Two stepping


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, 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 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.

4 thoughts on “Two stepping

  1. My SA (soon to be ex) husband is most definitely a two-stepper. He was working through the steps and even working through his amends, when he came to having to make amends to me. That’s when all work stopped. He has become a sexual anorexic, and knew that part of making amends to me, what to commit to growing our intimacy, something he just wasn’t prepared to do in the past five years. I don’t know if he feels it would “unleash the beast” or where the issue lies, all I know is that while he continues to attend meetings, and to try and “help” others, he has given up all pretense of trying to work the steps. We have separated now as a result, and I now live in a city 8hrs away. I could not make or motivate him in any way, shape, or form, to continue with the steps, and it is not my responsibility to try to, I now realize. I thought of sending him this post, but realized that was just me still trying to “fix” him. And that simply doesn’t work. Thanks for the further insight into his behaviour. I wish I had been one of the “lucky” ones to have an SA husband who was committed to rebuilding his life, and the life of our marriage, but alas I am not.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Radlady. Thank you for sharing this. I had a love addict who refused to even own that. So I understand some of it, but certainly not all.

      I think that those whose SA spouses are committed to rebuilding would admit that it can be a double edged sword. I think the demise of your marriage in these circumstances, whilst extraordinarily painful, means you are now going to be free of the burden of loving someone who hurt you, and will always struggle with recovery.

      That said, I am so very sorry for your loss. It is agonising x.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Hey Radlady, thanks for commenting. Addiction is insidious, isn’t it. I realize now how difficult it is for an addict to be in true recovery and to want to behave in truly healthy ways. I remember when my husband first started attending meetings. He “felt so bad” for those “other guys” because their situation was “so much worse.” I was astonished by how he felt like he was different from those guys. Because in my mind I didn’t see ANY difference between him and the other SAs he talked about. And he did talk about them. Not in specifics, not with names, but in generalities.

      I was actually really happy the day he realized he is JUST LIKE ALL THE OTHER GUYS. From the lies to the depravity of his secret life, to the pain he caused so many people. They do have to separate how they got to be the way they are with the fact that the only way to heal and be a good person is to change their way of thinking. Stop the rationalizations and the ego stroking and poor me attitude and own their behavior and then re-wire their brain not to need the hits. It takes years. And that is if they are actually working at it. If they’re not, they’re a slip just waiting to happen.

      Some days still I’m astonished by all the lies he told daily, but most days now I do feel lucky. He’s still an addict and always will be, which means he constantly needs to check himself. Evaluate what he is doing and why, much more than those of us where kindness, honesty and integrity come more naturally. I hope you are happier in your life away from him although I can only imagine how frustrating and heartbreaking it is on some days. No matter how much we love them, we can’t help them change. My life got a lot better when I realized this myself. xo

      Liked by 3 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.