Letter from the CEO/Executive Director -
My head is spinning. It just seems like there are so many major things going on in our world that I cannot keep up. Oddly, they all have a connection to PAL. One is a health epidemic that has spanned the globe, taken lives, and right now has no known cure or guaranteed treatment. I think about that and am not sure if I am talking about COVID-19 or Substance Use Disorder, which ultimately impacts more people and takes more lives, globally. I think about the awakening of social injustice that has sparked protests and demonstrations, and the crimes that are spinning off from those protests, and the unrest which is deeply affecting our communities and the globe, and I wonder, is it possible that an aspect of the drug issue may play a role in this, as well?
The one thing we know for sure about drug and alcohol abuse is that it is no respecter of persons – it attacks anyone of any background equally and devastates lives. Think about recent events. If you removed the underlying drug problem, would this help with some of the other issues? I can’t answer that definitively, of course, but what I can say is that addiction, left untreated, is fatal in all instances. People free from drugs have so much more potential in life.
We know that PAL can help, and that PAL makes a difference in the lives of people. We want to continue to find ways even in this current environment to bring hope to families. We want to shine the light on this insidious disease that affects all people of all backgrounds and to hopefully be a part of the long-term solution.
We are starting to see a number of our groups go back to in-person meetings. Please check the meeting notes under Find A Meeting on the website (click here: https://meetings.palgroup.org/meetings ) to make sure the information is current – if your meeting is back to in-person, is still meeting virtually or is on hold. We hope that most of our meetings will be back on track soon and we can expand our reach into more and more communities.
I pray you find hope in our blogs and parent testimony below. Lastly, we have our PAL Midwest event that is slated for August 22, and we should have word soon on the status of that event. Stay tuned. Also, we have started making some very exciting plans for our annual FALL banquet. We are not ready to share the details, but let’s just say we know that despite what is going on, we have found a way to make this the biggest, most far-reaching event you can imagine! We can’t wait to share more details in the coming weeks but suffice it to say we plan to tap into the “Power of PAL!”
PAL CEO/Executive Director
Annual Fundraising Campaign
Share the Blessings is an annual grassroots fundraising effort to “pay it forward” by adding new PAL meetings in communities without meetings AND to support YOUR PAL meeting. A portion of funds raised can be designated to a variety of things to help your meeting.
Share the Blessings runs from July 6– August 15, 2020.
Complete your Participation Form
to get your online fundraising page created!
Self-Care During Collective Crisis
Blog by Ashley Worthington, MA, LPC
If we’ve learned anything from the events of our world in the past few months, it’s that crisis happens and we may feel powerless, but one thing is certain: we have power over ourselves and how we respond, decisions we make, and how we show up in the world. When we experience crisis, whether on an individual basis or collectively, it is important that we take time to care for ourselves. During these periods of time, our nervous systems are in hyper-drive and doing what they were designed to do: keep us safe. Nervous systems in fight, flight, freeze, or faint are excellent helpers during crisis, but unhelpful and unsustainable for long periods of time. There are very specific ways we can nurture and ground ourselves when we encounter stressful situations, which is what we will unpack today.
It is helpful to begin by blocking out short periods of time for complete silence. Eliminating distraction and stimuli for even just a few moments can give us time to hear our inner voice more clearly, and even connect with our Higher Power. In these blocks of time, we can also go a step further to pause and feel what is coming up in our body. See if you can notice where you may be holding tension. If you’re experiencing a specific emotion (sadness, anxiety, anger, disappointment, confusion), try to locate where that might present in your body experience. Name it, feel it, and even journal about it. By bringing attention to our somatic response, it can bring about a natural sense of calm. Our emotions and body sensations are there to give us information we need to know about ourselves.
Our son grew up in a happy home with both parents loving and supporting him. He always had a fan club cheering him on; and my husband coached both kids in many of their sports. My husband and I recently celebrated our 25th anniversary. We have two adult children and one precious granddaughter. We have a small family, but a tight knit family.
Our favorite place to spend time is on the water. Our kids grew up on the lake and enjoy water sports to this day. We love vacationing to the beach and being around water just calms our souls. We have amazing memories of times together while our children were growing up.
We discovered our son was experimenting with marijuana and alcohol in high school; and dealt with it through discipline and prayer.
Our son is intelligent and graduated with honors from high school. We noticed his friend group began to change in high school. But, we really didn’t think too much about it as we just thought he was growing up.
He went away to college after high school. After one semester with all failing grades, he moved back home and transferred to a local university. He was on academic probation and was going to lose his scholarship. I honestly felt like it was a stranger that came home instead of our loving, happy son.
We are excited about plans for this year’s big PAL fall event. Some of the changes are resulting from restrictions resulting from the pandemic, but just like lemons being turned into lemonade, we’re using this as an opportunity to make a potentially nationwide event!
Everything should be finalized in the next few weeks, and we’ll let you know what it’s going to look like. In the meantime, just know that it’s going to be bigger and better and more accessible for all!
Be open to express yourself PAL Blogger:
By Sean, In Recovery
For whatever reason, part of my fallible human condition is the fact that when I am in the struggle, I tend to think I am the only individual who feels the way I’m feeling at that given moment. This has been oddly prevalent throughout my life. I’ll be experiencing some type of internal disturbance or frustration, and my addict mind will assert itself in having me believe that I am alone in this. That no one feels the way I do. I’ve come to understand over time through multiple experiences that this mental construct isn’t unique to myself. I firmly believe that some part of our inner programming as humans just goes haywire sometimes and places us in this spiral of shame and isolation. One tool that is so incredibly simple, and yet so arduous to practice while enduring this experience is talking.
Talking. That’s it. Expressing yourself, your feelings, displaying vulnerability to another human being is vital on our path to disengaging ourselves from our own BS. When we endlessly play out situations in our minds, we enter into a nonstop loop of “what if’s” that creates discord and anxiety within us, in turn spreading negative energy to the people around us. Talking with someone, a trusted friend, a mentor, a pastor, a therapist, or simply someone who is understanding or who may have experienced similar circumstances can break this cycle. EVEN IF WE KNOW THE ANSWER TO OUR TROUBLES it is vital that we speak it out. Sometimes we need to hear that information, that insight, from an outside source, out loud, to challenge the structure of our thoughts and move forward. This is how recovery works; surrounding yourself with supportive people who you feel comfortable speaking with about the machinations of your innermost self and shining a light on them. It is only by exposing these issues that we can grow and move forward as people. It may seem overly simple, but I can assure you it works.