The origin of the name “Step 13” is unknown beyond myths and legends. It has been said the 13th step was merely the step after the 12th step. We have also heard that Step 13 is a reference to Jesus Christ and the 12 apostles, along with the 13 stripes on the American flag – inferring that with God and Country no man is beyond redemption. Despite the name’s unknown origins, Step 13 has continued to represent the pillars visionary founder Bob Coté set forth – ‘Sobriety, Work, and Accountability.”
Today, Step 13 has remained true to Bob’s vision while further developing programs around sobriety support, career development, and life skills training. As Step 13 progresses as an organization and links with other fellowship programs, the need for a name change has become apparent. There is a term in the 12-step recovery community, “13th stepping,” that carries a negative connotation, referencing predatory behavior between members. Additionally, the change from Step 13 to Step Denver aligns with the organization’s intention of expanding geographically.
“In our efforts to integrate more thoroughly with the recovery community and with the goal of growing the Step program throughout Colorado and the United States, we have chosen a name that further engages our community and allows for other communities to add the Step brand to their city name. Our goal is to help as many men, in as many communities as possible. While our name may be changing our program and its core principles of sobriety, work and accountability will not,” said Executive Director Paul Scudo
The goal of Step Denver is the same as Step 13’s goal in 1983: to provide a sober, safe living environment where residents can rebuild their lives. The overall goal is for participants to graduate from the program and become productive, contributing members of society. The organization has received national attention for a dynamic recovery program, its sustainable funding model geared toward self-sufficiency (the organization will accept no government funding), its “Work Works” program in which 95% of the men receive full-time, tax-paying jobs within the first 2 weeks of entering the program, and its accountability model helping men toward personal responsibility and self-respect.