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Dear Friends, 

I was at the gym the other day – practicing my PAL principle of “taking care of myself” – when I overheard a conversation between two men in the locker room.  They were in no way trying to conceal the conversation.  It went something like this:

“Yea man, I seriously am just smoking it like all day long.”
“I hear ya, I try to just smoke when I get up and before I go to bed, because I have to work.”
“Yea, I’ve figured out I just need to have it all day to keep my stress down.”
 “I know, right, there is no way I can go to sleep without it, I have to have it just to get to sleep.”

This continued for at least five minutes as they shared their “need” to smoke marijuana to just get by with life.  Interestingly, they both appeared to be about 21 years old.  I was simply shocked by the fact that they were not talking about it for fun and recreation – this was two 20-somethings talking about needing a mind-altering substance to just get through their day and to sleep at night.

Sadly, this was a reminder of how deep and pervasive the problem is when our loved ones seek out substances to find a way to cope with life.  Honestly, sometimes I wish there was something that would just take my own pain away. It took a lot of work for me and my wife to learn to deal with our issues in healthy ways and to find ways to cope and not only survive but to thrive again. 

The good news was there was hope and we found it in PAL. We met other parents that walked alongside us and showed us there were healthy ways to get better. I was just on the phone ten minutes ago talking to a person interested in coming to our PAL meeting. He was desperate, he was clearly at the end of his rope and his simple question was, “If I come to the meeting can we talk, and can I try to find people who are in the same situation I am in?” The answer was yes, of course, and that is what PAL is all about.  

I am hoping we can continue to open meetings wherever they are needed. Please let us know if you have been thinking about it and might be interested in getting one going in your community. Just email us at info@palgroup.org.  Also, thanks so much for your involvement in our Share the Blessing campaign and PAL Awareness Week where we broke records in distributing PAL information – thanks to all of you who participated and are helping to bring PAL meetings to families all over the country.

We have another challenge / fundraiser I hope you will consider joining, the Race for Recovery. On one hand it will give you an excuse to tackle a personal challenge that will benefit you, while also helping PAL through pledges you raise. My older son and I have signed up to do this together!  More information on all of this can be found in this newsletter along with some great stories of hope.

Thank you all for your ongoing support and we will continue to find ways to reach out and maybe someday, I will overhear a conversation like this in the locker room.

 “Hey, how was your workout? I’m finally getting some time to take care of myself.”
“Great, me too. I was not doing anything like this for the longest time when my wife and I had to deal with our son when he was arrested for drug possession.”
“I hear ya, thank God we found PAL. I’m finally getting my life back…”

God bless,
Kim Humphrey
ED / CEO
Beliefs & Actions
I have mentioned in previous blog posts that parents in crisis often act on what I perceive to be false beliefs. Some examples of this follow: they think they can control other people’s choices, can fix addiction in a loved one, that their child’s addiction is somehow their fault, that addicts are victims, etc. I do not wish to assert that I always know true from false beliefs, I merely wish to share what I have learned from my own experience.
 
I would also like to further discuss the idea that we act out our belief systems. This being the case, our actions can tell us a lot about what we do and do not believe about addiction and recovery. I hope this discussion will help to identify false beliefs and affirm that both beliefs and actions can be changed for the better. These changes will most often yield better results in life such as more happiness and peace.
 
Let’s work backwards as we seek to unearth beliefs that we may be hiding from ourselves. You may ask “Why would anybody hide a belief from themselves, wouldn’t that be preposterous?” “Shouldn’t we all know our own beliefs and motives?” In my experience the human being is masterful at denial and can hide unpleasant, unpopular, and undesirable character traits from themselves. An example of this is the addicted loved one who says they do not believe that using drugs and living an addicted lifestyle is hurting anybody other than themselves. Not so preposterous, huh? If they were to accept the damage their choices were creating, they would either need to change or admit they do not care.
Read More
PAL Awareness Week 2021
a record-breaking event!
During the planning stages of PAL Awareness Week this year, CEO Kim Humphrey set what seemed like an outrageous goal: distributing 40,000 pieces of PAL literature throughout the country to let families know about the free hope available through the organization.
 
It seemed outrageous because the previous year – admittedly during the pandemic – groups distributed 20,850 brochures, info cards and flyers.
 
Thanks to a dedicated team of volunteers in the PAL office, we packed up 109 orders to mail throughout the U.S., with a total of 47,590 pieces of PAL literature – topping that stretch goal by a whopping 19 percent, and more than doubling the materials distributed the previous year! Each one of those orders was requested by PAL facilitators, members and supporters who believe in our vision to make PAL meetings available to all parents of addicted loved ones.
 
As encouraging as that was, the next step was even more important – the people scattered across the country who disseminated those materials to help spread the word about PAL
 
PAL volunteers were amazing. They braved inclement weather and busy schedules to distribute brochures to first responders, healthcare facilities, treatment facilities, courts, local grocery stores and more. The social media outreach was just as active – the two most popular memes addressed the results of the NAU study on the effectiveness of PAL, and a quote from a PAL mom about her gratitude to PAL for learning how to better deal with her son. We’ve seen a significant rise in the messages asking about meetings, and in the numbers of people inquiring about starting new groups.

