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Letter from the Executive Director - Kim Humphrey

Dear Friends, 

As summer approaches and we should be enjoying the beautiful outdoors, taking vacations and spending time with friends and family, most of us continue to live in this unknown world of a pandemic. I for one miss the direct contact, the in-person meetings and just being able to do what I want without restriction. However, I am reminded daily that people are losing their lives over this disease and we are trying to balance moving on with life with taking care of one another. As the number of deaths associated with COVID-19 is approaching 350,000 worldwide and with so many losing jobs and economic uncertainty, it just adds yet another layer of complexity and stress to our lives.  

In the world of drug and alcohol addiction, all of this is magnified. I hear from parents in our PAL meeting and from others around the country, “I feel like I have to do something for my loved one.”   As I contemplate that, I am constantly reminded that we are hard-wired to “do something,” even when we are not in control nor can we in most cases affect the outcome of trying to change another person.  I also am reminded of how hard it was to learn to let go of trying to control and to somehow find gratitude and thankfulness for what we do have.

In spite of lost jobs, financial insecurity, and current health scares, the reality is most of our issues are “first world problems.”  They are real to us, they are painful to us, they seem unsurmountable to us, but finding a way to be thankful we live in a country that at least has food, has resources and to know that there are still people out there who care is really something to be thankful for. 

On a recent virtual PAL meeting, we had several people share that the lesson was just what they needed to hear, that they felt hopeful again and had an idea of what they could do and were so thankful for the group’s support. In spite of the pandemic, in spite of all the uncertainty they found hope in PAL.  Thank you to all our facilitators, thank you for being there for each other and coming alongside others despite your own personal turmoil.  Of all times in our modern history this is a time when we need each other, and we can truly help when it seems like we don’t have much to give.  We also thank all of you who are faithful with your support of PAL. We know that as this COVID-19 pandemic wanes, the other pandemic is looming and is continuing to grow underneath. I am praying that a vaccine and treatments will be available for COVID and we won’t continue to see that number grow.  However, to keep things in perspective, nearly 600,000 annually are dying of drug overdoses worldwide, and nearly 3.5 million annually from alcohol-related deaths. We truly are fighting a pandemic of greater proportions and unfortunately there is no likelihood of a vaccine for this disease of substance abuse.

“Hang in there” is something I repeat a lot to parents, as sometimes it’s the best we can do under the circumstances.  I hope the articles in this newsletter bring some hope and perspective. 

Blessings,

Kim Humphrey
PAL Executive Director/CEO

Not one, but TWO upcoming PAL Banquets 

Mark it on your calendar! Check out the information below about the two upcoming PAL banquets on either side of the country.
 

  • The Second Annual Midwest Celebration of Hope Conference and Banquet, Aug. 22 in Erlanger, KY that had to be rescheduled due to the pandemic.
 
  • The Sixth Annual Inspiring Hope Banquet, Sept. 26 in Phoenix, AZ.

 
We’ve had to be flexible, and will continue to keep you apprised of any changes necessitated by the current health climate and its impact on our communities due to COVID-19.
  
We still need sponsors for both! Contact us for the details.

Concerned but Not Worried
PAL Blogger Ron Paterik

Recently I was talking to a client about the subtle, but important, difference between “concern” and “worry.” With the COVID-19 pandemic there has certainly been ample cause for concern and no shortage of worry. 

In my mind concern is a legitimate, expected, and healthy response to a possible problem that may impact you or someone you care about. Webster defines concern as “feelings and thoughts of unease, uncertainty or apprehension born out of personal interests or relationships; the engaging of our attention/focus on care.”

Worry, on the other hand, has a far more toxic feel to it that often includes: fretting, obsessing, agitation and distress. Worry leaves us disturbed, weighed down and often paralyzed; unable to free ourselves from our fearful and negative loop of thinking. 

With that being said, the question arises… is it possible to be concerned and not worry? The answer is “YES, but it’s not easy.” The natural tendency for most of us is to slide, like an avalanche, from concern into full blown worry before we even realize what’s happening! 

So, let me share a few ideas regarding keeping yourself in the healthy zone of concern avoiding the debris field of worry, anxiety and fear: 

Read More

Parent Testimonial:
Finding Peace Out of Chaos

There was a time when I would describe my life as the fairytale that every little girl dreams of.  I married the man that I fell in love with on the steps of the church that my grandfather pastored. We met when we were 13 and married when we were 21.  Later we had two children, a daughter, now 38 years old, and a son, who is 31. 

Our son was happy, rambunctious and just pure joy to everyone, even when he was diagnosed with a learning disability. It affected his memory and his ability to retain information.  He was also diagnosed with an auditory processing and genetic abnormality. He was assessed and placed on medications from Ritalin to Concerta, Adderall, and others.  Our son’s education became a source of stress for him and for us.  In middle school I was advised that it would be in our child’s best interest to remove him from the public school system and to either put him in private school or to homeschool him.  This is when he began to interact with other teens in our neighborhood and at our church, who introduced him to alcohol and marijuana.  He was about 14 years old at the time. 

