Throwing a LifeRing
When you become overwhelmed by the destruction of substance addiction - it’s time to sink or swim. Christine Allen looks at a new group to Cork that throws recovering addicts a life ring
LifeRing is an alternative to the traditional, 12-step self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA). It is designed for those seeking to steer their lives away from the destructive paths of substance addiction, whether it's prescription drugs, illegal drugs, alcohol or even food.
Unlike AA, there is no mention of God or a higher power and the group does not believe that people are powerless over their addictions. They believe people have the power to choose whether or not to drink or take drugs.
The meetings, now in Clonakilty and Cork city, focus on the present, not the past, and ask members to share honestly about how their week went, how they attempted to aid their recovery and how they plan to prepare for the week ahead.
The group is completely anonymous and attendance is free. The group held its first meeting at the Quaker Meeting House in Summerhill South on 27 June.
Meetings will continue every Monday at 7pm in Cork, joining the already established Clonakilty meetings, which are on Thursdays at 8pm at the Grace Centre, South Square.
Miriam C, Convenor, or facilitator of LifeRing Cork and Clonakilty, explained how the group could help people prepare for a life of recovery.
“For instance someone might be going to a wedding or on holiday and they will need to think ahead about ways to avoid relapsing as these sorts of events are pretty dangerous triggers. Ideas and strategies are exchanged and we try to be as positive as we can about people's efforts.
“Believe it or not, the meetings are a lot of fun a lot of the time - the sense of humour might be an acquired taste for some sometimes but the idea is that people should come away feeling good about themselves and re-invigorated about maintaining sobriety. Most people say they always learn something useful at the meetings,” she says.
LifeRing members sit in a circle, and between eight and 15 people attend at any one meeting. No member is asked to identify themselves as an ‘addict’ or ‘alcoholic’ to attend. All that is required is a desire to be clean and sober.
The organisation was established ten years ago in California by a group of recovering addicts who wanted a self-help approach based on positive social reinforcement.
The organisation explains that self-help means that the key to recovery is the individual’s own motivation and effort and the group’s main purpose is to reinforce the individual’s own inner strivings to stay clean and sober. The only step it requires from its members is abstinence and it centres its approach on meetings. It is funded through the and is not affiliated with any outside organisations.
It has one simple motto - “We do not drink or use, no matter what”.
“We are delighted to bring LifeRing to Cork. The group is anonymous and it offers a different approach to recovery from substance addiction. We believe that in the shared discussion of the problem.
“If people think this is something that could help them, they should get in contact with us,” Miriam says.
The organisation also offers lots of support online, from chat rooms, a social network and a forum, as well as useful information resources.
For more information, check out www.liferingcork.com or contact Bev C at 089-4352675, or by email at email@example.com.