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Happy divorce

PUBLISHED: 11:50 14 April 2014 | UPDATED: 12:22 14 April 2014

Michele Curtis, who is starting a divorce recovery workshop. Picture: Denise Bradley

Michele Curtis, who is starting a divorce recovery workshop. Picture: Denise Bradley

copyright: Archant 2014

When Michele Curtis’ marriage broke down she was devastated. It was the third time she had made her vows, imagined she had found her soul-mate, and looked forward to the happy ever after. And, for the third time, the relationship failed.

Struggling to come to terms with yet another broken marriage, and searching for help, she chanced across the charity Divorce Recovery Workshops on the internet, liked what she saw and booked a weekend workshop in Devon. It changed her life.

She returned to her Norwich home, so impressed by the course that she has trained as a volunteer, recruited more volunteers who had also all been through a divorce or separation and been helped by the workshops, and is now running courses in Norfolk.

The programme treats break-ups like a bereavement and helps participants through a grieving progress, from denial and anger to acceptance and moving on.

Michele, now 63, is a nurse who has worked with bereaved people and those struggling with drug and alcohol addictions. “I knew an awful lot about recovery, but had never connected a broken marriage with bereavement,” she says. “This is not about legal advice, it’s not about marriage counselling. It’s for when you know the relationship is over and you just want to find a way to come to terms with that.”

She was 17 when she wed her first husband. Six years, and two children, later they divorced. Her second marriage lasted 23 years but the couple drifted apart and, aged 50, Michele was single again. Her third marriage lasted just three years. “I was completely devastated. I really had believed this was it. I wouldn’t have entered into another relationship without being certain.”

She says people are often surprised and grateful to find they are not alone in their grief – and going through normal emotions rather than going mad. The courses are for people who have been through significant relationship break-ups including divorce, separation or the ending of a civil partnership. These could be recent or decades ago.

On course for recovery

Over the weekend of July 25 to 27, the first residential Divorce Recovery Workshop in East Anglia, will take place at the Belsey Bridge Conference Centre in Ditchingham, near Bungay.

For more information, see www.drw.org.uk or call 07833 073105.

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