After The Power of Procovery was published in 2000, I began receiving requests for a guide to be written about implementing Procovery support groups. The need for a guide like this made perfect sense and seemed like it would be a huge complement to the manual, but I truly had no interest in doing this at the time. I was still working on a 100% volunteer basis and strongly planning to refocus on Health Action Network’s original mission, and this felt like an extension of work I thought was put to rest when The Power of Procovery was published. It’s very interesting that we sometimes cannot see that what seems like a door closing is actually a door opening.
After much thought, I finally agreed to move forward with the guide, as I had with the manual, and decided that I would approach it in the same manner as that project. I interviewed people who identified as having benefited from support groups throughout their healing process. I wanted to determine specifically what their experience had been with support groups along the way, including the negative, neutral and positive experiences. While we largely wanted to determine what had worked, we also wanted to remain aware of the commonality between what didn’t and why.
The process was, once again, far more complicated and challenging than I could have anticipated going into it. Again, synthesizing the seemingly diverse opinions and thoughts, that seemed entirely at odds with each other, seemed impossible. As had been the case while writing the manual, with my husband Randy’s immense help, I was able to identify the underlying patterns and find core elements to what people felt had helped, hurt and everything in between.
In 2001, I published Starting a Procovery Circle: Just Start Anywhere, the first in a series of guides*, and I began the process of speaking about and training on Procovery Circles in Wisconsin. I look back and am simultaneously surprised by just how much has happened over the last 17 years and also find myself wondering how it all went by so quickly. It’s been really wonderful to experience this journey in a different way, through the writing of this blog series.
While these blogs could go on forever, the point of this series was to merely crack open a door so that some of the behind the scenes breakthroughs, roadblocks and successes, could be shared. This concludes The Wisconsin Days. Next up in the series: The Los Angeles Days. We hope you’ll stay tuned!