Stutterer Thankful For "No Coddling " 20 Years Ago
Brendan Comport, one of the first students on The McGuire Program for People Who Stutter remembers when the penny dropped 20 years ago and he could see a way to be free of stuttering.
I very distinctly remember the first course 20 years ago, and the first time I actually for once did not grab for a trick when confronted with a speech block.
We were doing some practice drills in the class room around the second or third day and I had a major block. Up until that moment I was still in the do-anything-to-speak mode and quite effectively avoiding the words that I was afraid of. But Dave and the other students, thankfully, noticed my struggle and did not let me off the hook. I remember Dave said “finally got you to stick with it!”
I had been found out. No more being sneaky with my speech! Rather than grab for my go-to “word substitution” trick, I gave the technique a chance and I battled to get the word out fluently. It all sort of hit me at once.
I remember a feeling of shock as I realized that, if I was ever going to be free of stuttering and the fear of speaking associated with it, I had to stop using that trick and all others. From then on there was never any doubt in my mind that the stuttering had to go.
I began to see that it is all about overcoming the fear associated with stuttering.
At first we need to work at becoming fluent even if our fear of speaking is high. Then with hard work and a generous helping of courage, we can push out our comfort zones and reduce that fear.
When I look back over the 20 years that have passed since first starting the McGuire Program, it is apparent to me that the program has helped me with much more than my speech.
It has certainly given me effective tools to have speech that is clean of stuttering and tricks, but in a larger sense it has helped me to develop a life that is largely free of the mediocrity and stress that came from using my stuttering as an excuse.
Along the way I have met some fantastic people in the program, so thanks everyone way back then for not letting me off the hook! I hope I can do the same for other students.
Brendan Cpmport, March 2014