Friday, May 06, 2005


Tonight I attended the first session of the Fresh Start Seminars for divorce recovery...

Upon entering the church building where the weekend-long seminar is being held I saw a colored paper sign pointing me in the direction I needed to go. There were other colored paper signs pointing arrows in other directions for other groups also meeting in the church. I walked up to the registration table, announced my name and was presented with a manila envelope and a workbook and directed to another table to procure my name tag. At the name tag table, the nice man pointed out where the refreshments were and I wandered, somewhat bewildered over to the spread of fruits, veggies, shrimp cocktail and deep-fried appetizers. I collected a few things to nibble on fetched a glass of water and then dread washed over me as I looked into the "fellowship hall" where multiple round tables were set up for people to sit and eat. It was the high school cafeteria on the first day of classes all over again. I scanned the room thinking, "Where should I sit? Who looks interesting? I could choose an empty table, but that looks pathetic and anti-social." I picked my way through and found a seat at a table with an even male-female ratio. Immediately "Don" introduced himself and I am struck with with the thought "Do I really need to do this again?" [I get so tired of meeting new people and making small talk, it really exhausts me. This was one of the aspects of the Women's conference that did me in...] I shared my name, and Don said, "Oh, I see you got the shrimp." "Yes," I replied not knowing what else to say, "they're enormous."

Okay, on to the business of the evening: The Stages of Divorce and Recovery

The first stage after a crisis (in this case separation/divorce) is DENIAL...denial leads to and stems from fear which in turn develops into ANGER. Next comes BARGAINING, and I wish someone had told me about this one, because perhaps I would have done some things differently. After bargaining you hit "the Pit" and DEPRESSION ensues, gradually comes ACCEPTANCE and eventually FORGIVENESS (the "F" word of divorce) and finally one is fit and able to healthfully move into a new lifestyle.

We learned that these stages aren't rigid and often times are "slippery", meaning you can slip from one stage back into a previous one within minutes, days, or weeks, and then back out again. But the key factor here is to be aware of them and not get "stuck" in any one particular stage, because that does not promote emotional healing.