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My story: Ian

My Story‘ is an ongoing series featuring previous participants of The Quest Workshop.

Ian Smith attended The Quest Workshop in September 2014…..

What brought you to The Quest Workshop?

I had developed a general malaise towards life. I felt disconnected from my friends and my surroundings. Feeling that no-one understood me and because of that I didn’t want to try and connect with them anymore. At weekends I would only leave the house to scratch the itch of needing sexual contact, otherwise I would have been in my pyjamas all weekend. Life wasn’t getting worse, but it definitely wasn’t getting any better. I decided some changes need to be made.

What was your experience of The Quest Workshop?

DSC01326questI feel very privileged to have spent the time with my fellow Questors on the weekend workshop. It takes courage to share our personal stories, even in a safe environment like the workshop; but the life stories shared by my fellow Questors made me realise that we shared some of the same problems, views and patterns of behaviour. There were lots of “me too” moments which made me feel immediately less isolated. I wasn’t on my journey alone.

Was it what you expected? Tell us how

I tried not to have too many expectations of the workshop. I imagined it would be intense and emotionally draining, and it was both of those things. Everything I shared with the group was my choice, sometimes I just needed a little bit of pushing to disclose and the facilitators were great at that, and I always felt better after I had verbalised my thoughts. Some of those thoughts that had been rattling around in my brain for years. I was encouraged by the fact that the facilitators and the assistants shared their stories too. We were definitely all in it together trying to navigate our own metaphorical ship, laden with baggage, through rough seas to an island of new intentions and behavioural change. I didn’t expect to feel such a strong connection to this diverse group of men after having only spent a weekend in their company.

What did you get from the workshop?

I got a pain in my chest! The day after the workshop ended I felt bereft, the weekend was over and it was now time to try and start living in a new way. The pain for me was a good pain, it was good to be feeling something, rather than the emotional numbness which seemed to have plagued a lot of the years before. I knew that I had to make major changes to my life in order to make that pain go away, and to become lighter, and I knew that pretending it wasn’t there or sabotaging myself with diversion tactics wasn’t an option.

What difference has the workshop made to your life now?

Within the first two weeks of completing the workshop I had booked my first holiday abroad for ten years and also handed in my notice at work. Where previously I would have internalised feelings, I now let them out, and the more honest and authentic I was with those around me, the more they mirrored my behaviour and were more authentic and honest with me. My social life has never been so full, and my circle of friends has grown. My fellow Questors and I are in daily contact through the Whatsapp group we put together and when we can, we meet up socially, either in small or larger groups and go and see a movie, or meet for dinner or even Ballroom dancing! It’s a good way for us to reconnect and to keep the spirit of our Quest weekend alive.

To find out more about The Quest Workshop or to register, click here.

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