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Parents of Addicted Loved ones
December 2016 Newsletter
In This Edition:
Message from the Board Chair
A Few Suggested Tips for Surviving the Holidays with Addicted Loved Ones
Recap: Annual PAL Banquet: Hope Grows & Upcoming Events
PAL Needs
Family Seminars
Newest Board Member
Sign up for Fry's Foods 
"You feel like, "What did I do wrong? This is reality. This is life. This is the hand you've been dealt. If you're going to live beating yourself up, you're never going to be healthy. You have to be around other people who get it or you're going to die in the disease aloing with your kid." PAL parent
by Kim Humphrey, PAL Board Chairman

As we close out 2016, I cannot help but be reminded of how difficult the holiday season was for my wife and me for so many years. 

In the beginning, the suggestions from PAL including setting boundaries and not putting our lives on hold seemed preposterous. But now, we have seen how important these choices and changes were to our sons’ recovery, as well as our own.  After all, as role models, who would want to grow up and be miserable just like us?  We learned through PAL that we must focus on our marriage first, and at all costs, stay on the same page in order to have a united position working as a team. Without that unity in place, the addiction would divide our family.

We began implementing boundaries and consequences, and we started to cut the strings that were preventing all of us from growing. My wife and I began to go on trips again and plan fun things to do with friends. PAL taught us that no matter what either of our sons did, we knew what to do or who to call. We were not alone!

Those boundaries were put to a test each and every holiday, especially around Christmas. Both of our sons were active in their addiction, they had been arrested, they had been living in parks and who knows what else. As Christmas was approaching, we decided we just could not bear to sit at home another year staring at a Christmas tree that we felt obligated to put up. We decided to get away, to take a trip over the holiday. We had never been to Santa Fe, New Mexico and we decided it might be a place we could relax. And maybe, just maybe, we could refocus over Christmas. 

Then as if on cue, the day before we were leaving – we get a phone call from a hospital, telling us our older son is there. They said, he is very sick and we should come to the hospital. We debate about it, as trips to the hospital had not been that uncommon.  We decide to cancel our trip and visit him. 

We spent Christmas and the entire next week going to the hospital daily and sitting with him. He had serious lung issues, and other problems that kept him there for nearly two weeks.  Through all of this, he promised us he was going to change, he kept telling us he could not live like this any longer.  All the while, we watched him contact the nurse every hour asking if it was time for his pain medication. At the end of the hospital stay, he decided he wanted to go to a program in California. He asked us for a one-way plane ticket. We decided to pay for it. Only to find out, he flew there and supposedly “stopped by the treatment center” but he didn’t stay, he left. He started a 3 month-long stint of living on the streets of Los Angeles. 

Fast forward…Christmas is approaching again. We have re-booked our trip to Sante Fe and are not in contact with either of our sons.  You guessed it, the day we are leaving on our trip the phone rings. It’s the hospital, saying they have our son and we really should come see him.  However, this time, I simply asked the nurse, “Is my son dying?”  I doubt this was a normal question, because she evaded answering and just said, you should come. I repeated my question, “Is my son dying?”  She said, she could not answer that. I asked her if there was someone there who could answer my question. I could hear someone in the background asking “what is going on?”  It turns out the doctor was in the room and the nurse handed him the phone.  I asked the question again.  Although he also tried to dance around the answer, when I persisted, he said, “We are going to do the best we can to take care of him. I think he will survive.”  I took a deep breath and I said, “Please tell our son we love him but we are going on vacation and won’t be coming to visit him.”  Only to you, my PAL family, can I share this and know that you will understand.  We could not do this again, for our health and for his. We left for Sante Fe and cried much of the drive…but we knew it was the best decision for all.

I heard our son speak at a meeting not so long ago. He shared his story and that experience, from his perspective. He told the group as he laid there in the hospital all alone for nearly two weeks over Christmas for the second year in a row, he could not believe we would not visit him. He said it made him start to think that he did not want the life he was living and he wanted his family back.  He said it was at that time that he prayed for God to help him to break this disease. When he was released from the hospital he checked himself into treatment and began his journey to sobriety in recovery.

That was three years ago. I still cannot believe where we are today. We have our son back, he is engaged to wonderful woman, and we now have the most beautiful 18-month-old granddaughter. This year, they will all be here for Christmas. There is "hope" – but it took courage beyond us to set those boundaries and it took our PAL family to help us hold to them and stay the course. THANK YOU.

PAL supported many families before Michelle and I turned to PAL.  PAL will continue to support and provide resources and education to families who are working every day to make tough decisions for a healthier family. We all know this is not an easy journey.

Please support PAL as PAL supports so many families across the country.  Consider making a donation in honor or tribute of your family during this holiday season.  We are appreciative of any gift - no amount is too small. (click here to be redirected to our secure donation site)

Merry Christmas!

