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When they quit

We have been at it for a little under a year now and while each session has so many great stories, they have also had disappointments. Let me be clear, when I say disappointments, I do not mean anyone is disappointed in the individuals involved, the disappointment is in the circumstances themselves.

When someone drops the class, we can't help but feel like we are failing them somehow. Obviously we know that isn't the case, but as with all emotions, ours can sometimes lie to us. We have had individuals leave the program for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it's as simple as getting a job, still others have had setbacks in their recovery, no matter the reason, we have a momentary grief that comes with "losing them".

Now, let me also clarify, we are not overly concerned with making certain enrollment numbers, that is not what this is about. Rather, we get emotionally invested in each person that joins our program, and when they stop coming, we feel it. While we know life happens, and generally we are easy going about things, we are only human, and it can sting. I don't say that so anyone feels bad for us, mostly, I think what we deal with in this type of work is very common to anyone in human services. There is an innate desire to help, to fix, to lend a hand, and when the people either stop reaching back or disappear all together, we can't help but ask ourselves, was it something I did/said?

Mike and I are both on our own wellness journey, so we are changing and growing along side everybody who walks through the workshop doors. We both struggle with self esteem and tend to question ourselves extensively. We are always checking ourselves and holding ourselves up to a standard to be certain we are giving people the best of us. So when we have had people "quit" the program, we are asking the hard questions of ourselves, making sure we are not leaning on ourselves too much. We have learned that remaining humble on the journey is key if you want to actually help any one else. I guess this is by contrast better than being detached and uncaring.

We have learned we cannot want someone else's wellness more than they do. No amount of wishing or striving on our end will add one iota of growth or strength on theirs. Instead, we have to walk our own journey with transparency and be willing to ask for help ourselves when we don't have answers. This process has worked very well so far, not only are we able to offer help to others, but we are getting better ourselves.

So when they quit, we keep going and hope they cross our paths again. When we feel the discouragement that inevitably comes, we remind ourselves that at least we were a small part of their journey.

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