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Letter from the Executive Director - Kim Humphrey

Dear Friends, 

I recently participated in a panel talking about the drug crisis. One of the presenters noted that there was a slight downturn in the number of opioid related deaths last year and there was a sense that they had made some inroads into the that particular crisis.  In the next sentence, she noted that methamphetamine deaths and the surge in this drug was taking more and more lives.  This was followed by a presentation on the incredible problem associated with THC (the drug in marijuana), that is now being distilled from hash oil with a potency of 3-4% in the 1960s compared to nearly 99% potency today. This can be mixed and put into vape devices and does not have the smell of traditional marijuana. Children as young as 10 years old are vaping this drug and the results can be fatal, particularly when it is laced with other drugs.This expert noted that it does not look or act like what you think when you think of marijuana. It can cause symptoms similar to meth use and the long-term effects on people is still unknown, but of course will not be positive. 

At first, all I could think of was that drugs are here to stay, and as we go after one that surges and we make some progress, another steps in to replace it.  I had to realize at this point it's not so much the drug as it is the fact that people are looking for the drug, looking for ways to escape the reality of their lives.  PAL will be needed for years to come and as much as I hope we can some day go out of business because the drug and alcohol problem is solved, I am afraid that might be somewhat unrealistic. However, we can bring hope and help to others. We can come alongside people that are hurting and in need of someone to remind them they are not alone.  I don’t want to be depressed about all of this, I want to keep moving toward the idea that we can solve this, we can make it better and we can find joy in our lives, when it seems impossible.  
 
The following states have something in common:  Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, Wisconsin… and Washington, D.C.
 
These states have no PAL meetings.  Do you live in one of these states? Do you know someone who does and could use PAL?  Please help us get a meeting started where there are no PAL meetings. Sometimes if just one starts in an area, it sparks more and more. One brave woman in Louisiana started a meeting three years ago and now there are eight in that region, almost all resulting from that one person. Please respond to this email if you are interested in helping get a meeting started. We can send you the details. PAL does not charge to start a meeting. We provide all the supplies, training, and we have volunteer mentors to help. We just need someone willing to step into the role of facilitator. 
 
In addition, we want to thank our bloggers, and we hope you find all the information in our newsletter helpful, useful and maybe even inspiring!

God Bless,

Kim Humphrey
PAL Executive Director

Join us at the Midwest Celebration of Hope 2020
April 18, 2020 in Erlanger, KY

The second annual Midwest PAL Celebration of Hope, will be hosted at the St. Elizabeth Training and Education Center in Erlanger, KY April 18.
 
Speakers at the conference section of the event include:

  • Judge Brian Privett, a Circuit Judge for three Kentucky counties, who is working to make a difference for those struggling with recovery.
  • Charlotte Wethington – founder of Kentucky’s Casey’s Law in memory of her son. Casey’s Law provides a means of intervening with someone who is unable to recognize his or her need for treatment due to their impairment and allows parents, relatives, and/or friends to petition the court for treatment on behalf of the person who has a substance use disorder. 
  • Tom Synan, Newton Police Chief, helped form the Hamilton County Heroin Coalition, and coordinates law enforcement efforts to impact the supply and demand for drugs in the community.
  • Kim Humphrey, Executive Director of PAL, will talk about why PAL matters.

The conference will be followed by a banquet / fundraiser and silent auction in the evening.

Please plan to join us – Early bird pricing on tickets ends on March 9th, just go to the event website by clicking here: https://palgroup.org/pme/.

How Long is the Journey?
“They knew they were pilgrims… so they committed themselves to the will of God and resolved to proceed.  - William Bradford

Occasionally someone will ask me, “How long do you think you’ll need to attend/facilitate a PAL meeting?” After eight years it is probably a reasonable thing to wonder. Having spent some time thinking about this, I have come to the conclusion that the main reason I press on as a facilitator is twofold. First, I feel that PAL saved my life and I must pay that forward somehow. Second, I cannot describe in adequate detail the joy it brings to my heart to see parents get better.

