The Support Group I’m Trying to Save

al pacino as Phil Spector

When my wife called me on a Wednesday and told me she had filed for divorce, I didn’t know what to do.

I went into shock. My biggest fear had become realized. Even though she had not mentioned the word divorce any our past therapy sessions in hindsight there were signs she was planning an escape. I just didn’t think the prison break would come that particular Wednesday. It was cowardly to do without mentioning to me in advance, and I was angry. I was also terrified. I felt like a failure. I needed to do something fast.

For the first time ever I called my therapist and told her what happened. I thought that was probably the  right move. Next I called my business partner. Lastly I called my parents and a few friends. I needed support.

Every Wednesday for the past few years I had been going to a meeting called The Experiment. It’s a support group of sorts where we actually have processes for dealing with our shit. It’s hard emotional work, but it does produce results. Over those years those of us in the group have developed strong bonds and I have come to know these people as some of my closest confidants. I’ve seen them at their most vulnerable. That day they witnessed mine.

Four the past four years Wednesdays from 6:30-8:30 have been of the most important part of my week.

Then about six months back I just stopped going. I’m not exactly sure why. In group we would have processed my unwillingness to come and probably figured out it was some fear of change. In my conscious mind I had legitimate excuses. I was traveling one week. I had to do a radio interview. I was tired from a hard day of work. All true. All which kept me from the group. And then it got easier.

Occasionally I would attend. At the end of the meeting I always felt fulfilled and promised myself that I would not forget how healthy the group was for my well-being. I’d swear I’d be back the next week. But I wouldn’t.

Well apparently I wasn’t the only one. I received an email last week saying the group was going to disband because attendance had become spotty.

I was angry and sad. How dare they close this group that I had been skipping for months? Of course I realized I had become the problem, but I knew I needed to save it.

Last night I arrived at the meeting angry. Out of the six of us there were three members that were saying their final goodbyes. No matter what happened to the group, they were leaving. These three people I cared about deeply. It was like three girlfriends you’re head over heels with telling you it’s over at the same time.

There remaining three of us that wanted the group to continue.

I relayed the story of the day of my divorce call and how the group was there for me. I became emotional talking about how they supported me through my toughest years.

I told the story about how one of the members cried years ago because she didn’t think a man would want her. Then she met her boyfriend and she cried because she realized she was worthy of love. Then she cried because he asked her to marry her. The group attended her wedding this past summer. It was beyond special. This is what happens when you’re around people every week for years.

The three that wanted to leave had legitimate reasons and they were sad, too. My anger toward them  dissipated and I realized they really didn’t want to abandon the group. But they were ready to move on. I’m not.

So, we’re now down to three and basically starting over. I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to attract some new members, or at least keep the existing ones we have.

I need to remember one of the ways to subdue loneliness is to be in the presence of people who love me. Why I so easily forget this, I don’t know. Maybe I’ll work on that next week in group.

al pacino as Phil Spector

On a completely unrelated note – here’s a shot of Al Pacino starring in the Phil Spector biopic. How damned amazing does this look?

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Comments 14

  1. It sounds like the three of you have a new commitment to the group. I hope the group continues and becomes all you need it to be. Best of luck.


  2. Damn you’ve done it to me again. I don’t know what to say. What is happening to me? I want to say something encouraging but the words aren’t coming out. I want to say something upbeat. Maybe you could help me out.

  3. Sounds like a great group. So glad you had a group like that during your toughest times. Would love to hear a follow up of it in the near future.

  4. I’ve always been afraid to join group; especially after I watched that new show with Chandler from Friends. oi. Glad you found a group that helps you – and keep it afloat no matter what!

  5. I’m glad you have decided to keep going to the group. One of the things that really helped me during and after my divorce was learning to surround myself with people who I loved and who loved me. It sounds like you’ve found that place already. My thoughts are with you as you go through this time. I promise that it gets better…

  6. That is such a tremendous loss. A group with longevity like that is a treasure. I’m sorry it is ending for you, but hopeful something better for you will take its place.

  7. Aw, I want your group to live closer to me so I can attend. I have LOTS of shit to work on. I bet your group would get sick of my BS and kick me out. So maybe it’s better you’re too far away. I can just love the idea from afar.

    On a serious note… How did your group get started? I’d be interested in maybe trying to put something similar together in my own neck of the woods.

  8. Great post, glad you are able to keep the group together. I think the depth of the group you write about would make a great scene in a movie…. Thanks for sharing.

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