Soul Kitchen Retreat – Spring 2018

THE SOUL KITCHEN – April 13 – 15, 2018
A Spiritual Retreat for Men and Women in Recovery

We need to get rid of pain and anger before we can bring in love. Our literature tells us that we need to be free of anger if we are to grow spiritually and stay sober. Free of anger…no more resentments…is that you? Knowing the danger in resentment, surely, we can’t be harboring anything, can we? Well…experience has shown us that while our minds may not be inundated with bitterness or hurt feelings, we may only be aware of the tip of the iceberg. Some of us know full well that we have issues here, and that they need to be addressed. Others believe they’ve left anger in the past. Sometimes, we find big, nasty resentments festering under the surface…hidden sources of spiritual pain and struggle. So we’re going to shine a light on them, and do our best to dig them out, root and branch. Join us for what will surely be a powerful weekend!

Retreat Cost: $140 (Deposit of $40 required)
Includes: Lodging, Meals and Programs – Our retreats are co-ed (separate living quarters); limited scholarships may be available*
Schedule: Friday night dinner (optional) at 6:00 pm; first session at 7:30 pm. Last session complete by 12:30 Sunday
Committee: Ben C., Joe N., Mae Y. Ryan K., Susan L.
* A modest retreat fund is available for partial scholarships. If money is an issue, please let Ryan or Mae know ASAP so you can experience Freedom from Anger.

Villa Desiderata
Spiritual Retreat Center
3015 N. Bayview Lane
McHenry, IL 60051

New Year’s Resolutions: Making and Keeping Your Sobriety Goals

For people who are struggling with an addiction, the end of the year is a difficult time. There are potentially more temptations and triggers during Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s than any other time of the year. Now that the indulgent holidays are wrapping up, people nationwide can focus on bettering themselves for 2018.

Approximately 40 percent of Americans make resolutions, viewing the new year as a fresh start.

Setting goals for the coming year can provide inspiration and encouragement for lifestyle improvements.

Although millions of people make New Year’s resolutions, more than half (60 percent) fail to actually keep them, according to research out of the University of Scranton. This failure rate may be due to unrealistic expectations, lack of discipline or a loss of motivation, among other things. If rehab is a potential New Year’s resolution for you, don’t let fear of the unknown or a lack of motivation hold you back. Many people make a goal to master ‘something’ in the new year, why not put yourself first and make Sobriety worth mastering!

By overcoming your addiction, you can make 2018 the best year yet. Through sobriety, this year you can:

  • Spend money on your future. That might mean investing in treatment, detox and/or therapy support. It might just mean taking the money that you would have spent on drugs or alcohol and putting it toward a better version of you.
  • Make decisions you are proud of. Promise yourself the mistakes of 2017 will stay in the past. Forgive yourself for mistakes you’ve made and start living a life of integrity and honor. It’s never too late to start making better choices.
  • Face your demons. Whether it’s past trauma, depression, financial struggles or insecurity, everybody has something that plagues them. Instead of self-medicating, let 2018 be the year you get to know yourself well enough to know your demons—and then share your feelings with a trusted friend, family member or therapist.
  • Invest in your relationships. Friends and family can make the transition to sobriety easier by providing care and support. When you are sober, you can give the people in your life the time and attention they deserve. Maintaining relationships can be difficult, but the payoff is well worth it.
  • Find clarity and meaning. Without drugs or alcohol muddying your outlook, you can focus on the things in life that are important to you. Whether it’s taking up a hobby, learning a language or exploring your faith, there are so many things that can give your life fun and meaning. Make it a point this year to live intentionally.

For the best success in making New Year’s resolutions, it’s important to set specific, attainable goals. You can set up a schedule for the things you want to accomplish, and take it pieces at a time. Sobriety, success and happiness aren’t achieved overnight. Allow yourself breathing room, forgiveness and opportunities for change. Take that first step for YOU in 2018, make a call to a professional for help or attend a local 12-step meeting such as AA or NA to learn about living a program of sobriety from others Experience, Strength and Hope.

Sunday Open Speaker Brunch

October 30th, 2016 – Sunday Open Speaker Brunch

Doors Open @ Noon – Speaker @ 12:50 pm

We’re happy to have Kelly W. from Lake in the Hills, IL share her experience, strength, and hope with us!

$3 Members / $5 Non-Members / Kids ARE ALWAYS Free! 

Elgin Alano Club – 73 S. Riverside Dr., Elgin, IL

Bring a Dish to Pass and get in for FREE! 

Taming the Beast with 12-steps

I had a long discussion with my sponsee last night. She had expressed that after a recent relapse, she thinks she may never “get” our 12 Step program.  I once was as hopeless and remember that feeling well, so I told her this:

I have a beast inhabiting me. It is a living and breathing entity and this beast wants me dead.

Before I found a 12 Step program I did not know how much I was nurturing this beast.

When I stopped drinking without a program I only had “arrested” this beast. I hand cuffed it and put it in the back seat of my car.

Of course this beast escaped as it is so powerful and knows me so well. It lives inside me after all.

Once I entered a 12 Step program I acquired the skills, tools, and weapons to incarcerate and contain my beast. I built a prison for it to sit in. If I could wipe the beast out completely I would, but I don’t have those tools. Yet.

When my beast starts to speak I silence it by starving it not only of alcohol, but from the negative thoughts that the beast will use to manipulate me into helping it escape from its cell, overtake my life, and then finally end it.

Some days I have compassion for this beast and I find myself indulging it with my negative thoughts. When I catch myself talking to it I take my tools and my higher-power and I get back to work on maintaining its prison.

I “get” this program so well because I know how this beast operates now. I have learned how to arrest and contain it because I followed a program of action, sought out advice from many others in the fellowship who have successfully contained their beasts.

I know not everyone wants to be part of a 12 Step Program. I was that way for many years. That beast was a master at convincing me a program wasn’t for me.

So if you are on the fence about trying a program, think about what your beast wants you to do.

I hope this doesn’t offend anyone, I know from experience the beast can be can tamed. My thoughts are geared toward the people who are in active use or chronically relapsing and are considering AA or other programs.

Treat yourself like a Toddler

“Treat yourself like a toddler” Overheard at the tables last night and it gave me that slow opening ‘ah ha’ moment. Why are we so hard on ourselves in recovery? Often times our #1 resentment or critic is ourselves… Day 5 or day 500. 😕  Would I carry these same thoughts towards Toddler LF?

So I’m going to try something different today, treat myself like a Toddler. Talk about my alcoholic self in the 3rd person, give her a bit better care and understanding…

  • “LF gets cranky when she’s over-tired. We really need to stick to the usual bedtimes.” – Perhaps I should stop the Netflix binges after 8pm…
  • “LF shouldn’t wear those cute boots for work, they will get too tight after a few hours and her feet will hurt” – okay, I will wear something more comfortable, yet fashionable.
  • “LF doesn’t need to eat donuts in the morning, too much sugar – will make her tired and cranky later” – let’s by-pass the coffee shop at the train station this morning.
  • “LF needs some quiet time each day.” – perhaps a little bedtime story is in order tonight.  🙂

The fact for me is, if you’re dealing with a toddler, you have to plan. You have to think ahead about eating, sleeping, proper winter clothes, necessary equipment, a limit on sweets, etc. Because with a toddler, the consequences can be very unpleasant. In the same way, to be good-humored and well-behaved person in recovery, I need to make sure I have my coffee, my cell-phone charger, healthy snack choices, and my eight hours of sleep.  😆

What type of things would you say to your ‘toddler’ self to guide in the right direction for your recovery journey?