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Welcome

This is the post excerpt.

Hello and welcome to the LifeRing London blog. This is the place to find out about LifeRing Secular Recovery in the London and south east England area. As well as other recovery stuff.

This is not an official LSR site and all views expressed are the authors own.

Lee

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About Powerlessness

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About Powerlessness

In the fourth century CE, at the dawn of the dark ages, not long after christianity became the official religion of the remnants of the Roman Empire, there lived two wandering teachers.

One was a christian monk named Pelagius. Born in the remote provinces of the British Isles, he found his way to the imperial capital, and also visited and taught in Carthage and in Palestine. He led an exemplary life of poverty, modesty, and virtue. Even those who opposed his teachings respected his life style. He teached that god had endowed human beings with the power and the freedom to make moral choices, both for evil and for good.

The other teacher was, by his own public admission, a fornicator, a thief, a drinker… among other vices. He was a Manichean – a religion that holds that everything composed of matter, including all living beings, is dark, corrupt, and evil, but that the forces of light which exist outside of material things, will eventually prevail. His sudden mid-life conversion to christianity and his quick promotion to bishop of the north African city of Hippo aroused so much popular scepticism that he felt it politic to write a 160,000-word “Confessions” in his own defence. He preached, in opposition to Pelagius, that man was powerless to choose virtue, and could only choose sin; whatever human beings achieve that is good, they achieve exclusively through the power and grace of god, and god alone deserves the credit.

When my chemical dependency counsellor on my Day One in 1992 held up for me two schedules of the two kinds of recovery support group meetings – the groups that became LifeRing, and the 12-step groups – I had no inkling that I stood before a modern edition of the dispute between the virtuous monk Pelagius and the converted sinner, Augustine of Hippo.

Taken from the LifeRing book ‘Empowering Your Sober Self’ by Martin Nicolaus, available from http://www.lifering.org or from Amazon.

Like us on Facebook – http://facebook.com/liferinglondon.

Online Support

Welcome!

We cordially invite you to consider participating in one or more of LifeRing’s on-line support communities. These communities offer you an extraordinary opportunity to connect and converse with LifeRing members around the world, wherever you are, whenever you want. All you need is an internet connection.

LifeRing’s on-line communities (we currently support sober conversations in chat, bulletin board, email group and social network formats) are as varied as the individuals who participate in them. Wherever you happen to be on your own recovery journey, you’re sure to find present and future focused tools, insights, and support that reinforce a sober, secular, and self-directed recovery plan.

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Email Groups

We offer several private email lists maintained by the LifeRing Service Centre through Yahoo! groups. These groups may be a fit for you if you are looking for:

Privacy.

Your posts are available only to other members of the specific community to which you have subscribed. LifeRing’s two largest email communities are LSRmail and LSRsafe.

Posts to LSRsafe are moderated by an experienced LifeRing volunteer who immediately steps in if they feel a post or conversational thread is inappropriate for recovery-oriented communication.

Flexibility.

Your posts can be written and sent (and you can access the posts of other members) at any time of the day or night.

Specialised support.

In addition to LSRmail and LSRsafe, there are several other private email groups available to individuals who are looking for tools and insight to help deal with specific physical and emotional issues associated with recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs.

For additional information, please visit: http://lifering.org/lifering-on-line/e-mail-groups. Alternatively, visit: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LSRUK.

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LifeRing Forum

The overall tone of posts to LifeRing Forum is supportive and respectful of individuals who are grappling with the challenges of early sobriety. The LifeRing Forum might be a fit for you if you are looking for:

A bulletin-board web community.

Messages posted to the LifeRing Forum are maintained on an open website, and are available for public viewing and comment. Most LifeRing Forum members choose to avoid including personally-identifiable information in their posts to the Forum.

Messages sorted by topic.

Unlike email group messages, posts to the LifeRing Forum are sorted by topic.

Archived information and posts.

Years of posts to the LifeRing Forum, sorted by topic, are available for reading and reference.

For additional information, please visit http://forums.delphiforums.com/lifering.

