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Parents of Addicted Loved Ones
December 2017 Newsletter

 
palgroup
In This Edition:
Message from the Board Chair
Christmas with an Addict 
Tis the Season of Giving
Blog: Santa's Mixed Bag
A Journey in Recovery
Journey to Hope Amazing Success
Remember to Use Amazon Smile and Support PAL
Sign up for Fry's Foods Rewards Program
Not only did PAL put me on a journey of hope, it's my passion to share PAL with anyone and everyone! The power of PAL gave me the courage to change, and find joy and healing with others going through the same circumstances. God lead me to this amazing group that has brought amazing friendships into my life. I am a survivor because of the education I put into action that I learned one step at a time in my PAL Meeting! I love PAL!
PAL Mom
by Kim Humphrey, PAL Board Chairman

After so many Christmas holidays where neither of our sons were present I am so thankful for what PAL taught us. We were so miserable especially around Christmas - we just wanted what we thought everyone else had, but for many years we simply had little to no contact with either of our sons. If they did call or contact us it, unfortunately, was because they were in trouble, in the hospital or wanted money. PAL friends suggested we go on vacation, we do something fun, and at first that seemed ridiculous but with their support we eventually were able to find that Christmas spirit even before they managed to get better.
I remember one Christmas we spent nearly two weeks sitting in the hospital with our oldest son who had a myriad of problems from being homeless and on heroin, meth etc.  Our youngest son was not in contact but texted and said, he was going to come to the hospital to visit his brother on Christmas day. He was, unfortunately, not in good shape himself, but he did show up that night. My wife and I wanted so badly to repaint this picture. A picture like Normal Rockwell painted, where we were all sitting around In our living room. laughing, talking, opening presents and having a great meal together. But that was not the case, we were sitting in a cramped hospital room where we had been for a week, as they tried to treat our oldest son for some unknown lung problem. Our younger son sat their all disheveled, weighing probably 145 pounds which at six feet four inches tall is not a good look. We felt so obliged to get them something but we knew from PAL anything we gave them was being turned into drugs.
We decided to buy them a blanket, socks and underwear. We put the items in a grocery sack and that’s what we brought to the hospital that night. Its rather hard to imagine but I found out later, they likely sold that for a few dollars to get one more round of drugs.   In our case, things have changed, they are sober now and things looks much different. We are so thankful for health and recovery and as we think about what this time of year really is about, it is hope. From my faith’s standpoint, it was hope for a troubled world.  In our personal life, it is hope for peace, peace in our ability to handle these extraordinary circumstances, goodwill, the ability to share blessings and love, a chance to be sure those that we love know from us that they truly are loved. We may have to have boundaries, and know that our love is unconditional, but our help is conditional. We may not be showering them with gifts because right now is not the time, but we can tell them we love them, we are praying for them and that Christmas is really about that and not the material frenzy that has enveloped this season.
First, thanks everyone for your generous gifts to PAL this past year, you are making the difference in our ability to expand PAL around the country. We currently are overwhelmed with requests about starting meetings. In just the last month and a half we have had around 50 requests on information to start meetings. Many of these are starting and will be starting soon. PAL is in well over half the states in the U.S. and is growing fast. In this newsletter, we have included a recap of our Journey to Hope banquet that had 350 attend and celebrate with us in late October. We were blessed with amazing financial gifts as you will read. We also have a special article coming from our Founder Mike Speakman,watch for it in the next week. Of course blogs by our counselor and recovering person are back again. Lots to read!  Please seek out help during this time if the holidays are overwhelming, and be sure to get to your PAL meetings, and let others know, it can be an extraordinary time of year.
Blessings,