Michelle and Kim Humphrey (Board Chair)

A Few Suggested Tips for Surviving the Holidays with Addicted Loved Ones

  •  Keep your boundaries simple and to the point and stick with them. Don’t let your boundaries be built on quicksand, where you acquiesce because the alcoholic/addict spins an excuse as to why he or she has not lived up to his or her end of the bargain, or because he or she resorts to tugging at your heartstrings by yelling and screaming. Please don’t fall prey to thinking, “Oh well, I’ll overlook this because it’s the holidays,” or, “It’s the holidays and I just don’t want to be unhappy or make my loved one unhappy.” This will turn out to be a lose/lose scenario all around.
  •  Don’t defend yourself regarding your decisions. If you don’t engage and stay neutral, you will be perceived as having a plan that is well thought-out and firm. 
  • If your loved one isn’t aware of the boundaries, make them clear so that there is no room for misinterpretation.
  •  If the alcoholic/addict doesn’t like your holiday rules and regulations, be committed to a response like, “That makes me sad that you won’t be joining us, but that’s your choice.” They now have to shoulder all the responsibility for their decision even though they may try to blame you. 
  • Keep your expectations in check. Realize that you are dealing with someone who might not be as true to their word as you would like them to be. Though you might be disappointed, you won’t be surprised. Expectations are future resentments. 
  • Get to your local PAL meeting! Keep yourself surrounded by your support system!
  •  Plan a few fun events with friends who understand what you are going through! 
  • Please remember that you, too, deserve a fulfilling and memorable holiday. Don’t allow your loved one, who may still be struggling in various parts of their disease, to take that away from you. We want to wish everyone a joyous and healthy holiday season with a stocking full of self-respect and dignity. Remember that you are in charge and can empower yourself to make anything happen that you want! (adapted from an article by Carole Bennett, MA, “Reclaim Your Life: You and the Alcoholic/Addict”)
Recap: Annual PAL Banquet Hope Grows & Upcoming Events
On November 12th, 230 people gathered to celebrate PAL and Hope Grows. PAL now has nearly 50 meetings in 16 states.  Our latest meeting just started in Bedford, Indiana last month. This was a 250% increase in the number of meetings in just over one and one-half years!  The banquet featured a great silent auction that not only had some great items but had some amazing deals for those bidding. We also had two amazing speakers - a mom who shared her story and a former Miss Arizona who is recovering from addiction.
We received so much positive feedback, and we're being asked to put out next years date as soon as possible.  We hope to get things on the calendar soon so you can reserve the date. On top of making new friends and sharing our vision for PAL, our fundraising efforts were at least double what they were the prior year which is going to be helpful as PAL continues to expand. If you missed out, be sure to not only be thinking about next years banquet, but consider our golf fundraiser that we have moved to the Spring at TopGolf in Scottsdale, AZ.  Last summer, we had a great time with this, and you don’t need to be a serious golfer.  You just have to want to have fun!  We hope to announce the date soon but expect it to be in April.
Wondering how you can help out with PAL's wants and needs?
Volunteers NEEDED! Please respond to this email.  We would love to hear from you.
  • We are not looking for ways to more actively market PAL.  If you or someone you know has marketing experience and would be willing to help us in this area please refer them to and note in the title they are willing to volunteer to help with marketing.  We have been gearing up for this for some time, and we are certain someone out there will be able to help us out!
  • Volunteer Committee work is another area we could use your help.  If you are willing to commit to a monthly meeting and some additional volunteer work during the month, we could use your help as we set up family seminars, assist new meetings with their start-up’s, fundraise and many other exciting opportunities. Even if you cannot commit to the monthly meetings but are willing to help, let us know. Again, just reply to this newsletter, that you are interested in knowing more about volunteering and or committee work.
Family Seminars & Other Resources
Family Seminars: We are working to bring a seminar to the Phoenix area about how to obtain and use Naloxone, (commonly known as Narcan) which is the first and only FDA-approved nasal naloxone for emergency treatment of an overdose caused by an opioid.  It is needle free, ready to use and (depending on what state you live), is available over the counter or by prescription for family members or friends to carry in case of emergency. One PAL board member has had two of their sons saved by this drug. If you live in another state and are interested in this, contact us at and we can share what we are doing. The vast majority of overdoses are accidental, and you could be in a position to save someone including your loved ones life!

Advanced Family Group at Calvary Healing Center in Phoenix AZ.: This meeting is run by PAL founder Mike Speakman and is held on the first Wednesday of each month and features guest speakers and other topics related to dealing with an addicted loved one.  Effective in January this meeting is changing its start time from 6:00PM to 6:30PM. 

Speakman Coaching Resources: Mike Speakman regularly holds seminars and other events for parents and family members. If you would like to be on his email contact list and receive notices of these events, please click here and you will directed to his website site sign up sheet. 
Last month, we welcomed Dave Otto to our board. Dave is a retired IRS Attorney and has a vast amount of experience working with non-profits. Not only will Dave bring his legal expertise, but he has a passion for PAL.  We are sure he will be an amazing addition to our board. 
Fry's Foods - It's easy and again , it's free.  If you live in Arizona, please connect your Fry's Foods rewards to our account. Its easy- and again its free. Please share with all of your family and friends to help PAL every time you shop! Click here for instructions on signing up for Frys Foods Community Rewards Program.
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Our mailing address is:
P.O. Box 3325
Gilbert AZ 85299
Phone : 480-300-4712
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