LifeRing Secular Recovery of Tampa Bay Empower your sober self
  A Small History: LifeRing Secular Recovery in the Tampa Bay Area
LifeRing Secular Recovery (LSR) got its start, in the Tampa Bay area, in St. Petersburg in 1987. The basis for LSR was, of all things, a longtime secular AA group. Yes, secular AA. No steps, no "higher power". These groups do exist, to this day, under names like "Freethinkers", "Atheists and Agnostics" (named after that chapter in the book "Alcoholics Anonymous", the famous "Big Book" of AA), and "Rebellion Dogs", among others. In St. Petersburg, secular AA was represented by the 104 Group.

The 104 Group was visited in the early part of that year by some folks who brought news of a fledgling sobriety support organization in California. This new entity, "Secular Sobriety Groups" (SSG) was going to have its own meetings and provide support for abstinence from alcohol and other drugs and do this without any of the trappings of AA.

The idea of a new group, separate and completely apart from AA was intriguing, albeit scary even for secular AA folks, and caused months of discussion about the possibility of creating a local SSG meeting. By the end of 1987, the members of the 104 group concluded that this alternative deserved support and decided that it was time to associate with other like-minded people in recovery, and so, started the Friday night SSG group.

The first Florida SSG meeting was held on January 8, 1988. In about 1990, the nascent national SSG organization, which had become affiliated with the Council for Democratic and Secular Humanism (CODESH, now simply called CSH), incorporated under the name Secular Organizations for Sobriety, giving the national organization and, its local affiliates, the catchy abbreviation "SOS".

Over the next ten years, the Friday night SOS meeting grew and changed. The group sponsored the first member-driven, national conferences for SOS. In the mid 1990s new SOS groups started in Tampa, and in Pasco and Manatee counties.

By the late 1990s, there was a growing movement in SOS to develop a democratic, member-controlled, national leadership for the organization. Committees were formed among the membership to come up with ideas and proposals that might lead to that goal. The existing management of SOS, still a subcommittee of CSH, was cool to these proposals, so the majority of existing SOS groups split and formed a new organization, LifeRing Secular Recovery (LSR).

The St. Petersburg and Tampa LSR groups became leaders in this area of change. The Tampa Bay LSR groups hosted the LSR Constitutional Congress, held at UU in the Pines, in February, 2001. Today, the Tampa Bay LSR groups are home to about twenty-five regular members.

Our plans for the coming year are to make LSR available to more folks in our area and start at least one new meeting. Please contact us for information. We look forward to hearing from you.

Additional Notes

The St. Petersburg 104 Group of Alcoholics Anonymous, was so named after a passage (beginning on page 104) in the book "AA Comes of Age" (1957). In that book, Bill Wilson (one of AA's co-founders) states, "...any two or more, gathered together for the purpose of discussing sobriety may call themselves an AA group...".   Back to top

The Friday night SSG group was preceded, in St. Petersburg, by another SSG meeting on Wednesday nights. The Wednesday meeting lasted for only a year, or so, and disbanded. Back to top


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