I am writing to share a heartwarming story. Two months ago, I started a new meeting at Diablo Valley Ranch, in Clayton CA., which is a sixty man plus live-in treatment facility.
The facility conducts a very full schedule, so fitting a new meeting in required some creative thinking. It was decided that it would be best to fit the meeting in on Monday evenings at 6:30. This is, coincidentally, at the same time as a bible study in a different location on the ranch. Also, to add to the challenge, there is/was a mandatory AA meeting thirty minutes after the LifeRing meeting.
Well, the first meeting was fairly successful with fifteen men, but as time went on, it began to fall off a bit. Finding this a little puzzling, I asked the men what they thought was the reason for the drop off in the numbers. This is when I found out about the mandatory requirement for attending the AA meeting, while LifeRing was a voluntary extra credit meeting. What? You say that isn’t fair? Well, that is exactly what I thought, so I put on my diplomatic hat and made a phone call to the Dr. that initially approached me about starting the meeting. I diplomatically voiced my concern to the Dr. He was very receptive to my suggestion that LifeRing should be on even par with AA’s mandatory status. He said that he would bring the topic up at the staff meeting later in the week, but he couldn’t promise anything.
Well, guess what? When I showed up for the next meeting, there were thirty-one men in attendance, out of the forty-seven currently at the ranch. LifeRing is now an optional “mandatory” meeting on Monday night at DVR. I don’t know if this will the typical meeting, but what a good feeling. I love being a part of moving LifeRing forward. It is my hope that this meeting will achieve permanent status as a part of DVR’s approach to treatment.
I hope this story serves to encourage other conveners to keep LifeRing growing and expanding.