LifeRing was brought to Victoria to improve quality and access to effective substance misuse and addictions services. Michael Walsh, Executive Director of LifeRing Canada, in his own recovery personally faced the challenges that arose when there was a lack of diversity in recovery support group options. In an effort to address this lack of diversity, in 2008 Michael started the first LifeRing group in Victoria. There are now 16 well supported groups in British Columbia offering a space to discuss recovery topics and foster peer support. LifeRing will continue to grow city-by-city; province-by-province.
The success of LifeRing has been made possible by the ongoing support of the professional community and other stakeholders who see LifeRing as a viable and proven option in keeping people clean and sober and providing a meaningful recovery. LifeRing ultimately prevents and minimizes harm to society, builds capacity for resilience and is a coordinated community-based response to addiction.
LifeRing is a British Columbia registered not-for-profit and federally registered charitable organization. Face-to-face meetings are held at a variety of spaces: community centers, churches, addiction treatment facilities, correctional facilities, First Nations and community non-profit office space. Attendees are referred from a number of organizations such as: Vancouver Island Health Authority (multiple facilities), public health agencies, non-profit agencies, Victoria Police Department, Victoria Restorative Justice Society, community centers, to name a few. Anyone is free to self-refer by just showing up at a meeting.
LifeRing Canada provides community based mutual self-help support groups for women and men who self-identify with problematic substance use.
To support people in all stages of recovery emphasizing personal responsibility; individualized recovery plans; self-empowerment; peer-support and a philosophy that is research-informed. In addition, LifeRing builds relationships with healthcare professionals, educators and community partners.
Provide LifeRing meetings in every community in Canada and continue to create a broadly based awareness around choice in recovery.
Choice – Treating problematic substance use and addictions is complex and requires a multi-faceted approach. A key component of someone successfully recovering can be engaging in peer-based self-help support groups. Not all peer-support groups are created equal and a 'one-size-fits-all' approach fails to meet the needs of all who seek out such services.
Research Informed – Knowledge is key. We partner with Academic Institutions to better our organization and to provide them a subject with which to provide worthwhile research outcomes.
Volunteering – We provide an environment for those in recovery with which to grow as individuals. Part of that environment is giving back and volunteering to help others.
Training – All meeting facilitators are trained using the LifeRing Canada Convenor Training Program developed by the University of Victoria’s Department of Psychology.
Accountability – We listen to our members and attendees and are responsive to their input and their needs.
Financial Sustainability – All organizational activities and initiatives are supported by sound financial planning and meet all government guidelines and requirements for a non-profit organization.
Collaboration – We create strategic partnerships with supportive and qualified individuals and organizations that optimize shared goals.