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Letter from the CEO/Executive Director -
Kim Humphrey

Dear friends,

I really do not like talking about bad news. I work hard on my attitude and know that I have a choice in what I think about, but many times it just seems natural to look for what is wrong in something.  We have been noticing – and now can say with certainty – that substance use and related mental health issues are skyrocketing underneath the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic.  We recently posted on our Facebook page a very telling article that shows increases of overdoses in 35 states. The issue seems to be related to depression, lack of resources, and new synthetic opioids as well as other underlying factors.

In any case, the problem is not only getting worse, but with people out of work many have lost their insurance and with all-hands-on-deck in response to COVID, funding for drug treatment is being cut. This naturally will lead to making the problem worse. 

We at PAL will continue to try to educate and be a voice for our loved ones and we know that many of you are active in helping spread the word.  We are thankful to all of you who are participating in meetings and especially grateful for those of you who are venturing out and starting meetings. We are seeing more requests coming in for meetings … and sadly a growing list of lost loved ones.

I think about my first days in PAL after trying to deal with this on our own for nearly a decade and the reality is the people at PAL were the first people to throw us a life preserver and tell us that there was hope. When things continued to get worse, they not only threw the preserver, but when we felt like we didn’t have the strength to grab hold of it, some jumped in and swam it over to us. We are so thankful for people who have gone before us and were willing to reach out and help others.

Maybe it’s just me being cynical, but selflessness seems like a trait of the past as fewer and fewer people in our society act as if helping “others” is a priority.  When I read the article on the increase in opioid deaths, there was an implication that this issue was not as important because it was about people’s choices. I cringed as I thought how long it has taken to break that stigma, but it was still subtly being mentioned.  

As I write that, I am going to correct myself and say that I am going to choose to look for the positives and realize how grateful we are to have one another during these stressful times. We received a check today in the mail from a monthly donor and as I scanned it in to deposit it, I noticed they wrote in the memo line, “with prayers.”   Maybe that was a reminder, there are so many things right now that are not in our control and there are things we can be doing.  Thank you for your support as we try to navigate these difficult times. Thank you for your prayers for PAL and the families of PAL, including those who have lost their loved ones. Thank you for your financial support and thank you for being there for others and reminding me to keep my attitude in check.

God bless,

Kim Humphrey
PAL CEO/Executive Director

Annual Fundraising Campaign
Our Annual Share the Blessings Campaign is underway! 
 
Share the Blessings is our summertime fundraising campaign to raise money to help start new PAL Group meetings, particularly in communities where there are no meetings. This campaign also benefits your local meeting with 1/3 of the proceeds eligible to be used for a variety of local resources, such as books, advertising and supporting the location that hosts the meeting.   We receive calls and emails daily from people looking for meetings in their communities.

We know that not all of our PAL meetings are able to hold their meeting currently due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We also know that evidence shows the opioid epidemic continues to grow.

The need for PAL is greater than ever.  Will you please consider making a donation and helping?  
 
Here are a few easy ways to get involved:
1. Ask your facilitator for the link to make your donation of any amount to help your PAL meeting group and to help establish new meetings where they are needed. 

2. We hope your group is participating. However, if they are not able to participate and you'd like to support PAL, you can make a donation in honor of your meeting location.
Simply click here and follow these easy steps.
  • Complete the contact and donation information
  • Under Note type Share the Blessings
  • Select Honor and in the box type the name of your meeting location
  • Click submit
3. Please consider sharing with friends and family to support our Share the Blessings campaign that runs through August 16. 

Your participation is more important than ever. With COVID-19 and social distancing, authorities nationwide are reporting a surge in fatal opioid overdoses.  We all need to come together and help other families who are looking for what PAL has to offer.

