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Calling For Stories of Secular Recovery

Call for Submissions: Stories of Secular Recovery
Recovery stories provide evidence that freedom from addiction is possible. In early 2016, LifeRing Secular Recovery plans to publish a collection of recovery stories that have been shaped by secular tools, practices, and concepts. If you are in recovery from addiction to alcohol or other drugs, and your recovery is supported in a secular way, LifeRing Press wants to hear from you.
We hope our volume will represent many kinds of personal experiences and viewpoints with stories authored by a wide variety of individuals who are in recovery from alcohol or any other addictive drug.  We seek stories from all members of the secular recovery community — a community we know is filled with interesting people of diverse backgrounds and circumstances. We hope our volume will represent both a variety of secular recovery experiences and the diversity of the secular recovery community.  And we hope our volume will provide both evidence and inspiration that it is, indeed, possible to achieve and maintain sobriety using secular tools, practices, and concepts.
While the traditional structure of conflict (the struggle between our addicted and sober selves), crisis and turning point (what made us decide to seek freedom from addiction), and resolution (living in recovery) fits most recovery stories, we also seek stories with innovative structures.  In short, we want real stories of real recoveries, and encourage you to share your story, warts and all, with authenticity, passion, and a sense that your story has the possibility to change lives.
·               What was it that finally made you decide to get clean and sober?
·               Can you describe the kind of decision-making process you went through?
·               What tools, practices, and concepts helped you achieve sobriety?
·               Do you still use those same tools, or have they evolved or changed over time?
·               What gives meaning to your life in recovery?
Whether you achieved sobriety on your own or through your participation in secular recovery organizations like LifeRing, SMART Recovery, AA Agnostica, or Women for Sobriety, your story of secular recovery is important. We look forward to hearing from you. Please read our submission guidelines carefully, and feel free to contact us with any questions.
Submission Guidelines:
All submissions must include a cover sheet with the title of the piece; the author’s name, address, telephone number, and email address; and a brief bio of the author. 
Please use 12-point type (Arial or Times New Roman preferred).  Traditional essay or story entries should be double spaced; poetry should be single spaced. Pages should be sequentially numbered, with the title of the piece but no other identifying information about the author; this will ensure unbiased review by our panel of readers.  We encourage submissions of poetry; micro-essays (no more than 1,000 words); essays (1,000-2,500 words) and longer works (5,000 word maximum).
Entries selected for publication are subject to editing; the LifeRing Press editors will work with authors on the final edits and ensure that the author’s name appears as you wish in the final publication.
We prefer electronic submission of your entry, and that it be in one of the following file formats: .doc, .docx, .pdf or .pages.  You will receive an email confirming receipt of your entry.
All submissions must be previously unpublished work; all rights for future publication of selected entries will be held by LifeRing Press. Authors of stories selected for publication in this volume will receive a free copy of the book; no other payment will be made.
To submit your work electronically, please email it to:
If you must submit your work by postal service, please mail it to:  LifeRing Service Center, 1440 Broadway, Suite 400, Oakland, CA 94612. 
If you have questions about the volume, the submission guidelines, or submitting a story for publication, please email Kathleen at
Submission deadline: July 1, 2015  Entries received after this date cannot be considered for publication.

Ingenious Little Cartoon on a Sunday…

Hey Everyone,

Another LifeRing participant passed this ingenious little cartoon depicting a poor little kiwi succumbing to addiction to me, so in turn I thought I’d pass it along to all of you. It feels fairly reminiscent of my experience with alcoholism, so if you have an extra 5 minutes to check it out, it’s definitely worth your time:

“Nuggets” by Andreas Hykade

As those of us in the U.S. gear up for the holiday season onslaught (more about that next week), I hope you’re all having a peaceful and sober Sunday!


Keeper of the Month – November

Lifering’s e-mail groups are active, thriving communities of people who use them as strong sources of sobriety support, and many members often post remarkably written sources of inspiration, hope and encouragement that many other group members call “Keepers” – posts that they save for themselves so they can go back and look at them as often as they like.

We here at LifeRing like sharing these posts, with the authors’ permission, on our Blog so that everyone can enjoy them as much as our group members do.

