Dear Dr. Romance 

I am 13 years sober through the 12 steps of  AA, but I haven't been to more than one meeting in the last 2 years, after making 3 a  day for the 1st yr. and averaging 5 a week for the next 4 years! AA only goes so far. They do not tell you that. If you are still feeling "crazy" after a few years you are  accused of not working the steps, reading the book or going to meetings. It takes a dysfunctional person a long time to figure this stuff out on his own... that is, that he (me)  needs serious outside help (on the inside job).

I was really glad to find your book, The Real 13th Step: Discovering Confidence, Self-Reliance and Independence Beyond the 12-Step Programs

13th Step ebook

I will work on the exercises in your book: I like the "committee," and the trouble spot exercises best.  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. I never made it to a university degree and I always thought there was something wrong with me that I couldn't, (although now I see  it was quite an accomplishment to have completed 86 units (hours) of 120 for a BS).   I believe I have a wonderful and creative mind, but I am  running out of time. I'm now 47...

Dear Reader:

I'm glad my book is helping, and happy to be able to tell you a new eBook version recently came out.  It sounds as though you are doing good work, so keep it up. AA is a big help in the beginning, but you're right, they don't cover everything.  You have accomplished a lot, and you can learn everything you still need to know. Don't forget to give yourself credit.  I know AA is afraid of grandiosity, and reluctant to give credit for accomplishment -- but you need to understand the difference between false pride and real pride.

You're right, you need objective information and advice from someone who is trained and really knows the difference.   "Guidelines for Finding and Using Therapy Wisely"  to find a competent and knowledgeable therapist.  The major key to your recovery is developing your relationship to you, for which you had very dysfunctional models.  when you get that going well, you'll have more objectivity about your own actions, and how others are treating you.  It's a relief to finally understand what's wrong, isn't it?

Getting most of a degree is an accomplishment to be proud of.  If you can do that, you can do whatever you want.  It's a lot easier, however, when you're working with yourself, fighting yourself.  "Winning the War Within" will help you stop the inner fight that confuses you and slows you down.

You're not so old, it's never too late, you know.  You can still have a happy and productive life.  Keep doing what you're doing, and it will work.

For low-cost counseling, email me at

Author's Bio: 

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.

Dr. Tessina, is CRO (Chief Romance Officer) for, a website designed to strengthen relationships and guide couples through the various stages of their relationship with personalized tips, courses, and online couples counseling. Online, she’s known as “Dr. Romance” Dr. Tessina appears frequently on radio, and such TV shows as “Oprah”, “Larry King Live” and ABC News.