 Thank you to all facilitators who are hosting
Share the Blessings online campaigns!
And, thank you to everyone who has already
made a donation to help start new PAL Groups! 
Steering Clear of Misery
Blog by Ron Paterick

As the COVID pandemic stretches from weeks into months and probably longer, the “Misery Index” is slowly rising for most of us. Boredom, the lack of direction and fun activities, isolation from friends and family, limited access to support networks (church, PAL groups, etc.), reduced work hours or unemployment are but a few of today’s stressors taking a toll on our mental and relational health. Keeping sane and adjusting to this “new normal” is no easy task and takes incredible resolve (which can be in as short supply as hand sanitizer). Steering clear of misery traps requires determination and a clear understanding of some basic do’s and don’ts. Below are a few suggestions that you will hopefully find useful:

  1. PURSUE YOUR IDEAL SELF – Abraham Maslow once said, “if you plan on being anything less than who you are capable of being, you will probably be unhappy all the days of your life.” During this time it is very easy to slip into our lazy and comfortable default settings; surfing the web for hours, mindlessly viewing social media, YouTube and TV, drinking too much, eating too much, exercising too little and shopping online until you drop! These actions drag us down and leave us depressed. We feel unhappy with ourselves and our life. So, pick an area in which you want to grow/develop and challenge yourself to be a better you! Pick up a book and read, download a workout video and start exercising, collect some new recipes and expand your cooking skills, sign up for an online class. Paint. Play your guitar. Sort out your hall closet and go through your family photos. Make a commitment to yourself to be more than you are now and use the time to discover a better you. You will be happier.
Read More
The Second Annual PAL Awareness Week scheduled for August 22-29!
PAL Awareness Week
 What began as a casual plan to distribute PAL literature last year exploded into a landmark event that introduced the organization to tens of thousands of people across the country. And this year, plans are to make it bigger and better than ever!
What’s new
  • If you’re not comfortable dropping off literature personally we can mail it directly to the contacts you give us (see the options below).
  • Facilitators can place their orders for PAW kits ONLINE! Details have been emailed to all PAL facilitators.
What IS PAW?
PAL Awareness Week is an opportunity for PAL facilitators, members, and supporters to blanket their cities with information about the hope the organization offers to families of the addicted.

Although anyone can help, we ask that you coordinate with your local facilitator. Local facilitators have until Friday, August 14th to order kits of PAL printed materials to have on hand in time to distribute them during the event, Saturday, Aug. 22-Saturday, Aug. 29. We encourage them, however, to place the order as soon as possible to ensure we have enough materials. There is no cost for the kits, and we are happy to send as many as you like, but please make sure you can realistically distribute all the requested handouts – we want to be fiscally responsible.
There is a choice of four types of kits.
  • Small kit – Includes 200 rack cards, 50 info cards, and 20 flyers personalized for your meeting.
  • Medium kit – Includes 500 rack cards, 100 info cards, and 20 flyers personalized for your meeting. 
  • Custom kit – If you need more than the above, you’re welcome to order more than one kit; but if you need a special combination (such as more info cards) choose this option and let us know what you need.
  • NEW! Direct mail – If you have an organization you know will help to spread the word about PAL, but you can’t go in person for whatever reason, you can choose this option and we will mail it directly to them. Kit includes 20 rack cards and 10 info cards.
I love PAL, but I don’t attend a group – can I help?
YES! We can always use more willing hands to pass out PAL materials! Either contact a facilitator in your area (check “Find a Meeting” on our website) or call Rachel at the PAL office, 602-512-1454!

Parent Testimonial:
Round Eight...fighting for sobriety

“Here we go again.” Those caustic words rang loudly in my head. They were like the sound of a fight bell signaling the start of another brutal round - round eight, actually.

After relapsing once again, my 27-year old son has just begun his eighth round of treatment in his fight for sobriety. Throughout it all, I’ve been standing in his corner, supporting him, and cheering him on to get sober.
But I have also occasionally entered the ring to do some of his fighting for him—finding treatment programs, getting him to 12-step meetings, drug testing him, and more. In hindsight, I can see that my efforts just left me worn out, hurting, and feeling helpless. But I didn’t know any better. As a mom, it was ingrained in me to fight for my child—especially when he couldn’t fight for himself.

