WARSAW — A new support group for parents of addicted loved ones is having its first meeting Thursday, July 25.
Michelle Weidenbenner will be facilitating Michael Speakman’s nation-wide program called PAL – Parents of Addicted Loved-Ones.
PAL was founded in 2006 by Michael Speakman, of Phoenix, where he worked as an in-patient substance abuse counselor. He saw the need for something specific to assist parents who are dealing with their loved ones who were struggling with addiction. The unique relationship of parents and children created a complicated problem for parents who many times were not responding in a healthy way to assist their loved ones.
The first meeting is at 7 p.m. Thursday at The HUB, owned by Winona Lake Grace Brethren Church, at 1200 King Highwaty in Winona Lake.
Future meetings will be held every Thursday.
There are two parts to PAL meetings: One is an educational component and the other is the opportunity for parents to share their current experiences.
The focus is on educating and supporting the group member rather than the person who is using, although the approach often leads to behavioral changes in the user as the parent learns healthy ways to respond.
PAL values confidentiality and understands that everyone has their own opinion. Differences in opinion are embraced without judgment and suggestions are offered in lieu of advice.
Members are encouraged to “take what works and leave the rest.” Everyone experiences the journey at their own pace and is supported by the group regardless of the speed or direction of their progress.
PAL also believes in the power of prayer and it’s their desire that by attending these meetings, parents will learn proven ways to help their loved-one and ultimately learn to find joy despite their loved one’s choices.
PAL meetings are open to anyone of any faith or background (over the age of 18) as their primary goal is to provide hope through education and support for parents dealing with addicted loved ones.
“Sometimes parents need to let go of what’s killing them even if it’s killing them to let go. If parents don’t make time for their wellness, they will be forced to make time for their illness,” Weidenbenner said.