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Bringing people together in recovery the LifeRing Way

A Convenor’s Handbook

How was your week? is the starter topic for most LifeRing meetings — an invitation to report on the person’s recovery work since the last meeting, and look forward to the challenges of the coming week.  This book describes the deeper healing processes that are at work beneath the surface of this simple format and empowers the meeting facilitator to set these forces in motion and keep them on track.

How Was Your Week? is a handbook for the core members of the LifeRing network: the people who start and lead LifeRing meetings, or perform other services that keep the organization humming.  To “convene” means to bring people together.   Bringing people together in recovery the LifeRing way is what LifeRing meeting facilitators do, which is why they are known in the organization as “convenors.”

The book covers the basic model of the LifeRing recovery process: the division of the addicted mind into an addict self (A) and a sober self (S).  It outlines the fundamental process at work in LifeRing meetings: empowerment of the sober self.  It explains the proper role of the convenor in facilitating this process. It looks at the dynamics at work in the meeting room.   It discusses common issues and problems that may arise and suggests methods of handling them.  The work also looks at the nuts and bolts of the meeting framework, such as door signs, signup sheets, passing the basket, and distributing literature. There is a chapter on the LifeRing process online in chat rooms and other web venues, and a chapter on the annual LifeRing Congress.

Discussion of the basic philosophy of LifeRing — the three S — is a major portion of the book. Chapters on Sobriety (Abstinence), Secularity, and Self-Help offer the deepest and most detailed analysis of these foundations in print.  A separate chapter introduces the basics of building a personal recovery program.  Although aimed primarily at the convenor, the book is accessible to anyone who wants a deeper understanding of what LifeRing is about.

A major chapter (Ch. 15) outlines the work involved in starting a new LifeRing meeting. Everything is covered here from the initial contacts to the final successful passing of the baton. This chapter is the indispensable guide for the pioneers who establish a LifeRing presence in new territory.

An excerpt from the book, consisting of the first two chapters plus Table of Contents and Index, is available for free download on this website at Selections from HWYW in pdf format.

To purchase How Was Your Week? online, please go to the LifeRing Bookstore.  Originally published in 2003, How Was Your Week? is now in its second edition (2015). This edition is updated, expanded, easier to read, and professionally printed and bound with a handsome full-color cover.




  1. Mark on May 14, 2018 at 8:39 pm

    I am.currently a counselor at a treatment center and am trying to introduce new types of meetings. I am almost 5 years in recovery myself. I came across your website and an very interested. How can i get a meeting started?
    Thank You,

    • Craig Whalley on May 15, 2018 at 9:01 am

      I’ll send you an email with some details about starting a LifeRing meeting.
      — Craig W.

  2. Andrew Ricciardi on October 27, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    I want to start Lifering meetings. Someone gave me the book, Empowering the Sober Self. I loved it. I loved the theories and philosophies. I went on the website to see if there were any meetings in South Jersey/Philadelphia area. There isn’t. I want to start the meetings in my area, but couldn’t find the materials online for free and I don’t have means to purchase the other 2 books. Is there anyway I can get these online? Thanks. God Bless everyone.

    • Craig Whalley on October 28, 2017 at 12:56 pm

      I’m on a bus at the moment and my internet connection is tenuous. I’ll be in touch with you this weekend to tell you what we can do to help you. Thanks already for even thinking of starting a new LifeRing meeting.
      –Craig W.

  3. Jim West on January 22, 2016 at 12:24 pm


    I have been looking to start a secular meeting to help people who are addicted and who have friends or relatives who have progressed to or are afraid of having their habit become unmanageable and who do not believe in a higher power. I live in a fairly remote area in Hawaii where traditional support groups are sparsely filled with long-sober, long-winded members and rarely filled with one or two new members who don’t last long. I would like to change that situation.

    Recently, I have have been repelled by the increasingly aggressive religious proselytizing that is going on in the available group meetings in this and other areas. Far too many people have reached out for help or have been mandated to attend these deceptive meetings against their will. The only way I stayed sober was to ignore the numerous insults and lies and bask in the positive moral support. If there had been a secular, honest support group years ago, I might have never gotten out of control and suicidal.

    So far, I have been unable to find and download a free version of “How Was Your Week?” If there is a start-up package for new groups, I would like to know about it.

    Thank you,
    Jim in Hawaii

    • Craig W on January 23, 2016 at 5:54 pm

      I got a note today from Robert at the Service Center to send you a Starter Kit — it’ll go out next week.