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Letter from the CEO/Executive Director -
Kim Humphrey

Dear Friends,

Thanksgiving is just behind us and Christmas is coming in one of the craziest years in our history as a country. Rather than encouraging people to get together, we are encouraged not to because of the dangers of the virus. Just when we need each other the most, it seems it’s not in our best interest from a health perspective. 

It reminds me of something I learned in PAL a long time ago. As a parent when you are making a decision about helping your loved one – the best course of action is likely to do the opposite of your initial impulse. For example, when you think about giving cash for necessities like food or gas to someone using drugs, the opposite is true – it’s best to not give any resources that might turn into drugs.

You know what I mean – it’s like living in an upside-down world. You can help an adult child with no drug issues through loans or financial assistance but doing that same thing with someone suffering from Substance Use Disorder likely will produce the opposite of what you want. I have heard all the following in one form or another:

  • Helping is hurting
  • Pain is your friend
  • Money is not helpful
  • Rescuing is unhealthy
  • It is more loving to allow consequences and to not provide resources

Again, these statements taken out of context might make one think you are out of your mind. But for those of us who have experienced this issue of navigating a world with an addicted loved one, it can be like living in opposites land.  We sadly learn the hard way truths we simply do not want to accept.

As we approach this amazing time of year with Christmas just around the corner, my prayer is you will find the courage to change, the ability to let go of whatever you are holding on to that is not working and embrace a new way that may seem completely contrary to your instincts as a parent.  Why? Because that is what worked for my family and for so many of you. It takes education and support because it often doesn’t feel natural to make those changes. There is also the knowledge that no matter what we do, there are no guarantees. 

I hope this newsletter brings you some great information and tools from the blogs to the article from the Drug Enforcement Administration and of course the parent testimonial. We also hope you consider PAL in your year-end giving – you will be receiving more information on that shortly.  There is no doubt this year has been a challenge for PAL on many fronts, from our shift to virtual meetings to our fundraising efforts in these difficult times. We know that PAL is needed now more than ever in this upside-down world. We pray 2021 brings some peace and stability to all our lives, but we know that no matter what happens with the pandemic or the economy or the myriad other issues facing all of us, we know that we would give just about anything to see our loved ones not only survive but thrive. That they would be healthy adults and able to face these life challenges on their own with skills they learn in recovery and let you off the hook of carrying that unbearable responsibility.  

God Bless,

Kim Humphrey
PAL CEO/Executive Director

International Day of Giving
SAVE THE DATE
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 1st


This day of giving is a good way to remember those in need during the midst of the holiday hustle-bustle with black Friday shopping and cyber Monday online shopping.

A donation on Giving Tuesday to PAL helps to support the POWER of PAL by providing HOPE to families with an addicted loved one during the holidays.   

The Power of PAL is found in all those who participate in PAL
And, this is what they are saying about PAL:

“I am healthier and that is really what PAL is all about.” PAL Parent
“PAL is not just how to help your addicted loved one but how to help you.”  PAL Parent
 “PAL lessons have been life changing.” PAL Parent

Please share with your friends and family –
Your help on Giving Tuesday will make a
BIG impact for PAL to help families find hope!

SAVE THE DATE - Dec 1, 2020
Donate at www.power-of-pal.org
 
 Thank you!
A Difficult but Valuable Lesson to Learn
PAL Blogger Ron Paterik, LISAC

There are many lessons to be learned as we travel down the path of life with an addicted loved one. Some lessons are obvious; some are more subtle. Some lessons are about addiction. Some are about the addict. Still other lessons are about us. Almost all these lessons we learn are accompanied by pain, failure, and the steading voice of an experienced friend to help us through the confusion.

Having said that we know through experience that some lessons are more difficult (read "harder to accept") than others. One of the very toughest lessons to accept and practice is:

Allowing others to be who they choose to be and make the mistakes they choose to make.

This is not only difficult, but at times seemingly impossible… especially when the “other” is someone we care for!

But understand this fact; a loved one’s addiction will either…

Break us – leaving us weak and ineffective
Harden us – leaving us angry and cynical

- Or -

Transform us – leading us to a place of healing and deep change

The choice is ours to make. We can choose to focus our time and energy on managing or fixing the addict (not our job) or choose to fix ourselves (definitely our job).

The path of deep change and real growth is a spiritual path involving:

Acceptance (powerlessness; step 1)
And
Surrender (to a Higher Power; steps 2 and 3)

So as this incredible year mercifully winds down let me encourage you to begin or continue your transformation journey by allowing the people in your life to be who they seem to want to be. Relinquish control. Practice humble acceptance and surrender and get on with the process of healing, growing, and becoming the person God designed you to be!

May you be deeply blessed this sacred season,
Ron

Still in flux, but hopeful
PAL Parent Testimonial

We raised two children, a son and daughter. Our son was a gifted student and a good athlete who began playing hockey at age 5 and continued until he began high school. We raised him in a loving home and like most parents we had certain things we liked and approved of and other things we discouraged.

We noticed as he got a little older, he became more headstrong.  He took a liking to punk rock music in junior high and things seemed different.  In ninth grade, his interest began to steer away from sports and more to punk rock and a new group of friends whom my wife and I did not approve of. Unbeknownst to us, our son began trying marijuana and other drugs at that time.  He was masterful at keeping this hidden. Sadly, we just did not see how bad it was getting.  

