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Dear Friends, 

I was sitting in our PAL meeting the other day and reminiscing about the fact that Michelle and I have been facilitating a PAL meeting for nearly nine years with an anniversary coming up in May. If you do the math and take into account that we occasionally substituted for other meetings, we are approaching having facilitated 500 meetings. Our meeting has had anywhere from six to more than 40 in attendance so I can only guess how many different parents and families have been a part of this amazing experience.

On the one hand, the stories always have the same theme, on the other, it’s always a blessing to see and hear others who benefit from PAL and who grow and change right before your eyes.  We are highlighting in this newsletter some individuals who were facilitators before PAL became a non-profit in 2015 and I am truly thankful for their outstanding service to their communities and the many lives they have touched. If you are on the fence about being a facilitator please realize that, we do not expect everyone to sign up and run a meeting for 10 years, but you never know how long you will go when you have the opportunity to be a part of a truly life-changing experience. Please let us know if you want to consider facilitating by just replying to this email, we can get you more information and help you with any questions you may have.

As this new year has unfolded, we are seeing more and more requests for meetings and as you can see below, we had four new meetings start just last month.  We are looking at a number of important goals this year including finding ways to reach underserved communities. Any help you can provide in reaching out in this area this is greatly appreciated. 

Also, Mike Speakman, the founder of PAL and the author of The Four Seasons of Recovery for Parents of Alcoholics and Addicts, has generously made an agreement to turn his book over to PAL.  This means that a portion of all proceeds from the book now benefit PAL. This also means that PAL is now selling the book directly on our website. You will find that we have the best price, and you can save when purchasing from us directly rather than through other sites that we allow to also sell the book.  If you see or have an opportunity to thank Mike for all that he has done for PAL, please do. His legacy will continue as his program is reaching thousands of people weekly. 

As always, I hope you find inspiration and hope in the articles in this edition of the newsletter. If you have not done so lately, please thank your facilitator – their dedication to their meetings is what makes all of this work and helps so many.

God bless,

Kim Humphrey
ED / CEO
Arizona Gives Day
Acceptance
"Acceptance is the answer to
all my problems today."
Let’s begin by borrowing what is fondly known as “the acceptance page” from the book, Alcoholics Anonymous. This excerpt comes from one of the personal stories of recovery. It is one of the most well-known and often cited paragraphs by those in recovery, and for good reason, it is densely packed with relevant and usable truth.
 
It reads as follows:

“Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation—some fact of my life—unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God’s world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and my attitudes.”
 
This perspective can be as helpful to a parent or loved one as it can be to an alcoholic/addict because the desire to control outcomes or other people affects both the addict and parent.
 
First let’s take a look at the addict.
 
Addicts despise feeling out of control and are very uncomfortable with accepting things that don’t go their way. They often attempt to control everything around them, including their emotional state, particularly the way that they feel right now. The drugs and alcohol help them to accomplish this.
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How YOU can help
make HOPE happen
for PAL groups!
We are so grateful to all of you who have responded to our request for volunteers – the first group is deep into a project we are REALLY excited about!
 
Bev is one of the first HOPE volunteers to complete outreach for a new meeting. “I found the materials we were given – like the websites to help find local contacts – were very helpful. I was really pleased when I found out people were ordering materials!”
 
The HOPE campaign – Help Outreach and PAL Engagement program – is a fun and easy way to help promote new PAL groups and existing meetings looking to attract more members. You don’t have to leave your home … you don’t have to print out pages of materials … you don’t even have to lick an envelope!
 
Each volunteer is assigned a meeting and asked to:
  1. Research Go online to find people to send information about PAL. We give you some resources to get started.
  2. Reach out – For some contacts, you go online to the PAL website and order free brochures to be mailed to them; for others you send an email that we give you a template for.
  3. Report – Track your efforts on a paper so we know where the contacts are and we can pass that along to the facilitator.
 
It’s fun – do it for as many groups as you want to help!
 
To sign up or learn more, just email volunteer@palgroup.org – and thanks for helping out our facilitators and parents who need to learn about PAL!

 

We truly aren't alone

We have three children. Our oldest two – a daughter, 37, and a son, 35 – are college graduates and excelled in sports and academics.  Our youngest son, Jason, is 26. He came along much later after the first two and it was like raising an only child.  He always had a big heart and wanted to help those in need.  We didn’t realize at the time he was ADD, so he was not medicated. And he was definitely a risk taker.

When we noticed he was gravitating toward a different crowd, we moved him from the public school (where I have worked for 28 years) to the local private Christian school. They had smaller classes, and we were hoping to get him more involved with sports and different friends. We know now he probably started using pot around the age of 14  or 15 but he wasn't caught until he was 17. When he graduated in 2013 at 18 years old, we thought he was “just” smoking pot, which was bad enough. 

The following August we found out he was using IV heroin. My husband and I naively had no idea you could even buy heroin in our small town. We immediately took him to a place to be evaluated but because he was 18 we were not allowed in. He managed to convince them he didn't really have a problem. But he did.

A few months later he was arrested for possession which began his journey to rehabs. He has been to rehab around 10 times, a couple of detoxes, and sober living a few times.  One time while in rehab he discovered that his girlfriend – who he had planned on marrying once he completed the program – had overdosed and died. He found out too late to attend her service.
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"Four Seasons" now available on the PAL Website
PAL founder Mike Speakman passes his ground-breaking
book on to the organization
 
For many PAL members, “Mike Speakman” is a name spoken with great affection and respect. It was Mike, a Licensed Independent Substance Abuse Counselor in Phoenix, who in 2006 drafted a curriculum for a weekly group targeting families of some of his clients in recovery. He called the group Parents of Addicted Loved Ones.
 
