Sunday, May 31, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
This policy won't make any difference to most LifeRing convenors, because we've never had a claim or are likely to ever have a claim, but in a few cases it will make the difference between having a meeting or not having it. Some churches and other meeting room providers absolutely require organizations to have such insurance. Well, now we have it. If you are a convenor for whom this is an issue, you will need a copy of the Declarations Page to show the meeting room provider. Contact Robert at CFO@lifering.org for a copy.
We now have a NIAC Commercial General Liability Insurance Policy covering the fifty states and Canada. It became effective 5/11/09 and will last one year. This policy will cover any liability and/or property damage that might occur at any of your weekly LifeRing meetings. Personal injury and property damage are up to the limits of the policy stated here.
The following is a highlight of some of the coverage:
- General Aggregate
- Products-Completed Operation Aggregate 2,000,000
- Personal & Advertising
- Each Occurrence Limit
- Fire Damage (Any One Fire)
- Medical Expense (Any One Person) 20,000
The insurance policy will be on file at the Service Center in Oakland. For any questions please contact the Service Center, firstname.lastname@example.org or me, Robert Stump at CFO@lifering.org
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
This gentleman was talking through tears and sobs. What was the problem? He has a friend, a very good friend, a wonderful person (when he's sober) who broke up with his wife, got drunk and high on pot, and came over to the caller's house and did more drinking and pot smoking there, and invited the caller to go for a drive with him. The caller had made it very clear to the friend that he did not allow drinking and pot smoking in his house, and that he was absolutely not going to get in the car with the friend driving under the influence. But the friend had completely disrespected the caller's wishes, and now the friend was angry at the caller for his 'negative attitude.' Hence the tears.
After repeating that I had no qualifications to offer advice, I told the caller that I was not surprised at his friend's behavior, that I had done similar things when I was in my addiction, and that (now that I was sober) I also kept my house free of alcohol or drugs and I also would never get into a car driven by somebody under the influence. The caller had done exactly what I would have done under the circumstances.
Still, the caller was not consoled. He loved this friend and was terribly upset at the thought of losing this friendship. This was really a wonderful person when sober. What should he do?
After repeating a third time that I had no qualifications to give advice, I suggested that the caller might adopt a push-pull attitude toward his friend. When the friend is sober, pull. Engage him, involve him, enjoy him. But when the friend is drinking/using, push. Firmly maintain the wall between yourself and him, disengage, disinvolve, stay cold, stay away. Don't attack him, don't give him advice (except in the most passing, casual, matter-of-fact way), don't try to change him or convert him. Eventually, when you have been consistent, your policy may work some changes in him. You may reinforce, with your "pull," the sober part within him, the wonderful person that he is when sober. You may disempower, with your "push," the other him, the part of him that is in love with alcohol and other drugs.
Or, you may lose him as a friend. That happens. Prepare yourself for that possibility by looking around, even now, at the other people in your life that you could be friends with.
Somehow, that made sense to the caller. It offered a way forward. He stopped crying, his voice returned to normal. I concluded by reminding him that my advice was worth exactly what he paid for it. He gave a little laugh, and we ended the conversation.
Now comes an invitation to speak about LifeRing at another well-known bastion of the 12-step approach, the Henry Ohloff program in San Francisco. I will be addressing staff at the outpatient center on June 2. Like Mountain Vista, this program is not ready to host a LifeRing meeting, and it may be quite a while before the treatment protocol opens up to the reality that there are many roads to recovery. But meanwhile, there are staff members in these tradition-bound programs who have their eyes and ears open for new developments that may help some of their clients.
This is certainly a welcome sign. If I ask why it is occurring, the answer is that patients/clients are driving it. In at least 80 per cent of the cases where we are contacted by a treatment professional and asked for more information about LifeRing, a patient or client was the driver. A patient or client introduced the professional to LifeRing literature or the LifeRing web presence, or informed the professional that he/she was attending LifeRing and that it was helping.
And even when an individual patient or client is not directly the driver, in the sense that he or she located LifeRing and put LifeRing on the professional's radar screen, it is still patients/clients who drive the process passively, by voting with their feet when the professionals only offer an approach that does not work for them. A treatment program that only offers the 12 steps and nothing else is going to experience, sooner or later, the reality that 80 per cent of newcomers to AA walk away within 30 days (and 95 per cent within a year).
While few treatment programs retain a patient as long as a full 30 days -- the average stay at one nominally 28-day program I know is around 10 days -- the client resistance to 12-step may well show up from Day One of treatment. If the program has nothing else to offer, it's going to lose clients earlier than if it offered choices. Monomodal treatment translates into high patient turnover. You don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure it out.
And so, the wheels turn, and sooner or later a call goes out to LifeRing, or another alternative approach. Quite a few LifeRing convenors now have had the experience of explaining LifeRing before audiences in treatment programs. To be sure, it's far too early to proclaim a tsunami, but if we compare the interest in LifeRing from treatment programs ten years ago and now, we're almost in a new era. Ten years ago, most minds were closed and we couldn't get in the door. Today, we're frequently in the embarassing situation of getting requests from a program director to start a meeting, and not having a convenor to take the room. It's a problem, but it's a better problem to have.