Sunday, September 20, 2009

Full house for CAADAC LifeRing Training

The turnout of treatment professionals for my full day LifeRing training yesterday surpassed expectations.  More than 25 people squeezed into the conference room next to the Service Center in Oakland.  Some had come from as far as Sacramento for the six-hour session.  All except three, who were LifeRing convenors, were working in the addiction treatment field.

Peg Miller, a Vice-President of CAADAC and responsible for organizing trainings in CAADAC Region 4, which includes the Bay Area, organized the event, handled logistics, and awarded people their certificates of completion at the end.  LifeRing CFO Robert Stump organized coffee and pastries in the morning and helped set up the room. Service Center volunteer Lou A. assisted with room setup the previous day.

The program took six hours, not counting an hour for lunch.  During five of those hours, I presented a slide show of exactly 200 slides. Here's my outline:

An Introduction for Addiction Professionals
By Martin Nicolaus MA JD
CAADAC Region 4 Training
Sept. 19, 2009

• To understand basic facts about LifeRing
• To get how LifeRing works
• To pick up tools that can be used with clients
• To facilitate client involvement with LifeRing

Hour 1: Basic facts about LifeRing
• What is LifeRing?
• Where is LifeRing?
• Who goes to LifeRing?
• How is LifeRing organized?

Hour 2: The Three-S Philosophy
• Sobriety
• Secularity
• Self-Help

Hour 3: How LifeRing Works
• Empower Your Sober Self: A short overview
• In more depth:
o The Divided Self
o Horizontal Synergy
o Confrontation v. Support Strategies

Hour 4: The LifeRing Meeting Format
• Circle seating
• “How was your week?”
• Crosstalk
• Limits
• Aim: Living Room atmosphere
• Closing ritual: Round of applause
• Peer leadership
• Signup sheet -- basket

Hour 5: How people build Personal Recovery Programs (PRP)
Two Pathways to PRP
Through the “How Was Your Week” Meeting Format
“Random access”
Through the Recovery by Choice workbook
• Nine Domains (Work Areas)
• My Decision
o The A-S T-chart
• Domain 1: My Body
• Domain 4: My People
• Relapse Chapter
• Pulling the PRP Together
Result: Diversity of Programs
Pros and Cons of PRP

Closing Thoughts
• LifeRing is a Strength-Based Approach
• The Aim of LifeRing is Choice
o We need more pathways
o Choice should not be controversial
What can providers do?
Choice is good program policy
More choices = more recoveries

For more information:
  • – LifeRing, the organization
  • – LifeRing Press e-commerce store
  • LifeRing Service Center, 1440 Broadway, Ste. 312, Oakland 94612
  • 1-800-811-4142
P.S.  Today, Monday, Peg Miller kindly sent me the program evaluations (feedback sheets) filled out by participants at the end of the program.  Namely:

WORKSHOP EVALUATION (scale is 0-below satisfactory to 5-above satisfactory)

Your overall rating of subject matter:
•    20 5's
•    2 4's
Your overall rating of the trainer:
•    17 5's
•    5 4's
Your overall rating of the materials'handouts:
•    15 5's
•    4 4's
•    1 2
•    1 0 with comment (needed handouts--powerpoint printouts)
•    1 not marked--"handouts" circled followed by comment:  "sparse  hard to follow"
Your overall rating of the training/workshop: 
•    16 5's
•    6 4's
Your overall rating of the fees:
•    18 5's
•    3 4's
•    1 not marked and with comment:  "two days I went to training in NAPA... cost $75...$10 is nice"

Comments on this page:

Very good TR...affordable in very hard times
Educational, motivational in terms of realizing the need for choice.
Helped solidify what I had gleaned from the web site and publications
It was great!!!
Uncomfortable room
Enjoyed this training...learned a lot
Very interesting!
Excellent presentation   Very worthwhile
I am glad that I had a chance to learn more about the organization.
Most important point missed...we refer less to LR with clients because there are few, and we teach clients to stay connected to others, to stay sober.
I was surprised by how much I learned today.
Difficult to sit in these chairs in small room
Lots of good info... Some areas/topics were too lengthy--redundant.  Good program--Glad to see it growing in availability.