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LifeRing Chat Room

Regularly scheduled virtual LifeRing meetings, structured in much the same way as LifeRing’s face-to-face meetings, are hosted by experienced meeting convenors in the LifeRing Chat Room.

The convenor facilitates conversation among sober friends, ensures that everyone, including the convenor, has an opportunity to participate in the discussion. The LifeRing Chat Room may be a fit for you if you are looking to:

Engage with others in real time.

Whether you’re conversing by typing on your keyboard or if you’re using audio equipment to chat by voice, you are in instant communication with other LifeRing virtual meeting participants.

A virtual LifeRing meeting.

In addition to meetings convened in the How Was Your Week? format, you’ll find other meetings convened around other recovery-oriented topics.

Find spontaneous conversation.

In addition to scheduled meetings, the LifeRing Chat Room is open around the clock for sober conversation among friends who are also looking for real time support and connection.

For sober conversation in real time, please visit http://lifering.org/chat-room.

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ePals

Not sure where to start? Let one of our volunteer ePals help you navigate LifeRing’s array of on-line, face-to-face, and print resources. We understand that the decision to forge a new life free of alcohol and/or drugs is a big deal. Asking for an ePal, on the other hand, couldn’t be easier.

We’ll match you with one of our volunteer ePals who can help answer any questions you have about LifeRing’s sober, secular, and self-directed approach to building a life recovery plan that is uniquely yours. Your ePal correspondent will email you directly, to introduce themselves and answer your questions about LifeRing. That’s it.

While we hope your interaction with your ePal will convince you to give LifeRing a try, you may decide that abstinence and/or self-directed recovery isn’t what you’re looking for right now. That’s okay. We understand, we won’t be offended, and we won’t try to change your mind.

Note: Your first ePal communication can take a day or two to arrange, depending on volunteer availability and is not a hot line or crisis centre service. If you are in need of urgent assistance, please immediately contact your local emergency or mental health service providers.

To request an ePal, please contact Craig (and mention “ePals” in the subject line): cswhalley@lifering.org.

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LifeRing.Ning

Ning provides sober social networking for the LifeRing community and might be a fit for you if you’re looking for a place to:

Connect with others using multi-media.

In Ning, you can create your own webpage, write your own blog, and share music or images that have special meaning for your sober journey.

Find specialised support.

You can also find several specialised groups who share tools and insights to help deal with specific physical and emotional issues associated with recovery.

To connect with Ning, please visit: http://lifering.ning.com.

Taken from the LifeRing leaflet ‘Online Support’.

Building a Personal Recovery Programme

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Building a Personal Recovery Programme

One hallmark of a substance abuse treatment programme that operates in a professional manner is its focus on building a personalised treatment programme for each patient.

It would be absurd if the individuals whose recovery it is were to set for themselves a lower standard than that which professionals have recognised as necessary. If a professional needs to respond to the needs of each individual, then the individual can do no less in his or her self-help work. If “one size fits all” does not work in professional treatment, it certainly has no place in self-treatment.

LifeRing embraces the modern, evidence-based principle of individualised treatment and applies it to self-treatment. Apart from the prime directive, not to put addictive substances into the body, which we all share, LifeRing dismisses the notion that any single programme is appropriate for all our participants. Matching our programme to our individual problems and needs is what each of us does and should do. Building a LifeRing Personal Programme is what both science and common sense indicate.

Taken from the LifeRing book ‘Empowering Your Sober Self’ by Martin Nicolaus, available from http://www.lifering.org or from Amazon.

How LifeRing Works

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How LifeRing Works

  • Addiction is not a sin. People in LifeRing groups tend to have a matter-of-fact attitude about substance addiction. Chemical dependency is not a sin that you have to confess and atone for. It happens to people with all kinds of personalities, including people who are warm and caring, brilliant and generous. LifeRing meetings exist not to judge you or shame you or guilt you for your substance-influenced past, but to support you in building your substance-free present and future. The point is to make a fresh start.
  • It stays positive. The LifeRing approach is thoroughly positive. LifeRing works by giving encouragement and support to your sober qualities and efforts. You are reinventing yourself as a person who has a life without drinking or using, and in that process you are supporting others in doing the same. What you are doing is worthwhile and important, not only for yourself, but for the group and for the whole community.
  • You’re a grown up. Although you may count your sober time as a rebirth and celebrate baby birthdays, you are an adult and need to understand some adult truths. The tooth fairy will not come in the night and take your problems away. Only you can get you sober. The group cannot get you sober. Its purpose is to support you in getting yourself sober. Your purpose as a group member is to give others the same support you would want for yourself.

