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Letter from the Executive Director - Kim Humphrey
Dear Friends,

    I’m blessed beyond measure to get to spend time with my 3-year-old granddaughter.  She is so full of life and is growing up way to fast. I did notice something interesting the other day, as she was getting ready to go home with her parents. They asked her to please go use the restroom before they left so they wouldn’t have an incident on the way home. She immediately informed them she did not need to and “no,” was her operative word.  She has not exactly mastered potty training so they asked her several times to please try and she would have none of it.  Grandma tried to intervene to no avail as she was not about to do this.  Really wanting to avoid an incident they asked me to try.  I looked at her and I said, “You don’t need to go and you should not go to the bathroom, and anyway you don’t know how.”  She stopped and looked at me and said “yes, I do and want to,”  I said, “don’t do it, don’t go in there and show me you can do that.” She responded by marching into the bathroom and announcing she was going and that she already did and she does know how. 
    I was reminded immediately of how many times I tried to talk my sons into getting help to doing something I wanted them to do, only to have them tell me “no,” and many times they did the exact opposite. Until they felt it was their idea to do something, it generally was not successful trying to force something.  I also realize this behavior starts at a very young age and it is no wonder they master this as they get older. I wanted so many times to have things go the way I wanted only to learn that they wanted, to make their own decisions.
    However, I do have something I am hoping many of you will consider doing and that is to attend our Annual Banquet this year on October 20th.  This is an amazing opportunity to hear about what PAL is up to and how we are reaching so many families around our country. It’s a great chance to bring someone new to learn about what we do, including your family and friends. There will be great speakers, inspiring stories and a chance to support PAL and our mission to bring hope to families struggling with their loved ones.
    Fun was something my wife and I lacked in our lives and for that reason alone, we want you to come and enjoy the experience.  We want to sell out our event and let people know this is an important issue and needs to be addressed in all of our communities, and we need your help to do that.  More information is included below.  Please be sure to read the testimonial below by "Rachel," it truly is inspiring. I also want to thank our bloggers for once again shedding light on some great topics and to thank all of you that participated in our Share the Blessing campaign to help start new meetings.  In the last 7 weeks, we have trained over 20 facilitators and started numerous new meetings.  With meetings in 31 or maybe 32 states after this week, we are so grateful for all that you do to support PAL.  We hope to see you at our banquet. If you cannot attend we will be sharing parts of it live on Facebook, stay tuned. 

Blessings,
Kim

 
SAVE THE DATE!
Building Hope from Hopelessness - Saturday, October 20, 2018
Join the fun at the 4th Annual Banquet, "Building Hope from Hopelessness" on Saturday, October 20 at North Phoenix Baptist Church in Phoenix. Help us as we celebrate the amazing journey to finding hope in these extraordinary times!
 
Tables and Tickets: Discount Pricing for TABLES Continues!
  • Tables of 10 guests are discounted at $400, fill with your Friends and Family - Click here
  • Individual tickets are $50 per person - Click here
  • Coming from Out of State?  If you are traveling to Phoenix from out of state for the HOPE Banquet, let us know, your event tickets can be paid for by an event sponsor! please email admin@palgroup.org
Banquet Highlights Include: 
  • Music, fabulous food and beautiful decor
  • An amazing silent auction with one-of-a-kind items, including:
    • Disneyland tickets for four
    • Custom-made jewelry
    • Themed Baskets of Goodies and Gift Certificates
    • Adventure Certificates
    • Sporting event tickets
    • Hand-crafted one-of-a-kind wood crafts
  • Inspirational Guest Speaker
    • Arizona State Senator, Nancy Barto, who serves as Chairman of the Health and Human Services Committee, focusing on health care and family-related issues.
  Traveling to Phoenix for the HOPE Banquet? Click on links below for: If you know someone who may be interested in sponsoring this year's banquet please let us know - email admin@palgroup.org
 
Looking forward to sharing this very special evening together.
Save the Date Card (Click Here)
PAL Blog:
OUR EMOTIONAL DIMENSION

