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Dear Friends, 

I recently shared a story I heard about a guy working on his roof. He loses his balance and slides down and just as he goes over the edge of the three-story house, he grabs the gutter and is left hanging there with no ability to get himself back up on the roof. After several desperate calls for help and realizing no one is around, he looks heavenward and says, “Please help me!”  A voice comes back and says, “Trust me and let go.” He then looks up again and says, “Is there anyone else up there?” 

I found myself in that position more than once, knowing that I needed to let go of something I was trying to control when it came to my sons’ disease of addiction. I didn’t like the answer that involved me NOT being the solution! I wanted so much for them to get better and since my wife and I felt we knew what was best, we just kept trying to do it our way. I am so thankful not only that I learned it was okay to let go of control, but that I had to trust that it was better not only for my personal health, but in the long run for both of my sons’ potential recovery as well. 

We continually receive notes from people who benefited from PAL and they reiterate they are learning new skills and that it is making all the difference. This motivates us to want to keep finding ways to get the PAL message out, find new facilitators to start meetings to help their fellow travelers in this unfortunate journey and to keep finding hope when all seems hopeless. 

Please consider your role in this. If you benefited from PAL, would you consider giving back, maybe becoming a facilitator or volunteer in another way?  You can reply to this email and we will be in touch. In the meantime, I think you will find our blogs and parent testimony inspiring and helpful on your journey. 
Another thought: we are also looking for any connections you may have to a high-profile person that you think might support PAL by talking about us or representing us to others. Please let us know if you can make an introduction – the more we can get the word out, the more families we can help.

As for me, I am going to keep on working on letting go of control and trusting that things will work out just as they are supposed to.

God bless,

Kim Humphrey

Sometimes we
have to get uncomfortable in order to grow
Having a child with an addiction can create a lot of chaos and discomfort in a family. Most people who find themselves reading this blog will know this from first-hand experience. Participation in a parent recovery program introduces perspective changes that help parents to cope with incredibly difficult  situations. One of these changes seen in both parents and addicts in recovery is that they are able to take the discomfort and pain that accompanies addiction and turn it into an opportunity to take a deep look inward at themselves. Often, I’ve seen them turn discomfort and chaos into a positive catalyst for change, growth, and self-improvement.
So, what are the roadblocks to change?
The avoidance of discomfort is a common way both parents and addicts stay stuck. Think of the parent who does not want to upset the applecart by placing healthy boundaries in the relationship, or the addict who does not want to face the discomfort of living in their own skin without chemicals or face the growing up that must come with recovery. The larger the potential for discomfort and the further away the payoff for change seems to be, the easier it is to avoid even trying.

When parents begin to feel hopeless, the avoidance of an uncomfortable change can become worse and behavior that keeps them stuck can set in. These behaviors can look any of the following ways: justifying current or past unhealthy responses to the addict, justifying the addict’s behavior, accepting that the addict is a victim, finding reasons to delay change, waiting for a day when the perfect conditions exist to act (the problem here is that the perfect conditions may not ever appear), or lowering the bar for how they allow themselves to be treated. If you have ever found yourself in this insanity loop, doing the same things over and over and getting the same results, you are definitely not alone. This type of  insanity is a predictable, but unhappy way to live.
Do not lose hope.
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Giving Hope to Others
Share the Blessings – July 12 – 22, 2021
We recognize things have changed this past year, we are sorting out what is today’s “normal” and we know PAL meetings are slowly starting to return to in-person meetings.  We also know because of all the turmoil experienced this past year, the opioid crisis is the worse it has been and it’s not going away.  The number of people reaching out to PAL for assistance is increasing daily.
We need your help to respond to this increased plea for hope!
The Share the Blessings campaign will allow us to start new meetings in communities without PAL AND will also support YOUR meeting with materials, books, targeted marketing, etc. (your choice). 
Share the Blessings campaign will be ONLINE – July 12 – 22.
Watch for more information coming soon.

