Speakman offered education for families during a single weekend. After doing it for years though, he eventually realized the change that needs to occur with drug and alcohol addiction is a long-term change for the entire family. They may learn a lot over a weekend but repetition and consistency is what will cause the change. That’s why he began the PAL-Group (Parents of Addicted Loved-ones.)
The first meeting began in July of 2006 at the Calvary Addiction Recovery Center and has since spread to 18 meetings happening once a week across the Valley and one in Tucson. Each meeting, which is designed for parents or spouses of loved ones going through an addiction, begins with a prayer, followed by introductions. The group is then introduced to one of eight lessons which include healthy helping and the four stages of growth in recovery. After some discussion of the lesson the members of the group give an update about what’s going on in their lives and the meeting ends with prayer.
Speakman said while some people may feel a need to attend multiple meetings a week, many will come once and not come again for a few weeks to give themselves time to digest the lesson they were given. The challenge is that much of the teaching goes against natural parenting instincts.
Jerry Law, a local certified interventionist, says it’s important for parents or spouses to find a support group like PAL so that they don’t have to feel so alone. “It’s critical,” he said. “It’s the only way to survive. You feel like, ‘What did I do wrong?’ You didn’t do anything wrong. This is reality. This is life. This is the hand you’ve been dealt. If you’re going to live beating yourself up you’re never going to be healthy.
PAL does not endorse any particular action. Speakman said the group is just one way parents and spouses can educate themselves and prepare to make their own decisions.
The group doesn’t currently have a meeting in the San Tan area but they do have facilitators ready to begin one as soon as they can find a location. Speakman says churches are the most convenient meeting spaces and all the group requires is a room for about two hours once a week. For more information on the group or to find a meeting location, visit: www.pal-group.org or call Mike at (800) 239-9127.