Humanly Possible – Stories of Secular Recovery

In LifeRing, the recovering person — that miraculous, precious, capable human being — is considered the protagonist of their own recovery.

Review by life-j

LifeRing just put out a new book, Humanly Possible, so I want to introduce you to it. This is a book with personal stories. They are all good, no duds, and I’m going to keep it brief, and not going to start quoting from the stories.

But let me say a bit about the book in general. Nice cover for starters. And it is nice to see LifeRing put out another book; they haven’t been particularly prolific of late. I liked Martin Nicolaus’ Empowering Your Sober Self, and that is also what this book is about.

In this big world dominated by Alcoholics Anonymous this book doesn’t only get to be about LifeRing, of course. Just like with our own books there is a lot of “I tried AA, but couldn’t stomach the god stuff”. A lot, actually, which confirms what we’ve already figured out: Regular AA works best for Evangelical folks, not all that well for the rest of us.

LifeRing attempts to have a truly secular approach, even welcomes people of faith, but asks people to keep their faith separate from their recovery, at least when it comes to where we meet each other. I did find in these stories that though there were a couple of people of minority faiths, most people who wrote a story for this book, were of an agnostic bent.

There is a good mix of long and short stories, deep and light-hearted ones, and what I found particularly nice is that in the end they include three stories of SMART members, and one story by “our own” John Lauritsen, the author of a book reviewed here on AA Agnostica: A Freethinker in Alcoholics Anonymous. This feels like a way of saying, “Us in secular recovery, we all need to work together a bit” – which is a nice gesture, and a good reason to bring the book to Y’all’s attention.

Available on Amazon: Click the Cover.

An article by one of its directors was posted here on AA Agnostica some time ago which you can read right here: LifeRing. (We’ve recently asked for another article and expect one soon!)

Humanly Possible was published in May of this year and is available on Amazon. And for more information about this secular recovery organization you can visit their website, right here: LifeRing Secular Recovery.


6 Responses

  1. Chris C says:

    Thanks for this review.

    I am as grateful to Lifering for my sobriety as I am to the Fellowship of AA. Fresh out of treatment and newly sober in the spring of 2011, I left my sixth or seventh AA meeting with this thought ringing in my consciousness: I cannot POSSIBLY be the only person out there who doesn’t believe the only way to stay sober is to turn my will and my life over to something there is no evidence even exists. It wasn’t that I couldn’t see the truth that sobriety was working for the happy, joyous, and free AA membership I encountered, it was that I didn’t accept that the supernatural intervention of the entity known as “God” was responsible for the lives these people were enjoying.

    A short online search later, I found Lifering, which would have been all I needed had I lived in the San Francisco bay area. I ended up a member of Lifering’s list serve email group. The support I received there was enough for me to be able to take what I needed (fellowship), and leave the rest in the rooms of AA.

    There are members of Lifering’s list serve email group who have been sober for decades with no other support than what they found in that group. I don’t think I would have made it without the face to face fellowship and interaction with the people I found in AA, any more than I would have made it in AA without the interaction with the people who shared my skepticism I found in Lifering.

    And now, in addition to Lifering there is a vibrant and growing secular fellowship within AA.

  2. Byron K. says:

    Thanks for the publishing the review and allowing a discussion about LifeRing. LifeRing does not claim to be a superior choice to any other support. The value is in the choice. When a person is allowed to choose their own path forward, they may be more automatically invested in their own choice.

  3. Oren says:

    Thanks, Life-J. Three of us freethinkers in recovery are in the process of starting a LifeRing group here in western Upper Michigan. Yesterday, we received our starter kit from LR, AND a fourth member, all on the same day! We had briefly discussed starting a Secular AA group, but LR with its encouragement of open discussion (crosstalk), no “steps”, and no need to explain anything to intergroup committees seemed more attractive to my younger comrades. It will be interesting to see how it goes as the word gets out.

    • bobby beach says:

      I get the steps issue, and the potential problems with intergroups, but you can absolutely have an AA meeting that allows crosstalk.

  4. Teresa says:

    Thanks for your review & bringing a new publication to our attention life-j.

    “Are we inclusive?” is a repeated question in AA.

    I know a bit of the history and evolution of AA and I do think a more inclusive attitude about living sober is happening, slowly & surely… in and beyond the “rooms”.

    As a secular AA member who has read much more than AA literature, I want to be inclusive no matter what one believes or does not believe, what “program” one utilizes or none, with a willingness to be open to new ideas.

    As the book “Living Sober”, first published in 1975, says towards the end…

    No doubt, we have made just a bare beginning in the business of living sober. Time and again, we learn additional ideas that can help. As you stay sober, you are sure to think of new ideas not recorded here. We hope so. We also hope that when you do come up with fresh ideas on this subject, you will pass them on. Please do share. (You’ll recall that the act of sharing can itself be helpful to you.) The more experience we can all pool, the more problem drinkers can be helped.

    With gratitude for all that is available today! Teresa J

  5. bob k says:

    In 1991, after attending a few AA meetings, I went to the library (We had no internet then, Young People, believe it or not!!). There HAD to be other choices!! SOMETHING!!! There were, but nowhere near where I was located, in spite of the fact I was in a city of 3 million people.

    In Chicago, and Los Angeles, and New York City, there seemed to be some non-religious options for getting sober. Nothing nearby. Unfortunately, that hasn’t changed much. Perusing the internet, I find two LifeRing meetings in the Province of Ontario, one in Toronto, and one in Kitchener. The same frustration greets searches for SMART, etc.

    What IS different, and vastly so, is the availability of literature. Books provide information, and that’s all quite helpful. Personally, I’ve benefited HUGELY from fellowship–getting out and mingling with the similarly afflicted. I stuck with AA, and worked around the dodgy parts. Today we have secular AA in more and more areas. I think our penetration will outstrip that of these other groups.

    But books are good, and there are several good ones helping the secularist to navigate traditional AA. That’s often about all that’s available in any great volume in most places.

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