AN ORGANISER’S TESTIMONY
How Leadership brings Healing When I first joined my GROW group there hadn’t been a Organiser for quite some time. There were some seasoned members who had already served as Organiser and were now busy participating in other Leadership roles such as the Regional Team and serving on the GROW National Board. The meetings appeared to run smoothly by themselves. So when, my Area Coordinator asked me would I be prepared to take on the role of Organiser, I agreed without actually knowing what was involved. I did not fully appreciate all the different kinds of leadership at work within the group during those early months of my GROW experience.
To be honest during those first few months I didn’t understand how the weekly meetings and the group method were ever going to help me with my depression. I liked reading the Blue Book and other GROW literature and what initially kept me coming back was the warm welcome that I received and the continued friendship within the group. Fortunately after I became the Organiser, two things happened; I volunteered to take part in the GROW Leadership distance learning course, and secondly I had the opportunity to attend an Organisers and Recorders Training day course which was being run by Christine Fitzgerald the National Program Coordinator. Not only did these two events provide me with a good insight into the duties and responsibilities of an Organiser, they also gave me a greater sense of purpose and a greater understanding of the positive impact that an Organiser can have on their weekly group. At the O&R Training day, as well as discussing the various duties, it was made clear to us the need to delegate some of the duties whenever necessary to avoid becoming so overwhelmed that your own wellbeing suffers. In fact by delegating some of these tasks you are not only helping yourself but you are also helping your fellow GROWers by encouraging teamwork and calling on their leadership skills. This is a good example of the Grow wisdom: ‘If you need help, help others. To help others best let them help you’. This information came as a relief to me as I would have a Co-dependency issue myself and so I would naturally tend to feel exaggeratedly responsible for other people. Becoming Organiser has not only helped me to stop relating to others in such an unhealthy way, it has also improved my self-confidence so that I now have increased personal value coming from within me. I no longer feel, that I need to seek the approval of others to feel valued. I would also be prone to perfectionism and so letting go of responsibility has been challenging for me at times. I have found great strength and reassurance from the many GROW wisdoms such as ‘Confidence is not a feeling but an attitude of mind’ and by reminding myself that ‘Growth is painful, but permanently rewarding’. I have discovered that the more leadership roles that I took on the easier it became to adopt these new skills. Every new task or role that I took on had its own challenges including writing and giving my personal testimony to my group, at a Regional Training day, at a Community Education event or an orientation at Letterkenny hospital Psychiatric ward or even the GROW national weekend. Each of these events was challenging and required me to move out from my comfort zone but each one that I tackled demonstrated the more confident freedom from my old self imposed imprisonments of low self esteem and debilitating lack of confidence.