 ~ Ron
     As humans, we live in two worlds simultaneously. One world is the outer world that we daily occupy:  activities of work and family, conversations with a friend or coworker, dropping off and picking up kids from soccer practice, grocery shopping, doing a load of laundry, paying the bills,  meeting a project deadline at the office, mowing the grass, dealing with a misunderstanding with your spouse, or caring for elderly parents.  This exterior world is what we most often describe as “our life.”  However, in reality, there is so much more!
     The “so much more” is the interior world of our thoughts and emotions.  It is the realm of feelings: those mysteriously elusive, super-charged particles of soul matter.  While we are engaging in our exterior life, inwardly an entire other world is being experienced and lived out—a world in which rich coats of texture and color are being applied to the events of our day.  The results can yield a polished, brightly colored and appealing finish or a rough, dull, darkly colored and unappealing patina.  In either case, this inner world exerts incredible influence over how we perceive our lives, ourselves, and others.
     While every dimension of life is important, it would be hard to argue with the assertion that the emotional dimension is most crucial in determining individual happiness and health.  Emotional health, it can be argued, is foundational for creating a life of deep satisfaction and purpose.  Over the past two decades there has been increasing attention given to the concept of emotional intelligence.  Studies have shown that one of the primary predictors of an individual’s ability to achieve long lasting success and satisfaction in life is a high emotional IQ.
Read More
Northern Arizona University
PAL Research
    In September of 2017, two Northern Arizona University Professors began a multi-phase evaluation of PAL.  
 
  The first phase was to look at our capacity as an organization to grow and meet the needs of an expanding national organization. They provided this aspect of the report at the end of 2017 to the PAL board.

    They then began the next phase of the evaluation to look into PAL’s effectiveness in helping parents and family members who are dealing with a loved one suffering from Substance Use Disorder. This survey was conducted with input from hundreds of people who have attended PAL.

    The results were truly amazing with people seeing PAL help them physically, emotionally and equip them with tools to deal with this issue. This report has been published and we will be sharing it with our PAL community – watch for an email with details.
 
 
Share The Blessing - Results!
Thank you to every individual and each PAL group who supported our annual Share the Blessing Campaign!

We asked each PAL Group to try to pay it forward, and raise funds to help support a new PAL meeting get started.

The collective effort raised over $5,000!  This means 20 new PAL groups will be funded to start in communities without PAL meetings. We are excited about this great news, because in just an 8 week period recently we had over 20 groups get started!

Thanks to you more families will have the support and resources that PAL provides!  

 
Self-Care and Setting Boundaries   
~ Sean
     It’s easy to find the grim state of affairs in this country oppressing our emotional and mental health. Politics, drug overdose as leading cause of preventable death, opioid crisis, the list goes on. If you’re like me, and you have some degree of empathy in your blood, this negative news and energy can suck you dry and leave you emotionally exhausted and vacant – unable to be of true service to yourself and others.
     Add strained family relationships and/or dealing with an active addict/alcoholic in an unhealthy way and you have a recipe for emotional devastation. So the question then, is how do we stay sane? How do we live fulfilling, healthy lives, wherein we support others safely and stick to our boundaries?
     A hallmark of codependency is putting others needs before your own. It seems glaring when you take a step back and ask yourself this, but, in all honesty, how are we supposed to help someone else when our own health is failing? Sure it might not be as overt as the heroin addict with multiple ailments, gaunt, sunken face, and pallid skin. But stress literally has the power to kill. It has the power to strain your vital life energy to the extreme.
     And, how do we feel when we attempt to push, pull, goad, coerce, and essentially force the loved one to bend to our will? Stressed. Depressed. Anxious. Hopeless. Heartbroken and hurt. How do we feel when we attempt to grab the bull by the horns and steer him the way we’d like to see him go? We get bucked. I’ve had multiple seasons in my life wherein I found myself disappointed that I couldn’t make somebody who was struggling see the light; where I took responsibility for the way their life was going, where I constantly lived in self-doubt, always questioning myself, what if I had been harder on them? Easier? What If I said things differently? This type of behavior leaves us lost.
     Once we can truly accept the fact that we have a total lack of control over a sick individual's behavior, we can truly begin to support them in a meaningful way and improve our own ability to do so. The following are some examples of ways to practice self-care, and setting boundaries.

 
Read More
My Name is Rachel...
       My Name is Rachel…
 
…and I am a heroin and meth addict.
I never would have told anybody that about myself, if it weren’t for PAL and my own support groups.  For a longtime I was a hopeless and broken shell of a human.  I felt alone and destined to die in a dumpster with a needle in my arm.
 
