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Ilynn Adler and Alan Maness

One of the most difficult burdens in life is dealing with heartache. For those who have been cursed with this pain, the answer is surprisingly simple: Seek help. Divorce Recovery, which was founded in 1978, was designed to give those with broken hearts a safe haven to deal with their problems. Alan Maness and Ilynn Adler say the nonprofit organization's main goal is to give those dealing with breakups the tools to finally let go and become stronger. For more information on where Divorce Recovery groups meet, call 495-0704, or visit www.divorcerecovery.net.

How long has Divorce Recovery been helping individuals deal with their broken hearts?

Adler: Divorce Recovery has been helping individuals with their breakups for 32 years now. It was started by Frank Williams as a method of offering support to those in dire need of help while dealing with the loss of a relationship. He designed a program where volunteers would be trained to facilitate these support groups. It has evolved over the years from a simple support group to (involving) different components (for people) dealing with these types of loses.

What different types of support groups are offered?

Adler: When a person comes to seek help from Divorce Recovery, there are two support groups, which are 10-week programs meeting once a week. The first support group is known as Divorce Recovery 1. DR1 helps the individuals deal with the trauma of divorce or separation. It is also designed to give support while the person is going through the grief-and-loss process at the end of their relationship. Divorce Recovery 2 is a continuation of DR1. However, instead of looking at the practical issues, it looks at the person's personal faults in the relationship. DR2 also focuses on what a person needs to do to be able to let go of the relationship, and look forward to the future. It also assists a person to not make the same mistakes in their next relationship.

Is Divorce Recovery limited to people who have been married?

Adler: No. Divorce Recovery is open to people who are going through a divorce and individuals who are not married.

What makes these support groups unique from others that are offered around the city?

Adler: We create a safe environment for (partici-pants) to share their darkest dilemmas. By creating this safe environment, it allows the person to share information that they have never shared with anyone before. The comfortable setting in these support groups is a key element in giving a person the opportunity to open up, to seek help. Also, people can relate with each other, because they have gone through the same type of loss.

What is the most crucial part in making Divorce Recovery successful?

Adler: I would have to say having the individuals tell their stories. It is the most important aspect of the groups, because (participants) are trusting strangers to hear what they have gone through in their relationship. The 10 weeks of each support group involve looking at the different aspects that consist of divorce—separation, grief, loss and the personal factors.

Is it difficult for people to open up?

Adler: There is no telling how fast a person will be able to let their floodgates open and speak about their loss. However, I would say about 95 percent of the people who come in are so thankful that there is a place where they can talk about what has been going on in their love lives. It really becomes a safe haven for them, so they are very willing to share what they have been through.

Does Divorce Recovery help children as well?

Adler: Absolutely. Even though the two people have gone their separate ways, there are still children to think about. We created a program similar to what the parents are going through so children can deal with their own loss. It is a system that teaches children how to communicate with both parents about how they feel about the situation. There is a special chant that the children do which is: "I didn't cause it. I can't change it. But I can cope."

Through the years of doing Divorce Recovery, what have you found most interesting?

Maness: There is no diversity when it comes to what people are going through. Whether it is a person getting out of a 20-year marriage or a person losing a one-year relationship, I have found that there are no stereotypes when dealing with grief.

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