In recovery meetings you’ll encounter a cross-section of humanity with seemingly nothing in common except their addictions. There are, however, a number of stereotypes that exist in the 12-step world, and they exist largely because they are true.
Do You Recognize Any of These Types?
- The 13th-stepper – This man makes a sport of exclusively dating women who are in their first 60 days of sobriety. Not unlike the older man/younger woman paradigm, vulnerable ladies new to recovery are much easier to impress with smooth talk and after-meeting “coffee dates” than an old-timer who can see through a 13thstepper’s game. Recognize these guys by their perfect hair and multi-chip key chains.
- The Book Thumper – These folks recite passages by rote from The Big Book, often dropping them into casual conversation. “I was headed for a case of road rage and then I remembered, it says in the Book, ‘And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today,’ page 417, fourth edition.” The Book Thumper is known for her ability to quote a Big Book phrase on any theme. Also fluent in “12 & 12” and “As Bill Sees It.”
- The Meeting Hound – There are 48 recovery meetings a week in your area and somehow this member is present at all of them. AA, NA, DA, CMA, SLA – the Meeting Hound is a permanent fixture at all. Recognize him by his coffee breath and fondness for the greeting, “Haven’t seen you at a meeting in a while!”
- The Forever-on-Four – This guy is always in the middle of his fourth step. He’ll tell you how the fourth is kicking his ass and how difficult it is to “get honest.” He’s always searching for a new sponsor he can trust, who really “gets” him. Know him by his willingness to start the steps over every few months, while still never getting to five.
- The Catchphraser – This “Friend of Bill W’s” tosses out recovery slogans as if she penned them herself. She likes to remind others to “suit up and show up” and “live and let live.” She lives life “one day at a time” and is known to “expect a miracle.” She “keeps it simple” and “it works for her, if she works it.” Recognizable by her affection for sobriety circle-triangle jewelry and her Ford Fiesta’s “Easy Does It” bumper sticker.
- The Day Counter – This addict has a sobriety calculator app on her iPhone and can’t wait to introduce herself by her name, her addiction and the number of days sober she has. She will congratulate those celebrating a recovery anniversary with a shout out of “Three years? That’s 1,095 days! Woot!” Related: The Minute Counter.
- The Pink Cloud – This guy has 42 days and he’s feeling fantastic! Sobriety has helped him get his life together! He’s learning so much about himself! The obsession to use has been lifted! He has found a higher power and meetings are the greatest! Things have really, never, ever, been better! You will know him as the enthusiastic greeter at the door who doesn’t have a sponsor yet.
- The Texter – Often a newcomer, you know the top of this woman’s head well, since her face is always directed down towards her phone. She taps furiously before meetings and during the break to appear busy and avoid making direct eye contact or meeting new people. Find her at IfIDontLookAtYouThenIAmInvisible.com, #Scared, #EarlyDays and #DontTalkToMePleaseTalkToMe.
- The Crier – She will cry and nod through the reading of “How it Works.” She will sob during the speaker’s pitch. Her nose is red and running through the shares and anniversaries. They might be tears of joy or tears of sadness, but they are tears and she has an endless supply. Find The Crier by following the trail of wadded up tissues leading to the doughnuts.
- The Old-Timer – He has more years sober than Dr. Bob was alive. He’s seen know-it-all kids like you before and suggests that you “take a seat in the front, shut up and listen.” He’s the guy who is happy to “Call you on your BS.” If it’s your first meeting, he tells you, “Congratulations, if you stick around and do what you’re told, maybe you won’t die.” His motto is “You’re new ‘til you’re 10.” You will recognize him as the guy you used to be afraid of until he saved your life.