What is RADiCAL?

RADiCAL is a 10-week support group and course for women struggling through the turmoil of a midlife divorce. The program is designed to be volunteer-led using our RADiCAL Leader’s Guide and follows a step-by-step pathway through the recovery process. The class is best suited for groups of 8-12 women and creates an environment to work through the issues together, allowing the women to encourage one another through this unexpected experience.

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How do I start a RADiCAL group?

The are several ways to start a RADiCAL group. The first thing you need to decide is whether you want to start the program in your church or in the community. By community we mean, in your home, office, community center, etc.

Once that decision is made, we have a step-by-step game plan to get your program up and running lined out on the following pages:

Host a RADiCAL support group at your church
Host a RADiCAL support group in the community

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How much will it cost to start a RADiCAL group?

RADiCAL costs your organization very little to get established. However, there are a few costs associated with starting your RADiCAL group.

First and foremost you will need to decide which Leader’s Package you need.

  • RADiCAL Outreach – $239.00:  Includes everything you need to run a successful class plus additional marketing materials and organization resources.
  • RADiCAL HomeBase – $138.00:  Includes everything you need to lead the class

Second, you may spend a small amount on additional promotional items such as printing for flyers, brochures, and perhaps a poster, or possibly taking out an ad in the local paper, etc…

Last, since the women purchase their own materials for the class, you won’t incur any costs on the women’s materials; however, you may want to offer scholarships to women who are really struggling financially.  We suggest the women pay something to give them more ownership of and commitment to the program.

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How much time is required to start and run a RADiCAL group?

Since RADiCAL is a volunteer based, the program actually helps relieve church leadership of time and energy used to help women struggling with divorce.  The woman leading the class will need to commit to actually leading the class for the ten weeks, and to preparation time that includes reading the Radical Recovery book, going over each week’s work in the binder and whatever small administrative tasks that might be necessary.   The leader may need a few support items, such as access to promotional resources, including church bulletins, pulpit announcements, printing, etc.  She will also need a meeting space once a week for 10 weeks.

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How much does it cost to attend a RADiCAL group?

The Women’s Materials are $85.00 per woman. There are several ways you can do this.

  • The church can order the materials from Midlife Divorce Recovery at a discount and have each woman purchase the materials from the church. (The best way to do this)  We can charge your materials on your church/organization credit card, and by the time the charge comes due, the women would have individually paid for the program so the church itself is not out any money upfront.
  • Alternatively, you can have each woman order her materials on her own through the RadicalRecovery.org website, and bring them to the class on her own.

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Is training required to run a RADiCAL group?

While there is no formal training required to start a group, often your church or organization will require that the leader meet certain qualifications to facilitate a group, or perhaps even go through training at the church that is in place for small group ministries.

The Leader’s Guide and includes a section on your roles and responsibilities as a RADiCAL leader, as well as tips and advice throughout the entire 10-weeks. The program itself is designed to be a group environment of support/seminar with the Leader there to keep the conversation moving in the right direction and to address any issues as they arise.

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What are the responsibilities of the class leader?

The main job of the class leader is to facilitate group discussion. The leader is there to monitor progress, start and stop conversation, and help with any issues that arise. The Leader does not need to have all the answers, but needs to be familiar with the resources and able to help direct the group to find their own solutions within the objectives and guidelines of the program.  RADiCAL provides leaders with a detailed and easy-to-use Leader’s Guide that steps you through each class. The leader’s guide contains Leader’s Notes, Discussion Starters and RADiCAL tips throughout the pages of the workbook.

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What is the history of the RADiCAL program?

Suzy Brown had been married for 33 years when her divorce was final in 2000.

Here’s how she describes that time and the start of RADiCAL:

“I was devastated on so many levels I can’t even describe them all.  I had been a devoted Christian since 4th grade; I had amazing support from family and friends; I considered myself a strong, independent woman.  But while going through that long agonizing process of divorce, I was a mess.  I wasn’t eating right.  I had trouble sleeping.  I found myself out of control emotionally at a level I didn’t recognize.  When I finally, out of desperation, just fell on my face before God and sobbed, ‘I hate this.  I don’t want to be divorced, but if you can somehow use this for your purposes, I’ll try to go along.’  It wasn’t a pretty surrender, but at that point things started to change.  I called together some women who lived in my area who had been or were in the process of divorce and said, ‘I’m not doing well with this.  Do you want to just meet together every couple of weeks and see if we can help each other through this?’

