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Dear Friends, 

“You are truly changing lives.”

“It was powerful, emotional, and its hard to put into words the feeling I had driving home. Just wanted to share with you… that at the end of the day it keeps my faith for what we do on a daily basis.”

“You are a life raft…”  

Those are just a few of the comments we heard after the Power of PAL event held on November 13. This amazing event truly captured the essence of PAL and shared so many stories of hope.  It also was amazing to see so many people gathering in support of what we do.

Sadly, this is amid the overdose crisis that has made national headlines in the last few days. Overdoses now exceed 100,000 annually and of course we know this is undercounted. Fentanyl is leading the problem with nearly 2/3 of the deaths.  These are the highest number of recorded deaths from overdose in our country’s history and the numbers have been growing exponentially these past couple years. 

We must keep up the fight and do what we can to reduce the stigma around drug misuse and Substance Use Disorder for the sake of all of our families.  On top of this, we are approaching the holidays which add more stress to many people’s lives. I know that our family suffered more during the holidays than any other time of the year. Instead of celebrating the joy of the season, we found ourselves filled with worry and fear and dealing with one crisis after another. 

After a couple of years of sitting around our home alone and wondering what our two sons were doing over Thanksgiving and Christmas, Michelle and I listened to some PAL suggestions. We realized what we were doing wasn’t healthy and we were determined that it was time to give back, be grateful and find a way to help others. We began serving food at a local rescue mission and even invited people to our home who had nowhere to go. This went on for many years. We never regretted spending our time with others and actually received tremendous feelings of gratefulness from those we were able to be with.

I hope that you can find ways to spend this holiday season in gratitude as well, regardless of how your loved ones are doing. I guess there is no better time than now to trust and hope they will find their way and somehow, we can let go for now and believe they will do just that. I do pray you have an amazing Christmas, and I am looking forward to a new year and the possibilities it will bring.

Blessings,
Kim Humphrey
ED / CEO
Power of PAL raises money and awareness for PAL families
It was a high-energy evening, with live music, sumptuous food, a silent auction, and speed painter – but most importantly the Power of PAL fundraiser on November 13 brought in nearly $108,000 to help start and support PAL meetings across the country.

Emcee Cory McCloskey of FOX-10 brought a balance of levity and passion for the topic of families dealing with addiction. In addition to PAL CEO/Executive Director Kim Humphrey giving an update on the organization, keynote speaker Allison Bottke, author of “Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children” – a book well-known and loved by PAL members – talked about her own journey, and PAL parent and facilitator Becky Smyth gave a moving testimony about the hope available through PAL.

One attendee shared afterwards, “This event was incredible, it left me with goosebumps and in tears of gratitude. I'm nearly speechless. The work PAL and all these parents do is truly a gift.”

Sadly, the online broadcast experienced technical challenges and we were unable to share the event virtually. We are still heartbroken about this.  We are currently capturing the event highlights and producing a video to share with all who were not able to join us for the in-person event.  A link to the video will be sent out soon.

If you were unable to make a donation to support Power of PAL, and were planning to do so, donations can still be made - click here to support Power of PAL
 
Power of PAL Sponsors

Holiday Season Preparation!

I get many questions this time of year about navigating the holiday season with an addicted loved one. This is understandable, being that this season can bring all the family dynamics (positive and negative) front and center.
 
Depending on the family’s past holidays together, parents often worry about repeated bad experiences.  For some, this can keep them angry about the past. Some parents may also feel guilty or embarrassed about their current situation knowing they will be spending time with family and friends. All of this can create stress.
 
Have hope! The season can still be a wonderful time for the family whether the addict is sober or not, and whether they participate or not. If you have dealt with the addict in your family creating holiday strife in the past and have allowed this to ruin the holiday for you, I suggest deciding right now to respond in a different way than you have before. Decide ahead of time to enjoy yourself regardless of your addicted loved one’s choices or behavior.

“How do I do that?"  you might ask. The following suggestions are some tried and true methods successfully used by parents:
 
Mitigate expectations - Take time to write down or discuss expectations with another parent in recovery. What are your expectations of other people’s behavior? Are you setting yourself up for disappointment?  Focus on letting go of expecting anybody else to behave in a certain way. Turn your expectations to your own behavior, decide how you want to conduct yourself during this season. There is only one person in the world you can really control. Hint: it’s you! Turn inward and decide to be happy with yourself and your own responses no matter what others do.
Read More

Attending PAL meetings for myself – and for my son

I think perhaps the hardest thing for me to understand about my son’s addiction was how the sweet, curious, creative, thoughtful, loving, energetic little boy I spent so many afternoons with after school became such a totally different person.

Just about every day during his preschool and early elementary school years, we would walk down to the railroad tracks that ran through our neighborhood at the end of our street to watch the trains. We’d wave at the engineers and occasionally, receive a short – prohibited by noise ordinance – toot from their horn. Surely they saw what I knew of him and were charmed.  Where had that energy gone?

