Blain Nelson's Abuse Pages
My Story
My Fourth Installment

I wasn't planning on doing this when I woke up, and that wasn't all that long ago (I'm not all that awake yet). But I went looking over my website stats, and that got me thinking about my previous installments, so I looked at my last one, and knew that I needed to write this. So I read over the earlier two, and now I'm writing. It's kinda strange.

I'm back in group again, only more so. In January of 1997 (or so), I ran into my facilitator from ACT at the gym a few times. One of those times, we got to chatting, and he asked if I'd be willing to come help out at group for a while -- six weeks or so. I thought it'd be cool, so I accepted, and started working with him on Wednesday nights. Initially, the idea seemed to be that I would do about six weeks, and then he'd talk to somebody else who had completed the program, and they could do some time also -- I think this was a stop-gap while they were having difficulty staffing all the groups (at this point, there were three groups a week, with the monthly group meeting separately).

Well, six weeks came and went, and I was still there enjoying it. It was cool working with these guys, getting to know them. It was also interesting learning how to function from the front of the room -- learning how to help direct conversation and to provide input while allow most of the information to come from the guys themselves. Sometime around Summertime, he asked if I could start working with the monthly group as well, and I did. And then around November he asked if I could help out with Thursday night group, and I could and did. That Christmas we added a new staff member, and, after giving her a month or so with both of us, she was ready to do group with just one of us at a time, so I was doing one group with her and one with him each week. That lasted until March of 1999, when they decided to leave and form their own agency and start a new program there.

On 1 April 2000, Violence Intervention Professionals was open for business, and I was their one volunteer. Part of the reason for leaving was to allow us to serve groups of people we hadn't been able to serve where we were for policy reasons, and we began a group for abusive women by the end of April with me cofacilitating. My cofacilitator had spent all of this time as the only woman in a room full of men, and now the tables were turned, and I was the only man in a room full of women. It's been interesting, and I really enjoy that group a lot. And having that group has gone a long way toward shutting down the claim some men would make about how this was a bunch of crap and that women were just as bad and why don't they have groups like this -- I haven't heard that even once since we started that group that I can remember.

We also added another mens group, and I helped out with that for quite a while -- I was up to four groups a week at this point, still all volunteer. Somewhere in there, I took my 30 hours of training from Drs. Anne Ganley and April Gerlock, two of the top professionals in the field of perpetrator treatment, as well as 30 hours of training from Whatcom Crisis Services on serving and supporting domestic violence victims/survivors. I've just recently sent off my application to register as a counselor, at which point I have satisfied all of the requirements the state imposes on certified perpetrator treatment programs, now that I've been doing it for all this time. To do the training, I had to miss some of the groups I was working with, and then things started demanding my time elsewhere, and it's been a long time since I've done four groups in a week -- there were even weeks that I did just one group a week. I'm not sure when or if I'll go back up to that level -- perhaps if the agency gets to the point that they can afford to pay me something for what I'm doing, and that might happen in the next year. Who knows. In group, I do have times when I can share my experiences and stories, and can check in sometimes and talk about what's going on with me at the moment, and that's been helpful.

Faith and I are divorcing, after all this time. She's been up for the divorce the whole time -- we've had the money for the court fees set aside for about a year now, and now I'm almost ready to do it. My reasons for avoiding it have shifted over time, and last Spring or early Summer I said that I could see myself being divorced in the next year, and it looks like I'm going to make that time-table. I've made peace with us not getting back together long since, and have not moved forward on the divorce for a number of reasons, including the fact that not being available to date and marry can be convenient sometimes. So I'll probably be filing in the next month, and then 90 days later we can have a court date, assuming all of our paperwork is in order, and get our decree at that point, which puts me just about April or May to be single again.

It won't be for long -- about four months. I'm planning to be married in August 2001 (mid to late August). I had already decided to move forward on the divorce well before my friendship took a romantic turn. And the romantic turn sort-of happened at an earlier time than I had been planning for reasons that were legitimate and outside my control (I was figuring we'd be going that direction sometime this Summer at the earliest -- after my divorce). This is a very comfortable relationship for me. Her name is <deleted *>, she really had been my best friend for several months prior, and I've found that my experiences over the past 7 and a half years since Faith left have prepared me for this such that it's a small natural step to take. We've already established a lot of trust and respect and good communication and honesty, so we can talk about anything and neither of us freaks out about the bad stuff. She has three kids, and I have three, and putting them all together is going to be a challenge, but we're practicing our negotiation skills and listening, and I think we can have things together pretty well by August. I'm planning to put a small site together on the progress toward that date that I'll have under this link sooner or later, and that'll be easier than having a ton of people asking me how it's going, or editing all the documents I'll reference it from.

So I'm facing a project for the next eight months that's going to take much of the eight months to prepare for. I'm going to be starting a small private counseling practice once my registration comes back from the State, and hopefully that will be a way I can continue helping people and generate some more income -- a helpful thing when getting ready to be in a marriage again.

There are those who have felt that I've been wasting time or dragging my feet on the divorce, and that this could have happened years ago if I would have gone forward then. I disagree. What I have now is worth waiting for. I wasn't ready for it before -- now I am ready, and it's pretty wonderful. I'm not saying that everybody in this situation needs to wait 7 and a half years, but I needed to have some time on my own to learn things I couldn't have learned in a relationship, and those things are proving very valuable now. There are worse things than being alone, and, now, I'm looking forward to being in a marriage again. I want to do it right this time.

Take care,
Blain

28 Dec 2000

*I deleted the name of the lady involved here because we didn't get married, and there's no need to have her name in this document anymore. Look to my fifth installment for just a little bit more about that.

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