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Tag Archives: keepers


When this new website replaced the old home, there were some parts of the old site that didn’t make the transfer to the new one. The transfer process involved some labor-intensive re-formatting and some of the less-visited pages were left behind.

Now, one of those sections — Keepers — has been added back to the new site due to the tireless efforts of long-time LifeRing member Alceon. Those pages can be accessed through a link on the right side under Categories, or just click here.

“Keepers: Voices of Secular Recovery” is a published collection of some of the most memorable and helpful messages posted on the on-line e-mail group LSRmail in the 1990’s. Edited and with an introduction by Martin Nicolaus, only a few copies of the book are still available through LifeRing Press. Alceon has selected the best of the best to preserve on this website. She will be making a similar effort to move both the Poetry and the Food and Beverage sections to the new site.


Keepers: Voices of Secular Recovery

edited and with an introduction by Marty Nicolaus
From LifeRing Press

Keepers is a selection of more than 120 short items culled from among the best postings by members of the LifeRing email list during 1996 – 1999. A small number of copies of the book are still available at LifeRing Press but the supply is limited and the book is not scheduled for reprint — so grab your copy fast!

Selections found here are a brief sampling from the book and were all posted by permission of the authors.

To get on the email list, send a request to Tom Shelley at


Well, it doesn’t “work”…people work.

By Rick B.

Rick eloquently and accurately  explains to a newbie what LifeRing is, and what it IS NOT.  “LifeRing is not a pill, or a magic spell, or a secret formula.  LifeRing is
simply an organization of people who share a common goal – sobriety,  and who share some common basic beliefs about how sobriety may be achieved and maintained.”


I know that embarrassment and frustration very well.  I know the hopeless feeling of continuing to drink after I’d sworn I had to stop, and the fear that my drinking was something beyond my ability to arrest.

Now I know that there was nothing to fear, that sobriety really is achievable, that I don’t have to drink.  You will know these things too.

LifeRing is not a pill, or a magic spell, or a secret formula.  LifeRing is simply an organization of people who share a common goal – sobriety, and who share some common basic beliefs about how sobriety may be achieved and maintained.  We come together any way we can to talk about how our lives are going, what successes or failures we’ve experienced, what works and what doesn’t for us.  We care about each other.  We care about you, Jimmy, you’re here, you’re one of us.

One of the things we believe is that sobriety is completely the responsibility of the individual who wants it.  No Higher Power, no other person, no group or book or slogan can “confer” sobriety on anyone.  Breaking an addiction to booze is hard work, particularly at the beginning.  Nobody can do that hard work for you.  What a group of people can do is share suggestions, moral support, encouragement, and ideas.  What a group of people can’t do is put the bottle down for you.

There’s nothing mysterious about stopping addictive drinking.  People have been doing it for centuries.  Countless books are available which detail what you can expect in terms of physical withdrawal symptoms, the effects of alcohol on your body and your mind, the healing process, and the roles of nutrition, exercise and other life issues in recovery.  LifeRing has available a terrific workbook, “Recovery by Choice”, which many of us have found very useful.  I find reading to be central to my recovery.

So, how can you stop drinking?  My opinion, there are just a few necessary conditions: You must be willing;  You must believe it’s possible;  You must believe it’s what’s you must do for yourself; You must learn what to expect to feel and experience when you quit, or else you’ll likely be discouraged by the discomfort and get drunk;  You must stop choosing to drink…no matter what.

Others will prescribe a different formula.  None of us knows the answer for anyone other than ourselves.  I can tell you what works for me, there’s no guarantee it’ll work for you.  It’s up to you to get started finding out what works for you.  It starts with doing something, anything, other than picking up a drink.  Your head will clear, your thinking will become rational, your body will begin to heal.  If you drink, you start over.

Sobriety can be difficult to achieve.  It gets easier to maintain with practice.  It becomes a way of life, a habit, an attitude.  It’s worth whatever effort is required to get it and keep it.  Sobriety is not likely to result from simply trying to not drink and waiting to see what happens.  Success comes from action an effort, from intentionally taking responsibility and directing your own life.

