John, Illinois

Hello! My name is John, and I’m a medical student from Chicago, IL. I started stuttering at the age of 8, which coincided with the onset of severe OCD (both stemming from my perfectionist and people pleasing tendencies). Over the years, I attended hundreds of speech therapy sessions, with little lasting impact. My SLP, although very kind and eager to help, never stuttered herself, and she taught me to accept my stutter and self-disclose whenever I could. I was conditioned to believe that stuttering is a neurological disability, created by deformities in neural circuits, and I believed this until I read Coach Lee’s book.

Coach Lee opened my eyes to the reality of stuttering: that it’s such a pesky, irrational habit. If I put in the work, I knew that I could overcome this self-destructive habit and build a new, fluent life for myself. However, initially, I didn’t want to become a PWSS. Was I lazy or procrastinating? Was I comfortable with barely coasting by in life, garnering peoples’ sympathy? Did I not believe in Lee’s methods? Whatever the answer may be, I Skyped with Coach Lee and subsequently dropped out of the program multiple times over the years, reverting to creating new, embarrassing stutter memories with strangers and at parties. It wasn’t until I reached medical school interviews that I felt the urgency to make a change: I could barely speak under pressure. Coach Lee agreed to coach me once again, and this time, I kept up with the program. I joined WSSA, the world’s only community of EX-Stutterers and those fast-becoming EX-Stutterers. In the group practice sessions I met many people in the same situation as I. I learned a lot from them. They also helped me, and I found the motivation I lacked in the past. Then, Javi became my coach, and with his expertise and advice, my speech improved greatly, week in and week out. I have now gone 4 entire weeks without a bad speech incident, without appearing speech disabled; this is the first time that this has happened since I began stuttering! I am nowhere near perfect, and still occasionally fear words and hesitate, but I know that it’s only a matter of time before I slay the stutter beast, once and for all. If I can do it, you can too.

John, Illinois, March 2024

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