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LifeRing Secular Recovery

LifeRing Secular Recovery is a sobriety support group that targets like-minded people looking to lead drug-free lives. 

The mutual support group takes a different approach from the popular 12-step groups that usually base their programs on a higher power. 

At LifeRing Secular Recovery, members believe that the power to overcome addiction and cravings lies within the individual and that the Sober Self is stronger than the Addicted Self. 

Although relatively new and different from most mutual support groups, LifeRing Secular Recovery has helped thousands of members across the world maintain sobriety months and even years after completing treatment. 

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at LifeRing, paying close attention to its policies, main features, pros, and even cons. 

Hopefully, you’ll know whether or not the mutual support group meets your unique recovery needs at the end of the article.

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What Is LifeRing Secular Recovery? 

LifeRing Secular Recovery describes itself as an organization of individuals that share practical, personal experiences to provide sobriety support. 

Instead of laying emphasis on a Higher Power, LifeRing Secular Recovery believes that recovering addicts have the power to break chains and overcome addictive behavior. 

LifeRing is based on the 3-S philosophy, which stands for Sobriety, Secularity, and Self-Help

In addition to the 3-S philosophy, LifeRing Secular also tailors its programs around the “A (addict self) and S” (sober self) conflict. 

The conflict approach allows members to acknowledge that they’ll forever be in a struggle between the addict self and the sober self. However, by empowering the sober self, it is possible to take the reins from the once powerful addicted self and live a purposeful, drug-free life. 

More About LifeRing’s 3-S Philosophy

As mentioned early, the 3-S philosophy stands for Sobriety, Secularity, and Self-help, 3 of LifeRing’s fundamental principles. Let’s take a closer look at each principle. 


Sobriety is LifeRing’s basic requirement for membership. Put simply, an individual must have the desire to abstain from alcohol and any type of drugs meant for non-medical purposes.  

LifeRing opens its doors to anyone that wishes to abstain from drugs and alcohol and does not discriminate based on drug type. 

However, the support group does not allow people who want to cut down or selectively quit drugs. All members must be willing to abstain from all sorts of drugs– alcohol included. 

Therefore, as can be seen from LifeRings motto, “we do not drink or use, no matter what,” the group is only meant for people that have decided to stay completely clean. 


LifeRing doesn’t take a faith-based approach but doesn’t discourage people of different religions from joining. 

Members get to practice their unique faith as there is no pressure to conform to a particular religion or form of spirituality.  

As a rule, neither anti-religion nor religion is discussed in meetings as LifeRing focuses more on human efforts as opposed to divine intervention. 

Despite LifeRing’s stance on religion, it allows members to participate in other support groups that they deem fit. 

But when attending LifeRing meetings, the focus will solely be on the individual and internal power to overcome addiction and how to deal with triggers and avoid relapsing. 

Anyone can attend LifeRing meetings regardless of religious or spiritual beliefs. 


Self-help, LifeRing’s third philosophy, is focused on personal effort in pursuit of lifelong sobriety. Unlike 12-step methods that acknowledge religion or spirituality as a vital part of recovery, LifeRing believes that individual effort, motivation, and persistence are key to maintaining sobriety. 

Therefore, LifeRing’s main goal is to inspire members to trust their willpower and work to gain control of emotions to manage cravings in an effort to maintain sobriety.

At LifeRing, members are in charge of creating their unique recovery plans. Afterward, members will provide support and hold one another accountable to maintain high motivation levels and reduce the chances of relapses. 

More About the A and S Conflict

LifeRing is centered on self-empowerment, self-belief, and self-improvement. However, for an individual to gain internal strength to the extent of making wise decisions, they have to admit that a conflict between the good and bad exists and will remain forever. 

The addict self (A) and the sober self (S) conflict is a situation that every recovering alcoholic or drug addict faces. The addict self, as the name suggests, is more inclined to using substances for instant gratification. 

If the addict self becomes stronger than the sober self, then the recovering addict is likely to relapse. The more an individual gives in to cravings and entertains the thoughts of using a drug again, the likelier they are to give in eventually, which kickstarts the usually painful chain of addiction. 

Therefore, to help members maintain sobriety and learn how to deal with cravings, LifeRing incorporates programs that seek to empower the sober self. 

The mutual support group uses a unique technique dubbed the ‘S-to-S connection,’ which is where people with stronger sober selves share with members to help them improve their sober selves as well. 

While members are bound to struggle with thoughts of alcohol or drug consumption at first, sobriety will become second nature as the sober self becomes stronger after routine meetings. This helps members remain sober while effectively reducing the chances of relapses. 

LifeRing Secular Recovery’s Meeting Format

In-Person Meetings

LifeRing meetings observe a simple format. Members usually sit in a small circle and interact with one another. While a large circle can also work if a group has several members, small circles are preferred as they allow for more intimate engagements. 

A typical meeting starts with the usual opening statement before the meeting facilitator or convenor asks members how the week was. 

All members are required to answer the ‘how was your week’ question in turns. Although answering the question isn’t mandatory, members are encouraged to answer and state their wins, no matter how little. 

When answering the question, members also discuss what they’ve been up to since the last meeting and their goals for the following week. The focus is usually on the members’ current events. 

LifeRing Secular Recovery encourages all members to ask questions, make comments and provide feedback throughout the meeting. 