So, how does LifeRing work?  Well, it doesn’t “work”…people work.  LifeRing is a community of people bound by a common belief in the free will of every human being.  We are not powerless…quite the contrary.  The only thing in the universe that can get Jimmy sober and keep him that way is Jimmy.  LifeRing is a place to find folks who’ve done it, folks who’re trying to do it, folks who want to do it.

Tell us about you, Jimmy…your life, your work, your family, yourself.  Let us get to know you a bit.  And take it easy, you can do this if you want to, but it’ll take some time and maybe a few tries to get a good solid start…you’ll figure it out.  We’ll do all we can to help you find your way.


Posted 01/07/03

Larry and Alvin Discuss Drinking

by Tim in Toronto

The scene: A party.

Our cast of characters:

Larry: Somebody who used to drink too much
Alvin: Somebody who enjoys the occasional snifter of brandy

And now, Larry and Alvin discuss drinking…

9:00 PM

Alvin: Care for a drink?

Larry: No, thanks.

Alvin: You don’t drink?

Larry: Nope.

Alvin: Why not?

Larry: I don’t like the taste.

Alvin: I’ll mix in some orange juice and you won’t taste the alcohol.

Larry: Then what’s the point?

Alvin: Uhh…

9:10 PM

Alvin: Here, I made you a Bloody Mary. Lots of tomato juice and only a

little bit of vodka.

Larry: I told you, I don’t drink.

Alvin: But it’s hardly got any vodka in it at all!

Larry: I told you, I don’t drink.

Alvin: Don’t you like to party?

Larry: I’m here, aren’t I?

Alvin: Well, here, I’ll just leave it on the table for you.

Larry: Somebody might knock it over.  Can you take it into the kitchen?

Alvin: But I made it for you!

Larry: I told you, I don’t drink.

Alvin: All right, all right.


Alvin: I’m having a Manhattan.  You know what’s in a Manhattan?

Larry: No.

Alvin: Taste it and see if you can guess.

Larry: Do you have any cola left?

Alvin: Oh, I can make you a rum and cola!

Larry: No, I just want a cola.

Alvin: Don’t you want a drink?

Larry: I don’t drink.

Alvin: Not even water? Heh.

Larry: Do you have any mineral water?

Alvin: How about a beer?  That’s not really like drinking.

Larry: Thanks, but no.  I don’t drink alcohol.

Alvin: Gotta go freshen my Manhattan.  Speak to you in a bit.

9:30 PM

Alvin: So … you don’t drink, eh?

Larry: Nope.

Alvin: What’s up with that?

Larry: I don’t eat veal either.

Alvin: Huh?

Larry: Well, if I didn’t eat meat, would you keep trying to give me

a steak?

Alvin: Ha ha.  This is different.

Larry: In what way?

Alvin: This is a party!  You gotta drink at a party!

Larry: Hey, I’m having a good time!  Good crowd here, tonight.

We were just discussing last night’s —

Alvin: So you don’t want a drink, then?

Larry: No, it’s okay.

Alvin: Why?

Larry: I don’t like the way it makes me feel.

Alvin: Oh, you mean the hangovers!  So just have one little drink!

Larry: I’m fine, thanks.

Alvin: Okay, okay, I can take a hint. Geez.

9:40 PM

Alvin: So, why is it, I mean, why is it you don’t drink?

Larry: I partied hearty when I was younger.  I’ve turned over

a new leaf.

Alvin: So now you’re a monk, is that it?

Larry: No, it’s just a personal decision.

Alvin: Why not have a drink and relax a little?

Larry: Nah, that would take the edge off.

Alvin: That’s the whole point!  Take the edge off.  Relax.

Larry: I like to keep sharp.  Got any coffee?

Alvin: Irish coffee!  Now there’s a good idea!

Larry: No, just plain coffee.

Alvin: I’ll go have a look.

9:50 PM

Alvin: Here’s your coffee.

Larry: [sniffs cautiously]  Is this just coffee?

Alvin: Well, no.  I mean … yes!

Larry: Really?

Alvin: Well, just about.

