Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Visit to Charleston

Despite beautiful summer weather -- 76 degrees and a blue sky -- about 30 people turned out at the Unitarian-Universalist meeting hall in Charleston South Carolina this past Sunday to hear me talk about the LifeRing approach to addiction recovery.  Most of the credit goes to LifeRing convenor Matt Dean, who founded the LifeRing meeting that convenes in the same building on Friday evenings, and who proposed the program to the Lowcountry Secular Humanist Association who sponsored my talk and paid my transportation. 

This was the first "normie" audience (people mostly not in recovery) I'd spoken to in quite some time, and they hung in there even when I ran a bit over time.  I spoke without any text or notes and that seemed to work OK.  The feedback I got directly, as well as the feedback that came indirectly (usually more telling) were all positive.  

The Humanists have adopted LifeRing as the  charitable organization to which they will direct their donations for the rest of this year.  Quite a few people told me how relieved they were to have a secular recovery alternative where they could refer their family and friends in this mostly Bible-belt area.  

Matt together with media maven Todd Fresh (who edited the terrific B J Davis DVD available from LifeRing Press) were perfect hosts and took the time to show me around historic downtown Charleston.  

I have to say, this city has worked hard to clean up its act.  In the old days it was the main port from which captive Native Americans were sold into slavery in the West Indies; it led the secession from the Union to preserve slavery; and of course it's the site of Fort Sumter, where the Civil War began.  

I didn't see a single Confederate flag, and the whole tenor of the beautifully preserved or restored historic downtown is to let bygones be bygones and let the tourist dollars roll in from wherever.  And of course the fact that the city has an active Secular Humanist group and a LifeRing meeting is a jewel in its reputation.  

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