Although, my addiction started when I was fourteen years old, I had many other manipulative and chaotic behaviors as a child.  At just nine years old I suffered with an eating disorder and it continued until I found alcohol and drugs.  For ten years, from the time I was fourteen until I was twenty four, I went through all substances, including alcohol, meth, Xanax, heroin, acid, mushrooms, ecstasy, just about anything that could get me away from myself.
 
During that time, I would tell you that it was because of my upbringing or my parents.  But the truth is, I drank and used because I liked the effect produced by alcohol and drugs. My brain had been hijacked, and I felt as though I needed to have substances in order to survive. 
 
My life crumbled and by the time I was seventeen I was living on the streets. It was barely an existence, and instead of choosing to get sober, I decided to marry my drug dealer. At the time, it seemed like the right idea. I had no idea the amount of pain it would bring me.  He was an addict as well and as it turned out he was very abusive – both physically and emotionally. Marrying into the lifestyle helped me to not only isolate from my family, but also from the entire world. I wanted to die and I was willing to go to any length to end it all.
 
I picked up the needle, and I didn’t care if the person I was sharing it with had HIV or HEP C or anything like it. During one of my horrific blackouts, my mother was able to track me down. I was acting in all kinds of absurd ways, including trying to open my car door with a hotel key. When she took me to her friend’s house to shower, I humiliated her by running around without clothes and trying to hide his “gold.”  My mother was terrified and didn’t know what to do. After staying with me for hours, she finally called a treatment center that accepted our insurance.
 
She felt even more hopeless and alone than I was feeling. I said the most heinous things to her, blaming her for every trauma I had ever been through.  She had no one who understood what she was feeling. Every time someone asked her how her children were doing, she didn’t know how to respond.  She constantly blamed my father and herself. 
 
While I was in treatment, she found herself in a PAL meeting and they let her know that she wasn’t alone. PAL let her know that it wasn’t her fault. More than anything, PAL taught her that acceptance doesn’t mean that you are giving up on your child, it’s that you love your child enough to let them hit their bottom. I wish I could say that I stayed sober through that experience.  That knowledge and acceptance was enough. However, I needed to do some research and continue to stay loaded for a little while longer.  During this time, PAL helped my mother to learn how to be okay and to continue to live despite my actions.
 
One night my mother even told me, that I had two more years on her insurance until I was cut off from her completely financially. She stated that she loved me, but she wasn’t going to continue to enable my disease any longer. The next day I called her and told her that I needed to get help because I had relapsed. When this occurred, my mom stated that she would help me financially, but, I needed to do the work this time. I needed to call the insurance, I needed to pack my stuff, and I needed to call the treatment center and get myself in. I remember she hung up the phone on me after I told her it was stupid that she thought I should work to get sober.  
While I hated her in the moment. I realize now, that she was doing what she was doing, because she loved me and didn’t want to have a part in my relapse or overdose. It was the hardest thing that she ever had to do. I finally did the work.
I went to a residential treatment after detox, and completed partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient. I got a sponsor and got involved in certain recovery groups. After inpatient, I went to sober living because my mother told me I couldn’t come home. I realize now, that I wouldn’t have stayed sober if I lived with her.  We knew how to push each other’s buttons because we installed them!  
 
My name is Rachel, and I am a heroin and meth addict in recovery.
I got sober on August 1, 2014. I have over four years sobriety and have an apartment with another sober member of my community. I am a recovery coach, as well as a behavioral health tech at the treatment center, that I was a patient at.
I am a success story. I am proud of the woman that I have become, and I have learned to love my character assets as well as my flaws. However, I didn’t do this all alone. I had my sober community, I had a treatment center to go through, and I had my family. It’s a beautiful life.
 
I don’t want to tell you that it’s perfect, because it can be a mess sometimes. Currently, my mother and I are not on speaking terms. It hurts because I continued to do the work and she stopped going to all of her support groups and doing work on herself. This is a family disease, and old behaviors can pick up whether or not the alcoholic or addict is currently using substances. However, I have hope, and I continue to take the values and tools that PAL gave me to let her have her own experience. 
 
I am so grateful to be a part of my recovery groups, and I am so grateful that PAL has become a part of my family and recovery.  Most of all, I am grateful that my family had PAL to help them stand during a time that my tornado of destruction was trying to knock them down. Today I am proud to be a heroin addict, because all my struggles brought me closer to God and to my family and my friends.
Copyright © 2018 PAL - Parents of Addicted Loved Ones, All rights reserved.


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