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July 21, 2011


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I had to learn that lesson around 6 months also, and I love your suggestions. What I learned:
"No" is a complete sentence.
Sit with the women and say "I need to stick close to you." (and they will understand)
His motivations are none of my business, how I feel is!
When uncomfortable, put distance between myself and the other person.
My sobriety (serenity) Always comes first!!
A.A. is not a hotbed of sanity.
Just because a person is long term, does not mean that they are safe for me. We are all human and all are flawed.
C., your Higher Power's got your back! Rock on!


I don't think there's anything wrong with warning newcomer women that there are predators in the rooms. Some areas have more than others. Personally, don't tend to see them as misguided lovesick fools, but then again,I've been around the block , and have seen my friends get raped by men with a lot of time in the rooms. Guess what? He's still in the rooms. No one knows where she is. I, myself, was assaulted by a friend's husband in their home, last September.
Women are counseled all their lives to be nice, often with grave consequences. If this were my sponsee, I'd give her permission to let go of NICE, and put her needs first for a change - but don't do anything you have to make amends for later. Because that would suck. Hon, if you're reading this, it's okay to feel grossed out and/or pissed off, and it's okay to reject his advances. Sometimes men don't get it when you're "nice" and letting them down. Just do what you need to do.

Jeri  Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ

There is no excuse for bad behavior. Shame on the old timer for even thinking of hitting on(befriending) a new woman...He should know better. Lonely my butt...go help a man...New women to AA should not have to deal with this....Sometimes women's meetings are the way to go.


I learned much the same as some of you have about boundaries. I admittedly am the sponsor who will go to the man and tell him (nicely) buzz off, she's here to get sober not laid... but I digress... I also learned about "icky hugs" and was taught by my sponsor to offer the rib jabbing handshake instead. After a few of them the offender usually moves to weaker prey, and both they and the un-hugged gain some respect for themselves. The goal being to stop the old behavior, after all it isn't old behavior if I'm still doing it. Excellent advice Mr. SP, and kudos to the young sober lady learning that the discomfort is worth growing from!


Wow good insight. I recently noticed the a lady was acting very defensive toward me. I was really put off by this behavior. I am certainly not a womanizer (I am gay and just out of an 19 year relationship with a man). Needless to say I am not looking for a woman, but I guess there are some sickies out there. Also people assume that I am a biker type, so I guess it makes sense on her end.

Just a comment regarding the icky feeling. I get that too (from women and men). I recently had a gal ask for a ride on my bike and when asking for my number she said (I don't bite, unless you want me too). Several people commented. I said that she seemed like she was joking and she was. It was all harmless.

On the other hand there is a guy that is (under a year) in sobriety that I kinda like. I know it is wrong to approach him in any way this early in the game, so I stay clear and keep my feelings to myself ( and my sponsor). The last thing this poor guy needs in early is some ogre like myself doating over him.

So you see not all men are dogs.


I missed something the first time around "My sponsor has offered to ask one of HIS friends to speak with him,. Does the woman have a male sponsor??


One suggestion I was surprised hasn't yet been offered -- stick with single-gender meetings. I attend women's meetings exclusively, not only because I feel like they have a more welcoming, friendly atmosphere, but because I don't want this kind of B.S. (or the other side of the coin -- developing a crush on a man in one of my meetings!) interfering with my recovery.


Bring a sponsor, and the jewelry and you say," No thank you and please stop calling me, and physically contacting me."
Then let the sponsor say, "A word to the wise is sufficient- you old fool, and) leave her and every newcomer woman alone in AA. I have men watching you" and mean it
I have been there , done that and have Zero tolerance for the unacceptable. This your and other women's sober lives on the line and we don't need interference nor compassion for sick behavior that affects our feeling safe to attend AA meetings. We need support and to know others have our backs. Take the sponsor. Quit going it alone.that's what he wants.

