Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is LifeRing?
LifeRing is a network of support groups for people who want to live free of alcohol and illicit or non-medically indicated drugs.

How does LifeRing work?
LifeRing works through positive social reinforcement. The meeting process empowers the Sober Self within each of us.

What is the LifeRing program?
The hallmark of a quality treatment program is to match the treatment to the individual. We adopt that same approach in our self-help work. We encourage each participant to work out their own particular path and to use the group process as a workshop for that purpose. We publish a workbook, “Recovery by Choice,” as a tool for building one’s "Personal Recovery Program" or PRP.

What is the LifeRing meeting format?
Formats vary, but at most meetings, the topic is “How Was Your Week?” Each person reports on the highlights and heartaches of their past week and plans ahead for the decisions of the coming week. Conversation (“cross-talk”) is encouraged. Personal drinking/drugging histories (“drunkalogues”) are discouraged. The meeting ends with a round of applause to one another for staying clean and sober.

Where can I find out more information about LifeRing?
This website is a good place to start. For further reading, go to the LifeRing Press bookstore. For a fast response, check out the online connections. To contact LifeRing, please email or call1-800-811-4142.

Is LifeRing affiliated with another organization, or is it a subsidiary of something else?
No. LifeRing is an independent, free-standing organization not affiliated with any other.

How is LifeRing financed?
LifeRing is a nonprofit with 501(c)(3) charitable status. LifeRing is supported by passing the basket at meetings, sales of LifeRing Press literature, and individual donations.

Who runs LifeRing?
Each LifeRing meeting (in-person and online) can elect one delegate to participate in the annual LifeRing Congress. The Congress elects the Board of Directors, and the Board appoints the officers. For details, see the LifeRing Bylaws, available from LifeRing Press.

How come I’ve never heard of LifeRing before?
We’re new. LifeRing was founded as a national organization in 2001. The LifeRing story is just getting out.

How successful is LifeRing?
LifeRing is successful for people who find this approach a good fit. If you would like to meet such people, come to a LifeRing meeting. If you are a social scientist and would like to conduct an outcomes study, we would be happy to cooperate.

Can friends and loved ones of alcoholics/addicts attend LifeRing?
Yes, provided they are clean and sober at the time of the meeting. A separate LifeRing Partners organization is planned.

Is LifeRing a 12-step program?
No. LifeRing is not a spinoff from AA. LifeRing uses a different approach from the 12-step model. See “How a LifeRing meeting works.”

If I attend LifeRing, can I also go to AA/NA?
Of course. LifeRing will support you in activities that help you stay clean and sober.

Is LifeRing a treatment program?
No. LifeRing is a network of support groups. We cooperate with many treatment programs but our group leaders (“convenors”) as a rule are ordinary persons in recovery. Most groups meet about an hour each week.

Does LifeRing have sponsors?
Sponsors in 12-step programs play two main roles: they guide the newcomer through the 12 Step Program and they are available for support between meetings. In LifeRing we each work out personal programs, so there is no real role for a Program guide. We do very much value supportive contacts between meetings, and we circulate phone and email lists at meetings for that purpose. In that sense, all the participants in a meeting sponsor one another.

Do I have to call myself an “alcoholic” or “addict” in LifeRing?
No. Some do, some don’t. The effort to stop drinking and using drugs is required. The self-defining labels and the theories behind them are optional.

What about smoking?
Our meetings are non-smoking. We do not require people to quit smoking in order to participate in our groups, but we provide encouragement, education and support for quitting whenever the person feels ready.

Are the meetings confidential?
We value confidentiality and protect our members’ anonymity, but we permit members to disclose their own participation if they feel that being open will strengthen their recovery.

Is LifeRing only for alcoholics?
We see alcoholism and drug addiction as basically identical and we welcome people into our meetings regardless of their “drug of choice.”

Is LifeRing mainly for atheists or agnostics?
No. About 40 percent of LifeRing participants attend church (or other places of worship) at least once a year. Since the LifeRing recovery process does not rely on a “higher power” or similar concepts, LifeRing participants’ religious and/or spiritual beliefs remain private and don’t become an issue in the meeting. Neither religious proselytizing nor attacks on religion are permitted in our meetings.

Does LifeRing cost anything?
No. A basket is usually passed for voluntary contributions to defray expenses, but there is no charge to participate.

How is LifeRing similar to AA or NA?
We are abstinence-based. We use group support. Meetings are confidential.

How is LifeRing different from AA/NA?
We see the power to get clean and sober inside of each person (the “sober self”). You can get clean and sober regardless of your belief or disbelief in a ‘higher power.’ We welcome people regardless of their ‘drug of choice.’ We encourage cross-talk in meetings. We each build Personal Recovery Programs tailored to our individual makeup.