LifeRing’s Annual Meeting was held June 3, 4 and 5 in Oakland, CA., ten years after the organization was formed at its first gathering in Florida in 2001. The event expanded to 3 days for the first time with a full slate of workshops on Friday added to the traditional array of speakers and panels on Saturday, a banquet Saturday evening, and a Congress on Sunday to deal with organizational governance.

The Friday workshops attracted almost 30 people to deal in some depth to topics such as fund raising and planning for the group’s future.

Saturday, with at leasty twice that number of attendees, saw presentations from two cutting-edge University researchers doing work in trying to understand the psychological and physiological role of the brain in addiction. There was also a workshop on the role mindfulness meditation can play in relapse prevention. Founding LifeRing CEO Martin Nicolaus joined his successor, Craig Whalley (re-labeled Executive Director) in a panel covering the history of LifeRing and its future path. Other panels looked at aspects of convening LifeRing meetings.

On Sunday, delegates met to elect Board members, consider an amendment to the Bylaws and report on the meetings they represented. Current Board members Lauretta M., Njon W., Tim R. and Steve S. were re-confirmed unanimously in their seats on the Board. A Bylaw amendment, first considered last year at the Denver Annual Meeting but tabled at that time, was considered again and again tabled. It would allow the organization to pay compensation to officers such as the Executive Director at some point in the future when resources allowed.

After the Congress adjourned, the newly confirmed Board met for the election of officers. Kathleen G. will take on the Executive Director role, succeeding Craig W., who takes a small step back to Board Chairman. The two intend to collaborate closely in pursuing the group’s progress, with Craig continuing to perform functions centered in the San Francisco Bay Area and Kathleen leading on many other issues.

A more complete report on the 2011 Annual Meeting will appear soon.