Posted by: MS |

Posted by: MS |


I would recommend that both C and Mr. Sponsorpants read "Gift of Fear" by Gavin de Becker. C needs to trust her gut about this and Mr. Sponsorpants needs to support her rather than telling her to make nice. He may not be able to hear niceness as anything but encouragement.

The man in the email may or may not be a predator; she will find out through observing his behavior when he is told no.

It is very hard to get men to understand how many "really nice guys" or "sad old fools" will commit sexual assault if they get the chance, and that you can't always tell who the dangerous ones are. Inappropriate behavior could be just yearning, or it could be angling for a chance to attack, so the stakes are very high for the target of that behavior. Among addicts, who are not known for good boundaries, suspicion is justified as a response to the behavior in the letter.

She needs to make sure he understands he is not to contact her at all, so he doesn't have a chance to think no means maybe and maybe means yes, and she needs to make sure she has companionship getting to and from meetings--especially getting home afterward.


To be clear: if he apologizes, complies with her requests, and shows no resentment, he might be OK.

Anything else is going to be a big red flag and should be treated as such.


Wow. There's certainly a lot of fear in these comments. What happened to "trust in God?" oh, I know I'll get flack for questioning the anger of some, but we've gone from a guy giving inappropriate gifts and hugs to a very smart lady, to rape. Hmmm. I think Mr. Sponsorpants is following the letter of the Big Book's suggestion to "avoid hysterical advice" on this. Perhaps we all need to re-read the part of the book where we're counseled to pray for the man, reminding ourselves that "this man is very I'll. How can I be helpful to him? God save me from being angry." (And before someone corrects me, yes, I'm quoting it from memory, so it's merely approximate. Correct away. Grin!). I'm not worried for C. She'll be alright. I am worried about some of the angry (perhaps justifiably so) commentors. I wish them peace.


Usually, in the rooms or out of them, if a woman speaks her mind, she's labelled angry. And women who come into the rooms need to learn how to take care of themselves. We already know how to take care of men, we've been taught that all our lives. If that makes me angry - oooohkay!


May I double dip?
Not all predators are older/male/allcoholic etc. I know person that was not one of us, and came to the rooms for pick ups!

As a sober member of AA, I feel it is my responsibility to act as a shield to the predators. To stick physically close and to offer the struggling suggestions that will protect their sobriety. They are so fragile and vulnerable... This is a life an death situation.

I know one woman who died a horrible death...left a family because of the disease of alcoholism and a predator.

I get angry also. I get afraid also. I can only do the next right thing and that is to excercise caution for myself and others who my lack the perspective...yet. Extend the hand.


We get from inappropriate gifts--and post-meeting waiting around for hugs--to rape so quickly because too many men (one would, of course, be too many) get from courtship behavior to rape so quickly and think yes to anything means yes to sex.

Sadly, it is not an unreasonable suspicion, and it isn't women who cause the anxiety here.


Boundaries are a tricky issue.
Remember our code is love and tolerance of others (I add myself to that.)
I had a Sponsee come to me and say a man in AA (who by the way is extremely well-thought of) had been inviting her to his home and told her "don't tell your sponsor."
She was all messed up over this but had gone to his home.
She was newly sober and just beginning the steps so I wanted to get her right into the Solution, not keep her stuck in the problem.
I suggested she not go there again. Her job was the steps - period. I also suggested that perhaps he is spiritually sick and to have some understanding of this if she could...she now had a new way to think.
She was so willing to do the steps that the week when we met she had forgotten about it. She took my suggestions and moved on.
Also if I may, there are any types of predators in 12-step recovery. There's me with my people-pleasing and there are others with their nosy questions or "trick questions"...manipulation is how we learned to survive for so long.
It takes hard work to break these patterns.
We are basically all the same so let's have a little compassion for each other while we grow - while also using the discernment we build to politely walk away or letting there be an uncomfortable silence (Truth) if need be.

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