Thanks again to everyone who made the 2021 PAL Awareness Week so powerful!
Race for Recovery
September 18 - 26, 2021
It's easy to help!
 
1. Do your own race or challenge and ask people to sponsor you
OR
2. Support someone who is participating
OR
3. Make a general donation to support PAL
 
For more details about Race for Recovery or
to see who is participating, click below

 
Race for Recovery Info

Learning to find joy

Our son grew up in a loving supportive family and had what seems like a great childhood. We’ve been married for 30 years, he has an older and younger sister, we have a great golden retriever and live in an upper-middle class suburb of Chicago.

Steve was a reserved young boy who exceled at all sports and made friends with ease. He was always in the neighborhood playing with the other kids and we had to go track him down when it was time for meals or to come in for the night. He gravitated to golf in high school where he played on the varsity team in his sophomore year.

One challenge he faced was that he suffered from anxiety beginning at a very young age.  He was diagnosed with a slight learning disability and ADD.
Then he started smoking pot with a neighborhood friend in high school, which progressed to alcohol. It all happened so fast … six months after his exposure to alcohol and pot he was in his first treatment center.  That was 12 years ago and all the things that you never thought would happen to him – or to us as a family – occurred.  He has been in rehab 15 times, he was expelled from high school for using, he has been in jail twice, psychiatric hospitals four times. His last relapse nearly cost him his life.  After five weeks in the hospital, he is trying recovery again.

We have tried literally everything. We’ve placed him in the best treatment programs that money could buy. We have talked with him, pleaded with him, lectured him, encouraged him to make better decisions, put him in treatment, kicked him out of the house, and removed him from the state. He has lived with his aunt, and in sober houses and halfway houses.

Read More
Welcome to Beth McMillen,
PAL’s new volunteer coordinator!
We’re excited to introduce Beth McMillen, our new Volunteer Coordinator who will be working with PAL’s more than 300 facilitators and other volunteers.
 
Beth’s first career was as a teacher, but most recently she worked four years as the volunteer coordinator for Banner Health where she managed nearly 200 on-site volunteers.
 
“I see my role at PAL as being a support person,” she says. “The facilitators are the boots on the ground, and I’m here to help and make their jobs easier.”
 
Dee Pavia, Beth’s predecessor, will be staying on with the organization part-time to accommodate her busy schedule.
 
Another change has been the addition of two new Regional Coordinator consultants. Nancy Godin and Darlene Heier join Jean Werner and Diane Buxton as contractors helping with outreach. They also will work with facilitators in four regions of the U.S.,  Warm thanks and congratulations to all four Regional Coordinator consultants and the important role you play with the organization!
Save the Date - Nov 13, 2021
Power of PAL
The POWER of PAL, an inspirational, informational, and touching hybrid event that will leave both virtual viewers and in-person attendees encouraged, full of hope and wanting to stay connected.

The POWER of PAL event will feature a variety of elements including a recognized keynote speaker, motivational speakers, evidence-based research, family testimonials, giving opportunities and an online auction. The national event is open and free to a virtual community, and there is no limit on the number of viewers who can participate. In addition, the event will offer a limited number of guests to attend in-person in Phoenix, Arizona.
Hold On

Over the past several months, I’ve faced several personal challenges that left me feeling remarkably depressed. Despite being fully vaccinated, I contracted Covid-19, and was stricken with the full gamut of symptomology associated with it. Headache, high fever, extreme fatigue, sore throat, congestion, and complete loss of taste and smell defined my life for a week straight. It took a full month for me to recover my regular level of energy, and taste and smell still aren’t quite where they were prior.

During this first week of bedridden misery, brain fog, and isolation, our beloved cat of several years began experiencing an episode of feline diabetic ketoacidosis. After having been on insulin for the past two years, it was clear in a matter of days, that this would most likely be the end – and with great sadness we let our faithful friend go, after it was decided that nothing else could be done for him.

As you could probably imagine, this episode of life for myself and my family was an epic bummer. During this whole unfortunate, sordid series of events, I wasn’t able to pull myself out of the darkness on my own power. I found myself deeply saddened, angry, and to a certain degree filled with self-pity on an almost hourly basis. To say that it was a challenge to get through would be an understatement.

Struggle, sadness, disappointment, regret, and pain will at some point afflict all of us. And sometimes, when these life events just endlessly seem to crash down with no regard for how you might feel about them – the envelopment of resentment and self-pity can be all encompassing.
Read More
New PAL Meetings
Giving Hope to Others
THANK YOU!

Our most sincere thanks to all the facilitators and donors who supported the annual Share the Blessings campaign. 

 
Your participation was more important than ever this year to help respond to the increased need. 
 
The Share the Blessings campaign allows us to start new meetings in communities without PAL and support participating meetings with materials, books, targeted marketing, etc.
Copyright © 2021 Parents of Addicted Loved Ones, Inc., All rights reserved.


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