presentsThe Evolving Self
When growth is the only option...

The Evolving Self is an e-newsletter that reflects the belief that growth is a choice that can bring an ever deepening and expanding awareness of who we are and what we are here for. The reader can expect affirmations, quotes, book reviews, insightful commentary and tips that support the growth of the individual.

Affirmation: I am Emotionally sober.

Quote:  "People are meant to be part of your world, not the center of your universe." -Leidy Vazquez

Newsletter archives:

May 2017 - Challenging Established Beliefs/The Mind-Body Connection

April 2017 - Smile Therapy/Making Room

March 2017 - The Inner Battle/Re-Parenting the Inner Neighborhood


Certified Aromatherapist

As a Certified Aromatherapist, I am qualified to make custom blends to address various health concerns and skin issues. Many aromatherapy blends also have a quality of emotional support as well. If you are interested in custom blends and/or coaching along with aromatherapy solutions, please email me at






Emotional Sobriety

If you've ever attended an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, you may have experienced the celebration of sobriety days. Many meetings will even hand out chips to help people gain a sense of pride and motivation to maintain their sobriety, 30-days, 3-months, 6-months, 1 year, 5, 10, 20 etc.

The achievement of sobriety for many is very elusive and challenging and in fact, there is a rather small percentage that achieve or even attempt sobriety.  The 12-steps of AA is a spiritual approach to recovery. It involves a process of surrendering, recognizing the limitations of personal power, identifying a higher power, examining behaviors, recognizing that these behaviors were coping strategies, seeking to make amends to people who have been harmed by their behavior and establishing a regular maintenance program to ensure continued sobriety.

The members who have achieved lengthy sobriety are viewed with admiration and appreciation as it is a significant accomplishment involving a "spiritual awakening" and change of daily living. Achieving physical sobriety, however is not a guarantee of emotional sobriety.

Bill Wilson, the co-founder of AA wrote an article called, "The Next Frontier: Emotional Sobriety" in January 1958, more than 20 years after the founding of AA. In it he describes the challenge of aligning his "fears, compulsions and phony aspirations...with what [he[ actually believes, knows and wants." He discovered for himself that he was dependent on people or circumstances to supply him "prestige, security, and the like" and that when it failed to happen which it always eventually did, he would find himself depressed and defeated. 

Getting past the difference in languaging from 58 years ago, what Bill is actually describing is co-dependency. Amusingly, his wife Lois was pivotal in the founding of Al-Anon, also based on the 12-steps but directed to help the spouses and families of alcoholics to recover from their own part of the "family disease" which was an enabling, co-dependent relationship. It would likely have been beneficial if Bill had joined Al-Anon.

What is Emotional Sobriety?

Emotional sobriety is having achieved a reasonable and healthy level of connection with your feelings. Knowing how you feel and why, being in touch with what you want and need and having the ability to process experiences from a feeling perspective. That doesn't mean you don't have reactions to life's experiences. It simply means you are aware of yourself and of your mind and body's responses to life's experiences: thoughts, feelings, behaviors and physical sensations. 

In addition, there is a sense of intentionality and deliberation in your responses to life and other people. You know what you value, what's important to you and you act in alignment with those values. You are generally kind and thoughtful of others. Again, you have the full range of feelings, but you manage them and communicate them by taking responsbility for your experience. 

Finally, you have a clear sense of who you are and are able to appropriately esteem yourself rather than being dependent on others for positive regard to feel ok about yourself.

Our patterns of behavior, also known as coping strategies and defense mechanisms, were established for a reason. Typically because we were in fear and/or emotional pain. Our needs were not being met and in some cases, we were even being traumatized by the experience of others around us. The strategies that we developed to cope during those times are deeply engrained patterns that are often linked to survival in our mind-body system. As we grow into adulthood they often become more of a liability than an asset. They are the behaviors that drive other people crazy and interfere with our ability to be successful in the world and in our relationships.

Emotional sobriety is worth pursuing whether through Al-Anon or otherwise as it improves our relationships and our underlying happiness. Through Bill Wilson's efforts towards Emotional Sobriety, he stated that, "I have been given a quiet place in bright sunshine."

I support people in learning tools to live intentionally and deliberately and to achieve Emotional Sobrity. Please click here: to contact me to schedule coaching or counseling services.

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Jaqui Duvall works as a coach, mentor, trainer, facilitator and public speaker developing and delivering workshops, leading mentoring groups and working with individuals to help them identify and express their inner spirit and live a life of consciousness and intention. •  San Jose