He could never have guessed the thousands of lives that decision would impact.
 
He wrote a book called “The Four Seasons of Recovery for Parents of Alcoholics and Addicts,” based on the principles he developed. Within nine years, demand for groups had grown beyond what Mike could handle, even with the parents he trained to facilitate additional meetings. In 2015, a non-profit was formed to help take PAL to the next level, and 170 groups can now be found in 40 states.
 
Mike wasn’t done helping others, though. Early this year, he made the decision to gift the rights to “The Four Seasons” to the organization he helped found. Proceeds from the book sales will go toward starting even more groups to help hurting families across the country.
 
Even better, you can click here: https://palgroup.org/books/ to order the book directly from the PAL website and the price – the best available anywhere -- includes shipping. You can even get a deal on bulk quantities.
 
Once again, we thank you for your legacy, Mike, which will continue changing lives and helping families for many years to come.
Volunteer Appreciation Month
 
PAL's Pioneer Facilitators
We can never say too much about the critical role that volunteers play in bringing PAL to families. Since April is National Volunteer Appreciation Month, we’d like to spotlight a very special group – our facilitators who started leading groups even before PAL became a nonprofit in February 2015 and are still filling that role.
 
These folks all attended one of Mike Speakman’s groups, or were recruited by him to lead their own group. Because there wasn’t an official organization yet to track details like people’s start dates, we’ve done our best to contact those who are still facilitating and are part of that elite group.
 
We asked them to answer two questions for us – here is a bit of their wisdom to share with you!
 
What is the most important principle you’ve learned from PAL?
  • Will K, AZ (2010) – “Sometimes the hardest thing for us, is the best thing for those we love.”
  • Kim & Michelle Humphrey, AZ (May 2012) – “Our finding joy and learning new ways to help our sons in healthy ways, was the best chance our sons had at recovery.”
  • Cindy Stone, OH/National Online meeting (December 2012) – “Finding joy in my own life, no matter what my loved one chooses, and setting healthy boundaries with consequences.”
  • Diane Buxton, IN (October 2013) – “I can’t control, fix, or rescue my loved one. I can only control, fix and rescue me.”
  • Jeannette Krohne, IN (October 2013) – “A facilitator is as vulnerable in our recovery as our group members are, therefore be humble and not condescending in your approach.”
  • Grant Miller, AZ (July 2014) – “How much parents are suffering and how much they need love, support and hope!”
  • Tom Gwinn, AZ (September 2014) – “Humble myself, and let go and let God.”
  • Mary Walker, AZ – “The theory behind delayed emotional growth and how to detach with love.”
 
What is one piece of advice you’d have for today’s facilitators?
  • Diane Buxton, IN – “Patience, for new PALs to walk through the doors.  Patience that your meeting will grow in God’s time.  Patience, you do not know all the answers. Consistency of showing up at your meeting each week. Once the word is out about your meeting, it may take time for people to come. If no one shows up at first, this could be a time of prayer or study of the Facilitators Guide.”
  • Cindy Stone, OH/National Online meeting – “Realize that God is in control. The number of attendees doesn’t matter – if you can bring hope, compassion and education to one struggling parent, your time was the gift.”
  • Grant Miller, AZ – “Trust that God always puts the right people in the room!”
  • Jeannette Krohne, IN – “Follow PAL guidelines – be structured, prepared and most of all, compassionate. God is our highest-ranking facilitator.”
  • Will K, AZ – “We are all part of something much bigger than ourselves. God uses us to reach others with His message of hope and love.  Because someone was there and shared this message with us, we can turn to others and continue to pass it on.”
  • Tom Gwinn, AZ – “We are not teachers – we are facilitators. If need be, share your experience, strength and hope. Unsolicited help or suggestions always turn out badly.”
  • Mary Walker, AZ – “Become familiar with each parent and child. This way when you refer to something they have told you, it indirectly says you care enough to pay attention and remember their individual issues.”
  • Kim and Michelle Humphrey, AZ – “Never underestimate the seeds you are planting, you may not see the growth, but we know that God can do what seems impossible and someday, even if it’s not in this lifetime, you will know the fruits of your labor”
Other active facilitators who began before PAL became a nonprofit that we were not able to get comments from include Karen Butcher, Francine and Ronald Jackson.
 
Our heartfelt thanks to these pioneers who have played a role in helping hundreds of families find hope again. Blessings to each of you!

Self Intervention

I recently found myself, without even noticing at first, complaining regularly. Workplace issues. Relationships with friends. Several things continued to bubble up in my interactions with others and before I knew it, I was on several phone calls a day complaining about the various states of affairs in all different kinds of situations to an array of different kinds of people.

It's funny; after about a week of this I started wondering why I wasn't sleeping well. I started questioning why my physical wellbeing wasn't the greatest. I noticed some increased feelings of nervousness and anxiety. I found myself unwittingly engaging in some stress-induced unhealthy eating and overindulgence. I was a mess! It wasn't until my spouse made a comment to me the other night after hearing me rant for an hour and a half to a friend about some ridiculous situation that I was able to see the situation clearly for what it was: I was quite literally hurting myself by focusing on and perpetuating the negativity that had wormed its way into my psyche.

I fought it of course. I tried to make excuses to her as to why I was speaking the way I was, why I was engaging in these conversations in the manner that I was, and why it was important that I continued to bring these issues to light that "no one else was thinking about." But in the end, it was all for naught. She mentioned something to me at the end of our conversation that struck me deep: Be Better. For yourself. You'll feel better. You aren't contributing a solution to the problem by endlessly reiterating the problems therein. Such a simple idea, a solid principle, that I was blinded to in the moment by my frustration, negativity, and resentment.
Read More
New PAL Meetings
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