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2014 LifeRing Conference Video

Below is a link to a fantastic video compilation highlighting the 2014 LifeRing Conference held earlier this year in Santa Rosa, California (as Craig Whalley discussed here on the Blog in June).

Here’s Byron Kerr, one of the Conference’s main organizers, on the genesis of the video and help from others in getting it, and the Conference, off the ground:

The entire 2014 LifeRing Conference in Santa Rosa was a team effort. 
Starting with David DeNeef (now deceased) who suggested, “we can do it,” to all of the convenors, and many of the regular participants, the whole Sonoma County LifeRing community deserves credit. 
The video project was spearheaded by Sean Johnsen. Sean is a former convenor from Santa Rosa. The week of the conference Sean moved to Chicago but promised to continue helping with the video project. He came through with flying colors. I sent Sean the raw material and Sean put the video together. We edited until we achieved something we could both be proud of.
I’m proud of the project, but I’m mostly proud of the Sonoma County LifeRing community and their coming together to make the entire conference a success.
In addition to this video, please also check out LifeRing’s YouTube channel here:

The Word About LifeRing Spreading

Here is a link to an article written by Anne Fletcher which features recovery alternatives to AA, LifeRing rating a great mention:

Some of you may be familiar with Fletcher from her two outstanding books about addiction and recovery, “Sober For Good: New Solutions for Drinking Problems – Advice From Those Who Have Succeeded” (which will be an included title on our pending “Books” page) and “Inside Rehab: The Surprising Truth About Addiction Treatment – And How To Get Help That Works” (anyone read that one? If so…any thoughts?). She writes about addiction and recovery at fairly frequently, it seems, so it might be a page to bookmark to catch future articles if you’re so inclined.

In the meantime, TGIF everyone! 

Friday Better-days-are-coming

Keeper of the Month – August

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.


For many of us, myself included, the process getting and staying clean and sober takes several tries, sometimes over a long period of time, and one tends to be of two minds about their drug of choice before and during this period. It can be a frustrating and infuriating cycle, but it can’t be glossed over or ignored, both because it’s the reality of living with addiction and because it’s part of the process of becoming free from it. 

This month’s post, from a discussion about this vicious cycle, is from group member Ewa C., who is now sober:


I go through these things too…perfectly fine until for some reason i go on a rampage…with days lost from work, the shakes, feeling suicidal, unable to think clearly…Although this has been happening much less frequently.

Aside from that I am often just a so-called “functional alcoholic”…low key, just a couple of drinks at the end of a prolonged and stressful day… which is every day in my line of work.

And I know that is not an excuse. I don’t drink because i’m stressed I drink cuz I think I still love it, and after I’ve had a drink or two I’m so bored with it that I drink the rest just cuz I’m bored and want to go to sleep.

Go figure.

I am sick of this as i can see you are… I’ve been trying for YEARS to get right and still here I am, negotiating with my alcoholic self vs. my real self who is quite a nice woman.

In The Aftermath

One of the things that has come to the fore in the wake of Robin Williams’s suicide is an open, wide-ranging discussion all across the interwebs of mental illness in general and depression in particular, much of which has been profound and thought-provoking.

Although Williams’s wife released a statement yesterday assuring the public of her husband’s sobriety, along with the previously undisclosed revelation that he’d also been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, shed a little new light on what may have led to his untimely demise, it’s my personal hope that if anything good can come from the overwhelming sense of trying to understand what he was going through, it’s that it may lead to breakthroughs in our perceptions of depression moving forward.

With that in mind, here are some links to an article and two blog posts I was alerted to in the past few days that I thought might interest you, as well:

  • First and foremost, those of you with access to The Disney Channel might want to know that they’ll be running “Aladdin” at various times throughout this weekend. Given that it’s always been not only one of my favorite Disney cartoons but Robin Williams performances, I’ll definitely be firing up the DVR and watching it again soon myself. See the info. about times/listings here.
  • Annabelle Giles, a British celebrity I was heretofore completely unaware of, has written incredibly apt descriptions of what it’s like to be depressed, and what friends and family can do to help their depressed loved ones, on her personal blog – see it here.
  • In a post which reflects something closest to my own experience, Marc Lewis writes what he sees in Williams’s struggles with addiction and depression on his blog, Memoirs of an Addicted Brain, here.

Finally, all of this will be further discussed in the third and final installment in my series of personal posts, “Bodies in Motion”, coming next week. In the meantime, I wish a peaceful weekend to us all.



O Captain, My Captain

A lot has already been said, discussed, and written about Robin Williams’ addictions, depression and death, and a lot more will be, no doubt.

Me? For many people of my generation, it’s so terribly strange to realize that such an integral fixture, who we’d come to depend on for glimpses and vignettes of genius the way we depend on air,  has gone away from us, and in the saddest, loneliest way possible. My heart aches for what his pain led him to, and now for his family, friends, and co-workers and peers in their grief and loss.

And since I heard about his passing yesterday afternoon, I’ve thought an awful lot about depression and what it means to get to a place inside where the strongest instinct a human being has – the will to survive – becomes overridden by a desperate need to end their life, and I’ll have some more to say about that in time, too. 

But…right now? I don’t want to ever forget Mindy finding Mork inside the egg-shaped spacepod from Ork crashed on her front lawn, and then, after they’d moved in together and fallen in love, when Mork gave birth to Jonathan Winters – Williams’ comedic inspiration from his childhood – their bouncing “baby boy”. 

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