The 13th Step Reporter Lauren Chooljian starts getting tips about the founder of New Hampshire's largest addiction treatment network. He is allegedly sexually harassing or assaulting women — employees and former clients at his facilities. The tips send Lauren on a journey deep into the addiction treatment industry, which, as one source says, "needs a #MeToo movement."
The 13th Step

The 13th Step

From New Hampshire Public Radio

Reporter Lauren Chooljian starts getting tips about the founder of New Hampshire's largest addiction treatment network. He is allegedly sexually harassing or assaulting women — employees and former clients at his facilities. The tips send Lauren on a journey deep into the addiction treatment industry, which, as one source says, "needs a #MeToo movement."

Most Recent Episodes

Update: A New Bill and a Final Ruling

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A Special Announcement

The 13th Step is going on tour with stops in New Hampshire, Boston, and Chicago. Host Lauren Chooljian will go behind-the-scenes of the podcast and take questions from the audience. For tickets and more information, visit 13thsteppodcast.org/events.

Update: A Big Arrest

Federal prosecutors have charged a fourth person in the vandalism case, a man they describe as a "close, personal associate" of Eric Spofford.

Update: Vandalism Arrests

Federal prosecutors have charged three men for their alleged roles in the vandalism incidents. According to the feds, the vandalism was "solicited" by a "close, personal associate" of Eric Spofford's. Reporter Jason Moon goes to the arraignment at a Boston courthouse and tells Lauren what happened.

Epilogue: Employee A

A conversation with one of the women whose story of sexual assault you heard earlier in this podcast. She talks with Lauren about what it was like to hear her story published, the legal threats she has faced from Eric Spofford and his lawyers, and why she decided to speak out in the first place. The 13th Step is a production of New Hampshire Public Radio's Document team. More at 13thsteppodcast.org.

6: The Glam Room

Since Lauren began reporting, Eric Spofford sold his New Hampshire company for millions of dollars and filed a defamation lawsuit in response to NHPR's coverage. We catch you up on everything that's happened. And we introduce you to a sober living community where addressing women's sexual trauma is a priority. The 13th Step is a production of New Hampshire Public Radio's Document team. More at 13thsteppodcast.org.

5: The Litter Police

What does it take to catch a predator in the addiction treatment industry? We hear about a case in California where the CEO of a network of treatment facilities was convicted of sexual assault and massive insurance fraud. It required years of work – and two women who banded together and refused to give up. The 13th Step is a production of New Hampshire Public Radio's Document team. More at 13thsteppodcast.org.

4: A Wild (Wild?) West

How did 13th stepping become so common in the recovery world and who can hold people accountable? Lauren looks into the history of the addiction treatment industry; goes in search of the people, government agencies, and industry groups that are supposed to oversee it; and does a deep dive into its most pervasive cultural force: AA and the 12 steps. She finds a lot of good intentions, alongside a lot of problems. The 13th Step is a production of New Hampshire Public Radio's Document team. More at 13thsteppodcast.org. To support investigative journalism like The 13th Step at NHPR, click here.

3: Just the Beginning

In March of 2022, Lauren publishes her first story detailing allegations against Eric Spofford. The events of the next several months illustrate the ways powerful, wealthy people can intimidate sources and try to stop journalism from happening. And then, there was the vandalism... The 13th Step is a production of New Hampshire Public Radio's Document team. More at 13thsteppodcast.org.

2: The God of Recovery

As Eric Spofford tells it, he spent his teen years in the throes of addiction and crime. When he got sober, he became a crusader for recovery. We hear how he built his company – and his power. And we hear allegations that he abused that power by sexually assaulting members of his own staff. The 13th Step is a production of New Hampshire Public Radio's Document team. More at 13thsteppodcast.org. Nearly all the music in this podcast was written by Jason Moon. At the top of this episode, we used an excerpt of a track by "grapes" featuring J. Lang and Morusque. It's called "I dunno." To support investigative journalism like The 13th Step at NHPR, click here.