He experimented with drugs and alcohol and eventually was introduced to meth by a coworker.  He would later tell us that was the day his entire would change forever.  So did ours.

We made many mistakes trying to save him from all the fallout from his addiction.  We bailed him out of jail as he began to have legal problems related to his drug use.  We hired attorneys and pleaded with judges, probation officers and such to go lightly on him, as far as consequences of his actions.  Our thinking at the time was that prison was a terrible place and we didn’t want him to go there.  Sadly, we began to realize there are worse things than incarceration.  Our son’s drug use had progressed to the point where we were watching our son die right before our eyes…a slow death, much like someone dying of cancer.  We began to realize that no amount of running ahead, sleepless nights, planning or posturing was going to save him.

Read More
A time for growth, acceptance and kindness
PAL Blogger:
By Sean, In Recovery

 Over the past several months the world has been plunged into the depths of fear and uncertainty with the COVID-19 pandemic. The unpredictability this situation has foisted upon us, as people, tends to exacerbate some of those more “negative” character defects we harbor as part of the human condition. Anxiety, paranoia, anger, and resentment seem to be running rampant. The 24/7 news cycle doesn’t seem to help. Monitoring the situation closely, the endless statistics, the unfortunate politicization of the entire thing, just seems to make things more difficult, at least in my own experience. I know people are struggling greatly. I’ve struggled too. I’ve vacillated between complicated emotions on a daily basis. But one thing has remained clear to me throughout this entire ordeal; diving in and embracing that fear will not serve us. It will not help your brothers and sisters to live in a state of panic and unsteadiness. On the contrary – positive acts of growing yourself, rising to the occasion, and spreading love, acceptance, and kindness will transform that apprehension into faith and trust.   

I firmly believe that all spiritual and emotional growth is borne out of hardship. This immense fear we may be dealing with daily, when viewed in this light, could just be another part of the mold that shapes and gives strength to our spiritual walk. For years I battled the darkness and oppression of drug addiction. I felt like a slave to my most base natures. I essentially discarded anything meaningful in my life in the pursuit of oblivion. Despite my best efforts I just couldn’t see the point of living any other way. But through the exposure to concepts, and ideas of spiritual living in AA, I was able to see that another way was possible and worth working for. It was only through enduring the madness, navigating the pitfalls of addiction that I was able to become exposed to true faith in a Power Greater than Myself.

Read More
Share the Blessings is an annual grassroots fundraising effort to “pay it forward” by adding new PAL meetings in communities without AND to support YOUR PAL meeting. 
 
Share the Blessings runs from June 15 – July 31, 2020.   
Watch for more information and ask your facilitator.
Highland Park UMC supports PAL 

Highland Park United Methodist Church in Dallas is home to a vibrant PAL group, and the church has given a $4,000 grant to help support PAL. We extend a warm thank you to Highland Park and to their Outreach Committee for joining with PAL to make a difference.
 
The award letter said, “We are very pleased to be your partner in the extraordinary work that PAL is doing. Thank you for the wonderful work you do in Dallas to help and support the families of those struggling with addiction issues. We are thankful to serve alongside you!”
 
It’s this type of partnership that helps PAL change and save lives.

 

What PAL looks like in a pandemic

Around the PAL office (okay, in our virtual PAL office meetings) we sigh a little each time we read or write articles with the words “unprecedented,” “new normal,” “pandemic” and the like.
 
The impact of COVID-19 is not a laughing matter, however. Here’s a quick update of how PAL is handling the challenge.

  • Virtual meeting options: Our dedicated facilitators have provided both virtual meetings for many of our existing PAL meetings, and we have added extra Phone-in/Virtual Meetings during this COVID-19 season. It has been great to see new people join the PAL groups that may have never set foot in a physical meeting for the first time. This may have potentially opened up a new door of opportunity for us. In addition, we have had up-and-coming facilitators begin training during this season as well – and they’ll be ready to get started as soon as all COVID-19 restrictions lift.
  • Start-up of in-person meetings: In mid-May a few PAL meetings are resuming in person. PAL’s current policy is to leave start-up decisions up to the discretion of the facilitator, based on local conditions. That obviously is contingent upon each state’s regulations, CDC guidelines, as well as availability of the PAL meeting location.
  • Facilitator support: We also are counting heavily on our Regional Leads and the meetings, phone calls and support they are giving their facilitators, to share best practices and look for solutions to issues collectively.
  • Monday Minute: The Monday newsletter for facilitators provides encouragement, user tips and a sense of community during this challenging time.
  • Still working on reaching more parents: Lastly, we are continuing our focus on reaching the 11 states that to date have no PAL meetings yet. That process is well underway thanks to Jean Werner.
PAL has a new address!
 
The national PAL office in Phoenix has moved! It’s just a few doors down from our old location, so only the suite number has changed.
Make sure you mark this in your contacts!
 
Parents of Addicted Loved Ones
11225 N. 28th Drive, Suite B109
Phoenix, AZ 85029
Copyright © 2020 PAL - Parents of Addicted Loved Ones, All rights reserved.


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