About LifeRing

"We Do Not Drink or Use No Matter What"

LifeRing is a not-for-profit network of support groups for people who want to live free of alcohol and other addictive drugs.  It was started ten years ago in California by a group of recovering addicts who wanted a self-help approach based on positive social reinforcement.  LifeRing works through its group meetings, and is based on three basic priciples: sobriety, secularity and self-help.


“Sobriety” can mean different things in dictionaries, but in LifeRing it always means abstinence. The basic membership requirement is a desire to remain abstinent from alcohol and “drugs.” LifeRing welcomes people regardless of their “drug of choice.” Please look elsewhere for support if your intention is to keep drinking or using, but not so much, or to stop drinking but continue using, or stop using but continue drinking. The successful LifeRing participant practices the Sobriety Priority, meaning that nothing is allowed to interfere with staying abstinent from alcohol and “drugs.” The motto is “we do not drink or use, no matter what.”


LifeRing Recovery welcomes people of all faiths and none. You get to keep whatever religious beliefs you have, and you are under no pressure to acquire any if you don’t. Participants’ spiritual or religious beliefs or lack thereof remain private. Neither religion nor anti-religion normally come up in meeting discussion. Participants are free to attend both LifeRing and Twelve-Step meetings, but LifeRing supports recovery methods that rely on human efforts rather than on divine intervention.


Self-help in LifeRing means that the key to recovery is the individual’s own motivation and effort. The main purpose of the group process is to reinforce the individual’s own inner strivings to stay clean and sober. LifeRing is a permanent workshop where individuals can build their own Personal Recovery Plans. LifeRing does not prescribe any particular “steps” other than abstinence and is not a vehicle for any particular therapeutic doctrine. LifeRing participation is compatible with a wide variety of abstinence-based therapeutic or counseling programs.

The Approach

The LifeRing approach is eclectic, open-ended, and pragmatic. It evolves through recovering people’s experience, but it shares common tenets with Cognitive Behaviorism, Motivational Interviewing, Solution-Focused Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Choice Theory, and similar strength-based academic and clinical approaches.  A growing number of treatment professionals are adapting the LifeRing approach to their treatment protocols.
“I support their endeavours as they are clearly focused on the welfare of the struggling substance user, and they offer their support in a non-religious, non-directive manner that appears to match the needs of some addicts."
Dr Conor Farren, Consultant Psychiatrist at St Patrick’s University Hospital Dublin, quoted in the Irish Times Health Supplement, 04/01/2011. See the full article here

The Organisation

The heart of the LifeRing approach is the recovery meeting.  Meetings are autonomous except in matters affecting other meetings and the organisation as a whole.  LifeRing is supported by meetings that forward proceeds from passing the basket, by literature sales, and by individual donations.  LifeRing Press publishes books, brochures, and other media.  LifeRing Inc., a California nonprofit corporation with 501(c)(3) charitable tax-exempt status, owns the LifeRing service marks and is responsible for finances.  LifeRing is financially, legally, organisationally and in every other way an independent organisation.  A nine-member Board of Directors, composed of alcoholics/addicts with a minimum of two years clean and sober, oversees the corporation and provides worldwide coordination where needed.  All LifeRing officer, directors, and convenors are unpaid volunteers.

LifeRing offers a wide array of online support options, including chat rooms, a social network, email listservs, and a forum. Visit the LifeRing.org website for full information and resources.