I am the mother of two grown children, a girl, and a boy. I have one grandson and two granddaughters. My husband and I have been married for 40 years.

My children were involved in several sports and activities, and we were very involved in our church. My son, Rob, was always hyperactive, and a gifted athlete, pitching for the school varsity team in the 7th grade. He had a quick temper but was soft-hearted and could usually get over it quickly.

When Rob turned 16 and started driving, he would go mud-bogging in the woods on the weekends.  During this time, he started drinking beer and smoking pot. When he graduated, he got a job right away working outdoors for a tree trimming company.  Since the job was so physical, some of the workers turned him on to pills for pain and energy. That was the beginning of 10 years of misery.

He left that job and tried working at a few different places but would always have an excuse for why it didn’t work out. That is when I discovered he was using crack cocaine. I was completely heartbroken and ignorant about drug use, only knowing what I had seen and heard on TV.  But things were about to get worse. He was introduced to meth, and everything became all about the drugs for him. He didn’t come home and when he did, he wanted money and if he didn’t get it, he would become violent and destructive. I was helpless and hopeless, and I didn’t want to have him arrested. He would break into our home while we were at work and steal from us. I would go days, weeks, and months without knowing if he was dead or alive.  I suffered in silence because of the shame and guilt. It was a nightmare that I was afraid would never end.

I started following some Facebook groups about addiction. One day I finally surrendered it all to God. Once I let go and let God, we turned him in to the police and he was arrested.  He was sober for 90 days, then he went back to stealing and using. We again notified the police and was arrested again and this time I talked to him and he agreed to go into a faith-based treatment center.

Around this time, I started looking for a support group, but there were none in my area. The more I educated myself about addiction, the more I felt God leading me to help others. I soon found PAL. It fit perfectly because it supported everything I had learned about addiction and recovery, and it was faith-based.

I received the PAL facilitator training and started my first meeting.  After 16 months, I started a second meeting in a nearby town. People are so appreciative of the support and education offered by PAL.

Today, after three different yearlong stays in a Christian treatment center, Rob is over three years sober, married to a person who is also in recovery, and they have a beautiful 7-month-old daughter.  There was a time I never thought it would happen.

I believe the two most important tools from PAL are the combination of education and faith. Education is key.  We do not know how to help our loved ones without it.  Faith is the only thing that can help us get through it with any kind of hope or joy.  Don’t let shame and guilt keep you quiet and bound – addiction thrives in the dark and we must shine the light!

-A PAL Mom

*Names have been changed to protect identities