Josh Zello, Texas
My name is Josh Zello. I’m 23, and I live in San Antonio, Texas. I have been a severe stutterer, under pressure, stuttering on every word on bad days, since age 3. By profession, I teach the Christian Bible to approximately 1,000 children, and I’m studying to be a minister. About a year ago, in my job, I was being asked more and more frequently to make presentations in front of large group. The pressure on my speech intensified, and my stuttering was threatening my career, which, increasingly, has become that of a “professional speaker”.
While I had various kinds of therapy over the years, nothing seemed to really reduce my stuttering under pressure. Whatever relief that I got was temporary. Then, in May 2016, my stuttering life changed. I found Lee’s book, “Stuttering & Speech Anxiety Self-Cures”, and I loved it. I listened to the audible book; I read the hard copy, and my speech began to improve. I began to realize that there was possibility that I could cure my stuttering.
In Lee’s book, he gives his email address and invites readers to email him. So I did. To my surprise, he replied, and, in the fall of 2016, we began Skyping for an hour or so each week. He thoughtfully explained his methods in even greater detail, and I worked on my self-cure hard.
I read aloud an hour or more a day without stuttering. In this way, I created fluency memories and these began to replace my stuttering memories, which reduced the frequency and intensity of my stuttering fears. Lee also suggested that I read aloud with as much feeling and passion as I could. As I did this, I began to teach my mind to concentrate on my MESSAGE and NOT on any specific words. When I did this, I never stuttered. Even now, I find that, when I concentrate on injecting feeling and emotion in what I read aloud and in my conversations and in the speeches that I my job requires me to give every week, I did not stutter. Finally, we worked on the Crutches, the various methods that we use to avoid stutters, one by one, as they arise.
A good part of curing stuttering deals with helping the stutterer heal the whole person, about changing the stutterer’s attitudes about him/herself and about life. We worked a lot on that.
After a couple months, my stuttering had been reduced by 75-90%, depending on the situation. By the third month, my fluency was over 90%. By the fourth month, I was giving talks almost weekly and loving every second of it and not stuttering at all, and I’ve continued that (with no relapses) for six months now. In sum, I have gotten my life back, or, more accurately, I’ve gotten my life for the first time since age 3; only now can I say that I am not going to live my life as a stutterer. The seeming weight of the world has been lifted from me. I don’t even think about stuttering much anymore.
I still do my auto suggestions (ASTs) every day, and I plan to continue them as long as I live: Daily mind training, as Lee calls it. Now, I am expanding my ASTs to include some non-speech issues, to help me become the person that I truly want to be.
Yes, my life has turned positive on all fronts. Lee’s book and methods, and Lee, helped me so much. I will be eternally grateful to him, and he wants nothing in return. Then, when he asked me to join him and other self-cured PWS in forming Speech Anxiety Anonymous (SAA), I jumped at the opportunity. Recently, all of SAA’s Founders “met” on Skype. All of us had similar stories, which we shared with each other. The group included PWSC from China, India, Delhi, Nepal, Bermuda, Kentucky and Texas (my home). Our stuttering-bond was there along with something more important: A desire to help other PWS-sufferers and a general feeling that SAA could, in fact, truly help so many of them. I love the idea of being able to help others in the same way that Lee and his book helped me. There may be many ways to self-cure stuttering; I can’t say, but I do know this: Lee’s methods work, and I believe that SAA is going to become a tidal wave of hope and salvation for whole lot of stutterers around the world, and I intend to do what I can to make that happen.
If you want to watch a video about my story, click here.
I called Lee on Feb. 14, 2020 just to catch-up and told him how great my speech has been since I posted my Success Story in 2016, almost four years ago now, and I recapped my stuttering journey. See my update here: https://youtu.be/Dicng6crkCk