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LifeRing Secular Recovery and Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS)

A. Tom Horvath, Ph.D., ABPP, Kaushik Misra, Ph.D., Amy K. Epner, Ph.D., and Galen Morgan Cooper, Ph.D.

LifeRing Secular Recovery

LifeRing, founded in 1999, is the newest self-empowering support group. LifeRing began as the Northern California offshoot of SOS meetings (described below).

LifeRing understands addiction problems as a conflict between an addict self and a sober self. LifeRing emphasizes positive social reinforcement for the Sober Self. The Personal Recovery Plan aims to help participants "empower the sober self" until it is in charge.

LifeRing uses the "Three-S" approach: Sobriety, Secularity, and Self-Help. Sobriety is reinforced with the motto "we do not drink or use, no matter what." Secularity refers the fact that all participants are welcome, with or without spiritual beliefs. Religious and/or spiritual beliefs are not part of the LifeRing Program. During meetings, members reinforce each other for the striving and effort that is required to empower the sober self.

LifeRing meetings are oriented around informal and supportive conversations. The meetings begin with the question "How was your week?" Discussion typically focuses on the challenges participants have dealt with since the last meeting. They go on to discuss the challenges anticipated during the next.

LifeRing suggests that there are as many ways to get sober as there are individuals. LifeRing publications include a wide range of ideas and techniques for recovery. It is understood that each participant is unique. Not everyone is attracted same idea or suggestion. Examples of these ideas and techniques include re-creating one's self-image; considering the negative consequences of one's addictive behavior; creating an exercise plan; changing how one eats; making new sober friends; developing new activities, etc.

Secular Organizations for Sobriety

SOS describes itself as follows:

SOS takes a self-empowerment approach to recovery. SOS maintains that sobriety is a separate issue from all else. SOS addresses sobriety (abstinence) as "Priority One, no matter what!" SOS credits the individual for achieving and maintaining his or her own sobriety. SOS respects recovery in any form, regardless of the path people take. The program does not oppose, or compete with, any other recovery programs. SOS supports healthy skepticism. It encourages the use of the scientific method to understand alcoholism.


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