First day back at the counselling training centre was good. In the end the group is smaller than I’d expected. There were 6 of us on Friday with the course tutors indicating that there is one other expected to join us. Of those six, four are old students who were on my Level 3 course including one who was in my Level 2 cohort too. I felt sorry a bit for the other two who therefore have joined a group who know each other well, the centre itself and the tutors even though none of us have been taught by them before but they are the directors of the centre and therefore we all have had degrees of interaction with them over the years. Of the other two even one of them I knew a little bit as we’ve “bumped into” each other in the internetsphere before; indeed I recommended the centre for them to study for the diploma so it is nice that they were there.
One theme in the day was about challenging ourselves, looking at behaviours etc. and seeing whether we’d try different things out. It hit home to me how vital the support is of others if you do that, not just the group and tutors but others around you. We talked about how we might meet people for the first time – are you the type who leaps up and walks around a room of strangers introducing yourself. Or, do you sit back and wait for others to come to you? Would you try the former over the latter in a new situation and if you did how would you feel about that? I thought instantly – who can support you in that? Who can you talk to about that?
This thought then took me to the greatest support group I’ve ever had the pleasure to be part of – Alcoholics Anonymous. I’ve been there in meetings in my early days saying how the drink was still an obsession I couldn’t get rid of. People suggested changes of pattern in my routines, they were there on the phone if I needed to talk even if just to say “I really can’t stop thinking I need a drink”. Someone suggested a gratitude list and that was hard for me. They suggested I think of others not me. They suggested I look inside for my personal validation not use other people or external things to judge myself against. One classic meeting I once blurted out “How the f*** do your pray if you don’t believe in God?” I got some incredible advice after that meeting that really helped me. I take it for granted – they’ve been there through bereavements, redundancies, children being hurt, children leaving home, job changes and of course … half the reason I’m in the counselling course is they’ve been there holding me as I talk about my wish to follow it and my concerns and fears about it etc.
So now… when I’m next in one of those situations am I going to be the one that boldly steps up to a group and introduces themselves? We’ll see … 🙂