Taken from the LifeRing book ‘Empowering Your Sober Self’ by Martin Nicolaus, available from http://www.lifering.org or from Amazon.

Prepare Your Sober Self for Action

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Prepare Your Sober Self for Action

People who use addictive substances are notoriously hard on themselves. The reason is partly that the world is hard on people whose substance use has become too obvious, and we internalise those value judgements. There are elements in the traditional recovery protocol that reinforce these negative judgements, as we’ll see in later chapters of this book. But there’s an internally generated reason as well.

In the previous chapter, I showed how there’s an A [Addict Self] and an S [Sober Self] inside of the addicted person. The A is the voice that tells you to drink and use. It does more. It tries to keep you in the appropriate state of mind so that you will keep feeding it. That state of mind is miserable and stressed.

The A does not want you to feel good about yourself, to feel confident, to feel capable, except perhaps in an exaggerated, grandiose way that makes you seem foolish and that deepens your despair when your tall schemes come to nothing. If you begin to see your strengths realistically and to make small but real gains that give you confidence, you may no longer want or need to keep using the substances. So, when you “beat yourself up,” what’s really happening is that your A is beating up your S.

From the LifeRing book ‘Empowering Your Sober Self’ by Martin Nicolaus.

Available from http://www.lifering.org or from Amazon.

Introduction

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From the Introduction

One Saturday afternoon, my elder boy, then 10, came into the living room holding a chapter book they were reading in middle school. The Great Horned Spoon, it was; about the California gold rush days. One chapter features a brawl in a saloon. With the air of a boy looking for help with homework, wanting a vocabulary word explained, he spoke to me:

“Dad, you’re a ‘drunkard,’ aren’t you?”

I had no shields for that word, coming from him. The missile went straight into my heart. I was blowing the Daddy act. […]

Lots of good people have grown up without fathers. But I wanted my kids to have it better. Now I was blowing it. I pondered whether a kid who has a drunkard for a dad is worse off than a kid who has no dad at all. Instead of making a better life for my kids than I had, maybe I was making it worse.

That brief conversation with my eldest boy left me changed inside, at least temporarily. The balance between the “me” that wanted to get free of drinking, and the “me” that wanted to die drunk, had tipped.

Within a few days, while the impact of my son’s one-child, one-word intervention still burned inside of me, I telephoned the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program of the Kaiser Permanente HMO, to which the family belonged. It seemed like hours before someone answered the ring. My hands shaking, voice straining to sound casual, I made an appointment.

From the LifeRing book ‘Empowering Your Sober Self’ by Martin Nicolaus.

Available from http://www.lifering.org or from Amazon.

A Person Addicted is a Person in Conflict

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A Person Addicted is a Person in Conflict

The person in the grip of dependency on an addictive substance is a person in conflict. Their personality has split into two antagonistic camps. There is the old, original person, the person they used to be before addictive substances became a priority in their lives. And there is the more recent person, the addict, who lives in the person’s mind/body like a parasite, sucking up more and more resources, and driving the person toward a premature death.

The inner struggle between these two personalities inhabiting the same person is the central psychological reality of life as an addict. So typical is this inner split that “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” is hands down the favourite modern metaphor for the condition.

In Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Hyde was the addict who committed unspeakable crimes while under the influence. Dr. Jekyll was the rational physician, a pillar of the community, always helping and doing good. The great hair-raising thrill of the story to this day is the audience’s gradual dawning that they were in fact one and the same person.

From the LifeRing book ‘Empowering Your Sober Self’ by Martin Nicolaus, available from http://www.lifering.org or Amazon.