The Story Behind the 12 Lessons to Understanding Divorce
In the End ... a New Beginning
I was living in Tucson, AZ and in the fall of 2003, my wife and I separated and I moved out of our dream home in the mountains after 10 years of marriage.
Now I loved my former wife very much, but we just lived in separate worlds of reality and could not come to terms that we each could live by and emotionally support each other in our day-to-day lives.
We had been seeing a marriage counselor and she suggested we each might consider going to a divorce recovery support group ... separately.
Experiencing a Divorce Support Group
The support group I chose met every Thursday for 10 weeks. Now I was a very private person and normally did not share my inner feeling with anyone ... almost never. So the first 3 weeks I was pretty much silent and listened to the others tell their stories.
By the 4th week of the group, while sitting in my car prior to the group starting, I said to myself, "If you want to benefit from being part of the group, either you get out of your comfort zone of privacy and begin sharing yourself with the group ... or stop going."
That week I cautiously began lowering my vulnerability wall and started telling my personal story. At one point that night, tears began to stream from my eyes and I reached for the tissue box that was always kept in the center of our circle we sat in. The rule was you had to take care of yourself ... and so if you needed a tissue, you had to get it for yourself.
That was my beginning of appreciating the power that a support group could offer.
Becoming a Support Group Facilitator
In the summer of 2005, I met the founder of Divorce Recovery of Tucson support groups, Dr. Frank Williams, a professor at the University of Arizona in the School of Family Studies for 20 years. He invited me to attend a 2-weekend Divorce Recovery facilitators workshop if I would consider becoming a co-facilitator for the Divorce Recovery team in Tucson.
Nine years later, I had co-facilitated close to 30 such support groups, usually 3 times a year, and had directly engaged with 100's individuals seeking to emotionally heal and understand the ins and outs of divorce.
The Support Group Lesson Content
Frank had written an in-depth divorce recovery facilitator manual that covered many of the divorce topics revolving around emotional behavior and assumptions one could expect during the divorce process. This manual would act as a guide to each of the Divorce Recovery facilitators during the course of the 10-week support groups they would lead.
However, there was no set way, or which of the many topics covered in the manual should be discussed during each of the 10 weekly support groups or in what sequence. That was left up to the facilitators to decide.
Formalizing Support Group Lessons
After a few years of co-facilitating these support groups, I began to see a pattern as to what topics I would cover each week and in what order that would best serve the group participants in a meaningful way. And by the way, although I was co-facilitating each group, I always included myself as one of the participants as well.
In 2015, I had taken what I learned in those 30 or so support groups I had facilitated and created 12 PowerPoint presentations (lessons) for each of the key areas of learning about the emotional and practical side of divorce. These lessons would then be used as part of my own in-person Divorce Recovery workshop I was ready to launch.
Then, the Unthinkable Happened
I had a devastating emotional event take place in my life ... and was the drop into my extra large emotional bucket of disappointment that caused it to overflow ... and was diagnosed with PTSD. All that work I had accomplished creating a Divorce Recovery workshop was now put on the shelf and left indefinitely on hold.
It took me a few years to recover from this difficult and challenging journey with PTSD. During this time, I regularly participated in a weekly 12-step program, CoDependance Anonymous (CoDA) support group for 11 months ... to the point that I was no longer caught in the difficult grips of PTSD ... and was free to get on with my life. (see My Life Awakening Journey)
Revolutionizing the DDH Program
In the Spring of 2022, now living in Ashland, OR, I came across the work that I had completed 7 years earlier ... and began to explore it with awe. And as I did, I strongly felt that the content of this divorce workshop was too good not to share with those who could take advantage of this information and apply it to their own divorce or relationship endings and find supporting hope for tomorrow.
I then began to think of how I could convert my work from an in-person workshop and make it into an online program that would offer self-paced and user-friendly lessons that could far outreach many more individuals over the internet than I originally had hoped.
Please know creating this website for the purpose of sharing The DDH Paradigm has been one of the highlights of my life ... and has been a most rewarding experience in many ways.
In Honor of My Divorce Recovery Mentor, Dr. Frank R. Williams
In creating this DDH Paradigm, I want to honor my mentor, Dr. Frank R. Williams.
Frank is a Man for All Seasons. This includes being a United Methodist minister and former professor at the University of Arizona in the School of Family Studies for 20 years ... and so much more.
Frank, importantly, was the founder of Divorce Recovery, Inc of Tucson, AZ in 1977 ... and creator of the original Tucson Divorce Recovery support group program, and the author of the original support group facilitator's manual.
It is because of Frank's leadership, and dedicated and heartfelt Divorce Recovery Support Group Program work that nourished me and made the creation of this DDH Educational Program possible.
I am so very grateful to have been taught by ... worked with ... and mentored by such a compassionate master at serving others.
Thank you, dear Friend.