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Applying the 12 Steps of GROW

Since January, we have looked in turn at each of GROW's 12 steps to Recovery. In this article, first published in 2004, Stan Mellett gives us a good overview.

Step 1: People in GROW, when they are struggling, provide dramatic reminders for all of us.  What is true for them is also true for us.  It reminds us of the need for insight and humility.  None of us is complete, none of us is perfect.  This is true for us as an organisation.  We are radically insufficient, we make mistakes.  Therefore we can, as an organisation, admit we are inadequate and maladjusted to life.

Step 2: Because of this admission and this insight, we firmly resolve to seek the help we need, be it from outside, or from within.  We therefore reach out to people with management skills, we devise mentoring programs, we provide people with training.

Step 3: GROW believes in the essential spirituality of people.  While we channel and welcome the prayerful input of all creeds and philosophies, we encourage the spirituality that lies in the love between people.  This can be represented in the form of a cross showing the two dimensions of faith: belief in God or in Goodness and a belief in each other, plus a striving for ideals.  We therefore surrender our organisation to all this goodness.

Step 4: Encourages us to acceptance of our strengths and weaknesses.  Our organisation is always in the process of growing, so we live in a house that is being built.  Our strengths lie in the stories of our members, our Program, our Group Method, our Structure our community, our teams.  We also have acknowledge our weakness and our mistakes.

Step 5: Represents a purification process.  Identifying problems, taking on tasks to solve them, learning from mistakes.  “The idea, the spirit and the community create the organisation, then (unless we are untiringly vigilant) the organisation ends up killing the idea, the spirit and the community.”

Step 6: Perseverance – in the midst of change we need to hang in there.  We need to reach into our courage and often renew our will to change.  We need to use the hopeful and cheerful language of GROW and we need to keep seeing the whole picture.

Step 7: Taking care and control of our body is a call to stewardship.  It means caring for our body.  For our newcomers, our organisers and recorders, for our regional teams and staff, reaching out from a strong centre, becoming more strongly, wisely and lovingly the same. GROW is the temple within which we live, we need to tend its soul.

Step 8: Learning to think by reason, calls us to seek the truth, balancing irrational feelings with reason, dealing with problems through sound judgement, welcoming upheaval and change as a matter of conscience, substituting sabotage by following and taking sound advice.  Reason is the backbone of the organisation, it involves being objective and prioritising.

Step 9: Training our wills means developing our characters.  We do this by developing and practising good habits of love as the guiding principles of how we conduct our work.

Step 10: Taking our place in the community means being friendly with those groups with whom we work, with doctors, the department of health, health boards, prisons, others in the voluntary sector.  To live up to our aim and claim to be the missing link in health care.

Step 11: Growing daily closer to maturity can be understood as being an ongoing road that stretches through time, weaving through generations and pulled on the one hand by the black dog of depression and human weakness and on the other by the white swan of human ideals, dreams and potential.

Step 12: Is a call to leadership, to mission, to getting the word out there.  This must be done at many levels, through a website, the media, an information line, by individuals telling their stories, by word of mouth.

The GROW in Ireland Newsletter Team

News and Updates from around the Country

Remembering Aideen (RIP)

GROW in Ireland lost a true GROWer and wonderful colleague this November. Aideen Lovett, former Galway GROW Fieldworker (Area Co-ordinator) who passed away after a long illness, personally benefited from GROW after numerous admissions to psychiatric hospital in her early 20's. She was a firm believer, not only in the GROW Program for personal development, but also in the Leadership structure in GROW, which helped her recover. She wanted to pass on the 'GROW leadership bug' to others as a Fieldworker, and she absolutely succeeded in her task. She was also a pioneer, setting up GROW's first Young Adult group in Galway & GROW's first Irish Speaking group in the Gaeltacht. She will be greatly missed, but has left a wonderful legacy. Aideen's Leadership Testimony, which explains her belief in GROW Leadership, is available on the GROW website.

News from the North East Region

The North Meath Vintage Club adopted GROW as their Charity for 2014.  They successfully organised several Events including Tractor Runs and Collections in their own area.  Their efforts culminated in the Presentation of a cheque to GROW North Eastern to the amount of €4,251.00.

The Photo above was taken on the night of the presentation of the cheque.

