By Ron VandenBoom
The end of a marriage or the death of a loved one can lead to feelings of emptiness, depression, and anger that leave many to believe there's no hope for the future.
Combating these feelings and finding the strength to start anew can be difficult when attempted alone.
That's the reason New Beginnings a support group of like minded individuals striving to begin again was formed. And why it continues to be an effective tool offering comfort, strength, and hope through the grieving process.
Sue Swan, a facilitator with New Beginnings, said the program consists of 9 sessions over a two month period that deal with the challenge of being alone, the grief process, and acceptance of the changes in your life.
New Beginnings has existed in Havre for about 10 years and offers two sessions a year. Over the 10 year period, about 200 people from Harlem to Chester and south to Big Sandy have gone through the program and moved on with their lives. An average of eight people per session go through the program.
Three primary facilitators assist with the program and several "on call" facilitators will also assist, Swan said.
The man's perspective is represented within the group as well as a widow and a male custodial parent, Swan said, so men as well as women will feel comfortable joining the group.
All facilitators have received training through a sister group in Great Falls known as Starting Over Single and while facilitators are not professional counselors, they have the skills, experience, and understanding necessary to assist those in need.
Swan said a local professional councilor has gone through the program and refers patients to the group.
There is no fee to participate and refreshments are provided at each meeting.
Interested people are not required to register and there is no homework or grade, Swan said.
Participants are asked to call for information prior to attending the first meeting and Swan said, they prefer participants not pick and choose which meeting they will attend. No new participants are accepted after the first three meetings.
Spring meetings will start March 12.
March 12 Getting to Know the Group,
March 19 Dealing with Being Alone-Loneliness and Stress,
March 26 Dealing with the Process of Grief,
April 2 Discovering and Trusting Self,
April 9 Accepting Changes in your Relationship with Others and Your Social Activities,
April 16 Relationship to God and Church,
April 23 Being a Single Parent Family,
April 30 Dealing with Your Ex-Spouse or the Memory of Your Deceased Spouse,
May 7 Growth through Divorce, Separation or Death.
The number to call for more information is 265-5703 or 398-4419.