There are as many different ways to get clean and sober as there are alcoholics and addicts. There is no magic formula that works for everyone at all times. All the different “Programs” contain some useful ideas. No one approach has a “lock” on recovery. Every method produces some success stories. Every method produces some relapses.
The LifeRing approach to recovery lays emphasis on self-help and on learning through experimentation. LifeRing members are not expected to present identical profiles, and there is no fixed therapeutic pathway through which everyone must pass. The common goal is a full life with zero consumption of alcohol and addictive mind-altering drugs; but there are many roads to get there, and all are equally valid. You, as a recovering person, are a scientist conducting a series of experiments of which you are also the subject. You will try different ideas and different behaviors and see if they help keep you sober. If they work for you, you will probably retain them; if they lead you into relapse, you are encouraged to change them and try something else. The set of ideas and behaviors that work for you compose your personal recovery program.
As a participant in LifeRing groups, you will be exposed to ideas that have worked for others, and you will be encouraged to try those that appeal to you. But you will not be required to model your program after anyone else’s. Ordinarily, no one will offer to tell you what to do, or give you advice, unless you expressly ask for it. However, participants will freely share what worked and didn’t work for them. You may see a considerable diversity of approaches. Feel free to pick and choose whatever appeals to you.
You will get support from other participants for each milestone you pass. The credit for each day of your sobriety belongs to you. LifeRing will not try to take away the credit for your sobriety efforts. And if you fall, LifeRing will not try to shame you or make you feel that you were not following The Program (there is none). On the contrary: a relapse may be a key part of your learning experience. “A fall into the pit, a gain in your wit.” If you have a relapse, feel free to share the experience with your group promptly, and pick up where you left off.
The ideas in this section are called “tools” because they worked to keep some people sober. This section presents only a small sampling of the universe of possible sobriety tools. People invent new ones all the time, and you are encouraged to add yours as you develop them. This toolbox is like a potluck, with everyone bringing their favorites to share. None of these is compulsory. In fact, some people say they don’t use any tools at all; they just don’t drink or use, period.
Much of the material that follows was originally published in the Handbook of Secular Recovery by LifeRing Press (now out of print). A much expanded set of tools is comprised in the Recovery by Choice workbook from LifeRing Press. Also check out the Keepers section of this website for additional sobriety ideas.
From LifeRing Press:
A tool for building your personal recovery program. 300 pg.