At most LifeRing meetings, people sit in a circle. The meeting is small enough so that everyone can participate. After a short opening statement, the meeting facilitator (we call them “convenors”) asks “How was your week?” People take turns talking about what has been going on in their re­coveries since the last meeting, and what lies ahead for them in the coming week. The focus will be on current events in the participants’ lives.

You are not required to label yourself as an “alcoholic” or “addict” to participate. A desire to be clean and sober is the only requirement for being there. You need to be clean and sober at the time of the meeting in order to speak.

LifeRing meetings encourage questions, comments, and other feedback throughout the hour. If you have a question, feel free to ask the person right then. If you have something to say, say it while it’s fresh in your mind. As people become comfortable with one another, the meeting atmosphere becomes like a living room filled with sober friends having a relaxed, free conversation. Laughter is a common ingredient.

There are some limits. Please, no extended “war stories” about your drinking/using past. No attack therapy or confrontation. Please avoid giving unsolicited advice. No religion or politics. No trashing of other recovery approaches. Keep it civil and keep it positive.

Meetings usually end with a mutual round of applause for staying clean and sober.

Meetings are confidential. You may disclose to your friends that you participated, but you may not disclose who else was present or what they said.

Participation is free. A basket may be passed to defray ex­penses, but contributions are voluntary. The convenor will sign your attendance sheet on request. Most courts and most treatment programs credit LifeRing attendance on a par with other support groups.

Face to face meetings are listed at www.lifering.org/find-a-meeting/

Study meetings where people work the Recovery by Choice workbook together may also be available in your area. Ask the convenor or check the schedule with the Service Center.

LifeRing offers a wide array of online support options, including Online Meetings and Chat, Ning-a social network, email lists, and Delphi Forum.

The meeting convenor is a person in recovery like yourself. No professional training is required. If you stay clean and sober and want to be useful to others doing the same, in a few months you could become a LifeRing meeting convenor yourself.

For more details about the meeting format, read How Was Your Week?, the LifeRing convenor’s handbook, and the popular introduction, Empowering Your Sober Self, both available here in the online bookstore.