Empowering Your Sober Self: The LifeRing Approach to Addiction Recovery

The one book to read for an introduction to LifeRing.  Written for the person who wants to get free of alcohol/drugs, for their friends and relations, and for the professionals who treat them.

By LifeRing founder Martin Nicolaus

See also: Kudos for the Book Excerpts


Table of Contents

FOREWORD, by William L. White

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

INTRODUCTION

My Story
I Get the Wakeup Call
Beginning Treatment
First Encounters
The LifeRing Philosophy
Some Similarities and Differences with 12-Step
The Majority of Recoveries Happen Outside AA
Calling for Help on the Front Lines
Voices from the Field
AA Retains Five Per Cent of Those Who Approach It
My Client-Side Perspective

CHAPTER ONE: A PERSON ADDICTED IS A PERSON IN CONFLICT

The Divided Self
The Divided Self is a Clinical Reality
Addictive Substances Hijack the Brain
The Impact on Our Lives
“A” (Addicted Self) Versus “S” (The Sober Self)
A Radical Simplification
In Conflict Lies Hope

CHAPTER TWO: PREPARE YOUR SOBER SELF FOR ACTION

Reinforcing Your Sober Self
Stop Beating Yourself Up
No S is Too Small to Start
Listen For Your Wakeup Call
Motivating Yourself to Start
You’re Not Defective
Why it’s Not Character that Makes Us Addicts
Every Personality Type is Liable to Become Addicted
The Power of Habit
The Power of Self-Conditioning
Different Styles of Breaking the Habit
Develop your choice muscles

CHAPTER THREE: HOW LIFERING WORKS

The LifeRing Meeting
Reinforcing Our Sober Selves
Labels Are Optional
How Was Your Week?
An X-Ray of the Meeting Dynamic
The Neurobiological Dimension
Horizontal Synergy
Feedback and Cross-Talk
Mirror Neurons
The Spiritual Dimension

CHAPTER FOUR: BUILDING A PERSONAL RECOVERY PROGRAM

Why Build a Personal Recovery Program
The Recovery by Choice Workbook
The Nine Work Areas for a Personal Recovery Program
Abstinence, the Common Element in All LifeRing PRPs
Building A PRP on Your Own
The Challenges and Rewards of A PRP
Self-Help and Professional Help

CHAPTER FIVE: ABOUT POWERLESSNESS

Choice or Powerlessness

The Augustinian Doctrine of Alcoholics Anonymous
The Problems of the Zero Power Doctrine
Augustine Won the Battle but Pelagius Won the War
How the Powerlessness Doctrine Drives Out
Newcomers
Walking Away From AA
The First Drink and the Second
Feelings of Powerlessness Lead People to Drink
The 12-Step Gauntlet of Negative Emotions
Powerlessness for Women and Minorities
The Addict Needs To Fight, Not To Surrender

CHAPTER SIX: ABOUT THE DISEASE THEORY OF ALCOHOLISM

The “Medical Business”
Disease as the Hammer to Induce Powerlessness
Enter the Alcohol Industry and Marty Mann
“Disease” Is the Money Word
AA And the Alcohol Industry
A Political but Not a Scientific Triumph
The “Medical Business” Conquers A. A.
The Comparison to Tobacco
Drinking and Public Health
Does The Disease Theory Reduce Social Stigma?
The Disease Concept and Abstinence
The Disease Concept and the Supreme Court
Why Physicians Have Trouble with the Disease Concept
Disease Treatment without Doctors
The Perfect Storm That Made the Treatment System
The Cure for the Disease Model

CHAPTER SEVEN: GENETIC HEADLINES MEET LABORATORY REALITIES

Headline Fantasies v. Laboratory Research
Twin Studies
Molecular Studies
Searching For the Alcoholism Gene
Guarded Generalities
A Genetic Trait That Protects Against Alcoholism
The High Risk of Low Responsiveness
The Dangers of Genetic Fatalism
Genetic Fatalism and Eugenics
Alcoholics Are Not a People Apart

CONCLUSION: RECOVERY AS LIBERATION

An Invitation to LifeRing

NOTES

REFERENCES

A SHORT LIST OF RESOURCES FOR RECOVERY

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

INDEX

Erratum:  Due to a proofreading error, the name of Jean Kirkpatrick, founder of Women for Sobriety, is misspelled in the book.  The publisher and I regret the error. — MN.