Kim Humphrey

Christmas with an Addict
      Christmas morning has always been a very special time for our family. It is a few hours spent with complete attention to the bond, strength and love that we have always had as a family unit. The blessings that our Christian raised family have received have always been immense! We always have that wonderful feeling afterwards that all the stresses of the world are put aside and we feel so grateful and blessed to have our close knit family of five.
     This is going to be a very different Christmas for us this year, as our son has become a prisoner to the addiction of heroin and meth. He is in a behavioral health facility at this time and will move into a drug rehab facility from there, God willing. This has been one of the toughest years that our family has had to endure. As a result, our perfect Christmas morning will not be happening. We are intentionally leaving town so that we will not try to emulate what has been our favorite day of the year. Our PAL group has suggested finding ways to do things fun even though It wouldn’t be the same without our son there. We pray this will only be temporary though and we can return to our joyful ways maybe some day in the future. 
    This will be his second stint at rehab as he went through it 18 months ago for an opiate addiction. If it wasn’t for our PAL meetings, we don’t have any idea what road he might have taken us down. We started the meetings weeks before we ever confronted him with his opiate issue. It is an amazing story of how God put us at the right place at the right time to have someone tell us about a support group tailored specifically to an addict’s loved ones. My goodness what a blessing! We went for many weeks leading up to and after he got into rehab, always confident we were saying and doing the right things. All was good, he was sober, and we thought he was the rare “One and done”! It was all good for about 5 months, we helped him out by letting him move back in and then things gradually started falling apart for him. Of course, we were back to our full enabling as we thought he was just having some bad luck. When we discovered the ugly truth that he had relapsed, the last 9 months of the hell we had been going through suddenly had a crystal clear explanation!
     One call to our PAL group leaders, and under their direction, within the hour we were off to a detox center to start the road back to recovery again. And, we are back to our PAL meetings again. This time though, we are all more prepared in our game plan to get ourselves healthy. In following our PAL suggestions we are cutting off almost all financial ties and being adamant that we love him but we need to let him figure this out on his own.  We have told him we support recovery and we will always be here for him, but we simply have to set some boundaries around financial strings.  It won’t be easy for him or us due to the wreckage he left behind. He also says that he understands it better himself now, what he needs to do, and says that he is up for the task and wants to do it all on his own. We will be there to cheer him on, and look forward to when we can be together at Christmas. In the meantime, it's time to start some new memories and keep praying he gets the help he needs and keeps moving on his journey to getting better. 
Thank you for letting us share.
PAL Mom and Dad.
Tis the Season…
As adults, we often come to the end of the year and naturally reflect on the past twelve months, thinking about what happened and what didn’t – remembering what make us smile and what we want to do differently.
And, as PAL’s board we want to share with you a few of our reflections and accomplishments this past year:
   ~ 43 new meetings started in communities without PAL Meetings.
   ~ 91 new facilitators completed PAL training.
   ~ Added one part-time paid staff member to manage the increased administrative needs.
   ~ Contracted research study with Northern Arizona University to provide data and outcomes to use for grant funding. 
    ~ Nearly 40% increase in attendance at annual Journey to Hope fundraising banquet.
    ~ PAL has been noted in numerous articles, television news and radio programs, including, NPR, People Magazine and many others around the country.
    ~ In the past month and half we have received inquiries from over 50 different people wanting to know how to start a PAL meeting in their community.
It has been a pretty great year…but there is more to do…

          And, let’s not forget when we were children, this was the time of the year we were busy making wish lists and dreaming of the magic of the holidays, and the feeling of giving and receiving.  Since PAL is only coming up on being 3 years old, like any three-year-old we’d like to share with you our wish list for the holiday giving season…
    ~ Postage – help share the cost of postage of sending materials for a new PAL Group - $10.00
    ~ Copies – help share the cost of photocopies and toner for administration materials - $20.00
    ~ Exhibitor Booth – help share the costs for booth fees and display supplies to represent PAL - $50.00
    ~ Publicity – help share the costs for marketing promotion to increase PAL awareness - $100.00
    ~ New PAL Group – help cover the cost for one new PAL group in a community without meetings - $250.00
    ~ 2 New PAL Groups - help cover the cost for one new PAL group in a community without meetings - $500.00
    ~ Honor or Pay Tribute to a Loved One – PAL will send a letter to them to let them know a gift was made in their honor – Any amount

PAL depends 100 percent on the generosity of the community who understands how important the education, resources and support are for the parents and families who rely on our services. We ask you during the season of giving to consider making a gift. A donation at any level makes a difference to help others in need.   Thank you!

