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The Real 13th Step: Discovering Confidence, Self-Reliance, and Independence Beyond the Twelve-Step Programs (Revised Edition) Hardcover – January 1, 2001

4.3 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This work addresses a question that many 12-step program (Alcoholics Anonymous, etc.) participants have undoubtedly asked: "Where do I go from here?" While never denying the benefits of these programs in helping to maintain abstinence from addictive behavior, Tessina, author of Lovestyles: How to Celebrate Your Differences (Borgo Pr., 1987), suggests that program involvement may not have to be lifelong, and that many participants may be able to "graduate" to autonomous living. To help achieve this, she provides exercises and guidelines on how to manage life after 12-step programs. An excellent chapter on developing healthy, intimate relationships is also included. The premise of this intelligently written title is bound to cause some controversy. Recommended for popular psychology, self-help, and recovery collections.
- Linda S. Greene, Chicago P.L.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Author

Dear readers: So many of you have written and e-mailed to ask about "The Real 13th Step" that I'm delighted to have this new edition in print. It's the culmination of twenty years of working with clients who are in recovery. It will help you in your recovery, or if you have other issues from growing up in a troubled family. One reader wrote: "I wanted most of all to tell you how profoundly your discussion on not being able to think clearly due to all the different voices in my head being in conflict has had on me.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 316 pages
  • Publisher: Career Press; Revised edition (January 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1564145484
  • ISBN-13: 978-1564145482
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,241,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on December 28, 2001
Format: Hardcover
In spite of it's title, "The Real 13th Step" is on a path whose traffic is not restricted to the addicted, but to many others who, as a result of childhood experiences, have not grown, nor grown up, in a manner which offers the best chance at contentment, or ultimate happiness. Though substance abuse might be the ultimate response to abusive childhoods, the fact is that many of the abused are not addicted to substances at all, but, rather, to behaviors which might, almost as effectively, cut them off from loving relationships, or from success in other life "tasks".
Dr. Tessina cites many examples of this type of behavior. Explaining, as an instance, that "children begin their first autonomous adventures into the world while. . .they are particularly vulnerable to the negative, critical, or fearful parental reactions." At this stage, the child has no capacity to think critically, to examine the reaction and, possibly, to see it as wrong. The result? Toxic shame: the child is unable to distinguish between "doing something wrong (making a mistake) and being something wrong (a bad child). . . Contempt for your own existence is, perhaps, the single most destructive feeling you can have about yourself, because it makes you feel unworthy to cope. . . and completely dependent on the effects and opinions of others."
Besides explaining, there is doing: a series of self-tests and exercises takes the reader through the process of re-imagining and re-constructing this childhood self.
There is a great deal of information in this work. For anyone who has grown up within a dysfunctional family, it is exceedingly valuable. And not for the substance-addicted alone.
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Format: Paperback
This book is the "Missing Link."

Dr. Tessina is absolutely correct in observing that yes - the 12 steps are an incredibly valuable program - in fact, perhaps even the only way to stop drinking.

However, one does eventually "grow out" of them in some sense. That is, drinking has stopped for a long period of time, all of the steps have been successfully worked, and the concepts are grasped and implemented into daily living. Then what? To use an analogy, AA becomes somewhat of a broken record player. Some people are ready for the next step, but aren't sure what that is.

What Dr. Tessina shares with us is how to address the mental thought patterns and dependence issues which may have triggered escape through addiction in the first place. If this is not addressed, we have nothing more than a dry drunk on our hands - someone who is not actively drinking, but who still displays qualities identified in addicts.

This book helps one to put the focus squarely on themselves, and introduces us to the concept that no one is coming to "make it better." It is our responsibility to meet our own needs. That epiphany alone is what frees us.
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Format: Hardcover
Addiction is a word that sends shivers through us! Whether the addiction is to alcohol, drugs, an eating disorder or obsessive/compulsive behavior, addiction takes its toll on our freedom, self-confidence, and self-reliance. Until recently, the best treatment has been the A.A. 12-step program.
Psychotherapist Tina Tessina improved on that program with the publication of The Real 13th Step ten years ago. Now, her revised edition amplifies the latest research on addiction and helps people in recovery beyond what is not covered in the A.A. program. You see, while the Alcoholics Anonymous program has done a tremendous amount of good to help people free themselves from addiction, in doing so it teaches its membership that they are one drink away from total relapse. This can undermine one's self-esteem, inhibit outside activity and perhaps create an addiction to the program.
The Real 13th Step shows us the means to growth beyond recovery "...that transcends any permanent dependency on the program to keep them free from addiction." Certainly Dr. Tessina holds the A.A. program in high esteem, but at the same time, shows the reader that there is life beyond the group and beyond recovery. And that life includes growth, accomplishment and achievement. Through the step-by-step, therapy-tested exercises and guidelines in her book, Dr. Tina Tessina opens the door to autonomy and lasting recovery from patterns of dependency. In this reviewer's opinion, The Real 13th Step is a must-read for an anyone in an addiction program---or anyone seeking assertiveness; lacking self-confidence; or fearful of confrontation!
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By A Customer on February 24, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read thru The Real 13th Step by Tina Tessina.
Overall, my impression is treat this book like a buffet...take what you like and leave the rest. Also, I think this would have been a better pamplet than book. A commitment to a book made her feel she had to fill 250 pages, even though she really only had 50 pages of material.
Her critique of the steps was a little off base. She posited strengths and weaknesses in each step. Tessina headlined each critique with "How Step __ Impedes Autonomy'. I thought that a bit misleading. It'd be more correct to say how misinterpreting this step could impede autonomy (and the examples she gives are great....like how people think they only have to decide to 'turn it over' in Step Three and take no more action after that).
Chapter 3, From Dependency To Recovery was a very nice discussion on the process growing into recovery.
But after that the book trails off into the pop-psych mush that almost is a parody of itself. Those 'Magical Tools' sound like they were written by comedy writers at Saturday Night Live (an aside: does SNL even employ comedy writers anymore...one can't tell from watching that exhausted show). She encourages 'talking to your inner child' as if we're still back in the early 1990s. Tessina sounds like a bad John Bradshaw retread.
My take is that I have better things to blow $14 on. My recommendation: borrow it, don't buy it. Read till about page 110. Skip the rest.
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