Stories from…STEPS // Martin
We asked a recent STEPS attendee to tell us about his experience of the course.
I decided to do STEPS because despite lots of therapy, I was continually struggling with a fear of rejection, which presented itself through people pleasing, taking too much responsibility for others, low self esteem and a strong feeling of powerlessness. I felt that I had nothing to lose by doing STEPS, but in all honesty I couldn’t envisage how things could be different for my life.
The journey has been surprising. I liked the fact that the course was structured, but at the same time I was frustrated that my recovery wasn’t (and isn’t) structured. I treated it like a tick box exercise which I needed to make sure I completed. Halfway through the process it dawned on me that my recovery isn’t all down to me. This amongst other things led to me having a profound experience of God’s unconditional love and acceptance of me. I had never had an experience like it in almost thirty years of believing in God. Since that point I have continued to feel that I wanted to hurry up and be ‘sorted’, but I am gradually understanding that a key part of recovery for me is being OK with not being OK, and trusting that I am in God’s hands.
I feel much more secure and accepting of who I am now. For the first time my identity is beginning to feel like it is based on what God says rather than what others say. I am learning to be more honest about my needs and clearer about boundaries with other people. I still people please, but I’m more aware of my behaviour and I feel able to reflect and change my behaviour more easily without facing never-ending cycles of self criticism.
For the first time I feel like my thought patterns and behaviours are changing. In the past I’ve tried to stick a plaster over my pain and hurt. Doing the STEPS course has enabled me to dig deeper into the source of the pain in a safe, structured environment and I can honestly say I have come away having experienced healing and a new hope for my future. My ongoing journey of recovery hasn’t felt linear: many times where I’ve been face to face with my struggles I’ve wondered whether STEPS was actually helping, but looking back I know wholeheartedly that it was.