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Letter from the Executive Director - Kim Humphrey

Dear Friends, 

As most of us sit at home and our lives have been upended by the COVID-19 pandemic, PAL has had to make major adjustments. Most of our meetings are not able to gather in person and many have gone virtual with others suspended temporarily as well as many people going to our expanded online/phone-in meetings. Unfortunately, the circumstances of this pandemic are creating another problem we are all too familiar with.  Here are two recent headlines:

  • U.S. sales of alcoholic beverages rose 55% in the week ending March 21, according to market research firm Nielsen.
  • As alcohol sales increase, some doctors concerned about isolation as trigger for addicts.

We already know that isolation is generally a trigger and it is also likely that illicit and prescription drug abuse is also on the rise as people are depressed and seeking an escape. This may lead to an increase in Substance Use Disorder and of course sadly, more addictions and deaths from overdoses. Not to mention that drug addicts and alcoholics are also at higher risk for complications from COVID-19. 

All of this is bad news, but we at PAL are doing what we can to encourage our meetings to hang in there and hopefully when we can get started with in-person meetings we can meet the needs of the many hurting families.  In one week, I was notified of three overdoses in PAL families, two from a meeting in the south and one from one of our long-time couples who facilitate a meeting. Our hearts break over this and we are determined all the more to focus on our vision to bring education and support to families in order to bring hope. In contrast, we are receiving notes thanking our facilitators that have been able to stay available during all of this and in some cases to have breakthroughs due to the online experience where people were not as intimidated to attend online for the first time rather than go in person.

We need your help now more than ever, to keep praying for PAL, for our families and our facilitators who are on the front lines. Please let them know you appreciate them during this time even if they are not able to hold meetings.  I believe that this too shall pass and we can be stronger for it, but we are all too familiar with the phrase “it’s a marathon and not a sprint.”  I hope this newsletter brings you some hope and peace with our blogs and testimonials.  We have been forced to reschedule our Midwest event, details are listed below, but we hope we can see you all later this summer.

Blessings,
Kim Humphrey
PAL Executive Director/CEO

MIDWEST CELEBRATION OF HOPE CONFERENCE & BANQUET

August 22 the new date for the PAL Midwest Banquet!

We are excited to announce the new date for the Second Annual PAL Midwest Celebration of Hope Conference and Banquet, rescheduled due to the pandemic.
 
The event will now be Saturday, Aug. 22! All other details will remain the same, from the location to the speakers to the agenda. Here are the specifics:

 
PAL Second Annual Celebration of Hope Conference and Banquet
Saturday, August 22, 2020
St. Elizabeth Training & Education Center
3861 Olympic Blvd., Erlanger, KY
Conference – 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Banquet 6-9 p.m.
Event website: https://palgroup.org/pme/
 
Early-bird pricing is extended to July 22, and there are still a few sponsorship opportunities available.
For details, email PALmidwest@palgroup.org  or call 859-760-0954.
 
Mark your calendar – see you there!

Collective Trauma & Grief
PAL  Blogger: 
Ashley Worthington, MA, LPC

It’s safe to say that our world looks vastly different than it did even a few months ago.  Living life in the reality of the coronavirus pandemic has been challenging, confusing, and fear-inducing just to name a few.  When our world experiences something completely outside of its control, we can describe this as a collective trauma.  It is a circumstance which no one is exempt from, yet we all have differing ways of experiencing and processing it.  I’d like to take some time today to discuss the process of collective trauma as well as the resulting collective grief that may surface. 
 
Let’s begin with some information about trauma.  When we feel a sense of threat or fear the loss of our safety or security, this can bring about survival responses, such as fight, flight, freeze or faint.  Our bodies and minds are created to decipher between safety and threat at any given moment and if our security is threatened, the mind and body will respond accordingly.  How that can present during this time is in a state of hyperarousal, which includes overwhelm, anxiety, anger, racing thoughts, hypervigilance, defensiveness, feeling unsafe, reactive (the overall desire to fight or flee).  On the other end of the spectrum, one can experience hypoarousal, which includes feeling numb, shut down, unable to say no, unable to think, lack of motivation, or feeling spacey (the overall desire to shut down and/or freeze).  Both hyper- and hypoarousal are trauma responses which are there to help us and keep us safe from danger, but they are not sustainable for long periods of time.

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Parent Testimonial:
We cannot want it for them more than they want it for themselves.

I have been on this journey with my addicted loved ones my whole life … from my birth mother, to myself, my husbands, and my son.

In May of 2020 I will be married for seven years to the man I said no to in 1988!  I had a daughter in 1987 when I was 18 and then when she was six months of age, I placed her up for adoption.  In 1993 my son was born while I was addicted to meth … which his father and I did together. Jake was 5 when we took him to a counselor, and she said very powerful words of truth to us. “You have a screwed-up son because he has two screwed-up parents. When are you going to stop using drugs?”

