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Letter from the CEO/Executive Director -
Kim Humphrey

Dear friends,

I just sat down in my office after what only could be described as a whirlwind three days. Essentially life went from cruising right along to crisis mode. My beautiful bride, Michelle and I celebrated our 37-year anniversary a couple weeks ago. She was not feeling well, and the doctor wanted to see us first thing the next morning.  That visit led to the doctor ordering a scan immediately.  No sooner than the scan was completed, and we were literally driving away from the facility the phone rang and her doctor already had the results, he told us to go to the Emergency Room immediately.  We then experienced the issue of Covid-19 restrictions as I was not allowed to go in with her. Within a few minutes she was texting me and they had two surgeons there talking about emergency surgery.

Needless to say - life can go from 0 to 100 on the stress scale before you even realize what happened.  I was thrust back to the days of helplessness and wondering if my sons would live or die.  I remembered how many times we got called to hospitals. In one instance I remember driving all the way to the hospital when they said our older son had an abscessed infection in his arm from IV heroin use and they were thinking he might lose the arm. I had not heard from him for weeks and had no idea how bad he had become. I got to the hospital only to find he had literally ripped the IV out and bolted out of the hospital, with them telling me if he did not get help and antibiotics his arm would be coming off. 

I found him wandering down the street, barefoot, in 110-degree Arizona heat with his feet and arm bleeding. Even though I pleaded with him he refused to go with me to the hospital and I ended up leaving him at a sober-living home he had been to before - with me begging them to convince him to get help.  I distinctly remember driving away and realizing I had no control and was convinced he would at a minimum lose his arm and potentially his life.  I reached out to my PAL family for support.   

As I thought about my wife Michelle all alone and dealing with this potentially life-threatening condition, I found myself turning to my friends and family for support. As I shared what was happening, people offered up help in any way and offered prayer. Many said they would reach out to prayer chains for which I was truly thankful.  I realize everything does not always turn out in a positive way and many of you can attest to that. However, sometimes it is remarkable and almost unreal how helpful it is just knowing that so many people care. In our son's case, somehow the guys at the sober-living home, unlike me, were able to talk him into getting and taking antibiotics, which I was not aware had occurred. Somehow, in spite of how bad his condition was and that he did not get IV antibiotics which the hospital said was necessary, it did heal, and he did not lose his arm.

The reason I am sitting in my office writing this is that Michelle had what could easily be described as a miraculous turnaround in 48 hours. The surgeons came by every four hours or so to monitor and they kept stating they were ready to immediately do surgery.  By the next day, blood-work was coming back and was going in the right direction, pain was subsiding, and the surgeon was convinced it was healing without doing the traditional surgery.  

Yes, I think in the case of my son and my wife they were blessed to have modern medical care and antibiotics and yes, it’s easy to explain that’s all it takes. But I know that I would not have been able to get through these events alone. My PAL family stepped in – in both of these cases and I know that their thoughts and prayers made all the difference. I am grateful. Michelle is grateful.  I truly pray you find hope in this newsletter, in the blogs, in the testimonial and other information we are highlighting. Most of all I hope you get excited about our combined Midwest and Arizona event, a truly national broadcast, The Power of PAL coming on November 13th.  Plan now to tune in that evening for what is shaping up to be a monumental event where I know we will see the power of what family and friends can do in what may seem to be insurmountable, helpless situations. 

God bless,

Kim Humphrey
PAL CEO/Executive Director

Mark your calendar for this
MUST Experience Event!
Don't Miss It!
Join a national audience to experience hope!
Friday, November 13, 2020
8 pm EST • 7 pm CST • 6 pm MST • 5 pm PST


The Power of PAL is a FREE, 90-minute broadcast that will feature a mixture of motivational speakers, uplifting music, storytelling and a bit of fun and laughs. This fundraiser will benefit Parents of Addicted Loved Ones (PAL) as well as increase awareness of available resources and support for families with a loved one who is battling substance use disorder.
Five Mantras for Parents of Addicted Loved Ones
Blog by Ashley Worthington, MA, LPC

The road to recovery can be long and arduous for many.  Looking at the statistics, it can often take many attempts and relapses to finally reach long-term recovery.  As a result, family members of the addicted loved one can become discouraged, cynical, frustrated, and may even revert back to old patterns and behaviors because it just seems “easier.”  If you’re going through a difficult period with your addicted loved one, I’d like to provide you with a few key mantras to use as anchors.  These will most likely be reminders, especially if you’ve been in the PAL community for any length of time, but they are still incredibly important to go back to often.
 

