I love you all. It’s such a pleasure to write this newsletter and be a part of this community. I admire you for your strength in trying times. I admire the tenacity in your attempts to do the right thing and help others. I admire the struggle that you experience setting a boundary with someone you care about and deeply love. I admire the fact that these simple, but difficult steps can become the beginning of a new freedom for someone struggling with the disease of addiction. I know it was for me.

Seven years ago, my dad told me the family wouldn’t come visit me in the hospital, and that I couldn’t come home. I sat there, during the Christmas season, broken, alone, stricken with disease and sickness, miserable and afraid. I had nowhere left to go. I had exhausted every possible financial resource I could think of in my attempts to stay completely centered in my heroin addiction. 12 years of heavy drug use had left me a shell of a person. In the early years, as is so common amongst so many when we lack education and support, my parents enabled me. They indirectly supported my addiction by providing me with financial means and a place to stay. They fruitlessly tried to plead with me, rescue me, and place me in situations where they thought I’d get help. And while I won’t say it was all for nothing, I will say that I can look back and see that the beginning of the end was when they let me go. When they got involved with Mike Speakman and PAL groups. When they not only learned how to help me – but actively implemented those strategies into our relationship, and most importantly, when they stuck with it, even when they didn’t want to.

Early recovery for me was just like that: doing a lot of things that I didn’t necessarily want to. But in doing those things, in taking action, in getting involved, by accepting a spiritual way of life, I eventually was able to find serenity and freedom. In practice, that looked like leaning on others. It looked like being honest about my struggles and the things I was going through. It looked like showing up for other people. Like taking honest stock of my life, seeing where I was wrong, and attempting to clear away the wreckage of my past. Like taking steps towards faith, trusting Him, and listening to what other people who came before me had to say. It looked like truly listening, learning, remaining teachable, and implementing those principles in my life in an honest, tangible way – just like my parents did.

PAL is one of the greatest blessings in my life. Watching this community grow and thrive in this country has been incredible. To be that beacon of hope for a community desperately in need of practical strategies and education is no small feat. So, from the bottom of my heart – Thank you. Thank you for being a part of this movement. Thank you for being willing to learn a new way of life. Thank you for entrusting your loved ones to God, and the process along the way. I ultimately needed the miserable experience that I had to effect change in my life and accept a new way. PAL helped pave the way for that experience.

If you find yourself doubting the experience you’re having – remember my story. I am not a unique or extraordinary person – and I firmly believe to this day, that if I can be recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and being, then anyone else can too. I’ve seen these same principles work in the lives of countless others – I believe them to be universal in the scope of their effectiveness.

Doing the right thing isn’t always easy. It can be hard. It can be painful. But like someone I have a lot of respect for always used to say: “What would you be willing to do if you thought it would save someone’s life?”

Hang in there friends.

Stick with the program.

Keep pushing forward.

And as always – God Bless,

Sean – In Recovery

You can read, comment and ask questions for Sean to address in his blog on the PAL website, home page – www.Palgroup.org