What is a convenor? A convenor is a LifeRing member who leads a regular meeting of other LifeRing members. If you want to start your own 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 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. Read this page to find out whether you can be a convenor, and, if so, how you can get started.
Who can be a LifeRing convenor?
Anyone with a personal history of recovery from addictive substances who has at least six months 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 the general public, and with other convenors. Here are some examples:
Convenors facilitate meetings. They set up the room and the 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 topic if necessary, move things along, take care of signup sheets, pass the basket, and lead the applause at the closing.
Convenors start meetings. They find suitable meeting rooms, order LifeRing literature, get the word out, and make a commitment to be there for as long as it takes the meeting to get off the ground.
Convenors of online meetings act as moderators of the social network, the chat rooms, forums, or email lists. They contribute content to the LifeRing websites.
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 may speak to recovery audiences, classrooms, and the general public about the LifeRing approach. Convenors sometimes 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 when available. They participate in the convenor email lists, online chat, read and discuss convenor literature, etc… Convenors help prepare for the annual LifeRing Congress and can be Congressional Delegates. Convenors may also 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?
Please see the Convenor Support page for basic information about becoming a convenor and Convenor Resources page for additional resources in convening a LifeRing meeting.
What are the rewards of being a convenor?
The LifeRing 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. Convenors are important.
Convenors make no money; in fact, they may dig in their pockets to meet incidental expenses. But the warm feeling that comes from helping others —priceless.
If becoming a convenor is your way to give something back, contact the LifeRing Service Center