  1.  I am not to blame and do not need to take it personally.  Addicts and alcoholics will often blame their using or drinking on the people around them.  A common blaming statement is, “I only drink because of you.”  In reality, if your loved one is an addict, they will drink no matter what you say or do, it’s not your fault.  They have become dependent on the substance or alcohol and nothing is going to get in between them and their drug of choice.  Family members can also take the actions of their addicted loved ones personally, believing that, “if he/she really cared, he/she wouldn’t lie and deceive me.”  Addicts and alcoholics have altered brain chemistry, which means they may not be in control of their own decision making.  Using the drug or alcohol feels like survival to their brain and anything that gets in the way of it is an obstacle.
Read More
Volunteers needed!
If you have a special talent or connection - please tell us!
Many volunteer opportunities to help PAL are available right now and can be done from your home. You can be anywhere in the country, as long as you have a phone and a computer! Below are a few ways that PAL could use your help.
 
Silent Auction Items
We need some friendly volunteers to make some calls/send some emails to a list we’ve already started of places to donate silent auction items for an online silent auction we are planning in November. We’ll give you some contacts and hints on how to find others; plus a script you can follow if you like. We’re getting an early start on this, and have a volunteer meeting (virtual, of course) set for the middle of this week, so let us know if you’d like to help! Just email Dee at volunteer@palgroup.org to learn more.

Advocacy and Ambassadors
Do you like to educate/inform your circles about issues in your community? Can you contact your legislature/representative with an email, letter or phone call? Do you like to meet people and answer questions about important issues? Are you comfortable with public speaking (3-5 minutes)?  Do you enjoy connecting with your community? We are looking for enthusiastic individuals to be the faces of PAL, raise community awareness, promote our mission, services and fundraising efforts.  You’d receive training and talking points to share. Contact Dinah at dinah@palgroup.org to learn more. 

Star Power
Do you know someone recognizable - actor, musician, news-maker, author, news anchor or member of the media? We know substance use disorder does not discriminate and touches all walks of life. As we are working to grow PAL in to all 50 states and increase awareness, we know recognizable names can help elevate our efforts and generate greater awareness for those who need PAL.  If you have a connection to someone who you think might be able to lend a few minutes to help us tell others about PAL - through social media and/or a one-minute promotional video, please let us know. Contact Dinah now at dinah@palgroup.org

Don't know anyone famous? You can still help! If you are good at sleuthing on the computer to help us identify contacts to reach celebrities, we can put you to work. Contact Dinah now at dinah@palgroup.org.

Parent Testimonial: Finding Hope

 Last August, I bottomed out. I was desperately looking for help in coping with my 23-year-old daughter’s heroin addiction. She violated her bail (which I posted), continued to use (while in my home), was sent to county jail where she went through withdrawal and now is awaiting sentencing on the felony charge of drug delivery which caused the death of one of her friends. She and her friend both took the drugs which were laced with fentanyl – he died while she lived.

My daughter, the oldest of two children, started with marijuana around age 15 and moved to pills, amphetamines, opioids and then heroin over a number of years. As a youngster, she showed remarkable talent with art and music, securing first chair in the clarinet section of band, and enjoyed sports, particularly soccer. One night she went to the movies with a couple of friends and came home, acting giddy, slurring words, and stumbling upstairs. I thought she was drunk; but I now know she was high for the first time at age 15.

Then the downward spiral began: possession of a weapon and a ‘grinder’; possession of drug paraphernalia and loitering; serious car wreck where EMTs found heroin baggies; and ultimately, charged with her friend’s death. As I look back with significantly greater clarity (thanks to PAL), there were many warning signs: coming and going from home at odd hours; missing spoons from my kitchen, weight loss; little rubber bands and baggies (I was told these were used to store her jewelry AND I initially believed it), the combative arguments which were verbally and emotionally abusive, shattered glass in the patio door, holes in the wall from punching, cigarette burns in the carpet, thrown dishes and plates during arguments, refusal to be drug tested, several trips to the emergency room for withdrawal … sadly there were many more incidents. Yet I kept thinking she would change. All she needed was more space, more money, more support, and more love.

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Thank you for making
PAL's Share the Blessings Campaign
the best year ever!
You helped raise over $18,500!


