Part Three: Parents of Addicted Loved Ones – How to get involved. This is Part Three of a 3-part series on PAL, Parents of Addicted Loved-Ones, by Mike Speakman. Part One focused on how PAL started. Part Two explained how PAL works. Scroll down at the end of this blog to read subsequent postings.
A support group for parents with a child suffering from addiction.
Part Three: Parents of Addicted Loved Ones – How to get involved.
The reason to get involved with Parents of Addicted Loved-ones (PAL) is by attending PAL meetings, parents and spouses can start to learn how to manage the ongoing issues surrounding an addicted child or loved one. PAL was founded by Drug and Alcohol Addiction Counselor Michael Speakman, LISAC. Meetings are run by parents affected by an addicted loved one, similar to 12-steps meetings, yet the leader allows for question asking. The meetings last approximately 90 minutes long and are free of charge. By attending PAL meetings, parents learn proven ways to help their loved one and ultimately how to find joy in life regardless of the choices their loved one makes. PAL does not endorse any particular action or school of thought. The group is just one way for parents and spouses to educate themselves and prepare to make their own decisions. Members aren’t required to attend each week or follow every suggestion.
“Adult children make their own choices and we’re not responsible for that,” says one parent member. “If we don’t set healthy boundaries and say ‘We’re not going to rescue you from the consequences of your choices,’ our adult children won’t get well. A healthy boundary lets them know ‘I love you, but you’re responsible for your decisions. Not me.’”
“It’s a really relaxed atmosphere where everyone offers support and encouragement to one another as they make positive changes,” Speakman says. “Not only does this help the parent. As parents change themselves and how they interact with their child, the child is more inclined to admit to a problem and seek help. It doesn’t always happen but it is our hope.”
The guiding principles of PAL are confidentiality, respect, acceptance and support. Differences in opinion are embraced without judgment and suggestions are offered in lieu of advice. Members are encouraged to:
- Take what works and leave the rest
- Everyone experiences the journey at their own pace and is supported by the group regardless
PAL groups are currently being held across Arizona and they continue to spread across the US and Canada. For a full list of meetings visit the PAL website at www.palgroup.org, where you’ll also find helpful articles, videos and links.
If you’d like to start a group in your area, PAL has trained dozens of volunteer facilitators to do just that. Simply contact PAL through its website at www.palgroup.org and express your interest.
Any parent can participate in PAL’s monthly conference call meeting held on the third Thursday of each month. The 90-minute call runs the same way as an in-person meeting and is also free.
Typically PAL meetings follow the same general pattern. Each meeting begins with prayer, followed by introductions, then exploration/discussion of topics such as:
- delayed emotional growth
- three promises to a loved-one
- healthy helping
- enabling checklist
- the four stages of growth in recovery
- 13 family lessons about recovery
- alcoholic/addict roles and family roles
- re-entry, transitional living and aftercare
Lastly, members share a little about what’s going on in their lives and the meeting ends with prayer.