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Category Archives: Information

Former Obama Official Offers His View of Recovery

In an appearance in New Zealand, President Obama’s former deputy drug “czar” Tom McLellan made some interesting points about “recovering” addicts. He was quoted at as commenting on the myth that nobody fully recovers from addiction:

“The fact is about half the people who get treatment for serious addiction relapse in the first year. That’s actually the same relapse rate as for other chronic illnesses such as diabetes, asthma or hypertension, and the factors predicting relapse are usually the same – poverty, lack of social support and co-existing mental illness.

He went on to say:

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LifeRing’s ‘E-mail Pal’ Program Reaches Around the World

One of LifeRing’s programs is called “E-mail Pals.” Sometimes we hear from people who don’t have access to one of our face-to-face meetings and don’t feel comfortable taking part in our online groups. They often are taking a tentative first step towards lasting sobriety. “E-mail Pals” connects these people with one of our volunteers to provide one-to-one support, information and friendship by way of e-mail. It can be frustrating for the volunteers because the “tentative first step” often is pulled back rather abruptly, leaving the LifeRing volunteer wondering if they did something wrong. The real problem, of course, is that the addicted person discovers what a challenge it can be to stay clean and sober and retreats, often feeling shame and guilt and not wanting to confront their situation. They’ll try again later, we hope, with a more realistic view of what’s involved. Sometimes, though, the email pal is just what’s needed, as it seems to have been for a young man from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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Marty N., Still A Voice For Sobriety

Former CEO Marty N. is no longer at the head of LifeRing, but that doesn’t mean he’s not still active in promoting sobriety. You can visit his blog at and see what he has to say, perhaps by starting with this recent post about the value of even relatively light exercise in dealing with the cravings that arise so strongly in early recovery, and less often but with surprising urgency later on.

Why We Do What We Do

After spending the morning dealing with the frustrating details (‘whaddaya mean we don’t have the right envelopes!?”) of getting out a mailing to potential LifeRing donors, it was more than heartening to receive a card in the mail from “The Albuquerque Group” with the message, “Dear LifeRing, Thanks for all you do to provide a viable alternative to 12-step recovery” and an added note saying, “I’m grateful for the support LifeRing gave me as I bumbled along in early sobriety (sober nearly 4 years!)” The card was a wonderful reminder of why we do what we do. It made my mad dash to Staples seem totally worth it!