That was the last day I used meth. I divorced his dad the following year.

Jake was a smart boy and full of light growing up. His dad continued using off and on and remarried a woman with three children. When Jake was in sixth grade, I had to pick my battles and let him live with his dad, and the influences of the environment started taking the light from Jake little by little.  I had suspicions of drug use, but did not want to face it.  I did find out in 2018 that Jake started using at 17 years old.

In May of 2018, Jake was already in a bad place (pretty much homeless) when I got the call his dad had died (five conflicting drugs in his system … one of them meth).  I will never forget May 30, finding Jake and telling him the news of his dad’s death.  My husband and I had Jake come stay with us. A few days after his dad’s death my suspicions were confirmed – Jake was using heroin. He admitted he needed help and I spent three days detoxing him. Within a few days he used again.  I called the police and he was arrested from our home on a warrant.

In March of 2019 Jake reached out to me and asked for help with the addiction.  He began attending church with us and I had the honor and privilege of baptizing him on my 50th birthday! Two days later we walked with him through three weeks of intensive inpatient rehab and he was released on April 18th.  Against all advice he chose to go back to his apartment where he lived alone. He relapsed.

I embraced the Boundaries class at my church in June of 2018 and was in Christian counseling from October of 2018 through September 2019 along with a few EMDR sessions during that time.

The woman who recommended Boundaries to me, also suggested during this time I should begin attending PAL which had just started at our church. The tools and love I received in these meeting helped give me what I needed during one of the hardest times of my life. When I heard “there is not a formula, but there is a curriculum,” that really stuck with me. And ohh, those Gems! They spoke to me and helped me learn how to communicate differently. I still attend as often as I can. PAL has been a blessing to me and others in our group say I am a blessing to them. That is how our God works!

Jake had several additional rehab stays and relapses. He has been clean since June 13, 2019. On July 14 of 2019 he was my guest at the Rooted celebration and choose to surrender and was baptized again. He says he was high the first time and that he did it for me - but this time was what he calls “his clean one” and he did it for himself.

We cannot want it for them more than they want it for themselves.
Jake is doing well and his light is back! He has completed the Rooted experience and is in the Boundaries class that I facilitate. All praise to God!

I am not strong … I simply surrendered!

A PAL Mom

Painful life lesson #834795837
PAL Blogger:
By Sean, In Recovery

Pain, as we often say in the 12-step program, is the touchstone of spiritual growth. Over the years I’ve expended a tremendous amount of energy learning things the hard way. Despite the hardships I can honestly say without a doubt that these experiences were not only necessary, but vital. And while it might seem miserable when we’re in the thick of things, sometimes some outside perspective and commentary can make a world of difference. Sometimes taking a moment to consider your circumstances comparatively to what’s happening outside of your own orbit can renew a sense of gratitude in your own life, and give us the ability to truly and fully accept God’s grace, and give ourselves a break.
 
            After spending the better part of a year rehabbing a nagging knee injury I incurred while running, I finally began experiencing some relief toward the beginning of 2020. Running had become my life, my identity, and as much as I hate to admit it, my ego has grown inflated as my athletic ability grew. Being sidelined was a tough blow to my self-confidence and mental health; the release I feel through intense physical exercise is tough to recreate sitting on the couch. But through hard work and dedication, it slowly got better. As such, I quickly dove back in to training at a blisteringly fast clip.
 
Commence painful life lesson #834795837.

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Professional editor needed!

PAL is looking for a seasoned editor with nonfiction experience for a book project in the coming months. If you know anyone who may be interested, please have them send a resume and list of books they have done to jobs@palgroup.org

PAL given a generous grant from the Ibis Foundation
 

As our organization grows, so do our needs to be able to support our facilitators and parents with training, materials, marketing, and more. We are blessed to announce that the Ibis Foundation has funded PAL’s work for the third year in a row. Typically, the organization prefers to award one-time grants only, but they see and support the work that we’re doing for families dealing with addiction.
 
We are grateful to Ibis for their willingness to reach out to a relatively new organization and choose to help PAL get established to extend our reach to more parents and their addicted loved ones.

What You Need to Know About Drug Court and Addiction

One parent's journey with his son is documented in an article he wrote about the process. 

Click here for the link to the article: What You Need to Know About Drug Court and Addiction

PAL has a new address!
 
The national PAL office in Phoenix has moved! It’s just a few doors down from our old location, so only the suite number has changed.
Make sure you mark this in your contacts!
 
Parents of Addicted Loved Ones
11225 N. 28th Drive, Suite B109
Phoenix, AZ 85029
Copyright © 2020 PAL - Parents of Addicted Loved Ones, All rights reserved.


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