I wondered that when he stole and sold $4,000 worth of tools from me to support his habit. I wondered that when he manipulated me into covering his hotel bill and food “just until he landed job,” only to watch him on the live action cam of a local news station being hauled off to jail for possession and dealing.

There is some intangible element about having the flesh of your flesh disappear into the haze of addiction.  You are sure it was your fault; that there was one moment in time when you made a bad decision that caused it all. 

When I was introduced to PAL, I discovered I was not the only one second-guessing myself.

I attend the national online meeting led by Terri. I now know that addict is not him; it’s not the child and teenager I have such fond memories of.  It’s the demon of addiction that takes over his heart and mind and soul. My experience with PAL has reinforced that and built upon it with ideas like that of delayed emotional growth, concepts that are now foundational for me in terms of dealing with my son’s addiction.  PAL also provides other tools and insights that help me deal with the emotional tides of his addiction.  Most are generously shared on the Resources page of the PAL website.

That said, I think that the most important thing PAL has done for me is let me know I am not alone in this. 

Bottom line, all of us did the best we could at the time, and my PAL pals preach self-forgiveness and forgiveness and blessings from God or a Higher Power or whomever you believe in. And they are very open and loving, even to a salmon-loving tree-hugging North-Westerner.  Thanks to that and my bride’s love and the grace of God, I have come to forgive myself.

A little over a month ago, my son texted me a very simple thing.
 
"Something in me has changed."
 

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Shop amazonsmile and support PAL 
It's free and it's easy!
When you shop on AmazonSmile you can help PAL. Amazon has contributed over $215 million globally to nonprofits through this AmazonSmile.
Every purchase you make adds up and can help PAL offer hope to families in need.  If you, your family and your friends will designate Parents of Addicted Loved Ones (PAL) as your AmazonSmile charity, the funds will add up significantly!

Here's how to get signed up: 
Simply click here to set Parents of Addicted Loved Ones as your AmazonSmile charity preference.

When you shop on amazon be sure to always go to https://smile.amazon.com/ to sign in and make your Amazon purchases. If you are not on smile.amazon.com your purchases won't count toward PAL.

By doing your shopping this way you are helping to support PAL. 
It's easy and there is no cost to you!
Expectations

It can be hard to maintain a positive attitude at times. It can be a challenge when facing hardship and struggle to keep a smile on your face. Sometimes during these holiday seasons, the effect of depression and anxiety can be magnified. Culturally speaking, these are times of celebration, happiness, gratitude, family, and togetherness. When our mental state doesn’t quite match up with the tone of the season, it can be easy to fall into the trap of tired resignation, and even feelings of hopelessness. I let my family down on countless holidays. I was not present, physically or mentally. I was unable to see anything outside the twisted lens of the disease from which I suffered. I look back now and can’t imagine the pain I put my family through. I was so self-absorbed that I honestly never took their feelings into account. Actually, I was not able to because of the reality of my addiction.

Expectation vs. reality will always be a battle, or as I like to think of it, a continuous learning experience. If your loved one is not meeting your expectations, please keep reading.  I think as humans we simply have this mental construct built up within our psyche on a fundamental level; that somehow things in our lives, (people, places, principles) need to be a certain way for us to feel at peace. More so than most things, this extends to loved ones. We expect reciprocation of feelings, love, and friendship. We expect others to lift us up when we’re down and out. We expect family members to celebrate the holidays with us, to make themselves available, not just in a physical sense, but in a sense of presence. Sometimes we even expect others to help us heal, grow, or generally “feel better” without even having to ask them for help.

Inevitably, someone you love is going to come up short. They will disappoint you. They may anger you. They may frustrate you endlessly when you see something in them that they just can’t seem to see in themselves. Their life may mean more to YOU than it does to them in extreme circumstances. Their healing process, their presence at your holiday table in a healthy mindset may even be what you’ve predicated your own happiness upon. I’m guilty of this, just as much as anyone else amongst us, despite quite literally being THAT person for several years.

When I start to have these feelings of unrealistic expectations that I’m basing my own emotional needs on, I try my best to pause, to reflect on my own life’s experiences, and the reality of the situation. What is it about me that I’ve CHOSEN to base my emotional wellbeing on someone or something else entirely?
Read More
New PAL Meetings
Giving Hope to Others
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: PALGroup.org — Click “Donate Now” To make your monthly gift, choose any amount that works for you, select “Make this a recurring monthly donation” and your subsequent giving will happen automatically.

 
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.

 
If you’re not quite ready to be a monthly donor, but have questions,
please contact: development@palgroup.org
Donate
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PAL
11225 N 28th Ave, Suite B109
Phoenix, Arizona 85029

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