The Twelve Steps Of Transition

Transition, like recovery, depends on the little things

Stephenie Magister ✨
Transgender Soapbox
4 min readNov 29, 2022


Graphic by author, elements from photo by Birmingham Museums Trust on Unsplash

Are you ready to take twelve essential steps to your transition?

12-step programs saved my life, and each night, they return me to sanity.

Who knew they could also help me complete my transition?

My most dangerous drug

I don’t drink, and I’m an atheist, so my first sponsor had to adapt the program in a few ways. They had no idea how far I’d take the limits of the 12 steps — or how far they would take me.

Like many people in fellowships such as Al-Anon, ACoA, and CODA, my most dangerous drug was mood-altering people. An abuser can give you a euphoric high like no other if you last long enough to receive a Love Bomb.

A Love Bomb isn’t just about intense affection. The abuser seduces you into a state of vulnerability so they can then feed off that energy. It’s why you’re likely to find seemingly benevolent abusers (like my qualifier) hiding in the plain sight of health industries like massage, medicine, teaching, and social work.

They validate your most vulnerable parts, all while planting the seeds of dependency.

My most vulnerable parts

As a kid, I survived my family’s cult, then trans conversion therapy, then a quasi-incestuous and co-dependent relationship with the seduction guru/con artist I once called my brother.

I grew up in extreme dysfunction. Even when I broke free from those people, I carried the pattern of dysfunction with me. I became my own worst abuser.

It’s no wonder I felt insane

For a time, drugs — be they a substance or a person — gave me a false sense of sanity. And in that deception, they numbed me enough to hide my true self.

12-step programs didn’t just help me feel again. They helped me face the fear of feeling at all.

To be here, to be in my body, to be alive means to see myself as I truly am. And I spent decades terrified of what I would find.

A path to self-empowerment



Stephenie Magister ✨
Transgender Soapbox

| 40 Under 40 Nominee | Queer History with Step-Hen-ie | Former editor for award-winning and best-selling authors |