‘PAL’ group meets Mondays

Published 4:44 am Saturday, February 23, 2019

Parents of Addicted Loved Ones (PAL) has a new support group that meets at the Bogalusa YMCA every Monday from 6 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.

Rhonda Gunnell, facilitator of the group, encourages parents and spouses of family members who abuse or are addicted to drugs or alcohol to attend the meetings.

In 2007, licensed abuse counselor Mike Speakman established the first PAL support group to address the growing number of families with children addicted to drugs or alcohol.

“Kids are starting to use drugs and alcohol younger and younger, and the parents just don’t have much education about it,” Speakman said. “They just don’t seem to know how to deal with it.”

The group is free of charge and offers held and hope to family members of the addict. The focus of each meeting is one of nine educational topics, such as how to help an addicted loved one in a healthy way and how to identify enabling behavior.

“When a person comes to the group, they get educated about addiction and recovery,” Gunnell said. “At the same time, they’re getting support and encouragement from people who are going through the same problems.”

There is no requirement to go to every meeting or learn all the educational topics. Meetings also include a time for prayer, although the group is open to any denomination or religion.

“It’s a really relaxed atmosphere of everyone going at their own pace,” Gunnell said. “The whole idea is that as parents or spouses, some make changes in how they are interacting with their loved one, and it helps them get closer and closer to admitting their problem and getting treatment.”

For more information, call Gunnell at ADAPT (All Deserve Advocacy, Prevention and Treatment) at 985-735-0160. ADAPT is located at 216 Memphis St. in Bogalusa.