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Tina B. Tessina, PhD
Tina B. Tessina, self-help author, therapist
“A well written, important book that provides an invaluable corrective to the dependency orientation of the recovery movement. It lucidly points the way to the next step: the cultivation of independence and personal autonomy. Imperative reading for every graduate of the twelve-steps.” -- Nathaniel Brandon, PhD Psychologist and author of Honoring the Self
"The Real Thirteenth Step contains a wealth of astonishingly practical information. Very few therapists can provide better tools for personal growth” –San Francisco Bay Guardian
“The premise of this intelligently written title is bound to cause some controversy. Recommended for popular psychology, self-help and recovery collections” – The Library Journal.
“Offers strategies that can help people struggling with addictions develop the skills and abilities they need to make clear, effective choices about their own lives – with or without the continuing support of a formal recovery group.” – Yoga Journal
“Hope of freedom, self-confidence and completion to people in self-help or 12-step recovery programs who have been told they will never be fully recovered.” – American Bookseller
“A manual for those in self-help programs” – Publisher’s Weekly
In twenty-five years of counseling people in recovery, licensed psychotherapist Tina B. Tessina, PhD discovered that her clients who were in twelve -step programs were all struggling with the same problems. They weren’t drinking, using or out of control anymore, but they still were plagued by the confusion and discomfort underlying their addictions. She identified the problem as learned dependency – a constellation of behaviors fostered in dysfunctional families which do not know how to teach the skills and attitudes of self-esteem and independence.
Her answer to the problem is “The Real Thirteenth Step”, a powerful, exercise and information packed manual to accompany the journey of people in recovery. Readers will learn how to develop the three central skills of true autonomy – risk taking, problem solving, and coping with failure – and how to apply them to every aspect of their lives: relationships, work, decision making, stress, and the temptations of addiction.
Discover the six steps necessary to create real inner change: techniques so powerful, they’re called “magical tools”. These tools are taught through exercises proven in therapy and workshops to help clients gain control of their lives and remain free of relapse. With the exercises and guidelines in this book, readers can learn what they need to complete their recovery and achieve self-confidence and autonomy. Dr. Tessina invites you to move beyond recovery to a satisfying life of joy and healthy relationships.
This new edition, published by Career Press, offers all the power of the original, revised and updated.
A number of things have changed in the ten years since The REAL Thirteenth Step was originally published. In that time I’ve worked with many more clients who are recovering with the aid of Twelve Step programs. In that time, sponsors have referred program members to me, and I have referred clients to the programs and to sponsors. The program continues to be powerfully helpful to clients with addiction problems.
Research in addiction has progressed, recognizing new stages in the recovery process. Experts now say that people in second and third stage recovery can benefit from changing their relationship to AA or Other Twelve Step programs. Clients, sponsors and experts all agree today that psychotherapy is an important adjunct to the program, helping people in recovery with the aspects of recovery that are not covered by the twelve steps and twelve traditions.
In spite of changes in the recovery movement, my clients continue to need the information in the Real Thirteenth Step as an adjunct to their recovery. Sponsors and group members now acknowledge that psychotherapy is not only helpful, but probably essential to recovery. Treatment centers report their best success rates when they use a combination of twelve-step and group psychotherapy techniques. In-patient treatment is usually brief because of insurance constraints, so most centers recommend that patients continue therapy after treatment along with their twelve-step attendance. “Drug courts”, new court programs which are designed to reduce jail time for non-violent drug convictions, and instead focus on treatment and recovery, also acknowledge the need for therapy along with twelve-step attendance.
This book contains, in exercises, information and guidelines, the process a person in recovery needs to complete the process. I have updated it to include new ideas and techniques. This is the work my clients do in therapy, and by following the program set forth in these pages, you can complete the same work. I have made it as rich and effective as possible.
Contrary to what some people have said, The Real Thirteenth Step is not critical of AA or any other twelve-step programs. What I do here is to show how people with judgment problems can misinterpret their program in damaging ways, and how to correct those problems. You’ll find it totally supportive of your involvement and progress in your program, and also encouraging in your discovery process beyond the twelve step programs.
You can use this information by yourself, with your sponsor, with a peer group of others who have similar goals, or with a licensed therapist. In fact, in the years since the first edition was published, I have heard from many therapists who use this book with their clients, sponsors who use it with the members they sponsor, and treatment programs and alcohol counseling degree programs which make it part of their curriculum. If you decide to embark on this journey, it may take considerable time to effectively do all the exercises, but you’ll find the process worthwhile and the results will be better than you dreamed.