Giving Back - Become a Convenor
What is a convenor? A convenor is a person in recovery from substance addiction, you need at least six months of continuous sobriety and be familiar with LifeRing's ”3-S” philosophy of Sobriety, Secularity, and Self-Help. A convenor is in charge of the weekly face-to-face or online meeting and acts as a peer with others in recovery. If you want to start your own meeting or help out with an existing meeting, you are about to become a convenor.
When you have made a solid start on your recovery from drinking/drugging, you will probably find that you can see more clearly where you have come from and where you are going. You may see that the support you have received from your LifeRing meetings has profoundly changed your life for the better. It is normal for people at this point to feel grateful and to look for a way to give something back.
You can, of course, give money. LifeRing operates on a shoestring and donations to the Service Center are always needed and welcome. But you can also give something more precious than money: your time and your abilities.
The word convenor means “people who bring people together.” When you start, facilitate, or support a LifeRing meeting, the essence of your effort is to bring people together in recovery. LifeRing convenors are the vital connectors at the centers of the LifeRing support network. LifeRing convenors are ordinary people in recovery, but they are also very special. Give something back to the LifeRing community. Become a convenor. Start a LifeRing meeting or help other convenors as co-convenors
Questions and Answers about Convening
Who can be a LifeRing convenor?
Anyone with a personal history of recovery from addictive substances who has at least six months of continuous clean and sober time can be a LifeRing convenor. In some situations, people become convenors earlier. Occasionally, treatment professionals with no personal recovery history start LifeRing meetings, but the aim is to turn the meeting over to a person in recovery as soon as possible.
Do I have to take a test to be a convenor?
No. It is useful for convenors to be familiar with LifeRing literature — particularly How Was Your Week?, The Convenor’s Handbook — but no exam is required. Convenors are peers in recovery. They are not treatment professionals and do not need a license or certificate. However, being a convenor can be very educational. Some veteran LifeRing convenors could probably teach classes in addiction recovery, based on their personal experience and readings. High among the qualities that make a good convenor is being a good listener, being modest, and having a positive outlook.
What kinds of things do convenors do?
Convenors make connections among people in recovery, between recovering people and relevant publics, and with other convenors. Here are some examples:
- Convenor of Face-to-Face meetings finds suitable meeting rooms, set up the room and provide LifeRing literature, organize the box of meeting supplies, welcome people as they come in, invite someone to read the opening statement, get the conversation started, keep people on the topic, if necessary, move things along, take care of signup sheets, pass the basket, and lead the applause at the closing.
- Convenors of online meetings host video or chat meetings, act as listmeisters or moderators of email lists and bulletin boards. They contribute to the LifeRing web sites.
- Convenors get the word out. Convenors make contact with treatment professionals and other referral sources. They make sure that flyers and schedules are posted and available wherever people might need them. They speak to recovery audiences, classrooms, and the general public about the LifeRing approach. Convenors talk to the press and appear on radio and TV if invited.
- Convenors connect with other convenors. They stay in contact with the LifeRing Service Center. They attend convenor workshops where available. They participate in convenor email lists and read and discuss convenor literature. Convenors help prepare for the annual LifeRing Congress and may be Congress Delegates. Convenors may become members of the LifeRing Board of Directors and/or officers of LifeRing Inc.
- Convenors may act as writers, editors, publicists, accountants, fundraisers, administrators, or do other useful work not directly connected with a particular meeting. Any role that brings people together in recovery the LifeRing way, directly or indirectly, is a LifeRing convenor role.
What resources exist for convenors?
The mission of the LifeRing Service Center is to “Serve the Meetings.” The LifeRing Service Center is a primary resource for LifeRing convenors. From a friendly ear to a range of material supplies, the volunteers at the Service Center can help you get a new meeting off the ground or grow one that exists.
Among other resources, the Service Center can:
- Send you a Meeting Starter Kit with all the essential literature and supplies to get going.
- For online meetings, the Service Center can provide you with a Zoom connection for your online meeting.
- Send you a LifeRing meeting charter.
- Get you started on the LifeRing convenor email lists.
- Post your meeting on the www.lifering.org website and keep your listing updated as you provide new information.
- Keep you posted about events and publications of interest to LifeRing convenors.
What are the rewards of being a convenor?
The convenor’s main reward is the satisfaction of being useful in other people’s recovery. For many, the convenor role also solidifies their own recovery and gives them a much deeper insight into life. For a person whose past life may have been isolated and centered on drugs or alcohol, the experience of being a LifeRing convenor is like living in a whole new world. Convenors are connected. Convenors matter. Convenors are midwives to seeming miracles of healing and recovery. Convenors can hold up their heads and look people in the eye. Convenors become walking storehouses of collected wisdom. Convenors earn appreciation and respect.