I’ve had the privilege of participating in my local PAL meeting and can say the weekly materials that are shared, as well as the amazing support from other participants, have helped me get through some pretty dark days.

My child began self-medicating at around age 17. When I didn’t know what else to do, I sought out help. This is when I found PAL. I needed a support group to help ME best cope with parenting a mentally ill and chemically dependent child.

I discovered that it’s a very long lonely path you find yourself on. It’s not a topic you freely discuss with those in your community, your church or even your innermost circle of friends. Whether or not people meant to or not, I felt judged both on my child’s behavior and as a parent. I had feelings of anger, hurt, and embarrassment which tends to only hinder wanting to be vulnerable and open up again.

Every day, I would see the highlight reel of everyone’s “put together” family on social media. Now, I realize it’s only one side of life that people choose to share with everyone, but it does play on your thoughts. You question everything you have done and/or are doing. You even tend to start living the life of a recluse as you never know when the next outbreak with your loved one is going to take place and you need to be ready (as much as you can be).

At my PAL meeting, I have often seen families that seek out help for themselves, they come in exhausted, frustrated and almost hopeless from the journey they find themselves on with their addicted loved one. I feel that we all have been the ones left to pick up the broken pieces on a regular basis. Many times, myself and others are completely depleted emotionally and physically. Not to mention, monetarily, as we often have funded multiple efforts of recovery methods from rehabilitation centers to endless counseling sessions in the hopes of “this time it’s going to work.”

PAL has been a blessing in my life as I learned how to stop enabling my child’s behavior. Although my child’s situation has not gotten better, I have gotten better and it’s because of PAL. I have taken what I learn each week and put it to use. There are still very tough days and my situation with my loved one is still very difficult.

Being in PAL has been such a haven to be around other families that have walked the exact same path I’m on. Sometimes your new friends offer suggestions, prayers, some share stories but mostly they offer support. Every week I leave with a hug full of support and sometimes, facing tomorrow, that’s what you need the most.   

– A PAL Mom