Sexual Predators At AA Meetings

I’ve noticed that many addicts, be it to alcohol or drugs or porn, can get sober through 12-step meetings but turn quickly into sexual predators when given half a chance.

There’s no good thing that can’t be perverted. Not Orthodox Judaism and not 12-step meetings.

From TheFix: The young people’s meetings I went to all over Los Angeles featured a revolving cast of men that I would call perverts. They weren’t the obvious kind of creeps, either, with windowless white vans and long trench coats. They looked like everyone else at the meetings: tattooed and cool and smoking cigarettes.

These men swarmed me, as they did every other newcomer too young and inexperienced to distinguish between the loving hand of AA and the clammy hand of a predator. They welcomed me to the meetings, they gave me over-long hugs, they offered me smokes when I was still too young to buy my own. I felt absolutely enveloped by the program. I had never had so many people pay attention to me in my life.

But what I thought of as harmless flirting—and all flirting is harmless when you’re 17 and your curfew is 10 pm—these men rightly interpreted as vulnerability.

There was J, who asked me to his house to “read the Big Book.” When I arrived and asked what we were going to read, he laughed and showed me to his bedroom. I let him kiss me and grope me because I didn’t know I was allowed to say no. He was a grown-up; I was a kid. He’d been sober 15 years; I’d been sober a few months. He was in his 30s; I was 17. My parents had taught me to respect adults, and that’s what I thought I was doing. It can’t be wrong or immoral if J is doing it, I thought; he has a million sponsees and he’s a grown-up.

There was C, who was 36 and also had double-digit sobriety. He had a daughter a few years younger than me. It’s strange to look back and call it rape—because I’ve been assaulted under much less ambiguous circumstances—but that’s absolutely what it was.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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