LIfeRing Winter 2019 Newsletter

Happy New Year! This is an exciting time for LifeRing. We continue to add meetings around the country and around the world. Keep reading for a recap of some of the hightlights of 2018.  We plan on publishing this newsletter quarterly, so if you have something new, interesting or noteworthy to share, email Rick at

2018 Fundraising Drive
Thank you to everyone who contributed to the LIfeRing 2018 Fundraising Drive! As of January 1, 2019, we raised $9175! While we did not meet our goal of $15,000, we are still grateful and excited about the results. The 2017 Fundraising Drive raised $5634, so we increased that by over 60%. Many thanks to Jenny Sligh, who organized this year’s drive. Jenny is a great asset to Lifering and has devoted a lot of time, energy and talent to increase our fundraising. Click here if you would like to make a donation.

For more ways to help LifeRing, click here!

LifeRing in the Media

Unsung Hero: Local man dedicates free time to helping those in addiction recovery
by Hana Mae Nassar
Dec 17, 2018

When Beer Becomes the Burden
by Dana Hunter
November 14, 2018

New LifeRing Meetings

A new LifeRing meeting began in Buffalo, New York, on December 5. Brian W., a long-time recovery advocate who spent a number of years facilitating meetings for other support groups, convenes the meeting. The new meeting is held at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation facility in Williamsville, New York. Brian hopes to bring LifeRing into a number of treatment facilities in western New York state, such as Stutzman Addiction Treatment Center. Brian may be able to build on his relationships in the area to expand LifeRing in the Buffalo region. Congratulations to Brian and the new Buffalo LifeRing community.

There is also a new meeting in Moreno Valley, California, which started on October 22. Moreno Valley is in the "Inland Empire" of California, between San Bernadino and Riverside. Mike M. convenes the new meeting at a Kaiser CDRP facility. Congratulations to Mike and the new LifeRing community in the Inland Empire.

The first LifeRing meeting in Africa began in 2018. Toussaint Balumuene Lukoki started a meeting in Kinshasha. Mr. Lukoki has asked LifeRing about French translations of LifeRing literature. The board is currently researching translating Empower Your Sober Self into French and Spanish. We will share more information as this develops.

LifeRing Celebrates Ten Years in Sweden

Translated by Lars Bergström
From the original by Malin Persson

LifeRing celebrated ten years in Sweden in 2018, and the occasion was celebrated with a tenth anniversary meeting on September 12. 

Lars Bergström, who works as a psychologist at Skyddsvärnets open treatment center, started the first LifeRing meeting in Sweden.

"I wanted some kind of supplement to our outpatient care, which consists of CBT-focused relapse prevention,” said Lars, who has has been sober and drug free for over thirty years. ”With my background from 12-step groups, I saw LifeRing as an important alternative. I was told about LifeRing by a colleague and the idea stuck because the method is based on the fact that one’s own will determines success. You do not have to surrender your will to any strength stronger than yourself. It is your motivation and your strength that is crucial,” Lars said.

A regular LifeRing meeting goes on in a way that you gather around a table over a cup of coffee and maybe a snack. A convenor reads an introduction about LifeRing and explains how the meeting goes, which is usually with the question: "How was your week?" Attendees then talk about their week in recovery and what their plan is to maintain a the sober lifestyle. The meeting format is very open, and the meetings are open to all. Families are also welcome.

The only thing that is required to participate is to be curious and interested in self help. The whole concept of LifeRing is based on the fact that each participant decides what to do to keep sober and clean. Those who attend the meetings are both active addicts who want to stop and people who have been drug and alcohol free for many years. Attendance is usually four to eight people at each meeting.

Started in the United States as a secular alternative

Martin Nicolaus, who founded LifeRing in the United States, visited Sweden to attend the tenth anniversary meeting. Martin works as a lawyer and has been sober for 25 years. He said that it was the concept of ”the free will” that made him want to start and spread LifeRing. 

Martin first encountered an alternative group at an SOS meeting.

"I liked that the meetings were so relaxing. Nobody knew it was my first time when I first came there. No one preached to me or told me what I had to do to keep me sober—not to feed my body with alcohol.”

Together with some other participants, Martin expanded SOS, which later became LifeRing, a secular self-help group free of instructions or religion. Meetings simply build on being in  a social context where participants can support each other, be understood, accepted and encouraged.

"I'm not trying to convince anyone that LifeRing is the best option. I'm just trying to get healthcare to offer customers more options to choose from. There is a lot of research that supports the importance of choice. Let people choose from treatment alternatives and self-help options, which gives them an incentive to self-engage because they weren’t forced to go. Free will is a better motivation,” Martin said.

Maintaining recovery

Pontus, who has attended the the Skyddsvärnets LifeRing meeting for about one-and-a-half years, said that early in his recovery he went to AA meetings, which he learned about when he sought help through his regular heathcare provider. Those meetings didn’t really help him, he said. He then contacted a private therapist and found LifeRing in Sweden through a Google search.

"I think LifeRing is very nice. Meetings give me an opportunity for reflection and support. I can talk to someone who is listening, who is supportive to me, and I can engage in conversation. It helps me keep myself sober. And it has been so good for my relationship with my wife, and she sees I take it seriously. She is an important factor in my recovery,” Pontus said.

The LifeRing meetings are held weekly at the treatment center. In addition, there are more meetings around Stockholm, allowing participants to attend several meetings a week if they want. Pontus said that to be able to talk about his recovery once a week is important to him.

"I think the meetings make a difference, above all, to keep the issue up to date and not to hide from my problem, but get support for it,” he said.

News From The North
LifeRing Secular Recovery-Canada

by Jamie Itterman

November 2018–Interest from individuals, societies and other organizations involved in substance use treatment continues to grow in Canada. This keeps our hopes and ambitions up that more is to come. We are currently making connections with several groups and sending out “Starter Packages” to potential conveners.

We have recently added new meetings in Eastern Canada in Moncton, New Brunswick and Charlottetown, PEI. We welcome Sean Pauley and Jocelyn Harnois to our team. The meetings in Toronto and Saskatoon will hopefully be running by December. Both are at hospitals and approved by faculty.

LifeRing Canada recently had our AGM meeting in Victoria BC. It was held over two days and besides regular elections for the Board of Governors, we focused on building conveners and training, expansion and connections with out of town meetings and fundraising. Several committees were organized to work on these items. We now have 8 BOD members with George Gidora remaining as President. This event was funded by a very generous donation from Denis Power and organization and agenda by Barb R.  

LifeRing Secular Recovery-Canada                                                                               

  • Canada Regional Representative: Jamie Itterman                                        
  • Vancouver Hub: Jamie Itterman
  • Victoria Hub: Calla Raglan  

Copyright © LifeRing Secular Recovery 2019, All rights reserved.

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

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