In a comment Blue Eyes made on the My identity post a few days ago, he wrote “I am not a two stepper.” I had no idea what a “two stepper” was in relation to addiction. So I asked him what it meant to him, then I looked it up (to see what it meant to others).
At emotionallyhealthy.org, they explain two stepping like this:
*AA has Twelve Steps to recovery for their program. The twelfth step is an act of gratitude when recovered alcoholics help other alcoholics stay sober. The gift received is passed along as the final step.
*In AA they speak of people who are “two-steppers” — people who take Step One (accepting they are powerless in their addiction) and then jump directly to Step Twelve (helping others) without the in-between steps where the hard work lies. They try to pass along something they themselves have not yet received.
On the website alchoholrehab.com they talk about Two Stepping in these ways 1) attending meetings not being enough, 2) definition of two stepping, 3) reasons for two stepping, 4) dangers of two stepping, and 5) avoiding two stepping. Some of the things I found most interesting:
*The 12 step program is a path to lasting sobriety, but it can only be of benefit when people continue to practice the steps. The work of the steps is never complete.
*It is called two stepping because these individuals only practice step one and parts of step twelve.
*One of the most common reasons for why people two-step is that they find a part of the program too much of a challenge. The usual stumbling block will be around taking a personal inventory and making amends. Most members struggle with these steps in the beginning, and some will never be able to get beyond their reservations.
*Some individuals have other problems that prevent them from working the 12 Steps. They may be suffering from undiagnosed depression or another mental health condition. Until their dual diagnosis is fully treated these people will struggle to make any progress in recovery.
*Getting a good sponsor can be one of the best ways to avoid two-stepping. This individual will be there to motivate and guide the individual through the steps. It is important to choose a sponsor that has good experience with the steps so that they will be able to fulfill their role effectively.
After this little exercise/investigation, I can see why Blue Eyes does not want to be associated with being a Two Stepper, basically someone who has only admitted they were powerless to the addiction, and then proceeded to try and help others without actually doing the other 10 steps. The 12 steps are there for a reason.
I guess some people feel that attending the meetings is enough. Blue Eyes did not and does not feel this way. Thankfully he found a couple really good meetings and a decent sponsor and some great brothers he now calls friends. This past five years has been a long, hard slog. I’m sure he would say it was on some days soul crushing and on others completely validating. Actually completing the steps is a huge accomplishment for an addict. Over the past five years, men have asked Blue Eyes to sponsor them. He asked my advice. I told him I didn’t think it was a good idea. Obviously the decision is ultimately up to him.
Even though recovery never ends, there have been so many days when I personally have felt that Blue Eyes was still struggling with his own recovery too much to be truly helpful to another addict. I mean he’s a great sobriety brother. He stays connected and calls and texts with his brothers regularly especially when he or someone else is struggling, but being a sponsor is a whole different ballgame. I want him focused on his own recovery and I personally think being a sponsor would detract from that. The other important point is that Blue Eyes is not retired. He’s works hard every single day and travels a lot. Not sure it is fair to me, or the addict, for Blue Eyes to have any more on his plate right now.
It’s interesting how many sex addicts attend Blue Eyes’ group, and other SA meetings, and have for years, but have never completed the steps. Working the steps isn’t mandatory in order to attend meetings. I am happy though that Blue Eyes wanted to complete them. I believe it’s where he gained the most insight into his behavior and the consequences of such.