Finding hope in the midst of addiction

My husband and I share a blended family of five adult children.  I have three sons and my husband has two daughters.  We have been married for eight years.  Two of my three sons struggle with addiction - my oldest son age 38 and youngest son age 33.  To the best of my knowledge, they have been on this path about 15-plus years.  Addiction was not new to me, as my first husband, my sons’ father, struggled with alcohol addiction.  Our marriage ended after 29 years.

My oldest son was extremely smart and musically talented. He graduated with highest honors in high school as well as college. He was on the path to enroll in law school when he found out he was going to be a father at the age of 21.  He decided it was best to get a job and put law school on the back burner.   I had no idea at this time that he was entering the world of drugs.  It was brought to my attention that he was starting to use pain meds while in college, which eventually led to cocaine and meth, and currently, heroin.  Because my son had always been so diligent and a high achiever in school, I thought it was something he tried only once or twice. It would take several years for his drug use to start interfering with his life.  During the last 10 years of struggling with addiction, he has spent time in jail, has been homeless off and on, fathered another child, lost custody of his oldest child, had his car impounded, and has been inconsistently employed.  The one and only time he has been to rehab was when he was court mandated to attend a one-year rehab program at an out-of-state facility.  He was sober for 15 months and relapsed three months after completing the rehab program. That was four years ago. He is currently active in his addiction.

My youngest son was a very happy and friendly child. He enjoyed playing sports and spending time outside. He was also a bit mischievous.  He struggled academically in school; however, excelled in sports, especially golf. He received a full paid golf scholarship to a university.  After the first year he failed the random drug screening and was dismissed from the golf team. He lost his scholarship and returned home.  At the age of 19, he went to his first rehab facility. This would be one of eight rehab facilities and several detox centers he would attend. He also spent time in a sober living facility.  He would relapse within days after every attempt at recovery. Within the last four years, he has spent time in jail, has been homeless, and had to experience the death of his wife two years ago to heart failure from excessive drug use and a toxic level of kratom.  Now, within the last six months at the age of 33, he has slowly started to make some changes in his life.
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New PAL Meetings

On letting go...

Control. It’s one of the more stubborn facets of our human psychology and thought processes. So often we slip into believing the idea that somehow, someway, by some stretch of the imagination there IS A WAY we can ultimately direct the behavior of others. While we can certainly be encouraging in our efforts to help, and that in itself can be influential; any type of direct manipulation to sway or change someone’s course of action is typically futile. How many times do we have to fall down in our relationships with others before we can fully internalize the fact that people, their actions, behaviors, decisions – their very lives – are beyond our control?

Probably several. As I’ve said here several times before, learning things the hard way through tried and true experience is how most of us get the lesson. And, if you are here today reading this my guess would be that it’s probably because you’ve spent some sleepless lights losing your hair over what kind of insane decision someone you love is going to make next. And hey – that’s ok. I get it. I’ve spent a great deal of my time in recovery trying desperately to unlearn a lot of co-dependent behaviors. So much easier said than done. But the fact remains that unless we’re working on ourselves, unless we’re taking steps in the direction of healing in our own lives, we’re going to continue to feel the sting of complete powerlessness in situations like these and let ourselves get burnt.
Powerlessness though, in and of itself, doesn’t always have to carry a negative connotation. While many would believe that self-reliance and control will always be the way of strength; it can be a boon to our ego and self-esteem when we eventually realize that we’re not always going to succeed. Especially in situations with addicts and alcoholics. I’ve spent my fair share of time trying to change people’s minds who don’t want to get help. It’s essentially a part of my job. And what I’ve learned over the years is that the frustration and anguish I’ve experienced when people don’t act the way I wish they would; when they don’t listen despite it being in their best interest, is simply pointless. There is no worth in wringing yourself into a knot every time someone doesn’t make the right choice, despite the begging, pleading, or cajoling you or their family may have attempted. In what world would it be a sane idea to completely decimate your own mental and physical health over something you cannot control? Here’s where that powerlessness and surrender enter the equation.
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Race for Recovery
September 18 - 26, 2021
More information coming soon!
Copyright © 2021 PAL - Parents of Addicted Loved Ones, All rights reserved.

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