Oh, how I wish I knew then what I know now.

My son’s addiction has been going on since he was a teenager, but he still managed to graduate high school and college with honors. Yet when heroin entered the picture, things spiraled quickly. In just the last two years, he’s been in seven residential treatment programs, plus extended care, sober houses – you name it.
A few weeks ago, things took another nasty turn and suddenly my son was no longer just in a fight to get sober. He was in a fight for his life.

His second overdose in less than three months landed him in the ICU on a ventilator for several days. After a week in the hospital fighting an aspiration pneumonia, he was discharged with nowhere to go. Right smack in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. In a hotspot city he had just moved to one month earlier.

For the first time in his life, my son was homeless.

Read More
Annual Fall Banquets - Going National!
Phoenix Inspiring Hope Banquet and Midwest Celebration of Hope Conference join together!
Mark your calendar for Friday, November 13, 2020

The POWER of PAL is an experience of hope for all those affected or connected to an addicted loved one. It is an inspirational, informational, and touching national broadcast that will leave viewers encouraged, engaged and wanting to stay connected. This 90-minute broadcast will be a mixture of motivational speakers, uplifting music, story-telling and a bit of fun and laughs.

Both PAL fall banquets
(Phoenix Hope Banquet and Midwest Celebration of Hope Conference)
will come together for a
POWERFUL EXPERIENCE OF HOPE!
 
Watch for more details to come!
Acceptance and Faith are Salvation
PAL Blogger:
By Sean, In Recovery

Fundamentally, humans want a reason. They want to know why something is the way it is. Over time we’ve become remarkably adept as a race at researching, scientifically scrutinizing, and assigning reason to an infinite array of concepts, peoples, behaviors, places, and things. Why does the Earth rotate around the sun? What determines the comings and goings of the tide? Why are wars fought? Why do some individuals act out in ways that others don’t? When we encounter something that we don’t understand or comprehend, I believe a disconnect occurs; when whatever it may be at that given time just doesn’t click, or we can’t reason it away, a byproduct of anxiety, and sometimes delusion, can be borne of it.
           
There are thousands of things people can do, choices they can make, or behaviors they can engage in that we don’t understand. In my disease, I’m certain that I acted out in ways that befuddled people unfamiliar with addictive disorders. While I can sit here today and attribute these issues to a psychological and spiritual malady, I could just as easily throw a rock and hit someone who “doesn’t get it,” and that’s OK. There are some things that some folks will just never understand. There are some things that I’ll personally never understand. This leaves us with a couple choices to make. We can assign meaning to something through our best effort, i.e. take a look at the record, the information on hand, the opinion of learned individuals who came before us, and settle on whatever that may be. Sometimes this is the best option. Sometimes the inherent facts will ring true with us and we’ll be satisfied. But sometimes, all the knowledge in the world will leave us mired in deliberation, and even more confusion.

Read More
Information about “iso,” a deadly new synthetic opioid potentially more powerful than fentanyl
Doctors are seeing an increasing number of overdoses due to isotonitazene (“iso”), a synthetic version of etonitazene, an opioid first reported in 1957, but not approved for medical use because it is highly addictive and very dangerous.
 
The shocking part is the drug is legal in most areas of the United States as it is a slight variation of etonitazene.
 
This is just one example of the new opioid variants that are impacting the addicted, a problem that’s compounded by the stressors and situations brought on by the pandemic. Parents should be aware, and armed with the tools they need to help their kids move toward recovery now more than ever.
 
To read the full article, click here: https://www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2020-06-09/iso-a-deadly-new-synthetic-opioid-has-hit-american-streets
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Copyright © 2020 Parents of Addicted Loved Ones, Inc., All rights reserved.


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