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April is National Volunteer Month!  As a nation we celebrate the impact volunteers have on our lives and encourage active volunteerism in generations to come. PAL would not exist if it were not for our amazing volunteers.  I, for one, am a recipient of how PAL, with the help of its volunteers, makes a life-changing impact. The stories we hear day in and day out remind us how invaluable our facilitators are along with others who help in many ways. Before I get ahead of myself, I want to share with you an exciting event that has national volunteer month coming at just the right time. 

To help support our mission and bring education and hope to parents and families with a loved one suffering from substance use disorder, PAL will be hosting its first full day conference in October - “Power of Hope.” Our goal is to help change the narrative around this topic, break down the stigma and bring together people to find ways that we can collaborate and bring hope to the many families that are being deeply hurt. Although this event will be in Arizona, we are hoping to find a way to bring it to other regions of the country.

So much of the drug crisis being covered in the news is from the perspective of how dire the issue is. This is good to a point, and we want people to realize the magnitude of what is happening, but we want to turn around that talk to what is working and how we can impact this problem by bringing hope and healing back to our families. The stories in this newsletter illustrate what it is we want to do. 

Now, back to national volunteer month…if you have been wavering about starting a new meeting in your area or have been considering being a co-facilitator to help with the meeting you attend, now is the time! Please contact us at and we will go over with you the qualifications and the next steps. You will also find information in this newsletter on how to volunteer in other ways. Please reach out and take that first step toward being a part of the solution.

I cannot thank those enough that came before us as they led the meetings we attended and, frankly, helped us regain so much of what we had lost (from the simple joys in life to our physical and emotional health).  Please also take a minute to say thank you to your facilitator as they give so much each week and are also on this journey with you. 

God Bless,

Kim Humphrey
CEO/Executive Director
Guest Blog - Mike Speakman, PAL Founder

Why is recovery such a long journey? Recovery is a marathon, not a sprint

One thing I regularly hear from people revolves around their desire for their loved one to get sober. However, there is an important distinction between sobriety and recovery.  Frankly, “getting sober,” is usually the simple part. Don’t get me wrong, some people with severe substance use disorder (SUD), particularly with severe alcohol issues, may have life threatening withdrawal issues and should be medically supervised. However, most people can “get sober” with detox or “white knuckling” it on their own.  The key is staying sober and that is really where recovery comes in. Recovery is that process of doing what needs to be done to live a life free from mind altering substances.

This is where the statement, recovery is a marathon, not a sprint, becomes all too real. Simply, recovery takes time. It takes time for the brain to heal, it takes time to learn healthy coping skills and it takes time to break old habits and replace them with new healthy ones.  

For the most parents, their child's recovery from SUD is a much longer journey than they had hoped it would be. That’s because it's not just a journey for their child to learn how to stop using alcohol or drugs, it is also a rite-of-passage experience where their child learns the coping skills necessary for becoming a responsible adult (i.e. honesty, good decision-making, frustration-tolerance, self-discipline, patience, etc.).

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Arizona Gives Day is a 24 hours online giving campaign for participating Arizona-based nonprofits AND donations can come from across the United States. Donations can be made prior to April 4 and still count toward our $25,000 goal along with an opportunity to win additional prize dollars. 
PAL has received a CHALLENGE GIFT!

We are being challenged to match AND exceed an anonymous donor’s gift of $12,500.
This means your $10 donation will become $20, a $20 donation will be $40 and a $50 donation will become $100!

It is easy to give:
1. Make your donation at
 2. Invite your friends and family to donate via social media by sharing the link.
AZ Gives Donation

Hope for the future

When our son was born, my husband and I were so excited and full of anticipation for his future life. It was clear at a very young age that he was different from other children. He was more active, more agitated and it was difficult for him to settle into a routine or follow rules.
When he started elementary school, his behavior became much worse, and eventually he was diagnosed with ADHD. However, none of the prescribed drugs, behavior modification or counseling worked. Then, at age 10 he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and, with the right meds, he stabilized. Soon, I got my son back and his bipolar symptoms went away. After five years his psychiatrist said we could wean him off the meds as my son most likely had some sort of mood disorder, not bipolar disorder.
In junior high he discovered marijuana. Although I was worried, he was doing well in school and finally had friends. It was during this time that there was an incident with some friends at a party involving psychedelic drugs. When this happened, we tried to get him into treatment, but he refused saying he didn’t need it.
He got his first marijuana DUI at age 18 and spent 24 hours in jail. He said it was the worst thing he had ever experienced, and he was never going back. Unfortunately, he had more run-ins with the law.
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National Volunteer Month

Happy April and Happy Volunteer Appreciation Month!

I went looking for a quote that would represent what PAL volunteers do, and, as you can imagine, I had to read through a lot of quotes. Although it’s hard to encompass all that PAL volunteers do into a single quote, my favorite and the one I would like to share with each of you is this:

“There are scores of people waiting for someone just like you to come along; people who will appreciate your compassion, your encouragement, who will need your unique talents. Someone who will live a happier life merely because you took the time to share what you had to give.” – Leo Buscaglia

As I read these words, I thought of each of you - our PAL facilitators. You show compassion as you are walking alongside your meeting attendees on a journey they never wanted to be traveling. You are full of encouragement for the successes they or their loved ones attain. You are filled with empathy when the sadness, devastation and tears are too much for them to carry. Each of you has successes and struggles of your own – times when you are cautiously optimistic and times when it is difficult to put one foot in front of the other. You show up each week ready to guide, support and offer hope to others who are experiencing difficult times as well. You show up to offer a safe place for parents and families to share their fears, worries, blessings and joys.

We, the PAL office staff, are always filled with joy when we hear the stories, from you or your meeting attendees, of how someone’s life was touched by PAL. Those lives were touched by YOU. How do we say thank you? There are not enough ways to express our gratitude and appreciation for each one of you. I hope you know that from the bottom of my heart, I appreciate YOU. We all appreciate the day-to-day hero you are – for sharing PAL’s mission and vision with your meeting attendees and those who want to hear what PAL is all about.

So, how do we say it? The only way we can – THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!
Beth, PAL volunteer coordinator

Living through the pain

In 2012 I lived at my drug dealer’s apartment. Our arrangement consisted of me providing transportation in exchange for a blanket on the floor in the living room and the occasional free hit of heroin, meth or marijuana. When I was physically able, I delivered pizzas for Papa Johns but any money I made was always a wash as it went straight to the dealer and into my lungs or arms as soon as I had it. 
It was a miserable existence. Our arrangement was tenuous at best, and I saw and experienced things that I’ll never forget. Every day that I woke up on that floor (if I slept at all) was a stark reminder of my continued poor choices and inability to pull myself out of my sickness. 
That was the year in my life where things truly started to sink. Depression and madness lived in my bones. My parents were getting involved with PAL and were learning to let me write my own story and I was failing at it. While it wasn’t the moment I embraced change and moved forward with my healing journey, it was pivotal in setting the stage for those next steps. It was remarkably devastating in every possible way, and it was exactly where I needed to be at that point in my life, and it wasn’t interrupted by my parents trying to step in as they likely would have before.  
I’m grateful because people don’t change when they’re comfortable. Our physiology on a molecular level is set up to reward and strive for homeostasis. Even keel. Comfort. When outside circumstances threaten that state, it invokes in us a response to achieve that homeostatic balance once more. I never understood why individuals expressed gratitude for the miserable circumstances that they endured. In hindsight it’s perfectly clear - crisis facilitates a mindset that’s more open and willing to change. 

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PAL Newsletter in SPANISH!
The PAL newsletter is now available in Spanish. 
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