Recovery Is A Process


This month’s Keeper is contributed by list member Scot S., who came to understand that recovery doesn’t ‘just happen’ to any of us:

I believe strongly that we each need to find our own path, that there is no magic that is going to work for everyone, and that what works for one person may not work for another. But I also believe that we can glean helpful ideas, motivation, support and inspiration from others, which is the essential purpose of the LSRSafe list as I understand it. That being said, there is one thing that I believe each and every successful person in the sobriety journey, or any journey, has in common:

And that is persistence. To never stop trying. To get up when you fail and start again. And then after some sober days, failure starts to turn into disappointment. And then more sober days, and then disappointment is replaced by a mistake, and then a mistake is replaced by a lesson, and then one day you start to reflect on why your drinking rather than the fact that your drinking. And you analyze why. And then you realize that rather than feeling sorry for yourself and saying why me, and getting down on yourself, that it is you yourself that is causing the problems and that you yourself are responsible for the state of your life and all the undesirable things that are happening to you. And then you accept that the one thing you can control, and the one thing that is the underlying root cause of most all your problems, is drinking. And then you realize that you no longer WANT to drink again, rather than thinking that you can’t, and you start to focus on all the positive elements of sobriety. And then you smile. And then you say to yourself – I get it. I’m done.

For me, this process has taken years. I first wrote this post roughly 1 ½ years ago, and promptly relapsed a month later, and it is only within the last couple months that I again found myself in the same mindset. So, clearly, I do not claim to have all the answers. Yet, as painful, frustrating, discouraging and hard as it has been, I never quit trying. And I kept building up sober days, even though there were not long stretches of time where I was totally sober. And because of that my depression started to leave, my clarity returned. My motivation and energy increased, and I let myself believe, truly believe, that I could do it and that I wanted to do it – to never drink again, no matter what. There were many other sub-components, such as the LSRSafe list, books (both on recovery and cognitive behavior), spiritual growth, exercise, friends and family, changes in lifestyle, my penny jar, meditation, self therapy, change in career, making my sobriety a priority, etc., but I credit my persistence and building those sober days as the number one factor for my success.

I am so incredibly thankful for my sobriety and all the wonderful things that come with sobriety. There are no benefits to drinking – it is all an illusion. Conversely, the benefits to sobriety are endless.


Loneliness vs aloneness

Especially early in sobriety, people may struggle with personal relationships.

Marriages or other long-term relationships may seem more fragile, whether due to raw emotions from early sobriety, or a relationship in which both partners had been drinking or using, and only one is now trying to quit.

While I don’t believe in a hard and fast rule, preached elsewhere, about making no major life changes in one’s first year of sobriety, there is some general value to the spirit of that as an idea.

So, that leaves dealing with loneliness, either from a relationship gone astray, or not having one.

Well, it means dealing with what is perceived as loneliness. And, that can include — and should include, as I see it — learning the difference between “loneliness” and “aloneness.”

We are all going to be alone at times in our life.

We’re also going to feel lonely at times in our life even when in the midst of a host of other people. Related to that, we may also feel alone, but yet not lonely, in the midst of one of those hordes.

Read more ...

Keeper of the Month – October

Lifering’s e-mail groups are active, thriving communities of people who use them as strong sources of sobriety support, and many members often post remarkably written sources of inspiration, hope and encouragement that many other group members call “Keepers” – posts that they save for themselves so they can go back and look at them as often as they like.

We here at LifeRing like sharing these posts, with the authors’ permission, on our Blog so that everyone can enjoy them as much as our group members do.

Goethe Quote

This month’s Keeper is contributed by group member Chris E., who has found important new ways to cope with stress:

It’s the end of my work week, it was very challenging. Working in an ER environment there is consistent emergencies all day but this week several things went wrong, myself and my co-workers were really affected. Transitioning into the weekend has been a major point of relapse, there’s yelling, fighting police radios and blood at work and then I come home to quiet but my head is still full.

Meditation is a very helpful tool, followed by dogs, followed by food, a good book and a good sleep. Alcohol is a false promise, drinking after work just gets me drunk, screws up my sleep, gets me dehydrated, hung over and depressed. I’m going to continue to reinforce these facts so every Thursday I can look at this transition as something that I know exactly how to handle. There is nothing like going to bed sober and walking up without a hangover.