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Linda Spooner, above, will conduct DivorceCare, a series of support groups and seminars, starting Tuesday in Beckley at the Christian Resource Center at 304 N. Kanawha St. The program is faith-based, but it is nondenominational.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, for every 1,000 people between the ages of 15 to 64 who marry, almost half will divorce.

With statistics like that, Linda Spooner said the need for a program to help local divorcees deal with the life-changing event was evident.

Because of that, she and her husband, Craig, have announced DivorceCare, a series of support groups and seminars conducted by people who have experienced divorce, will have its initial meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Christian Resource Center at 304 N. Kanawha St.

The sessions will continue each Tuesday for the next 13 weeks.

Spooner attributes her time in the program more than 10 years ago for the reason she was able to heal and move forward after the surprising demise of her 31-year marriage.

“My husband left after 31 years of marriage 11 years ago,” she said. “I was a basket case, and I needed help. At the time, there was no program like this in Beckley, so I found a program in Princeton on the Internet and decided one was needed in Beckley as well.”

Spooner started conducting the program in 2002 at the Jordan Christian Fellowship in Sophia. After getting remarried and moving out of state only to return home four years later, Spooner said she wanted to hold the program at a central location, explaining she had members traveling from Lewisburg, Fayetteville, Hinton and Oak Hill to attend.

Spooner said that although the program lasts 13 weeks, each class is “self-contained,” so if a person should miss one week, they can pick back up wherever they want to custom fit the program to their individual needs.

During the 13-week duration, the program will address a different topic each week: “What’s happening to me?,” “The road to healing/finding help,” “Facing your anger,” “Facing your depression,” “Facing your loneliness,” “What does the owner’s manual say?,” “New relationships,” “Financial survival,” “KidCare I,” “KidCare II,” “Forgiveness,” “Reconciliation and moving on,” and “Growing closer to God.”

Spooner said that even though the program is faith-based, it is nondenominational. She said she has had admitted atheists attend the program and benefit greatly from it.

“You can either choose to go through a divorce or grow through it,” she said. “When you get divorced, you don’t have a goodbye, you don’t get closure, and there are so many things that keep coming back up. We call that being ambushed by grief, which seems to happen to a lot of us.

“The first time I went I was terrified and looked for any reason not to go. But after I did, I came out thinking these people are like me. They understand what I am dealing with. I could talk to my friends who were still married, and although they tried to help, they just couldn’t understand what I was going through, and the people in this group could.

“I had something in common with these people, and I think that is encouraging to people going through divorces. With like-minded people, you can help each other, and I think that is the greatest benefit because you are sharing and healing at the same time.

“This is nothing to be ashamed of,” she continued.

“Dealing with a divorce is a process, and it takes time, but I encourage anyone experiencing divorce or even contemplating it to give this class a try. People always say they were afraid or nervous to go, and that’s normal, but once they go, they say they can’t wait to go back because the people in the group have become like family.”

Each week, the group will watch a video concerning the night’s topic followed by discussion.

Spooner said the only cost associated with the program is a $16 workbook. Registration is requested but not required.

For more information, contact Linda or Craig at 304-763-3424.

— E-mail: kvanpelt@register-herald.com

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