I am a PAL mom, I am a grateful believer in Jesus, I am a wife of an amazing man of God, and I am a mother of four children (my husband is the stepparent to my children).
My second oldest, Christopher*, has always been extremely bright. He excelled in reading and has always had exceptional people skills. He loved sports and played both baseball and football on rec teams and in school. He is loving and kind and would give the shirt off his back to help someone in need.
Christopher was introduced to marijuana in middle school by friends and he loved it. He also loved the attention he got from certain groups in school and by the time he got to high school, kids knew they could connect with him for vapes, marijuana and pills. Christopher met his first love early in high school. Her family was the party family, allowing kids to drink and get high at their home. Their home became an escape for Christopher to get away from our house rules, but it also became a trap for him because as long as he was around this family, he had very little chance of ever getting clean.
In 2017, my oldest son died of an intentional overdose at the age of 19. After that, Christopher’s addictive habits took off. People offered to get him high for free because they felt sorry for him, and his occasional pill popping went into full blown addiction. He got into several car accidents and tried different methods of stopping such as suboxone and methadone, but he always went back to it. In December of 2022 he tried robbing someone while high on fentanyl and ended up being arrested. He was in jail for 60 days before entering a 1-year faith-based recovery program. He is there today and doing great!
I tried both tough love and enabling. He moved in with us several times and left several times. It seemed that nothing I tried was working. I fought my husband many times to allow him to come home, I drove him to work, put rules in place about no alcohol or drugs in the home but nothing seemed to deter him.
I first heard about PAL in 2019 and we decided to start a meeting in our area to support other families dealing with addiction. God knew that I would need the lessons, the principles, and the people down the road and I am so thankful for the opportunity to facilitate and be a part of PAL.
My favorite PAL principle is your loved-one’s recovery is not an event; it’s a process through time – it’s a journey. This has helped me to not expect things sooner than he is ready. He is not cured. This is not over, and it may be a lifelong thing. Each day we have is precious and I am learning to accept the journey and trust God.
Today I have a strong and healthy relationship with my son. I have been able to encourage him and walk beside him in the worst times and in the good times. He is rebuilding his relationships and beginning new ones.
Recovery is fragile, but I try to focus on today and not look for any future failings. Today I can sleep because I know all of my children are safe. Today I can trust that even when I am not sure where my loved one is, God is with them. I have a peace and a joy that passes understanding and my marriage and my family is stronger than ever.
-A PAL Mom
*Names have been changed to protect identities