I’d like to outline for you what I see people consistently do as they recover from the codependency that accompanies being the parent of an adult child using substances. At the beginning of my own journey to recovery I was at a place in life that could best be described as a deep pit of despair. Actually, a “living hell” was how I described it to friends and family back then. My husband and I had no social life. We stayed home to avoid running into anyone that might ask about our sons. We stopped attending church. We ate too much and drank too much. We stopped exercising. We stopped going on vacation. We kept our fists closed tight and refused to open them for help for fear that someone might “find out” that both of our sons were drug addicts.

Little did we know how God would, once again, turn something meant for evil into good. As the quote above states, “they committed themselves to the will of God and resolved to proceed.” This is a necessary step for parents as they begin their journey to healing. Committing the situation over to the will of God and then proceeding to ask for help is crucial. Once it is understood that there is a curriculum to addiction and recovery, hope begins to gain a foothold in the hearts of parents. This is one of the first things that happened for us and what I see in people that attend our PAL meetings.

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How To Love An Addicted Loved One
PAL  Blogger:  
Ashley Worthington, MA, LPC

Living life with an addicted loved one can often feel like you’re trapped on a rollercoaster you never wanted to ride on in the first place.  The continuous ups, downs, and spirals can feel jarring in every way possible.  For parents of addicted loved ones, worst case scenarios can sometimes feel like the norm and the neurological pathways utilized to think about these possibilities are strong and deeply engrained.  “What if’s” bubble up to the surface:  what if she gets fired from her job?  What if he ends up in jail or prison?  What if someone is killed in an auto accident?  Or what if she dies from a drug overdose?  These are enough to make anyone anxious, depressed, and left feeling helpless and powerless.  So what does it look like to love an addicted loved one without getting entangled in codependent patterns and enabling the addictive behavior?

Loving an addict or alcoholic well requires that we dig in and do our work.  That’s right; doing work on oneself first and foremost.  The worries, “what if’s,” and ruminating thoughts cause family members to rush in and assume responsibility for their loved one’s destructive behavior.  This is enabling and the addicted loved one craves this to keep homeostasis in their world.  Enabling happens because there’s a desire to protect, to avoid disgrace, or to keep the loved one from becoming another fatal statistic.  Though it’s misguided, most of these actions are very well intentioned in nature.  That’s what family does, right?  They help one another when another member of the family is in need.  Unfortunately, this can be destructive when applied to a family where addiction is present.  If the addicted loved one has a fighting chance at recovery, family members must get out of their way and allow them to take responsibility for their behavior.
 

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Check Out Our Store!
Featuring PAL Brands
We are excited to have an online store to purchase PAL branded items.

The online store features PAL shirts, mugs, and other swag can be purchased online with just a click or two. Check it out and let us know what we should add. Items may be purchased to help promote PAL and share the great work PAL does. 

The store is run by a third party and PAL receives a portion of the proceeds from all purchases.

Click here to see what’s for sale
 
PAL STORE LINK
Don’t discount your failures.
PAL Blogger:
By Sean, In Recovery

“Everyone’s got a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” While Mike Tyson may be a controversial figure in pop culture and the sports world, this quote has always hit close to home with me. Even the best laid plans can be rendered useless in the face of an adverse event or circumstance. The true measure of our mental, emotional, and spiritual strength is how we navigate problematic situations under fire. Anyone can plan for the best; learning how to adapt and overcome in crisis situations will afford us a wealth of tools in our spiritual kit – enabling us to freely experience serenity, peace, and be of real help to others when life takes a turn for the worst.

We’ve all had moments of weakness, buckling under the crushing weight of stress, disappointment, depression, heartbreak etc. Life throw’s a curve ball as it inevitably does, and we don’t react the way we wish we would. Hindsight is generally 20/20 and looking back I can see why I’ve gone through the things I have in the grand scheme of it all; to grow. To learn how to deal with drawing the wrong card, to win with a junk hand. “Pain is the touchstone of spiritual growth,” as we like to say in the recovery community. So, while you may find yourself disappointed in your performance in any given rough situation, whether it be failing to uphold personal boundaries, not getting the coveted promotion you were up for, or losing the race you spent a year training for, don’t be so hard on yourself. Give yourself permission to take a break, to collect your thoughts, to take a hard look at the record and see what could have been done differently.