What did you learn today from Martin A. Nicolaus about LifeRing?
•    Three-S Recovery Philosophy; Strength-Based Sober Self Empowerment engine is positive practice of reinforcement; abstinence only is foundational; Personal Recovery Plans are highly individualized through support mtgs plus workbook; able to combine with variety of the models
•    Choise is best...many different paths
•    LifeRing is truly secular; LifeRing offers a choice other than faith based or 12 step; LifeRing emphasizes empowerment and positive reinforcement of the individual
•    A lot.  Ways I can improve the program I work for by LifeRing tech and beliefs.
•    Many interesting things, among others personal recovery plan, that I found very powerful tool in recovery.
•    The S & A model for recovery and how it works through reinforcement.  That all "personalities" are equally capable to become addicted.
•    It is focused on building on strengths of the individual--provides a choice--Personal Recovery Plan.
•    Lots--the choice factor; the love--feeding the S; forgive me--I'm way too tired and burnt to say more, but I got so much out of it.
•    Philosophy and history of LifeRing.  I am a convenor.
•    How to get treatment programs to mention LifeRing as a group option.
•    That it mirrors my thinking about Treatment Approaches.
•    We have another option
•    Focus on individual treatment.
•    The client is instrumental in his own recovery if given the opportunity.
•    Secular spirituality--support sober self.
•    There is an alternative approach to group support other than NA/AA.
•    Friend.
•    Lots!  I knew nothing of LifeRing.
•    The PRP program.
•    Philosophy...mtg structure.
•    It gives clients more of a choice.
How will you incorporate this information into your practice as a drug and alcohol counselor personally and in the agency you work in?
•    Philosophy and concepts (client choice, strength based, flexible treatment and support options);  Skills--workbook exercises--alt. HWYW support mtg formats.
•    Continue with MET, RET  use LifeRing principles in class, educate staff, talk with LifeRing meetings as Option more.
•    By A--facilitating myself with the visual and cognitive tools and use them in 1 on 1 sessions and groups; B--suggest to agency to use LifeRing possibily in continuing care program.
•    Investigating L.R. for and in my own recovery.  The applying LR to the program.
•    I will use the point that the patient takes responsibility for his own recovery more than I did before.  I would share todays experience with coworkers.
•    The strengthening of each individual will be the focus.  And shifting the focus from flaws to what they are capable of and what they find works for them.
•    Help clients and staff understand the nature of building up the sober self through the interchange bewteen people--focusing on here and now
•    I bought the work book--I'm sure I'll use it next week!
•    My meetings will have an enriched meaning due to the workshop today.
•    Refer
•    I will introduce the information about LifeRing to my director.
•    Gives me encouragement to do more research on the subject.
•    Already do--offer as a choice of support group.
•    I hope to start a group for teens.
•    Present client with choices...give basic info about LifeRing.
•    Working more with clients to focus on a personal service plan.
•    Plan to discuss implementation of LifeRing on the approval by my Program Director.
•    Consider choice.
•    LifeRing used to do presentations at NCADA...can do again.
•    Not in field.
•    I am a convenor.
How can you contribute this material to your fellow counselors?
•    Educate and consult re: LifeRing as resource; inputs to program policy and planning; follow ups to stay current on related research
•    In community meeting; 1 on 1 discuss content
•    Familiarizing myself with the materials and sharing them at staff mtgs.
•    Word of mouth.  Introducing things from work book into our program.
•    Through LifeRing Website.
•    Case conferencing, loaning my materials and discussing the information.
•    Not sure yet.
•    I will discuss the information with other convenors ASAP (any who were not present)
•    Talk about it
•    Sharing interaction.  Communicating presentation ideas.
•    Tell them to check it out.
•    Already do.
•    Do presentation.
•    Share information, go to LifeRing meeting, go to web site; present it in Case Conference.
•    Staff Meeting.
•    Discuss this training with them.
•    Shared information.
To your clients?
•    Client info and materials re: LifeRing; use workbook exercises--ind, and group; Encourage ? families LifeRing
•    Will use stuff from workbooks; agian, refer as much to LR as AA
•    Sharing the ideas learned; by continually recognizing the sober person living inside my clients
•    Introducing things from workbook into our program--word of mouth.
•    Refer them to the closest meeting place and website.
•    The strengthening of each individual will be the focus.  And shifting the focus from flaws to what they are csapable of and what they find works for them.
•    Plan to start a LifeRing group and turn it over to a group member eventually.
•    Pamphlets of where meetings are and the workbook.
•    NA
•    None yet.
•    Continue letting them know there is no one road or treatment towards recovery.
•    Give them another option.
•    Give them choice at intake.
•    Do a presentation.
•    Incorporate LifeRing materials to practice.
•    One on one sessions.
•    Paroles/State prison
•    Consider choice.
•    Shared info.


P.S. 9/28/09:  I've posted the PowerPoint at workshop.ppt -- just the slides, no sound track.  When I get time I hope to create a sound track and make a Flash video (or a series of them) based on this presentation. -- MN


Robert said...

We need to do this in Sacramento.

Michael Walsh - Convenor, Victoria BC said...


This is a fantastic overview of what you presented. Was it taped? The feedback evaluations are like gold. Thank you for the hard work of getting these evaluations out so quickly.

I am presenting to Restorative Justice British Columbia's volunteers this Monday, of which there are many. I am going to utilize some of the structure you presented here, but I sure hope this was taped, so I can here what you talked about.

I want to set something like this up for Victoria's burgeoning addiction workers, physicians and mental health workers.

Thank you for your tireless work. If you did not work alone on this then kudos go out to all who supported you in this.

Stuart Cline said...

Thank you for your genorous gift of showing the rest of us your powerpoint presentation. Well done! Very Helpful. Keep up the great work. Substance Abuse Therapist- SHC