Episode 283: About LifeRing With Casey Cannizzaro

When it comes to promoting recovery, there is liberation in knowing that it can come in all kinds of packages. On this episode of Beyond Belief Sobriety we are learning about LifeRing, a secular support group that has offered Casey Cannizzaro, a life coach, exactly the safe, flexible space he needed in order to explore not only sobriety but his identity as well. It’s an organization that advances the idea that there are as many ways to live free of illicit or non-medically indicated drugs and alcohol as there are stories of sobriety. Casey shares with Host John Sheldon the path he took and why LifeRing – with its inclusive, flexible philosophy – makes such a good fit for so many people. This conversation touches on how the program differs from AA’s more structured (and tradition-bound) approach and how pandemic has transformed the recovery landscape with new ways of connecting people evolving in their sobriety through platforms ranging from book clubs to text-only meetings to global online meetings to the forum created by The Beyond Belief Sobriety Podcast.

If you’d like to learn more about the resources that LifeRing has to offer, click here. You’ll find a wide variety of meetings as well as reading resources.

If you’d like to support this podcast, please consider clicking here to become a patron. Your contribution of just $1, $3 or $5 a month goes a long way towards building this community!

To view this and other episodes of Beyond Belief Sobriety on YouTube, visit this link.

Key Takeaways

  • Acknowledging that AA has been a huge force for healing, Casey shares that his experience wasn’t the best fit. He became a seeker.
  • About “motivational interviewing,” which is becoming a big part of recovery today.
  • John shares his evolution away from the God-centered AA program he had worked for 25 years and towards a more secular approach. There has been a similar arc of transition over the course of the podcast, from an AA orientation to an embrace of all paths to recovery.
  • Thoughts about whether recovery organizations can be nimble enough to adapt quickly to our understanding of addiction, treatment and recovery. The Big Book is 80 years old!
  • How much in the forefront should words like Abstinent and Sobriety be? Do they serve the larger purpose of recovery work?
  • John reflects on recovery as a process of change rather than a rigid system of words and values.
  • About the many ways in which more and more people are sober curious and seeking a spectrum of support for differing definitions of recovery – which is why Casey prioritizes inclusivity and appreciates the philosophy at LifeRing.
  • Important to Remember: Your journey in recovery is going to evolve and change and look different over time. And that’s okay!
  • Casey shares LifeRing’s 3-S philosophy, a neutral and adaptable approach to definitions and integration of:
    • Sobriety
    • Secularity
    • Self-Direction (or Self-Empowerment)
  • LifeRing differentiator: Cross-talk is embraced as a means of support!
  • A bit about the Smart Recovery program and its moderately structured approach.
  • John highlights the different feel of an AA community-based meeting versus a Smart Recovery-facilitated meeting versus LifeRing
  • Reasons Casey believes a surge of people inspired to explore sobriety during pandemic have found a home with LifeRing:
    • Non-hierarchal.
    • No sponsors.
    • Open to all kinds of orientations and addictions.
    • A safe space to deprogram false beliefs.
  • Is “story” important at LifeRing? Not necessarily. It depends!
  • The LifeRing philosophy welcomes questions and suggestions, feedback and the chance to evolve.
  • How text-only and email meetings offered by LifeRing are a uniquely intimate alternative!
  • Why Zoom meetings have such appeal:
    • More accessible.
    • A low-stakes opportunity to try recovery out.
    • Global reach.
  • Bottom Line: It’s a gift to be able to dip into all kinds of meetings with all kinds of formats!

Key Quotes

“I embrace the differences and I’m so glad that I did because as I listened to (episodes of Beyond Belief Sobriety) I heard something miraculous happening, an open-mindedness and willingness to question things and that’s where it started for me.” (Casey)

“In the early years the podcast was focused on secularizing the 12 Steps. It was all about that, but gradually over time it evolved away from AA to the point where I don’t really even consider myself a member of AA but rather just a person in recovery who is interested in secular paths to recovery.” (John)

“That’s what recovery is all about. It’s never the same as long as we continue to grow.” (John)

“A lot of 12-Step ideology reminds me of the organized religion of the recovery world. And certainly some people seek that out and need it. I was not one of them.” (Casey)

“Substance abuse is really a spectrum disorder.” (John)

“(Self-empowerment) basically means that each person’s recovery can and does look different and LifeRing is encouraging of people finding their own path.” (Casey)

“That intersection where mental health intersects with substance abuse and recovery intersects with identity is a valuable one to hear.” (Casey)

“The fact that we’re able to make support and recovery available to anyone, anywhere – I love that!” (Casey)

“If the kind of support I need right now in my life doesn’t exist, let me create it. Because if I need this kind of support it’s very likely that someone else does too.” (Casey)

Additional Resources:

Contact/follow LifeRing:

LifeRing Website
Email: Direct Link

Support the podcast

If you’d like to support this podcast, please consider clicking here to become a patron. Your contribution of just $1, $3 or $5 a month goes a long way towards building this community!

To view this and other episodes of Beyond Belief Sobriety on YouTube, visit this link.

Show Notes Written by knwhelmick at Fiverr