ALTON - Over the next two years, community members are invited to join once-a-month group sessions for the program “The ABC's of Building Healthy Relationships.”

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Stella Webb, owner of Soul Sanctuary, will host these sessions alongside Jodi Rae with Sundog Alchemy and Nichole Coad with Sam & Delilah. The trio explained that their goal is to help people achieve healthy relationships in their personal lives so they can promote healthy communities.

“The truth is, we’re not taught while we’re growing up how to have healthy relationships. If anything, I was taught how not to have healthy relationships or how to have unhealthy relationships,” Webb said. “We’re going to talk about all the ways to have healthy relationships, address some of the issues that we have around relationships, and then provide some suggestions on how you could possibly make it a way that’s healthy.”

Webb, Rae and Coad explained that every month will feature a different letter of the alphabet. The program kicks off with Acceptance and Awareness on Sunday, April 21, 2024, at Soul Sanctuary in Milton Schoolhouse. From 2:30–4:30 p.m., attendees will talk about the month’s topics and break into smaller sessions so they can practice setting boundaries and communicating in healthy ways.

While we often think of a relationship as between two people, Webb, Rae and Coad encourage people to think differently about their relationships, including one’s relationship with oneself. The three believe that you have to start with your inner world to improve your outer world.

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“It changes your outlook on the rest of the world whenever you have a better relationship with yourself,” Coad explained.

Webb encourages people to think about why certain situations are triggers and what they need to heal within. Then, the women encourage healthy communication with the people around you.

While it can be uncomfortable, Webb, Rae and Coad believe these conversations are important. By understanding how to build healthy relationships, they said, our lives are more fulfilling.

“This is one of those vital topics that we need to have space held, community space held, from middle school age on up,” Rae said. “It needs to be something where we can have these conversations while acknowledging that they are uncomfortable, they are challenging, and in doing that we give ourselves permission to be in the discomfort of it while proving that we can show up for one another.”

Sunday’s session is the first of many that will take community members through the entire alphabet over the span of two years. For more information, you can visit the official Facebook event page or check out Soul Sanctuary on Facebook.

“There’s a lot of anxiety around the idea of trying to navigate all these different relationships, and to be honest, a lot of people will just opt out. And that's not healthy either,” Webb added. “Instead of just completely giving up, learn how to establish and maintain healthy relationships. Choose the people that you want to be around and want to surround yourself with, people that you know you can trust, that you don’t have to be pulling knives out of your back every five seconds. That way you’re doing it in a healthy way and your life is much more fulfilling.”

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