 
 
Blog: Santa’s Mixed Bag
 
     Rather than Santa’s bag of goodies, the Holidays are often a “mixed bag” that, many of us with addicted loved ones, would just as soon skip.
     We struggle with whether or not to relax our boundaries and buy gifts for our addicted child, have them to the house for a family dinner, or invite them to our Christmas celebration.  We feel confused, conflicted and often guilty.  We ask:  “Will I undo all the hard work if I soften my stance or make an exception?”  or “If I keep my boundaries intact am I being harsh and unfeeling?”
     On the other hand, if we are clear on our boundaries and resolute on staying the course we will, nevertheless, experience the sadness that comes when one of our family members is not with us.  We feel fractured, incomplete and filled with uncertainty.  Finding enjoyment during The Season can seem impossible.
     And then there is the reality that addicts are notorious for their timing; often reserving their most extreme behavior for key moments during the year (Birthdays, Anniversaries, Vacations and Holidays).  This can create a sense of dread that plays in our mind distracting us from the present moment.
     Right now you are probably thinking “Wow, Ron!  I appreciate the honesty, but where’s the hope?”  The hope is in the fact that I, like you, have experienced the above struggles and in the process learned.  Learned that you can enjoy the Holidays; experience love, joyfulness, peace and deep gratitude.  While everyone’s path can be slightly different, the following are some suggestions that I believe can help you have the best Christmas possible.  They are:
  1. Keep your boundaries intact, stay consistent throughout the year.  Short term this is hard, but in the long run you’ll be glad you did.  Remember:  the loving thing to do is to allow consequences to teach.
  2. Accept the reality of the situation (quit the denial) and adjust your expectations accordingly.  Christmas does not have to be perfect in order for it to be meaningful and enjoyable.
  3. Focus on those you have in your life right now – in front of you; gathered at your table or around your tree.  Surround yourself with your PAL friends and family.  Share your love. Invest your time.  Laugh and enjoy their company.
  4. Go deep into your Spiritual well during this sacred season and find the beautiful treasures of faith, hope, love and peace.  Experience for yourself the Angelic words,
“Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you!”

