This month, we focus on GROW's 9th step -  "we developed will power to do the right thing in spite of our feelings".
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Step 9 - Will Power!

"We developed will power to do the right thing in spite of our feelings". This article on Step 9 of the GROW 12 Step Program features pieces by the Moville and Dungloe GROW groups (Donegal). We generally have to get on with doing things in spite of how we may be feeling – and often, these actions will in turn positively redirect our feelings.

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No matter how bad I feel in the morning, I still have to get up and go to work. I can activate myself and keep going. I can do a lot of things in spite of how I feel. Sometimes we may fear the consequences of doing something we fear, but when we do it anyway and feel a sense of achievement, we feel better afterwards.

If we fall out with someone, we can decide to make peace with them and have the courage to do the right thing. We can be helpful and supportive to these people even if they have not been supportive to us. Resentments can eat us up, so if we try and forgive, it helps us and them too.

In our old Blue Book Step 9 was worded: “We trained our wills to govern our feelings” and the 4th Stage of Decline was worded: “We expressed or suppressed certain feelings against better judgement of conscience or sound advice”.

This leaves us with a lot of food for thought, when we come to the GROW group it is important to learn the “3 Basic Convictions”- to steady our thinking and to keep our minds set on the way of growth and to steady our behaviour. We learn from each other to “be friends with our feelings” and never let them be our masters.

Instead of saying “I can’t or I won’t”, I will say “I will try” or some other positive response. No matter how low we are or how “face down on the ground” we are, we have to dig deep and to do the positive things like:
  • Emphasise your strengths: Give yourself credit for coming to GROW meetings and everything you try.
  • Take risks: Look upon new experiences as opportunities to learn, not situations to win or lose.
  • Reflect on what you feel is positive about your life (past and present): Ask yourself what is really important to you in life, ask where you are now and where would you like to go – set goals for yourself – and start with small goals.
  • Don’t strive for perfection: Accept “being good enough”.
The GROW in Ireland Newsletter Team

News and Updates from around the Country

A Living Word - Mike Watts

Four years ago, a world conference on Mental Health held in Trinity College Dublin noted as its first conclusion that, “Spirituality is an essential dimension of mental health, if we view mental health as more than the absence of severe distress and disorder . . . and we do.” The most important needs of all people are, when you think about it, spiritual. We all need hope, trust, understanding, perseverance, courage and encouragement, acceptance and support. None of us can supply these for ourselves without having others offer them to us. This kind of person-to-person spirituality differs from belief in God, which is a kind of vertical relationship. It is horizontal spirituality, the spirit that is nurtured and kept alive between people. The Mental Health conference went on to state that “Spirituality has largely been lost in western bioscience, psychiatry and psychology but remains a central concern for non-Western societies, and many citizens and users of mental health services throughout the world.”

What does my life offer to others as I live it today? Have I lost my sense of wonder? Do I see others merely as bodies that get in my way? Read the full series...

Midlands Region Prepares for Mental Health Week

A number of events are scheduled for the Midlands Region during October and November, in conjunction with Laois Connects Week in October and Offaly Mental Health Talks Week in November. There are also a number of Gatekeeper / Community Education events commencing shortly, presented by GROW in conjunction with the HSE (booking essential, Tel: 057 93 51124): -
  • Longford: Tues 7th Oct, 10:30am, contact John on 086 8033 126.
  • Athlone: Thurs 16th Oct, 7:30pm, contact Assumpta 086 811 4135.
  • Portlaoise: Thurs 6th Nov, 7:30pm, contact John on 086 8033 126.
  • Kilcormac: Mon 10th Nov, 7:30pm, contact Assumpta 086 811 4135.

Volunteers Required

A decision was taken at the Board meeting in August to revise GROW’s Memos and Articles. Denis Fitzpatrick (Chairperson, GROW in Ireland) agreed to head up a small team to do this. He is looking for volunteers to assist him in this project. Anybody interested please contact Denis at

Speaking of Volunteerism, Volunteer Ireland have their National Volunteer Management Conference on in Dublin Castle on Tues 4th Nov. This event always sells out, so early booking is advised!

