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Dear Friends,

Seriously is it November? The Power of PAL event is this Saturday, November 5. It’s hard to believe that this is the 8th annual event. If you are not able to attend in person, please register to watch it online that night as we have some incredible stories to share - I pray it will be an inspiration and bring hope to many. This is also our primary fundraiser of the year. I certainly wish that there was no need for this fundraiser (or that we didn’t have to do fundraisers at all).

Since the onset of not-for-profit organizations, it is the goodwill of the community, businesses, and individuals that have filled in the gap to give funding to do work that is not provided by the government. One thing I have learned over the years is to focus on sharing our mission and letting the impact speak for itself.  PAL is somewhat unique in that the administrative organization is designed around awareness, finding and training volunteers and working to provide them with the resources they need. In other words, we don’t have tangible products we produce, and the real “work” of PAL comes from the many volunteers that give of their time and are willing to share their lives to serve others. We are also unique in that we require our volunteer facilitators to have a loved one that suffers from the disease of substance use disorder. That means they are on the journey as well and they need support just like those that participate. 

Aside from the Power of PAL, we know that this time of year can be an extraordinary time for families as they navigate the holiday season.  Most of us look forward to the joy of the season, but I also remember years of just wishing it was over as we struggled to find our way.  I remember being encouraged by our meeting group to do something for ourselves yet struggling to find the desire and willingness to do so (despite knowing that it was exactly what we needed to do).

My wife and I have a set of devotionals we try to read daily and one that stood out recently noted that “no one can make us miserable without our permission.” That is true, but it went on to say the opposite is also true, that no one or nothing can make us more comfortable (or at peace) without our permission.  Mark Twain said it like this, “A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.”  I know all too well how easy it is to get caught up in trying to predict the future with our loved ones that are not in recovery and thinking the worst.  I also know that the more I ruminated on those thoughts the more miserable I became to the point of hopelessness. That is an ok place to visit if it motivates you to get the help you need, but it is not a place to stay.

Please join us on November 5 or tune in that night as we focus on the power of PAL and we hear stories of hope even when the outcomes are not what we expect. Also, as the holidays approach we will put out links to some great resources and information we have accumulated about navigating the holidays. In the meantime, take care of yourself, it’s one of the most important things you can do, and you are worth it.  

God bless,

Kim Humphrey
CEO/Executive Director
Power of PAL 
Register for Virtual Broadcast Link & Silent Auction 
The POWER of PAL is an experience of hope for all those affected by or connected to a loved one suffering from substance use disorder. It is an inspirational, informational and touching national event that will leave both in-person attendees and virtual viewers encouraged and wanting to stay connected.

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Guest Blog:

Am I Being Manipulated?
Our regular counselor blogger, Josh Acevedo, is on a break so we are bringing you perspectives from a PAL Facilitator. 

Herein lies an irony: the person who is trying to manipulate you views you as having greater strength or power than he or she does.
— George H. Green and Carolyn Cotter, Stop Being Manipulated

George Green and Carolyn Cotter describe manipulation as an encounter in which someone else attempts to control how you feel, behave, or think—without your permission—and as a result, it causes you discomfort.

As the parent of an addicted child have you ever found yourself feeling crummy after agreeing to a request? Chances are good that manipulation was involved. In the early years of my journey with my sons this happened so often that it felt normal. I felt crummy, but as their parent, I felt that it was my responsibility to give in to their requests. I had wrongly equated love with me doing everything they asked of me, and I had to work through that in front of a counselor (I’ll save that for another blog post). Somewhere along the way our children “installed our buttons” and knew exactly which ones to push to get what they wanted from us. After all, manipulation is all about getting what you want. Once drugs move into the number one position in the minds of our loved ones it is imperative that we learn a new way of “helping.” As a wise friend once told me “The changes YOU make, might actually be their salvation.”

Read More

No longer letting the chaos be in control

I’m a PAL mom.  I am married and have two children – a son and a daughter.  
My son was always on the go 24/7. He was never a sit-around-the-house child.  He loved sports - at some point, he played just about every sport.  From an early age, he was smart. He excelled at school, and always had great grades. He was also very social and had tons of friends.
Drug and alcohol addiction was around our entire family.  Even though I never had a substance abuse problem, I had an addiction to the chaos. My kids were around family that exposed them to things I shouldn’t have allowed. In my marriage, I allowed our issues to play out before my kids. But I never thought all this was affecting my kids. To my son, this chaos was normal, so when alcohol and drugs became accessible to him when he was about 12 years old, it was very easy for him to make the wrong choice.  He started out with alcohol here and there then progressed to over the counter (OTC) medication mixtures, then to marijuana. This continued behind my back until his first arrest at 16 years old.  
He was placed on probation with the courts, and the arrest scared him into a temporary change. But, when the courts failed to follow through, it wasn’t long before he was sneaking around again. None of the things I tried at home were getting through to him. In a last-ditch effort, I picked him up from high school one day and took him to his probation officer demanding they drug test him. He, of course, failed the test and this allowed me to beg the court to put in an order for treatment. He finished his first inpatient treatment at age 17.  

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This is only temporary...

I’ve been exhausted lately. Over the years I had forgotten how tough it can be to get acclimated to a newborn’s sleep schedule – those early morning hours where you just drift off in peaceful slumber only to be jolted awake moments later by a seemingly endlessly hungry micro person. It’s a blessing to have a partner to share this responsibility with – although I’d still say we’re mentally and physically exhausted about 90% of the time. My eyes are heavy – the circles deep – and Red Bull has been my best friend.
As I’ve been easing back into my workload I’ve felt the strain of these sleepless nights – the fragmented patterns when we do get to rest don’t always provide that hard reset we get from an uninterrupted stretch of sleep. It’s been tough to concentrate at times, to organize my schedule the way I typically would and to manage my time effectively. Writing this now, in fact, is quite challenging. If you’re here reading this, I’m assuming that at some point in your life, you knew this exact feeling.
What a blessing it is, though, to be here today. Despite the physical and mental challenges we might face in times like these, it’s amazing to be able and present to care for a brand-new person. It’s so illustrative of the human spirit and form. Despite such a radical shift in our schedule, despite the time and commitment needed to undertake such a task – we are still able to press on, function in our roles and show up. As I sat on my couch wearily this morning in the early hours, I was reminded of how impossible this all seemed given the places I’ve been historically.
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