In February, 2001, LifeRing was founded in Florida as a “freestanding, democratic recovery support network based on abstinence, secularity, and self-help.”
The core units of the network are meetings for recovering alcoholics and/or addicts. LifeRing has more than 150 meetings in the United States and Canada. It has daily online meetings, email support lists, a social networking site. It’s website can be accessed here: LifeRing.
The support network is based upong a “Three S” philosophy:
Sobriety. The goal is to achieve and maintain complete abstinence from alcohol and drugs.
Secularity. Responsibility for recovery is in the alcoholic or addicts own hands. Belief or disbelief in a God or higher power is a matter of personal understanding and does not matter in LifeRing, nor is discussed at meetings.
Self-help. LifeRing endeavours to provide a supportive environment for an individual to build his or her own personal recovery program. The principle of Self-Help encourages each member to develop their own program of recovery. LifeRing does not prescribe any particular “steps” other than abstinence and is not a vehicle for any particular therapeutic doctrine. LifeRing participation is compatible with a wide variety of abstinence-based therapeutic or counseling programs. Unlike AA and other 12 Step programs, members do not have sponsors but are encouraged to help each other.
In Empowering the Sober Self, the founder and CEO of LifeRing, Martin Nicolaus, proposes that the addicted person is a person divided, a person in conflict. “So typical is this inner split,” he writes, “that ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’ is hands down the favorite modern metaphor for this condition.” (p. 32) Recovery is then an ongoing battle between “A” (Addicted Self) and “S” (Sober Self). In the recognition of this conflict, Niclaus sees hope. The LifeRing approach is centered on keeping the A in clear focus, while lending support to empower the inner S, or Sober Self.
For a quick, one-minute introduction to LifeRing, you can watch LifeRing Canada’s Executive Director here: Michael Walsh: Michael Walsh, LifeRing Introduction.