Suicide Awareness and Prevention

World Suicide Prevention Day takes place on Wed 10th Sept and there are a number of related events taking place around the country during September and October.

Who Attends GROW?

Anyone attending GROW will be familiar with the Group Evaluation forms which are completed diligently (by a designated group member known as the "Recorder") at the end of each meeting. Here's a sample of the kind of information gathered.


News from the Mid Western Region

The inaugural Limerick Mental Health Consumer Panel Conference takes place in Thomond Park next Mon 8th Sept. Speakers include Dr. Shari McDaid (Mental Health Reform), Michael Ryan (ARI), Dr. Liz Brosnan (UL), Paddy McGowan (HSE).

Everyone in the Mid West is gearing up for the Colour Killaloe event which takes place on Sun 21st Sept (3pm, €20 incl. T-shirt and paint!).

Limerick Mental Health Awareness are currently working with a number of organisations, including GROW, to plan a full week of events for Limerick Mental Health Week (5-12 Oct). Full details will be revealed at the launch on 23rd September, but here's a sneak preview of what's on offer: -
  • Sun 5th Oct: SMRC Urban Run (5k/10k) - 1pm, to get the week off to a healthy start!
  • Sun 5th Oct: Wellness Information Day at the Crescent Shopping Centre, 12-5pm.
  • Sun 5th Oct: Launch of Reflections Artists Exhibition, Sailor's House, O'Curry St, 7-9pm. Exhibition continues all week (12-5:30pm), with on-site mental health information and more.
  • Tues 7th Oct: Soul Survivors Vol 3 Book Launch, 12:30pm, GROW Office, Henry St.
  • Week long art exhibitions and activities.
  • Daily talks, activities & workshops on a range of mental health topics.
  • Thurs 9th Oct: The Mad Hatter's Fancy Dress Tea Party.
  • Fri 10th Oct: World Mental Health Day Choir Concert, organised by the Limerick-Shannon Rotary Club, Southcourt Hotel.

Decisions, decisions - Kilkenny Writers Group

"He who reflects too much will achieve too little" – Schiller.

© Andrew Taylor |

The Kilkenny GROW Writers Group looks at “Decisions” in the context of Step 9 of the GROW Program.

Maturity is a balanced development of thought, feeling and action. Our temperament or too many setbacks in life can make us fearful – prone to over-analyze and indulging a fearful imagination. By giving too much importance to negative thoughts and feelings we end up living in our head and not in life. In journeying towards maturity we need to practise decisiveness.

Read the full article...

Sign the Mental Health Life Saver Petition

One in seven adults in Ireland will have experienced a mental health difficulty in the last year. Mental Health Reform need your support to ask Government to invest in mental health services in Budget 2015. Please sign the petition on-line or at one of their Petition Days: -
  • 1st Sept: City Square, Waterford, 1pm-5pm
  • 16th Sept: Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, 11am-2pm
  • 17th Sept: Institute of Technology Sligo, 11am-2pm
  • 17th Sept: Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, 11am-2pm
  • 21st Sept: All Ireland Football Final, Croke Park, 12pm-3pm
  • 22nd Sept: Waterford IT, 10am-3pm
  • 23rd Sept: University College Dublin, 11am-2pm
  • 24th Sept: Institute of Art, Design & Technology  (Dun Laoghaire), 11am-2pm
If you'd like to volunteer to help out at one of these days, contact or you can download the petition and return to Mental Health Reform before 1st Oct.

Music and Film

  • As part of Mental Health Week, St. Patrick's Mental Health Services are launching the Upbeat Popup Radio station. They are putting together a playlist of popular "upbeat" (positive) songs and everyone is asked to nominate their favourite(s) on-line.
  • Speaking of Patrick, there is an award winning film entitled Patrick's Day, which has an interesting mental health theme and we hope that this will be hitting our big screens sometime soon...

And finally...

Here's a few other things of interest: -
© Alain Lacroix |
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