Thanks to you, we raised more money than ever, in the shortest time ever – not to mention, during a pandemic! A portion of these funds will go back to the PAL groups who participated to help with marketing or purchasing books for the group. In addition, funds will continue to support PAL groups across the US.

Thank you!
PAL’S Regional Coordinator Consultants – Helping PAL grow
Helping PAL grow into a truly national organization is a complicated process, and the office staff in Phoenix is already stretched thin trying to support facilitators and keep things running smoothly during the pandemic.
There has been a long to-do list to help put PAL in the national eye and get meetings in all 50 states, but there hasn’t been the hours to do it – until now. PAL now has two part-time Regional Coordinator Consultants - Jean Werner who came on board in April, and Diane Buxton who started in August. The two positions are supported by a generous grant from AmerisourceBergen Foundation.

Both women have deep roots in the organization; both have served on the board of directors and as facilitators. Jean served on a volunteer basis as the Meeting Coordinator, and still probably knows nearly every facilitator in the country. Diane (along with Jeanette Krohne), started the first PAL meeting outside of Arizona – an act of great courage and dedication. We couldn’t have two more knowledgeable or dedicated people than Jean and Diane on the job.
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This isn't forever
PAL Blogger: Sean, In Recovery

There will be times in our lives where we will feel overwhelmed. Angry. Sad. Disappointed. All facets of emotion with equal footing in the vastness of our human experience. More so than any year I can remember in my recovery, these troublesome and weary feelings have bubbled up to the surface. 2020 has been challenging, to say the least. The pandemic. The division sown among us. The ever-pervasive negativity of the 24/7 political news cycle. It all just compounds our normal feelings we experience on a day-to-day basis, and, unfortunately, magnifies some of our worst tendencies. I couldn’t even tell you how many minor inconveniences I’ve had that I’ve allowed to grow into seemingly insurmountable mountains of adversity. All of my own making of course. I’m here to tell you today, that it's OK. It’s OK to feel your feelings. It’s acceptable to experience frustration and discomfort, especially now. Allowing yourself to have these experiences with “negative” emotions, walking through them, reaching out, and subsequently learning to live with them as they pop up are vital to our personal growth.

Since the inception of the written word humans have documented, told stories, and related experiences of growth through personal suffering and adversity. That doesn’t strike me as coincidence. Throughout my own life I’ve confronted seasons of loss, hardship, miserable depression and incessant anxiety. I fruitlessly turned to substances as a means of coping with those tough times and was left with the ever-more pressing feeling of hopelessness. But I stand here today and can view those experiences through the lens of wisdom they gave me. Experiential growth on a personal level is worth its weight in gold. A wise person came to me during one of those times and imparted to me what I consider one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received. “This isn’t forever. You aren’t going to feel this way forever.” This concept is so utterly simple, yet so poorly received and practiced among so many of us. The great lie that crushing anxiety and trouble sells you is that you will, indeed, always feel the way you do in that very moment. But as anyone who has walked through a difficult circumstance and made it through to the other side knows, this simply isn’t the case. Perspectives changes. What once may have seemed like the most miserable day of our lives could one day be seen as a singular moment: salvation, or a new beginning. The kicker here is that I seemingly couldn’t come to this conclusion on my own power. I needed outside help. I needed the insight and wisdom of someone else who had been where I was in that very moment and lived through it. And grew. I became better because of those feelings, and the struggles they presented. Many say God speaks through the lives of others, and in my ultimate moment of strife, fear, and hopelessness, this was proven to be true. 

Read More
PAL Awareness Week
Thanks to a lot of work by PAL groups all over the country, more people are learning about PAL and the hope it provides!
 
The second annual PAL Awareness Week was Aug. 22-29. PAL supporters distributed more than 20,000 pieces of PAL literature, including rack cards, info cards and flyers for specific meetings. They spent the last week passing them around their communities, to encourage parents to attend a local PAL meeting.
 
That was only part of the story, though. Special PAL Awareness Week posts were made on PAL social media, and thanks – and this is a BIG reason for the success – to PAL supporters liking, commenting and sharing those posts, they were seen by more than 25,000 people during PAL Awareness Week! Even better, those posts will continue to be shared and seen long after the awareness week is over, and will continue reaching others.
 
Thanks to all of our selfless members, who want to share the good news about PAL!
Race For Recovery to Benefit PAL
Support Murt
Copyright © 2020 Parents of Addicted Loved Ones, Inc., All rights reserved.


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