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Letter from the Executive Director - Kim Humphrey

Dear Friends,

My wife and I headed out on vacation at the end of August to celebrate 36 years of marriage.  As we look back on our wedding day and raising our two sons, I can honestly say we NEVER expected to be involved in an organization like PAL. Yet, here we are, working and volunteering for an organization that helped us through, arguably, the most difficult time of our marriage.  I remember people in the group we attended saying you need to go on vacation. And, we would shrug it off and say: 1) It would not be fun; we would be miserable knowing our sons are active in their disease and we lived in fear they will not survive;  2) It just seemed wrong to try to find something joyful to do amid all this; and 3) When we took a vacation a few years ago, we literally were bombarded with phone calls and texts from them in one crisis after the next and we eventually flew home early because we felt we needed to rescue them, once again.

Today, we share in meetings, what we were told, “If you have to fake it until you make it, go on vacation and have fun.”  We kept trying to find time for ourselves and after a couple of trips cut short, we eventually did have a good time, and we didn’t ruminate on our sons’ problems the entire trip! 

I write this letter before I leave on vacation so it will be ready for the newsletter on the day we return. Not to mention, we will be in areas where there is absolutely no cell service or Wi-Fi (imagine that in today’s world!).  I now know how important self-care is and whenever someone in our meeting tells us they got away and enjoyed some time off, we give them a hand. I hope this is true for you as well, as we roll out of summer and into the fall.  

Our first ever PAL Awareness Week will have just concluded, and I will be anxious to hear how it went with literally thousands of PAL flyers distributed around the country, media coverage and social media advertising.  Our next priority at PAL is our annual Hope Banquet in Arizona which is just around the corner on October 26th.   We are so excited to have the opportunity to share an evening with 500 friends of PAL and to continue to bring awareness to PAL and hopefully meet our financial goals, so we can continue to expand PAL to unserved communities.  Please consider attending this year - you will find more information in this newsletter. 

The blog from our therapist this month is a great reminder that our feelings, like I mentioned above about taking a vacation amid problems, are normal and expected. Sean’s blog is part two from last month and you don’t want to miss as he recaps his journey to sobriety.   Further, we are so thankful for the stories from parents and others who share their experience about how PAL has made a difference. This month’s parent article is truly inspirational.  Many other things are packed into our newsletter and I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at our October 26th Discover Hope Banquet!

God Bless,
Kim Humphrey
PAL, Executive Director

Is What I'm Experiencing Normal?
Guest PAL  Blogger: 

by Ashley Worthington

In working with parents of addicted loved ones, a common question I’m asked is: “why am I having these reactions, symptoms, feelings?  And are they ‘normal?’”  In many cases, when parents come to see me, they have endured incessant chaos with their addicted loved one which has left them feeling shocked, bewildered, angry, exhausted, hopeless, anxious, and much more.  Many of these clients never imagined they would be sitting in a room with a therapist recounting the excruciating events that led them to my office.  The large majority of these clients also may not realize that much of what they are experiencing can be identified as trauma responses to their environment and relationship with their addicted loved one.

Read More
PAL Has A Store 
Check It Out!
PAL is now selling shirts, mugs, and other swag online! Check it out and let us know what we should add! Items may be purchased to help promote PAL and share the great work PAL does.  The store is run by a third party and PAL receives a portion of the proceeds from all purchases.
Click here to see what’s for sale
Working Through the Recovery
Parent Testimonial

My daughter started using around age 17. We’ve been on this roller coaster ride for 10 years now, and she’s relapsed about four times.

My daughter’s drug of choice was heroin. Looking back at my journey, it took several years to realize we were on the path of addiction. I will never forget the terrifying nights spent in a fetal position on the floor, consumed with PTSD symptoms. I desperately prayed for help.

God sent me to PAL. It was daunting to overcome the internal fear to just show up for the first meeting. I was the girl who always needed the Kleenex box in front of her at the table.

Crushed by brokenness, my tears seeped out the cracks.  But they were the same cracks that allowed the light to reach my inner darkness. A great humbling occurred inside me as I experienced the pain and terror of addiction as a parent. The educational topics that Mike Speakman teaches helped make sense of the insanity.

Slowly, I learned to shift focus from my daughter to myself. Most everything I possessed was spent on her. My obsession of epic proportions led to the epiphany that she had become my idol. I needed God back on the throne of my heart.

One night I visited the graveyard across the road from the small country church where our PAL group meets. Fixated on the tombstones, I forced myself to face the reality of this disease, asking God for divine courage and strength. I am learning to let the Lord fight my battles and just trust in Him. Lyrics from the song by Johnny Cash, “Ain’t No Grave” best described my condition. “Shame (guilt) is a prison as cruel as the grave. Shame is a robber come to take my name. But if you walked out of the grave – I’m walking too. Yeah, if you walked out of the grave – I’m walking too. Cause there ain’t no grave gonna hold my body down.”