The region also ran a Community Education Programme in the Lakeside Manor, Virginia during October and November. The nights were well received generating huge support.  We had 80 people in attendance on week 2.

A huge effort was put in by the newly formed Regional Team and good progress is being made in the Region. This included the opening of a new group in the Primary Care Centre, Ashbourne on Fridays @ 11am.

However, the region received the disappointing news that Roseanna McCabe will not be returning to work.  Roseanna has been working with GROW for nearly 10 years and has made a huge impact on improving the lives of those GROWers who attended her Groups.  Her departure has been a shock not only to those within GROW but also those Organisations that we have dealings with including SHINE, SOSAD and HSE. We wish Roseanna well in the future and hope to mark her departure at a function early in the New Year.

Working with our GPs

GROW was delighted to have an information stand at the recent National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP) AGM in the Strand Hotel, Limerick, on 15th November. This forms part of a 6 month campaign to "carry the GROW message" to Irish GPs, which also includes distribution of GROW information leaflets to approximately 1,300 GP surgeries nationwide.

A recent survey of GPs indicated that 84% of GPs stated that their mental health has suffered as a result of worsening working conditions. Almost half of GPs are currently working over 50 hours per week, with one in five working more than 60 hours per week and nearly half of those surveyed said they had an average of less than 12 minutes to spend with each patient. GPs and other healthcare professionals are responsible for approximately 26% of referrals to GROW groups, hence the importance of working with GPs in order to increase the number of people using the services of GROW in Ireland.

GROW Groups Nationwide

GROW has about 120 weekly support groups nationwide. The full list of groups, days/times and locations is available on the GROW website and details are also available from the GROW info line: 1890-474-474. Groups are also listed on Google Maps.

If you find any errors or if you notice that the pin for your local GROW group is not in the correct spot on the map, please do let us know so that we can make the necessary corrections! Thanks to Dara Monahan who volunteered via Limerick Volunteer Centre to help put this map together.

News from the Mid Western Region

Representatives from GROW attended the very successful inaugural Limerick Volunteer Centre "Rising to the Challenge" Conference in the Southcourt Hotel on 14th November. There were topical, interesting presentations on the Public Participation Network, Garda Vetting and the Governance Code, in addition to some useful IT and PR tips from Derek Fanning (Design4Me). With about 170 attendees from 110 different organisations, the event was also a worthwhile networking event.

On 29th November, the Savoy Hotel in Limerick provided the venue for the annual regional GROWer training day. About 40 GROWers from Clare, Limerick and Tipperary participated in the training which was delivered by area co-ordinators Mary Purcell & James O'Halloran, with administrative back up from Joan Diffley. The training focused on leadership and what happens at regional organiser and recorder meetings. Alan delivered an inspiring leadership testimony and the key message was that challenging ourselves to take on leadership roles (from leading a meeting, attending regional events to joining a regional or national team etc.) is a critical element in our personal recovery. The importance of sharing our story within our group was emphasised (rather than reading someone elses), especially when there are newcomers present.  GROWers present expressed a need for some guidelines on putting their story/testimony together, so this is something to be looked at early in 2015.

Christmas Gifts from GROW

Christmas is fast approaching and GROW in Ireland is encouraging all its supporters to purchase a gift for a friend or loved one, or indeed for themselves.

GROW in Ireland has a number of items on offer for €5 each which can be purchased from your local GROW Office. All of these items have been designed, published and printed by small businesses in Ireland. Not only are they good value gifts, but by purchasing these products you are supporting GROW services in your area and doing your small bit to raise the profile of GROW.

GROW has put together a special Christmas package containing the three books (Soul Survivors 2 & 3 and GROWing to Maturity) for €20 including postage (within Ireland  only).  Normal price including postage would be €30+. Cheques should be made payable to GROW in Ireland and posted to: GROW, Ormonde House, Barrack Street, Kilkenny.
Pack of 12 Christmas Cards with 6 different designs are also available for €5 each from GROW offices nationwide.


Bits and Pieces

Some interesting mental health related links: -

And Finally...

Thank you for subscribing to the GROW in Ireland newsletter and for your support during 2014.

May love be in your life,
May hope be in your heart,
May the spirit of friendship
make you a free and whole
person, and gentle builder of
a free and whole community.
Happy Christmas and a
Peaceful New Year.
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