LIfeRing Spring 2019 Newsletter

Please join us for the 2019 LifeRing Annual Conference

On June 1-2, 2019, LifeRing conveners and members will meet in Santa Clara, California, for the 2019 Annual Conference—Humanly Possible. This year’s welcoming address will be given by Martin Nicolaus, LifeRing’s Founding Leader and the author of Empowering Your Sober Self and Recovery by Choice workbook. Other speakers include members of LifeRing’s board of directors, who will present on their work and goals as the board seeks to strengthen and expand LifeRing as a secular pathway to recovery.

Click these links for more information:
Schedule of Events
Travel and Accommodations

LifeRing in the Media

The Top 19 Sober Communities Beyond Traditional AA
By Irina Gonzalez

New LifeRing Meetings and Convenors

Andrea and Tonya are convening a meeting in Ludington, Michigan, on Fridays at 6:30 pm at the Unitarian Universalist Church. Their first meeting was September 7, 2018. Click here for more information.

Richard T. (nickname Tup) started the first LifeRing meeting in Chicago. Tup has extensive experience facilitating other support meetings but is intrigued with LifeRing's independence. Chicago will benefit from the addition of LifeRing as a choice of support. Click here more more information.

Hugh in Melbourne, Australia, also comes to LifeRing with facilitating experience. His experience with another support organization led him to believe that they endorsed harm reduction, which he does not support. He is committed to establishing LifeRing in Australia as well as increasing our online presence. Click here to contact Hugh.
Are you a LifeRing "orphan" without face to face meetings?
We have online meetings several days a week in the online meeting and chat room. We also have semi-regular sober hangout time at around 9:30 p.m. US Central time.
And, we can always use more convenors of online meetings. Qualifications are the same for in-person meetings.

Click here for an online meeting schedule.

Contact if you're interested.

LifeRing Profile—Craig Whalley

—Who are you?

I'm Craig Whalley, a retired bookstore owner living in Port Angeles, WA. I've been sober since 08/11/2001.

—When and how did you become involved in LifeRing?

By 1999, at age 52, I had to accept the fact that I wasn't going to quit drinking on my own. I was still functional, but was slowly becoming less so. I considered attending AA meetings, but had made the mistake of trying to read the Big Book to see what I should expect. I could only manage a brief skim, but that was enough to convince me that 12-step and I would never fit together. It was the only type of help available in my small city, so I began looking on the internet for alternatives. It took awhile, but eventually I stumbled across LifeRing and knew instantly that I had found my place. I joined LSRmail, the LifeRing email group, not knowing what to expect. It was perfect for me. I knew at once that the "support" piece of the recovery puzzle was in place. It still took me a couple of years to find a few of the other puzzle pieces, but when I finally managed to quit it was, well, not easy, but a bit of an anticlimax. I went on to represent the email group at a LifeRing annual meeting in 2002 and was elected to the BOD a few years later. When I retired from my bookstore, I made some noises about maybe moving down to the SF Bay Area to be closer to LifeRing and that led to my becoming the second Executive Director succeeding Marty Nicolaus. I lasted only a year in that role -- small non-profits, it turns out, have little in common with bookstores, and I felt out of my depth -- but I stayed heavily involved in the governance and administrative area. I took over convening a couple of weekly meetings in Oakland and Berkeley and tried to help out wherever I felt I could do some good.

—What is your current involvement with LifeRing? 

I moved back to Port Angeles in 2017 after 7 years in the Bay Area. I still do some tasks for the organization, including handling book sales and helping with outreach to new convenors. And I convene a weekly meeting in Port Angeles and attend one in our neighboring town of Sequim. And I'm the convenor of LSRsafe, a very active LifeRing email group that I am proud to have created. But I'm also trying to get used to the idea of being really retired. I'm off the BOD now after many years and I try to avoid getting caught up in issues that arise. I plan on attending the upcoming Annual Meeting in the Silicon Valley in June.

—How would you describe your personal recovery program?

A lot of people are able to let go of involvement with recovery and get on with their sober lives. But even after almost 20 years I still feel some vulnerability and staying close to LifeRing has a very self-protective aspect to it. So my personal plan keeps me in close contact with other sobrietists -- which is made easier by the warm friendships I've made over the years. I have a tendency towards being a recluse and I find that lending a hand to others trying their hardest to get and stay sober is a wonderful way to feel like a productive part of the larger world.

Click here to nominate someone for a profile

The Fourth S is Support

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

Looking to Give Back?
Click here for 6 Ways You Can Help LifeRing Continue to Change Lives

Copyright © LifeRing Secular Recovery 2019, All rights reserved.

Contact Us:
LifeRing Secular Recovery
LifeRing® is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization

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