Merry Christmas and Blessings In the New Year,
Ron
 
Ron Paterik is a practicing psychotherapist in Phoenix, Arizona with over 20 years experience. He is a licensed Independent Substance Abuse Counselor and also a Whole Life Leadership Mentor at Grand Canyon Counseling.
A Journey In Recovery
      The Christmas season for the active alcoholic/addict and their families can often be difficult. What is normally a joy filled season for celebration can often be reduced to time spent fraught with anxiety and stress. Often times we find ourselves with conflicted feelings when it comes to how we can support our loved ones who are actively using. Unfortunately, sometimes even unbeknownst to them, the person using can easily take advantage of family member’s during this period. Especially if said addict is destitute, penniless, or homeless. Our giving, loving spirit may compel us to reach in and attempt to rescue them from their situation even more so than usual, sometimes clouded by nostalgia, or harkening back to the years before the nightmare of addiction took hold of their loved one. Addicts can sense these feelings at times and will often take advantage of the situation, playing at heartstrings and sensibilities of their family, often slipping into the victim role – IE “It’s Christmas, don’t you think that at least on Christmas you can help me? It’s the giving season!? How could you leave me out here? And so forth. While this isn’t always the case I’ve found this to be true more often than not, even in my own life and struggles with addiction.
      In 2014 I was broken and sickly, actively using heroin and methamphetamine, and found myself admitted to the hospital over the holiday season with Pneumonia due to my poor and unhealthy lifestyle. I was completely alone. I remember distinctly on Christmas Eve, sitting in my hospital bed, and thinking to myself that this was just about one of the worst situations a person could possibly find themselves in. I reached for the phone in my room and decided to call my father to see if my parents might come and visit me. At this point in time I had burned all bridges in my life with friends and family. I had stolen from my parents, manipulated them emotionally for years, constantly lied, and was not welcome in the family home. My dad wound up speaking with some of the staff at the hospital, and after having them reiterate that from a medical standpoint I was going to be fine, opted to inform me that he and my mom would not be coming to see me at the hospital, even though it was Christmas Eve. This might seem harsh, or uncaring, or even cold, but I cannot stress enough how vital and conducive this experience was for my own recovery. That experience set in motion the events which led to the beginning of my embrace of recovery. By setting firm boundaries with me, and wholeheartedly sticking with them even when it broke their heart, I was put in a position where I finally began to accept my situation for what it was. I was alone. I was at the proverbial "rock bottom" that we as addicts find ourselves in – completely isolated with no means or meaningful relationships to speak of.
      As odd as it may sound, this was one of the best things that ever happened to me. As I remained in that lonely hospital room after this experience, I had time to reflect, to really think about the way I had been living my life, and finally, by how complacent I had become living at the bottom of the world, and how much that scared me, the level of my apathy for my own life and that of my family and friends. That was truly the beginning of the end of my personal struggle with addiction. Shortly thereafter I entered treatment for the last time. I can stand today, sober, and say without a shadow of a doubt in my mind that the tools my parents learned and implemented from PAL were integral to my process of recovery as well as their own.
      So, if you feel those heartstrings tugging this year, when your family member or spouse is asking or demanding assistance, stick to your boundaries. Utilize the tools you’ve acquired. I cannot stress to you enough how important this is for your own sanity and recovery. My hope and prayer, from the bottom of my heart, is that through your own ownership of your behavior, and the way you interact with them, that they may eventually have the same moment of clarity that I was able to have. And, that they will soon walk in the sunlight of the spirit in the beautiful life of recovery along with us. God bless you, and Merry Christmas.
Sean - in recovery!
Journey to Hope Amazing Success!
      We were humbled by the overwhelming support and generosity that made this year’s annual banquet, Journey to Hope a tremendous success!   We raised nearly $75,000 net and our attendance grew by nearly 40 percent in just one year! 
      There was a committee of hard working volunteers selling tickets, tables and sponsorships; they were soliciting for a great selection of silent auction items, the more creative people on the committee worked on the décor, headed by Laura Maurer who did an amazing job capturing the theme.  Others designed the invitation graphics, we had dedicated committee members who recruited volunteers, worked on publicity and arranged for guest speakers.  We never could have made the event happen without all of our volunteers! This was a true group effort! 
     The event program featured a powerful video and impactful speakers. Each guest speaker shared personal remarks about how they each have interfaced with the issue of addiction from research and law enforcement to a parent and a child with an addiction.  Our speakers  included Maricopa Sherriff Paul Penzone; Debbie Moak the former Director of the Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family and Co-Founder notMYkid; and Steve Moak founder of True AfterCare and Co-Founder notMYkid; and Cindy Scott-Janicik, Ed.D. is Associate Clinical Professor at NAU.  It was an inspiring program! You can see and hear these speakers on our Facebook page (hope you are following us!)
We truly could not have such success without the tremendous support from volunteers, individuals and businesses attending the event.  In addition, the support from our sponsors was overwhelming, they included: Arizona Toyota Dealers Association, Fidelity Investments, Showcase Honda, Calvary Healing Center, Banyan Treatment Center, Mr. John O’Malley (Camelback Toyota), True AfterCare, Desert View Bible Church, Casa Milagra Sober Living Dominion Diagnostic, Phoenix Law Enforcement Association, Terros, Airpark Auto Detailing, Crossroads, Riversource, The Pathway Program and The McGees Real Estate Team.  
      PAL’s goal is to continue to grow PAL across the United States by starting new meetings in communities where there are none and to begin to build PAL infrastructure with paid staff to manage the organization and respond to the unending requests for help.  
      We know the need for PAL is great.  We each have our own Journey to Hope and are extremely fortunate to have each other for support, encouragement and to learn important lessons to help us live a more healthy life.  
     Hope to see you next year at the Journey to Hope banquet!


Support PAL When You Make a Purchase on Amazon

Simply Register with Amazon Smile and PAL Benefits at No Cost to You

 

Amazon:

1) Go to https://smile.amazon.com/
2) Sign in using your normal Amazon username and password.
3) Amazon will prompt you to select an organization-type in Parents of Addicted Loved Ones-PAL
4) Select the Gilbert AZ PAL, and then make sure that at top left of page, in orange letters you will see the word “Supporting”: it should say Parents of Addicted Loved Ones (PAL) in white letters next to supporting.
5) You’re now correctly signed up. Simply go to https://smile.amazon.com/ to sign in each time and make your Amazon purchases (if you just go to Amazon.com it will not register with your charity) and by doing so Amazon will send a portion of the profit to support PAL.

 
Fry's Foods - It's easy and again, it's free.  If you live in Arizona - and now available in Indiana or Ohio - please connect your Fry's Foods rewards to our account. Its easy- and again its free. Please share with all of your family and friends to help PAL every time you shop!  Note: the following link will take you to an instruction sheet to sign up, if you are from Indiana / Ohio, look for PAL that is in your state.
Click here for instructions on signing up for Frys Foods Community Rewards Program.
Donate Now - Click Here
Copyright © 2016 LIST:PAL All rights reserved.
Our mailing address is:
P.O. Box 3325
Gilbert AZ 85299
Phone : 480-300-4712
Email : info@palgroup.org

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