Saturday, December 12, 2009

Tenacity Pays Off

This message came to the Service Center this week from Brian P., convenor of the LifeRing in Vacaville CA.  Vacaville is a town of about 100,000 located halfway between San Francisco and Sacramento.  The LifeRing meeting in Vacaville was started originally by one of LifeRing's founding members, Bill Somers, at the church to which he and his wife Anita B. belonged.  After Bill's death, the meeting dwindled away.  LifeRing convenors Ken K. and John D. restarted it at the Vacaville Kaiser facility (photo), but for many months it barely hung to life.  So when an email arrived at the Service Center with the subject "LifeRing in Vacaville" I was prepared for the worst.  What a sweet surprise:

I just wanted to check in regarding the Thursday Vacaville meeting which I have been convening for about 18 months or so. If you will recall, I  picked up the meeting from the individual who had originally started it.  I must confess, it was extremely slow to start. I originally worked with Ken and John D.  Often, I would often be the only one in attendance. I am happy to report that we have finally have turned the corner and  developed a core constituency of about seven people ranging in age from 71 to 24. While it still is a bit tenuous, having an established base is helping to enlarge that group.
 Kaiser continues to be very good to work with and they have been good with program referrals. Kaiser, recently finished construction and opened their full care Vacaville hospital.  Even through the construction chaos they always strived to insure that we had a meeting room.  From time to time, I entertained the notion of trying a different night for our LifeRing meeting but Kaiser indicated they would be limited on meeting space until after the construction was finished. Now that construction is finished, Kaiser has offered us  the opportunity for an additional meeting on Monday nights from 7-8PM. After polling the existing group as well as asking others, it would seem that there is a need for Monday meetings.
 Accordingly, I would like to take advantage of this opportunity and add the second meeting to the schedule.  Another individual, Robert M., has expressed in interest in convening the Monday meeting for at least six months.  Rob has been attending my meeting as well as the LifeRing Monday meeting at Kasier Vallejo for the past nine months.  I have also given him (and he has read) the LifeRing convenor handbook and related materials. He like myself, also participates in Kaiser's long term CDRP initiative, Phase III. I have offered to assist Rob with this program insuring that I can attend his meetings regularly for the first several months to try and insure a smooth start.  [...]
 Also, one area that I have been remiss in is in passing the proverbial green envelope. I have been reluctant to do so for fear of frightening someone away.  I have made personal contributions through the Vallejo meeting  in lieu of passing the envelope, but starting with the first January meeting I will start passing the envelope and remit the proceeds to the "home office" monthly. If you would kindly advise as to where I should send this it would be appreciated.  I will see that Rob does so as well.
 As a personal aside, I wanted to take this opportunity to  congratulate you on your book, Empowering Your Sober Self.  It is a great read and it offers some of the most refreshing perspectives on addiction that I have read to date. I can also tell you that you made John D's day by including his vignette.  He has every reason to be proud of his recovery and as you know, he has given much of himself to help others in need.  It is great to give credit where credit is due. [...]

Congratulations to Brian and Rob and the other regulars of the Vacaville LifeRing for this achievement.  In a follow-up email, Brian comments on the fact that getting a new meeting started, especially in a new location, may take an extraordinary amount of tenacity. He writes:

I read a book sometime back about Fred Smith, who founded Fed Ex, entitled Overnight Success. The name of the book always stuck with me because it was deceptively accurate.  While it is true that he became success in the overnight business his journey to achieve that success was anything but overnight.  I think there was a lesson there for me.

Not only for Brian, for all of us.

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