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13th step...relapse freebie?!

Old 11-24-2010, 10:57 AM
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13th step...relapse freebie?!

Has anyone heard of this 13th step in reference to relapse? Sometimes I wonder if I'm delusional in thinking things will work out fine, and RABF will stay clean working a good program for all eternity and we will live happily ever after.

After being clean for almost 6 months RABF made some major changes, most notably after his 4-5th steps. He is really into his program, wants to work it for life, committed to me 100% after months of being totally unavailable and a complete psychological mess, and really seemed to have gained a better sense of self-awareness/acceptance, coping tools, and a sense of humor. While it's not ideal, him being in sober living with a curfew and all, it's been really open, healthy, and fun between us lately.

When I say open I mean really open, and the other day he started speaking as if he was planning his relapse, or the "13th step." Said he was having using dreams, and just really needed to step his program up in order to get through these feelings.

It seems like everyone who has a significant amount of sober time in AA went through a few relapses, and they seem to give these to you in AA, like freebies, or the "13th step."

I have my own depression and mommy issues to work on, I'm afraid of this relapse business but may be delusional in thinking it won't happen!
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Old 11-24-2010, 11:02 AM
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13th stepping is trying to have sex with a newcomer...newcomer being anyone under a year or, in some places, someone who hasn't worked the steps...

Its nothing to do with relapsing...
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Old 11-24-2010, 11:09 AM
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it sounds to me like he is working his recovery in recognizing the urges and planning to step up his program work.
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Old 11-24-2010, 11:09 AM
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Yeah, that is the way I heard it. I heard "the 13th Step" is when someone goes out with a newcomer who really needs to work on their program. Throwing a relationship into the mix so early in their sobriety is suppose to lessen their chances of any long-term sobriety and serenity. When their relationship goes sour, they have an "excuse" to go back to using, blaming everything on that "individual who screwed-up their chances of a sober life". Some say that might just be another excuse used by an addict. And, if a person cares about someone, they are suppose to let them get some sobriety under their belt first before jumping into an "intimate" relationship with them.
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Old 11-24-2010, 11:14 AM
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Yeah, I heard the 13th step was used to refer to both preying on a newcomer AND/OR "going out."

I wasn't literally insinuating AA gives freebies, just saying it seems like relapse is inevitable sometimes, or a part of the program just like any of the other steps... but you're right about it being a deficit in one's personal program I suppose
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Old 11-24-2010, 11:15 AM
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You've already gotten an explanation of the 13th step from the other posters.

As far as using dreams, that is very common, especially in early recovery. Mine are much less now than in the beginning, but I still do have them here and there. (I've been clean/sober 20 years.)

It's usually when I'm under extreme stress.

I suggest you try to get back into the moment and take care of yourself, okay?
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Old 11-24-2010, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Live View Post
it sounds to me like he is working his recovery in recognizing the urges and planning to step up his program work.
Yeah, that was the outcome of the conversation, he is anticipating and needs to step up his program, so I guess this is a good thing... and I appreciate how open and brutally honest he is with me, but sometimes it's like, whoa, a little scary, but I'd certainly rather have it than not...just causes me to anticipate and freak a little bit as well.
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Old 11-24-2010, 11:24 AM
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If the relationship is so open, why weren't you able to ask him about this?

just something to ponder.
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Old 11-24-2010, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by anvilhead View Post
i sure as hell hope relapse is not inevitable, or i'm screwed!!! relapse is merely a possiblity, not a STEP of the program. what tools do you have going in YOUR life so that you remain ok regardless of what anyone else does - cuz there ain't no happily ever after and there are NO 100% guarantees that an addict will never use again.
True, true. And we're not supposed to do this, right? Worry about their program...he's doing great and I might just be looking for an impending crisis in conversations that actually indicate heightened awareness and better dedication to a program. Right...me...I need a sponsor and a program (and possibly an arsenal of antidepressants as well)...nothing to do with him. Especially during this holiday season. Oy vey! Getting back on track...
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Old 11-24-2010, 11:29 AM
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Relapse is part of active addiction, not recovery. It's good he's recognizing a need to step up his game a bit.
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Old 11-24-2010, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Live View Post
If the relationship is so open, why weren't you able to ask him about this?

just something to ponder.
I did, we talked about it for a while, and he said not to worry, it doesn't mean he is planning relapse, just means he needs to step up his program...I think I am just looking for pitfalls and drama maybe, which is no bueno.
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Old 11-24-2010, 04:47 PM
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I like this thread.

There are so many metaphors,
cliche's, acronyms, sayings

it's only human to get them mixed up.

It's confusing enough
to find our own place
without having to learn an entire language of terminologies
on top of it.

The other metaphor I think you've mixed with the thirteenth step stuff
is the one about 'relapses starting months before the alcoholic takes the first drink'.

There's a book called 'Living Sober'
that lists something like thirty 'heads up' signs
of energy/attitude changes or twists
that indicate a return to the old thinking.

I think you might benefit from that book.

Up here, the book is given out and studied
while people are in the state - run - programs.

So it's not 'AA approved' literature
but it's absolutely helpful.
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Old 11-24-2010, 06:15 PM
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It is GOOD that he is communicating this with you so I wouldn't be scared of it. He isn't warning you, he is acknowledging that like everyone in recovery there are going to be times when his sobriety is challenged, hence he needs to go to more meetings or do whatever it takes so that those feelings (or cravings) pass.

You won't be able to predict it so I wouldn't put it in your head at all. It is something he has to be aware of, thats all. My RABF relapsed after a healthy stint sober and looking back there were things I now know were indicators but unlike your boyfriend, he didn't reinforce his craving with going to more meetings, he started going to less meetings due to work. Bad bad thing for someone early on in recovery.

Some go into recovery never to use/drink again but others relapse a few times before 'getting it'.
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Old 11-24-2010, 07:05 PM
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I have never been able to maintain any semblance of peace or serenity in my life while worried about someone else's Recovery. I have made myself NUTS waiting for the shoe to drop. I have to focus on my own Recovery; it's really all I can do anything about anyway and even that I don't have complete control over.

I wish you peace.
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Old 11-24-2010, 07:59 PM
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Yeah, you guys are right. It IS healthy that he's being honest, expressing these challenges, and acknowledging that he has to step it up, and I can't live life "waiting for the shoe to drop", no way! One day at a time, right? I also don't want to live life with one hand on my suitcase, but I guess I'll cross that bridge if I'm ever unfortunate enough to come to it...
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Old 11-24-2010, 11:13 PM
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Look at it this way, we have no control over the future in any relationship. He could come out and say he is running off with his male co-worker for all you know and how could you plan for that?

Point being, if live in fear of the unknown you don't enjoy the now.
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Old 11-24-2010, 11:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Babyblue View Post
He could come out and say he is running off with his male co-worker for all you know and how could you plan for that?
Hmm, he IS into fashion!

You guys are totally right though, thanks for grounding me...I mean, things are actually really good and I am searching for an impending crisis. Totally my issue...
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Old 11-24-2010, 11:47 PM
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Is his home spotless and impeccably decorated?

I think it is something people do in relationships, worry. Communcation is the cure for that really. Keep the dialogue going about his recovery.
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Old 11-25-2010, 12:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Babyblue View Post
Is his home spotless and impeccably decorated?
Yes...but only because it's one of those resort-style sober living homes and house chores are strictly enforced! Ha.
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