Upon graduating from high school, our son chose to move to another state about 2,000 miles away against our wishes.  He told us this city had the music scene he was looking for.  While in his new place, he joined a band and began working in food service.  It was during this initial period of two to three years that his experimentation with drugs increased, as did alcohol abuse.  Being in another state, we simply did not see all these changes, but we feared things were not going well.

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Would you like to own a painting of “hope”?
When artist Randall Hedden was asked by PAL to paint a picture representing “hope” for the Nov. 12 VIP Pre-event to the Power of PAL, he hesitated. In addition to being recognized for his fine oil paintings and giclees, he also has a national reputation as a speed painter – completing finished works in eight minutes to raise money for nonprofits and entertain at corporate events.

As a speed painter, Hedden is known for striking portraits of celebrities, created with a background of music and a performer’s flair. When it came to the topic of “hope,” however, he wanted to make something totally new, something he had never done before.

He chose to paint a portrait of Christ the Good Shepherd, cradling a lamb, the source of Hope in times of darkness and insecurity.  The painting took a little longer to complete, but was still done in less than 15 minutes. The touching picture was auctioned off for The Power of PAL event.

Hedden has graciously offered to create new original paintings of his picture for others who want to support PAL by buying one of the canvases. These are not prints, but original pieces based off the same concept.

You can purchase the original size, 36” x 48” for $500; or you can get a small size 24” x 36” for $350. For details, please contact dinah@palgroup.org
The Internet, Social Media, Prescription Drugs, and Teens
Many teens obtain prescription drugs from their family or friends.  Since prescription drugs are widely available in the home, teens often do not have to go far to find ways to get high.  Other teens turn to the internet and social media for prescription drugs; the internet also plays a big role in providing information and advice to teens.

Here are a Few Things to Consider:

Your teen probably knows a lot more about the internet than you do.  It’s never too late for parents to jump in and get acquainted with various websites, networking systems, and the lingo teens use to fly under parents’ radars.

Some pharmacies operating on the internet are legal, and some are not.  In fact, according to the National Association of Boards and Pharmacy (NABP), 20 new illegal pharmacies appear on the web each day.  Some of the legal internet pharmacies have voluntarily sought certification as Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS) from NABP.  “Rogue” pharmacies pretend to be authentic by operating websites that advertise powerful drugs without a prescription or with the “approval” of a “doctor” working for the drug trafficking network.  Teens have access to these websites and are exposed to offers of prescription drugs through email spam and pop-ups.  No one should use a website to purchase a prescription drug unless:
  • The person has obtained a valid prescription from a medical practitioner who has conducted an in-person medical evaluation of the person and
  • The website is operating in accordance with the Ryan Haight Act.*
If you become aware of someone distributing prescription drugs or selling them on a suspicious internet pharmacy site, you can report it to the DEA 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, by using the RxAbuse online reporting tool located at www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov or by calling the DEA hotline tool free at 1-877-RxAbuse (1-877-792-2873).

Social media sites play a role in providing information and advice to teens on how to use prescription drugs to get high. Parents should be aware of which sites their teens are visiting and should examine credit card and bank statements.  They should also check the browser history to see which sites their teens are visiting on their computers and cell phones.
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Let Go of Our Differences
PAL Blogger: Sean, In Recovery

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest in your souls”  Matthew 11:29

 
Our nation’s been whipped into a fervor. If you read the news or flip on a TV, it’s guaranteed that you will see some type of mudslinging, some denigration of others by opposing “sides.” It’s been a sad sight to behold. Over the past few weeks, I let myself get sucked into the thick of it all, and while, on the surface, I felt as if I was able to remain at least somewhat impartial to the whole ordeal, on a subconscious level it affected me deeply. As a people, a society, community, and republic, we’ve drifted away from acceptance. As humans, we want to feel heard. Inherently, we want our feelings to be validated by the people we surround ourselves with. And as time has gone on, more so than before,  I feel the circles we surround ourselves with socially have grown smaller. We insulate ourselves in echo chambers of oft repeated talking points and principles that we want to hear. As a result, our compassion for others, our gentleness, and our humility has grown weak. This is affecting us, even if we don’t feel it happening on a tangible level. The culture we find ourselves living in today feels separated. It feels harsh. It feels unwelcoming toward others who may not always fit into the neat little boxes we want them to. It’s truly a sad state of affairs for a country that commissioned Emily Lazarus’ sonnet to be emblazoned on the very symbol it chose to represent its core principle:
 

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

 
Wise words, from a wise woman, in a different time. Still, an enduring beacon of hope for what we could be. While it may not seem like it at times in this current moment, this snapshot of history we find ourselves living in, I firmly believe we have not lost our ability to love. To serve. To welcome others with open arms regardless of personal differences, political affiliation, or the myriad other ways God created us in unique and beautiful forms. I think about these things. I look around me and see the restlessness this whole endeavor has created. I wonder why, with so much pain, loss, and hardship occurring, that we choose to focus and hone in on the things that separate us, that make us different, when in reality, acceptance, humility, and a gentle spirit are the path to peace. To forgiveness. As someone living in recovery, I’ve learned over the years just how indispensable these practices truly are. By mindfully practicing a kindhearted attitude of service, we are enabled through the spirit to grow away from the previous mindset that kept us sick, and into a place of healing. I’ve always believed these practices are universal – what has been the answer for so many addicts over the years holds within it the power to help us all, regardless of circumstance.
 

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