By Byron Kerr
LifeRing Executive Director
“3-S” is short-hand for the fundamental principles of LifeRing: Sobriety, Secularity, and Self-Help. Closely tied to these principles is the meeting format of LifeRing--both online and in person meetings. LifeRing needs more support meetings. LifeRing needs more meeting convenors. How do we meet these two goals? Why are these goals important?
Our primary mission is to support people wanting to recover from substance use. We support people through meetings of all sorts. Face-to-face, online text, online audio-video, email lists, pen-pals, are some of the many ways we do this. If we’re not providing support, we’re not achieving our mission.
Starting a new LifeRing support meeting is challenging and rewarding. There are many issues to consider and many obstacles to overcome. The first consideration is usually the meeting venue. For a face-to-face meeting this means considering location, accessibility, capacity, and privacy. Is the location easy to find? Is it adequate size? Can people find the location and still feel private? For online meetings the main consideration is the platform. Do you want to use the LifeRing chat room, start another LifeRing meeting in In-The-Rooms, or help people with email groups?
Once you open the new support venue, how do you attract participants? How do you sustain the meeting? Participants come to LifeRing looking for support. Whatever format is used, the participants should feel supported. We don’t typically give direct advice as much as we provide ideas and cheer each other onward in a positive direction.
There are many different ways to attract people to a support meeting. Consistently having a complete presentation of LifeRing literature adds legitimacy. Contacting local medical facilities and treatment centers can help. Writing letters or emails to anyone with an interest in substance use disorder such as courts and law enforcement, parole, and probation officers can help, as can contacting local media to produce news stories about the meeting, and/or LifeRing, and/or choice of support. You may consider some form of advertising on social media, the press, or broadcast media. We have had some success getting exposure through public service announcements.
When a new meeting is up and running, do it again. The easiest way to grow another new meeting is to find your replacement from within the existing meeting. There are people in the meeting who are interested and want to be approached. Many will turn into fine convenors. None of us are going to convene a LifeRing meeting exactly the same way. Don’t worry about whether a new convenor is perfect or not. They’ll be fine so long as they’re supportive and hold to the LifeRing 3 ’S’ philosophy of Sober, Secular, & Self-directed.
The reward for each of us is the knowledge that we have helped someone make a choice to live a better life.
Click here for a recap of the 3-S Philosopy