Larry: What’s in it?

Alvin: A bit of whisky.  Just a few drops for flavor.  The

heat of the coffee probably evacor— evaporated

all the alcohol anyway.

Larry: Alvin, I really don’t want any alcohol.

Alvin: Oh, I see.  So you’re better than everybody else.

Larry: Hardly.  I just choose not to drink.

Alvin: I don’t get people like you.

10:00 PM

Alvin: Hey, Larry, you gotta check out this 25-year-old Scotch!

Larry: Good, is it?

Alvin: Itsh amazing!  Smooooth as silk!

Larry: Three cheers for Scotland, then!

Alvin: Here, I’ll pour you a bit so you can see for yourself.

Larry: I’ll take your word for it.

Alvin: Oh, yeah, you’re the guy who won’t take a drink.

Larry: I guess so!

Alvin: So what’s with that? You an alkie or something?

Larry: People who don’t drink are alcoholics?

Alvin: Well, why else wouldn’t you drink?

Larry: Just a personal decision.  Good health and all that.

Alvin: I read somewhere that wine is good for you.  It clears

up the blood or something like that. Want some wine?

Larry: No, thanks.

Alvin: Back in a sec.

10:15 PM

Alvin: Dang, they’re outta that great Scotch.  Gotta make do with

this crap cheap stuff.

Larry: We were just discussing last night’s —

Alvin: This stuff’s okay, I guess.  I can’t really taste the


Larry: That’s good.

Alvin: I’ll bet you couldn’t tell the difference.

Larry: Probably not.

Alvin: I’ll bet you ten dollars you can’t.

Larry: You’d win that bet.

Alvin: Umm. Bet you ten dollars you can tell the diff’rence!

Larry: I guess we’ll never know, since they’re out of the good stuff.

Alvin: What?  Oh.  You’re messing with my mind.

Larry: Sorry.

Alvin: Whatsh with you holy rollers, anyhow?  I tell ya, itsh

people like this who make us normal people … [wanders off]

10:45 PM

Alvin: What’re you looking at?

Larry: Excuse me?

Alvin: Sorry, man.  I mean, whatsh on the TV?

Larry: We’re watching the game.

Alvin: Letsh toasht team!

Larry: I beg your pardon?

Alvin: I said … let’s … toast … the … team.

Larry: [raises glass of cola]  To the team!

Alvin: Why’s the TV all blurry?

11:00 PM

Larry: Well, Alvin, it’s been an enjoyable evening. I’ve got to

get going, now.

Alvin: Wha’?

Larry: I’m heading out.  Thanks for everything.

Alvin: One for the road?

Larry: That wouldn’t be a good idea.

Alvin: You can take a buszh.  A buff.  A taxi!

Larry: I’d rather take my car.

Alvin: Let me getcher coat.

Larry: I’m wearing it.

Alvin: Stand shtill and lemmee get your hat.  Gotta have a hat.

Larry: I’ve got to go now.  Bye, Alvin.

Alvin: Don’t wear a hat?  Whatsh with people like you?

Larry: I didn’t bring a hat.

Alvin: You think I’m an alco’lic, dontcha?

Larry: An alcoholic?  That’s not for me to say.

Alvin: I notchyanno.

Larry: Excuse me?

Alvin: I’m … not … you … know.

Larry: Good to hear that.  See you at the office tomorrow.

Alvin: You mean this isn’t Friday?

Defined by words or action?

by Dan in Canada

“C’mon Dan. There is a holiday gathering at the pub tonight after work.
Let’s go get a beer.”

“No, but thank you for asking.”

“You do not drink, do you, Dan?”

“No. I just choose to not do that.”

“Dan, are you an alcoholic?”

“Because I choose to not drink, I must be an alcoholic?”

“Sure… Everybody but an alcoholic drinks once in a while!”

Dan logically counters, “If you believe that then it follows from the same
logic that because I do not occasionally kill someone, I am a mass murderer,

“Well, uhhhhh….”

The discussion ends and Dan goes away with a knowing smile that somehow
looks more like a smirk…

Posted 11/26/02