Without failure, our ability to embrace adaptation would be 10 times harder. In 2001, Tommy Caldwell, one of the greatest rock climbers in the entire world, cut off his left index finger with a table-saw in a tragic accident. One of this man’s most precious and coveted tools in his sport, his hand, was taken from him. Let’s be honest, most people would give up. They’d cower and quit and retreat into the voracious pit of self-loathing and pity. Mr. Caldwell did none of these things; instead he began the arduous task of re-training the mechanics of his hands index finger and went on to continue setting and breaking records. He came back better than before. One might even posit that he wouldn’t be where he was today WITHOUT the loss of his finger. In the face of tragedy, he built up his strength, followed his dream, and poured everything he had inside of him, mentally and physically, into overcoming an insurmountable obstacle. Throughout history there have been thousands of people like Tommy, who, by experiencing unspeakable loss and hardship, were able to regain their footing, learning how to live and operate even better than before. Don’t discount your miserable experience’s. Don’t discount your failures. They are worth their weight in gold when it comes to personal achievement and spiritual growth.

Read More
Welcome to Dee Pavia!
PAL's Volunteer Coordinator

We’d like to introduce our new Volunteer Coordinator, Dee Pavia, who will be working directly with our facilitators throughout the country and other volunteers. Dee will help recruit, train and support the people on the front lines.
 
She comes to PAL after more than 20 years in the corporate world, working in training, communication and employee engagement management roles at a Fortune 100 company. She’s lived in Phoenix for most of her life and is married to a pastor. Together they share a family of seven boys! One of her sons is currently in recovery from alcohol and drugs, and Dee just completed her training to become a PAL facilitator. We are thrilled to have her as part of the team – welcome, Dee!

You can reach her at dee@palgroup.org.

Help PAL Reach Our Goal:
Meetings in all 50 states in 5 years

As PAL will celebrate its five-year anniversary this year, it is remarkable that 39 states have PAL meetings available to families seeking support and resources.  This year our goal is to have PAL meetings in every state – that’s 50 states in five years!  This goal aligns with the PAL mission to provide hope through education and support and our vision is to make PAL meetings available wherever they are needed. 

An easy way to help is to become a "Monthly PAL" by making a monthly gift to support PAL’s work where it is needed.  

When you become a Monthly PAL — a monthly donor — you make it possible for PAL to provide dependable and lasting impact to hurting parents who are seeking hope and change. Your monthly gift means more consistent and timely funding to be strategic in our growth to better offer critical services and resources to those seeking help. As a Monthly PAL, you will have access to quarterly updates from PAL’s executive director, as well as the satisfaction of knowing you are making your support go further by reducing administrative costs and helping more families.

It is simple and easy to be a Monthly PAL. REGISTER ONLINE: Go to the website at PALGroup.org — Click “Donate Now.” To make your monthly gift, choose any amount that works for you, select “Make this a recurring donation” and your subsequent giving will happen automatically. If you’re not quite ready to join, but have questions, please contact us at development@palgroup.org
 

How Your Monthly Gift Makes a Difference Over a Year
$5 a month
x 12 = provides two Facilitator Guides for new facilitators.

$10 a month x 12 = 12 facilitators will each receive one complimentary copy of the book Smoke and Mirrors.

$25 a month x 12 = provides materials and start-up costs for one meeting a year to serve families seeking hope.

$50 a month x 12 = provides community outreach and digital marketing to increase awareness of PAL services to reach parents in need.

$100 a month x 12 = contributes to volunteer facilitator recruitment and training to add meetings in new locations for families seeking resources.

Donate Here
Copyright © 2020 PAL - Parents of Addicted Loved Ones, All rights reserved.


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