However, while members are allowed to participate actively, there are some rules that guide the direction of the conversation. For instance, the group prohibits conversations about politics and religion

Additionally, LifeRing’s laws prohibit shouting, condescending tones, or disrespect of any kind regardless of how long an individual has been a member. All members are viewed as equal and are therefore expected to participate and contribute without preference or favor. 

Moreover, the meetings are usually confidential, meaning members aren’t allowed to discuss confessions or other people’s testimonies once the session concludes. 

Online Meetings 

LifeRing online meetings take a similar approach to in-person meetings in that sessions start with the convener asking members how their respective weeks were. 

Again, similar to in-person, online meetings last one hour. 

The convenor will turn off member mics when an individual is talking. Members can also choose to have a topic meeting ( if the number is small). 

We’d recommend online meetings if you don’t have any in-person LifeRing meetings around your place of residence. 

Text Meetings 

LifeRing also allows members to communicate online via chat. However, the rules are usually tighter as members are expected to conduct themselves respectfully by avoiding potentially offensive remarks. 

All conversations are expected to revolve around sobriety and member goals towards self improvement. LifeRing usually has several moderators on board who can remove members that are rude or disrespectful to others. 

Chat meetings are also spearheaded by convenors who kickstart the process and regulate the tone and direction of the meeting. 

FAQS About LifeRing Secular Recovery

Is LifeRing For Alcoholics?

LifeRing views drug addiction and alcoholism to be identical, meaning all members are welcome regardless of ‘drug of choice.‘ The only requirement, however, is that members remain committed to recovery and maintaining sobriety. 

Is LifeRing Mainly for Agnostics or Atheists? 

LifeRing is not mainly for agnostics or atheists, as the self-help group opens its doors to everyone regardless of religious or spiritual affiliations. 

Although LifeRing’s approach isn’t centered on a ‘higher power’ or spirituality, the support group does not interfere with its members’ religious affiliations. 

A good percentage of LifeRing’s members also participate in religious-based support groups. LifeRing is firmly against attacks on religion or religious proselytizing and readily removes members that disregard other people’s cultures or preferences. 

Is LifeRing Similar to AA or NA? 

LifeRing is similar to Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous in several ways. In addition to keeping meetings confidential, all groups are abstinence-based and rely on group support. 

Is LifeRing Different from AA or NA?

LifeRing differs from AA or NA in various ways. First, LifeRing is not based on a higher power and firmly believes that the individual has the power to overcome cravings and break the chains of addiction. 

Additionally, LifeRing accepts all members regardless of ‘drug of choice.’ This means that anyone struggling with alcohol or drug addiction can join the self-help group. 

Members also get the chance to build their unique recovery programs as LifeRing does not have a definitive program that all members must observe. 

Do You Have to Pay to Join LifeRing?

LifeRing is free for members to join. However, a basket is usually passed around for members to make contributions. There is no charge to take part in the meetings, and members contribute voluntarily. 

Are LifeRing Meetings Confidential?

Similar to other self-help groups, LifeRing requires members to keep everything discussed confidential. However, members are permitted to disclose their individual participation with loved ones if it will help in their recovery. 

Does LifeRing Allow Smoking Members?

LifeRing has a strict no-drugs policy that also includes smoking. However, the group does not require members to quit smoking in order to join. Smokers recovering from other addictions can join as long as they express a willingness to overcome their smoking addiction. 

How Long Does A LifeRing Meeting Last?

A typical LifeRing meeting lasts for about an hour, but the duration can vary depending on a group’s preferences or a special request. Members meet once a week, either in-person or online, through zoom or chat. 

Is LifeRing A Subsidiary of Another Organization?

LifeRing is not a subsidiary of another organization. The group is independent and free-standing without any affiliations whatsoever. However, the group partners with several rehabs, NGOs, and any willing parties to help members maintain sobriety. 

What Is LifeRing’s Meeting Format?

LifeRing’s format tends to vary from group to group. For most meetings, however, the sessions start with the “How Was Your Week?” question. All members report their highlights and/or disappointments of the past week and plans for the coming week. 

It’s worth noting that LifeRing discourages histories of past drinking or drug abuse experiences and instead prefers focusing on the present and future. 

How Is LifeRing Financed? 

LifeRing is registered as a nonprofit with charitable status. The group is supported by sales of press literature, individual donations, and passing the basket at meetings. Members are, however, not required to pay to join LifeRing. 

Is LifeRing A Good Alternative to 12-step Groups?

LifeRing is a good alternative to 12-step groups, especially for people in search of non-religious support groups. LifeRing doesn’t interfere with an individual’s spiritual or religious affiliations and instead focuses on empowering the inner self to overcome cravings and triggers. 

Get Help Today

Don't go through the process of recovery alone. There are people who can help you with the struggle you're facing. Get in touch with one today.

Make a Call

Wrapping Up 

If you’re looking for a non-12 step alternative, then LifeRing Secular Recovery can make a good option.

LifeRing’s secular approach is great for believers and non-believers alike as it focuses more on recovery than anything else. 

It’s also ideal that LifeRing centers its approach on the present and not on the past. Instead of discussing past histories, LifeRing members discuss current struggles and achievements while also shedding light on targets for the next week. 

The future-oriented approach to addiction recovery allows members to focus on short-term recovery goals until sobriety becomes an effortless lifestyle. 

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