What happens at a meeting?

We often hear that there is something unique that happens at LifeRing meetings – or, more accurately, doesn’t happen. Judgement. Our philosophy of peer support that is free from religion, persuasion, and criteria, and is reported to be the biggest reason for our wide community of familiar faces.

When asked why they continue to participate in our meetings, our members often tell us that they feel comfortable with the way LifeRing ‘s support fits into their recovery. On any day, and at every stage of recovery, the choice to connect is always in just the right way.

Everyone has times when simply listening to the stories of others makes a difference in our day. Sometimes a one-on-one connection is all that’s needed to make a decision. Of course, there are also days, the need to talk and share a particular struggle can be overwhelming. Recognizing that each person has changing, individual needs from one moment to the next, we maintain a flexible approach to the way we offer support.

At LifeRing meetings, people sit in a circle. The meeting is small enough so that everyone can participate. After some housekeeping comments and a short opening statement, the meeting Convenor asks “How was your week?” People take turns talking about the successes and challenges of their last week in recovery and their plans for the coming week ahead. Declarations of being an alcoholic or addict are not used at LifeRing meetings. If you have used within 24 hours of a meeting, we welcome you to do the check-in and stay, but not particpate in the topic portion of the meeting – you can talk with the convenor after the meeting.

LifeRing meetings encourage questions, comments and other feedback throughout. The meeting atmosphere often resembles a living room filled with sober friends having a relaxed, free conversation. Laughter is a common ingredient. There are some limits. We use “I” statements when speaking, we avoid “war stories” about our past. No attack therapy or confrontation. We avoid giving unsolicited advice, or speaking of religion or politics. Everyone’s approach to recovery is individual, so at our meetings, we do not discredit or talk negatively of other approaches.

Meetings are confidential. What is said and who is seen stays in the room. Participation is free. Meetings often end with a round of applause to celebrate each other’s sobriety.

Some of the things people talk about (amongst many)

“I went to a wedding last weekend. It was my first time EVER being sober at a wedding. It was amazing! I brought someone who doesn’t drink; we stayed until the dancing and partying started and made an exit strategy.”

“I now drive a different route home, so I won’t pass the liquor store.”

“I am going back to school! I got a job! I have money in the bank! I have reconnected with my family.”

“I feel like a relapse is about to happen and I need support.”

“I need to change the friends I hang out with. How will I ever meet new clean and sober people?”

Who facilitates the meetings?

Those in recovery who have been personally impacted by substance misuse and addictions are those who lead our groups. They will have at least six months sobriety and a mandatory basic training before they can facilitate a group. Sometimes we allow a professional that aligns with our approach, to start a meeting with the understanding they will hand it off as soon as someone in recovery steps forward. Being of service to LifeRing and volunteering as a Convenor or in any capaciity has a positive impact on not only the person in recovery, but also the new person in recovery or someone who perhaps has relapsed and is coming back around.

Who can attend a meeting?

Anyone can attend a meetings as long as it is not a closed meeting for example at a Detox facility or is gender-specific. If you are a family member, loved one or friend that wants to go to a meeting to provide support, then you are welcome to attend one or two meetings. If you are a professional in the field or student that wants to be better informed for your clients, then this is fine, just let the meeting Convenor know when you arrive that you are there to observe.

Does it cost anything?

LifeRing does not charge money for the service. However, we are a Charitable Organization and the only way we can offer this service is through private financial donations and writing grants and proposals. We pass a basket at most meetings that pays for room rentals and printing of brochures and other incidental costs to run the meetings.