By their example, my precious PALs showed me how to walk out of this grave. As I reach out and grasp their wisdom, they encourage and lift me up out of darkness. The meetings are a harbor for my soul where I quiet my heart and listen. So “I don’t want to miss a single word PAL speaks. Everything they say brings life to me.”

My daughter has been working through her recovery for more than two years now and digging through the layers to find the root cause of why she turned to drugs. She recently found out she’s going to be an aunt for the second time. She’s now embracing the future with a new perspective – and so am I.

PAL Mom

Mark Your Calendars - October 26, 2019
Tickets On Sale NOW!
$50 per person - early bird discount until Sept 23rd
$400 - table of 10 - early bird discount until Sept 23rd

CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS OR FOR TICKETS

If you are interested in sponsoring the Hope Banquet
please email development@palgroup.org 

 If you are interested in volunteering for the banquet, please email admin@palgroup.org.
Please include your name and how you would like to help.
I was Born with the Disease of Addiction - Part II
PAL Blogger:
By Sean, In Recovery

Part I of the journey Sean shares he grew up in a Christian household with law-abiding parents who provided for him and he was not lacking anything. However, inside he felt a looming darkness he couldn’t escape, and he desperately wanted to be someone other than himself. At 15 he was introduced to alcohol then at 16 Percocet and he remembered telling himself, “I will take this substance every day for the rest of my life – this is my solution to living.” And that was the beginning to his journey into addiction, drug treatment, and consequences.

Click here to read Part I

Things continued to go downhill quickly. I wasn’t committed to sobriety, so I quickly gravitated toward others in my sober living environment who weren’t either. Inevitably, relapse came. By this time, pills were very expensive, and heroin was booming. Here was a cheap alternative that could be directly injected into the body, with greater relief provided. Being the practical minded individual I was, I embraced this method of use with no reservations.

My parents—wracked with physical and emotional pain—were introduced to a program of recovery for themselves, organized at my most recent rehabilitation program, Calvary Healing Center in Phoenix, Arizona. They learned practical ways of helping themselves which in turn helped me. They learned to practice self-care and to set boundaries. It is by the grace of God that they embraced their program, because I can honestly say, I’m not sure if I would be here today if they hadn’t. Gone were the days where they took my BS at face value. Gone were the days of rescuing me from whatever unfortunate circumstance I found myself in. Gone were the days of allowing me to control and manipulate their emotions.

Their firm parental boundaries left me with nowhere else to turn. My vessel spiraled in the vast, arduous, stormy sea of destruction. Active addiction always gets worse, never better. The relapses were more intense. The places of refuge I once sought out would no longer accept me. I slept in parks. I sat at bus stops in full paranoia and delusion throughout the night. I hid behind dumpsters, working to get my next fix. I was arrested multiple times for shoplifting, and finally for drug possession. A brief stint in jail, followed by yet another brief stay in sober living didn’t deter me.

At this point, having graduated to IV drug use, I felt as if I was truly lost.

Read More
PAL AWARENESS WEEK


 
PAL Awareness Week:
All We Can Say is
WOW!
When the PAL staff in Phoenix first talked about sponsoring an Awareness Week the end of August, it was less than four weeks out. The decision to move ahead was made, understanding that this “first annual” would no doubt be modest.
 
We could not have been more wrong!
 
PAL parents and friends took on the challenge with passion. Here are some statistics:
  • 72 individuals and groups requested awareness kits.
  • Nearly 35,000 pieces of PAL promotional brochures, cards and flyers were mailed out to be distributed during Awareness Week.
  • Response to our Facebook posts has gone through the roof, soaring to a reach of more than 8,000 in some cases, due largely to the number of “shares” of posts, more than 100 per post.
One of the big takeaways is the effectiveness of "sharing" PAL Facebook posts on your own page. Not only does this increase the exposure of the post to people who may really need it, but your friends may share it with their friends, who share it with their friends - it is the fastest, most inexpensive, and effective way to spread the word about PAL. It means more to people to hear about an organization from someone else they know.
 
This article was written partway through the awareness week activities and already 35 people had inquired about becoming facilitators, eager to have PAL groups in their communities, including two who would be opening new states for us. Typically, not all of those people will follow through, but what a wonderful start. We could not be more pleased by the creativity, excitement and hard work that PAL volunteers put into this event! We pray that more lives will be touched and healed because of YOUR efforts.
PAL's Social Media Buzz!
PAL’s social media has been abuzz recently! We have experimented with our first Facebook Live Q&A, as well as dropped a lot of posts & video clips recently to go along with our Awareness Week (thanks everyone for making it a massive success!). These are intended to be shared, so if you find some of the content valuable, please share it! PAL’s message of hope is spread in many ways, but the primary method has always been people like you, allowing PAL to reach into parts of the country that would not otherwise have been possible.

Also, keep an eye open for PAL to go live again in a couple weeks. A Family Education seminar will be taking place in Tucson, Arizona on September 14th at 9am (Arizona time). The event will last three hours and will be broadcast live on Facebook! Click this link (or the image below) to view a printable flyer for the Seminar!
 
Copyright © 2019 PAL - Parents of Addicted Loved Ones, All rights reserved.


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