TOMS RIVER – If you are suffering from grief or loss, this new weekly meeting might be just the thing to help you through it. Wellness in Nurtured Grief Support (WINGS) was created by two local women in the recovery community who aim to redefine grief and loss while creating a supportive environment.
WINGS is now part of the Monday night lineup of recovery meetings at the Mental Health Association of Ocean County.
According to Michelle Price, co-facilitator of WINGS, noted that the meetings are meant for those who have been touched by loss of any kind, whether it is related to substance use, loss of a career, relationship, dreams, or others.
“Grief comes in many forms,” said Price. “We recognize dozens of types of grief, which always surprises people…But we’re working on changing people’s perceptions.”
Price stated that grief is typically associated with shame in the recovery community, a perception she calls “unfortunate,” because grief should not be seen as a punishment.
WINGS addresses the need from the recovery community to tackle grief and loss in different ways. The grief from losing someone to substance abuse and losing someone to cancer or a car accident can be vastly different, she said.
Amy Johnson, WINGS co-facilitator and Price’s partner, has personal experience with the loss of a spouse, which helps her to work with members of the group.
“Losing a spouse – or any family member – to an addiction is extremely difficult because of the stigma attached to the disease,” said Johnson. “That’s why starting this group with like-minded people who have had similar experiences can make a difference.”
Both Price and Johnson have been trained in a specialized curriculum on grief.
The WINGS group began meeting back in February and has attracted members from all walks of life, including both men and women of various ages. According to Price, group attendance varies by week, which she attributes to the needs of each individual as well as the fact that grief is a heavy topic.
The group meets weekly, however you are not required to attend each meeting. Price stated that some people facing grief and loss may not be ready to attend and that is OK.
When new members attend WINGS, they receive a checklist with many forms of grief. Participants mark all that apply, choose two that affect them the most, and then begin working from that starting point.
“Grief is as individual as a fingerprint,” said Price, “Similarly, no relationship is the same.The relationship I have with my mother is not the same as what the relationship the person next to me has with his/her mother.”
WINGS not only provides individuals with a supportive environment, but it also allows people to protect their physical and mental health by preventing anger, stress, sleep disruption, strained relationships, etc.
There is no cost to attend a WINGS meeting. Dinner is provided. The meetings are held at 4:15 p.m. every Monday at The Mental Health Association – Ocean County, located at 25 South Shore Drive in Toms River.
For more information, call 732-914-1546 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.