested" that it is already a given that “WE AS MEN DON"T HAVE A CLUE HOW WOMEN THINK IN THE OUTSIDE WORLD” (I have given away enough houses to prove I don't) SO WE AS MALE ALCOHOLICS SHOULD LEAVE THE "WELCOMING" TO THE ALCOHOLIC LADIES IN THE GROUP. In most cases this proves to be enough, particularly when reinforced by my taking the seat next to the offender during meetings when both the man in question and new woman are present.

All this being said, WE REALLY CAN ONLY SUGGEST AS LONG AS NO ACTUAL STALKING TAKES PLACE. After all some are sicker than others.

Thanks for an interesting thread on a Friday afternoon.

Jon
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Old 03-14-2008, 03:13 PM
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Personally, I saw a much higher concentration of the behavior described above as 'predatory' when I lived on a college campus. It was MUCH more rampant, but somehow it was accepted because everyone was in college.
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Old 03-14-2008, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by sugErspun View Post
Personally, I saw a much higher concentration of the behavior described above as 'predatory' when I lived on a college campus. It was MUCH more rampant, but somehow it was accepted because everyone was in college.

Well put. It has been a few years ago that I lived on campus and I am definately not your typical college student age now so I had completely forgotten about those behaviors. The Frat and Sorority parties......good examples of the behaviors. You are right on the money with your statement. Thanks for another perspective.
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Old 03-14-2008, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by bugsworth View Post
I do agree predators are everywhere, and I also think there is a huge distinction between a true predator and a horny man/woman at a meeting...we are being honest right?
I, for one, am not going to risk my safety by shrugging off vulgarity as a 'horny' man. You're right bugs, there is a huge distinction - and unless one sees that line being crossed, it would be easy to dismiss sexual innuendo as simply that. Can you tell by looking at someone whether they are horny or dangerous? I cannot.
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