Secretly, I was afraid on that first night that the six of us who agreed to meet might all just sit around the table and start crying and not be able to stop.  To prevent that from happening, I put together a binder for each woman that had the word ‘R.A.D.I.C.A.L.’ on the front.  Then the words ‘Rising Above Divorce In Confidence And Love’ which is what R.A.D.I.C.A.L. stands for.  Then I put ‘A practical handbook to help you transform the despair of your divorce into a revolutionary good’ or something like that. At the very bottom in little tiny letters I put, ‘Alternate title:  How to keep from strangling him and his pathetic little girlfriend and ending up in jail for the rest of your life and instead finding peace, joy, love and even fun.’”

What we learned from each other in that group was the start of the RADiCAL programs available now.  The book Radical Recovery was published by Leafwood Publishers in 2007 (Without the alternate title :))   For more than six years we have been conducting classes, and refining and adjusting the RADiCAL support group materials into what they are today.

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What is the theological background of RADiCAL?

RADiCAL is intended to be a non-denominational program with strong influences and guidance from a faith-based background, more specifically a Christian background. We don’t attempt to teach the theology of divorce or the specifics regarding how each Christian group approaches divorce. We leave that to each respective church, parish or group to tackle those theological questions. Rather, RADiCAL illustrates how strength and comfort can be found through faith and how spirituality has helped countless women though this life challenge.

Many women have benefitted from RADiCAL groups even though they had minimal interest in the spiritual part of life or had no faith background at all.  The program is definitely written from Suzy’s Christian background, but can be beneficial to any woman with our without a spiritual faith.  That makes it an amazing outreach for churches to attract women from the neighborhood around the church or to attract any friends and family of church members.

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Why is the program women only?

We have been helping divorced women for a long time. It is our opinion that when women are first faced with divorce or when they have been suffering on their own for years and are still struggling, their first step should be gender-specific healing. Mixed male and female groups can be very helpful after a woman gets back on her feet emotionally and socially; but early on, when survival and healing are the first objectives, having men in the group complicates, and can even hinder, recovery. Having men in the group changes the dynamic of the group and often prevents women from being completely open about some of the things they are feeling and experiencing.

Also, it is not uncommon to hear stories of people (both men and women) who go to mixed divorce recovery groups to “hook up” with an available potential date/partner. Early recovery requires lots of introspection and mental work about relationships. We feel having men in the class is counter-productive to that process.

Another reason for women-only groups in the beginning of the journey is that many of the women who come to class are not divorced yet. They may be in the middle of the divorce process or just separated. Encouragement from a man in the group when a woman is feeling “not okay” about herself can lead to relationships that are not helpful and can, in fact, be extremely harmful.

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How do I publicize a RADiCAL class?

Once you decide to start a RADiCAL group, the first thing you will do is set your class start date. As soon as you’ve done that we will send you a Promotional Guide and Promotional Timeline, as well as provide you with access to all of our marketing templates and promotional resources. It is typical for your promotional campaign to be active for 6 – 8 weeks before the class.  We make the promotional part of starting a class as easy as possible with very little money or time.

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How is each class structured?

Each class attempts to address a specific issue of divorce recovery. At the beginning of each class you will go through the class objectives and work through the questions and exercises together as a group. The class leader is there to facilitate the discussion and to make sure the class moves forward through each section.

Each week class members will have a chapter in the Radical Recovery book to read and homework to complete on their own before coming to the next class. This class isn’t about just sitting around and discussing how sad we are and how terrible “he” was.   It’s about taking action and doing the work necessary to move forward with our lives and begin living the life we want.

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What are the benefits of RADiCAL for my church?

  • RADiCAL is a proven system that helps women in your church and in your community who are experiencing divorce or separation.
  • RADiCAL is a great outreach tool your church can use to comfort the hurting and invite them to experience what God has to offer.
  • Become known as the church truly helps with the messy problems of life.

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What are the benefits of attending a RADiCAL class?

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What subjects are covered each week?

Find out about each lesson on the Class Preview page.

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What comes in the RADiCAL Leader’s Package?

There is a description of all our materials on the RADiCAL Materials page.

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What comes in the RADiCAL Woman’s Package?

There is a description of all our materials on the RADiCAL Materials page.

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