Archives for January 2013

I Am Not Drunk – I Have A Stutter!

I have been running one to one stuttering courses since 1997 and a few years ago a client that attended a course told me about a situation that had caused him a great deal of embarrassment as well as frustration. It was what led him to searching for therapies that could help him to attain total fluency.

He had spent an evening out with two of his friends at a local bar. It was his turn to go to the bar to order the drinks however when attempting to do so he somewhat struggled to say it fluently – yes the stutter reared it’s ugly head on a number of the words. This itself was frustrating enough however what was to happen next was rather shocking.

The barman stated that he was not willing to serve him any more drinks due to the fact that he was drunk.

“I am not drunk, I actually have a stutter! I have only consumed a couple of pints.”

The frustration of it all

“Sorry but I am not willing to serve you.”

This guy then returned to his friends who, of course, enquired as to where the drinks were. He explained what had happened. One of his friends then asked:

“That is outrageous, why don’t we ask to speak to the manager?”

“I can’t really be bothered, let’s just go somewhere else.”

His other friend stated that he would just go and buy the drinks and he then duly did.

About fifteen minutes later the same barman noticed that my client was drinking a pint of lager and came over to where he and his friends were sitting and asked them all to leave stating the previous conversation as the reason.

In a state of shock and not wanting to cause a scene the three men did leave never to return to that bar again.

This was a horrible experience which unfortunately happens from time to time. Some people just do not understand and are damn right annoying and rude.

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Attempting To Kill My Stuttering Demons

After a lot of work and a lot of searching I had managed to develop a set of techniques, techniques which I now call the “speech rules” and the practice was now in full swing. I was very much aware that I would need to work extremely hard at the practice side of things to ensure that these speech rules became a natural part of my speech.

I did not want to have to continually have to remember them for the rest of my life as my aim was to achieve total fluency and to be able to speak with the freedom and confidence that the majority of other people in the world did.

What I had in my head were what I called my stuttering demons. These were basically voices that would often (and I mean extremely often) talk to me, telling me that I was likely to stutter in a particular situation. This will be described in a clearer manner later. I just had to find a way to kill or to eradicate these demons as they were, in my opinion, a major reason why I had this form of speech impediment.

Here is an example of how I went about this task of eradicating the demons:

I was in a McDonald’s restaurant for the sole purpose of practice. Going and ordering items in such a restaurant was something I had always found hard to do and I would end up ordering something I believed that I could say rather than something that I actually wanted.

On this day I was going to attempt to order a Big Mac. I had always, well ever since I developed a stutter at the age of four, had issues saying words beginning with certain letters including “B” and “M” words, therefore this would be a good test.

Ordering food at McDonalds

As I waited in the queue a demon in my head stated that there was no way that I would succeed and advised that I order a hamburger and fries instead. I spoke back to this demon and in no uncertain terms told him where to go. I was however rather nervous but was focusing on remembering the techniques. It was eventually my turn to order and I could not believe it – I managed to say it fluently. I was so pleased and proud of myself.

I sat down and started to eat the Big Mac but to my annoyance the demon once again started to talk to me and stated that I had been lucky with that attempt and to not be so pleased with myself. He continued by stating that I would not be able to do it a second time. So have a guess what I did?

Yes I went back into the queue and did it all over again. The result? Yet again no problems. That is one demon that was well and truly crushed!

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My Fifteen Minutes Of Fame Including Being Featured On The BBC

They say that we all have fifteen minutes of fame and mine duly came in June 1999. I had helped a man from London who happened to work in the media. After achieving successful results from the stuttering course and attaining his goal of fluency he asked whether I would like to appear in the National Press.

My fifteen minutes of fame

At the time I was not really aware as to just how much the whole thing would escalate and duly said yes. Had I known how things were to escalate I would have still said yes!

I was interviewed and as is the way only a small amount of what I said was eventually included and my words that were used were in some way taken out of context but I guess you have to accept these things with the British press!

Here are a few of the areas where the story was covered online:

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/world/1999/0610/99061000087.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/1999/jun/10/politicalnews.politics

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/364923.stm

The stuttering treatments that I offer were also discussed on the television and I appeared on a number of the major Radio stations during this rather hectic week – but I have to say that I loved every minute.

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Avoiding stuttering at all costs!

I was talking to a client this morning about the way in which stuttering affected my life and I remembered one such example from a night out that I had when I was aged 21.

I was with a group of five friends and it was my turn to order the drinks at the bar. I was the type of stutterer that did not want to stutter in front of anybody, whether I knew them or not – I basically hated having a stutter.

On a night out with friends at the bar

I asked my friends what they wanted to drink. Up until this point in the night we had all been drinking pints of lager which was something I was confident about ordering. Therefore in a rather upbeat manner I asked “Same again lads?” Fully expecting them all to say yes.

BUT NO! Martin stated that he would like a bottle of red – WHAT? A BOTTLE OF RED! I had no idea what a bottle of red was, he certainly did not mean wine.

I walked up to the bar now thinking in a rather more negative manner. I would struggle to say the word bottle and possibly the word red. Have a guess what I therefore ordered? Six pints of lager please I said to the barman! Yes I bottled it.

I went back to my friends and Martin enquired as to why I had bought him a pint of lager instead of a bottle of red. This was my reply:
“Sorry mate, I forgot!”

He looked at me as if I was rather thick. This was far better than stuttering though.

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Wishing You All A Happy New Year

I am now back from what was a superb Christmas and New Year break. It was lovely to spend so much time relaxing with my wonderful family.

I am very much looking forward to 2013 and I hope to help many more people to achieve fluency and to therefore overcome their stutter.

Wishing everyone a Happy 2013

Wishing you all a Happy New Year from Stephen Hill at the Stuttering Therapy Centre.

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