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A LifeRing Keeper: 400 Sober Days

From a member of a LifeRing email group:

I joined LifeRing on December 9th of 2011, it was day 3 for me .

I was miserable! Guilt, shame , self-loathing, remorse and despair had become my constant companions. I felt like I was in a state of perpetual grief; I couldn’t think of one good thing to say about myself.  I was terribly lonely, sad and depressed. I was so desperate to change my life…. the drinking that initially brought me relief a long time ago had now taken over my life and kept me in a constant state of misery.

Those first few months were hard at times….early on, some mornings I woke up feeling physically worse then when I was drinking.  But I have to say that some days were wonderful simply because….I was doing it, I was going to bed sober and waking up with a clear conscience if not a clear head.  I hung in there because the good people of LifeRing kept reminding me that there would be good days as well as bad days. I believed them.

Today is day 400 for me!  That’s 399 days of going to bed sober!

So what is my life like today? My life is not perfect by any means….I still face challenges like everyone does, you know…stuff….

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LifeRing Keeper: The Recovery Process

A recent message in a LifeRing email group included this comment: “40 years of smoking pot and 10 years of drinking heavy have probably scrambled my marbles…..eeeesh…..unhealthy coping skills and unhealthy ways of reacting to sadness have not helped.”

That comment drew this response:

That’s exactly the sort of thing that the whole recovery process can deal with. Pretty much in just the way you’re experiencing: not blocking the emotions with drugs leads to more feelings of sadness, depression and anxiety, which leads to doing something about it — making a series of changes, seeing a therapist, etc. Those steps can be pretty slow to bring benefits, unlike the alcohol and other drugs which acted virtually immediately, but aside from the clear head and better life that sobriety brings, those longer-term, ‘real’ changes improve things on a vastly deeper level. And, after a time, the changes take root and open up a whole new world. Not always a world of “happiness,” but one of hugely more satisfaction. Or at least that was my experience and it sounds like you’re on track for something similar.

Try to remember, when you’re feeling bleak about your future, that you have plenty of time to change EVERYTHING. You’re what … 38? Okay, more like 52. But that’s only about 30 years of living as an adult, and your life expectancy is, now that you’re getting all healthy and everything, well into the 80’s. So you’re only half-way through your adult life! Anything can happen (and probably will!).

A LifeRing Keeper: Building a Plan for Sobriety

A member of one of the LifeRing email groups asked for examples of a “plan” for staying sober, since LifeRing places the responsibility for building a plan or program on each of us as we each develop our own approach to getting and staying clean and sober. This is a reply that explains very well what we mean by a “plan”:

About a plan…..I’ll share a bit about mine and try to give you some ideas of what you can do to empower your sober self.

In the past when I quit for 5-6 months I did it without any support. Eventually  I would literally forget why I quit to begin with, I would start feeling better and convince myself I could control or moderate my drinking…NOT.

I knew if I was going to succeed this time I had to do something different and for me that meant reaching out for support (amongst other things)

First and foremost I quickly made my sobriety the number one priority in my life, nothing or no one comes before it.

Educate yourself about addictions, you can surf the internet or read books. 

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Report on the 2012 LifeRing Congress

As part of our Annual Meeting, LifeRing holds its yearly Congress where certain organizational matters are dealt with by official delegates. Delegates include current embers of the board and current Regional Representatives, plus elected representatives of each open LifeRing meeting, face-to-face or online. The Congress hears reports from each of the delegates about the state of their meetings, and has the power to amend the bylaws and to elect new members of the board, as well as to adopt motions and resolutions on other matters. The powers of the Congress are superior to the powers of the board and officers. During the meeting, officers give reports giving their comments as one year comes to an end and another begins.

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LifeRing Annual Meeting Was a Big Success

The 2012 LifeRing Annual Meeting was held May 11. 12 and 13 in San Francisco and came off very smoothly. Attendance was not overwhelming, but those who came both contributed to the meeting’s success and benefited from it.

The meeting, held primarily at the very comfortable San Francisco LGBT Center, featured it’s usual mix of organizational work, informative talks by prominent researchers and experts, and a generous amount of warm interaction among the participants.

Friday’s sessions focused on how best to strengthen the LifeRing organization as a whole, with particular attention on the board of directors and its ongoing efforts to both grow and strengthen LifeRing’s work in reaching out to make our system of support available to all. In one session, the directors met with an experienced non-profit consultant to explore how best to move forward. In another, the board members and others met with three Ph.D. researchers to discuss possibilities for research. That session included a fascinating interaction by the researchers about their different approaches to addiction studies.

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