Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Albuquerque Model

Cell division is a basic growth process in biology, and we're seeing a great example of it in Albuquerque.  Justin S writes:

I have been attending the Albuquerque, NM LifeRing Wednesday evening meetings for about a year.  This chapter/meeting was  originally founded by Mary S., who is still the primary convenor.  I have been co-convening and benefitting from Mary's counsel since last June.  Since our attendance has been good (and sometimes too large), we've decided to start a new meeting on Monday nights in the same location. 

Here are the details:

  • Time:          Monday 6:00 PM
  • Location:     Albuquerque, Anna Kaseman (Presbyterian) Hospital
  • Address:      8300 Constitution Ave NE        Main Entrance to Conf Rm B
  • Focus:        How was your week?
  • Map:          Map Link
  • Wheelchair Accessible:  Yes
  • Contact:      Justin S.
  • Phone:        505-249-6366
  • Email:

Justin concludes by asking that the info be posted on the meetings page. Done!  Congratulations Albuquerque LifeRing, congratulations Mary and Justin for a job well done.  This is a model to emulate.

At the risk of over-analyzing, let's take a look.  Mary, who started the meeting, has been doing two things right.  One, she has created a safe, supportive atmosphere that makes people want to come back, and that generates good word-of-mouth to attract new people.  Two, she has encouraged regular participants, such as Justin, to step into the convenor role.  She's done it in part by creating opportunities for Justin to be the backup convenor and co-convenor in the existing meeting.  This has given Justin the confidence and the skills to go out "on his own," as it were, and start a new meeting.

As a result, newly recovering people in Albuquerque who are considering their support group options now have twice as many reasons to select LifeRing as they had before.  And treatment professionals considering their referral options have twice as many reasons to refer clients to LifeRing.

Just imagine if every LifeRing meeting in the world followed the Albuquerque model.  After about a year or so, the number of LifeRing meetings would double.  And in another year, double again ... The mind boggles.  Of course, circumstances vary, and nothing is ever so simple.  Still, there are important lessons here.  The convenor's goal is two-fold.  One: create a safe and supportive environment where people can empower their sober selves.  Two: help and encourage regular participants to become convenors, so that the LifeRing network can "live long and prosper."  If you're a convenor, do you have both of these goals firmly in your view?

1 comment:

Rob H said...

I finally celebrated my first full year of quality sobriety after 40 years of constant drug and alcohol abuse thanks to Mary and Justin and others in the Albuquerque LifeRing Chapter. I have co-convened many meetings and feel by doing so I contribute to others as well as my own continued sobriety. Thanks, you guys!
Rob H.