Monday, September 24, 2012

2012 candlelight vigil: Lisa Murphy's opening comments


Lisa Murphy organized Parents Supporting Parents, a support group for parents of children with drug and alcohol addictions. PSP has chapters in Mashpee and South Yarmouth and meets weekly. Find out more here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Parents-Supporting-Parents/186663034743781.

Lisa also organized the candlelight vigil, which was held on the Hyannis Village Green. Here are her opening remarks:

Parents Supporting Parents and the Aids Support Group of Cape Cod would like to welcome you to the 2nd Annual Cape Cod Candlelight Vigil.

The banner that is to the left of me that reads “Mourning the Loss” held 102 names of those family members who are not here with us today due to the disease of addiction that ultimately took their lives. Many more of our loved ones’ names have been added. Their names are a representation and a celebration of the lives they once shared with us. Through this banner, cards, letters, and the memories of happier days, they continue to speak to us and through us. We are here today to remember them. Janis McCrory, a parent and Harwich High School teacher will share her and her daughter Liz’s life with us.

“Supporting families” is also included in our banner. The Parents Supporting Parents group mission statement is: We’ve come together as parents and family members coping/dealing with our child/loved ones’ addictions. Our mission is to support, strengthen, and educate ourselves, as well as each other, as we share our lives. Our goal is to help our children find recovery and for all to live healthy lifestyles.

My name is Lisa Murphy. I formed the Parents Supporting Parents group after my siblings, mother and I suffered the ultimate loss in our lives, our sister Sherry to drug addiction, years later my young family and I would again be thrown into the trenches of our own daughters’ addiction. Thankfully, today we celebrate her recovery.  It was at that time I saw the need to help another parent. No one understands best the life a parent lives when their child is addicted to opiates, except for another parent who has been there. Our first group formed in 2010. Every Monday night at 6:30, we meet at the Mashpee Senior Center. This past year we formed a second group that also meets each Monday at 6:30 at the South Yarmouth Senior Center. We’ve called upon Linda Decker from the ASGCC to train parents in the use of Narcan, and in doing so one of our parents was able to save her son’s life after administering 2 doses. If not for Linda and the ASGCC, we may have been telling you a far different story.

Parents who find our group often come in the doors feeling hopeless, by the end of their first meeting, they begin to have hope. They have begun to find their own recovery, giving strength and support to one another is what PSP does. Recently, we met a parent who came to her first PSP meeting, holding our flyer in her hand. She said, “I’m not sure why I’m here, but my son said I need to come here and learn what enabling means, so I’m here”. This mom has continued to come and takes notes. We all were amazed one night when she spoke of being able to make decisions that she could not have made not very long ago. The growth in her was amazing and we were all overcome with joy to be part of it. This is an example of the strength and empowerment that these parents give one another.

We have requested many speakers and they cordially accepted. Shortly, you will hear from two very important men who have helped to combat the prescription abuse wave in two very different ways. Mass. State Representative Randy Hunt is one of them. Rep. Hunt is the voice for so many here on Cape Cod. He has been very busy at the statehouse, advocating on our behalf. The other is Dr. Robert Friedman, who is one of the most amazing doctors we have ever met. Dr. Friedman treats many young people in addiction, with the belief that family members are and should be included in part of the recovery process. We don’t know of any other doctor who freely hands out his cell phone number to patients and family members. To our amazement, he answers his own phone 7days/wk at any given hour.

Lastly, on our banner, we want to acknowledge those seeking recovery, and celebrate those who have found recovery. It is your commitment to yourselves and your efforts that have helped our children to find recovery with you. Often times many of these programs are anonymous and, without jeopardizing who you are, we want you to know that the support you give to one another is powerful, and has made a difference in the lives of so many, including many of our children.  We also want to acknowledge Ray Tomasi and the staff at Gosnold, our sober houses, and many of the organizations who are dedicated and committed to our families seeking help. We humbly thank you.

I want to share some thoughts with the students here today. A man by the name of Rick, who was one of the first members of the Parents Supporting Parents group, passed away last year. Rick believed that not enough education and reinforcement of the dangers of drug abuse are available to you students, that making a not-well-thought out decision could potentially lead you to the road of addiction. One of the last wishes he shared with his wife was to make a donation to the PSP group in hopes that we would utilize that to educate all of you. We hope this will do just that for you. Rick’s wish was our goal. We have answered his request.

In closing, I want to tell you about a mom who came to our group with a heartbreaking story that, for many of us, we hadn’t even considered, until we met her. As she kissed her son goodbye, not knowing if she would ever see him again, she remained hopeful that her son would come home alive. Her young son had enlisted in the service, a graduate from one of our high schools on Cape Cod. He had many friends through the years, a very intelligent young man, with goals and dreams of, one day, coming home and enrolling in college. Her son returned home, injured. His mom was very excited to have her son home safe - home alive. What mom didn’t expect was that her son would come home addicted to drugs. His hopes and dreams had all but slowly diminished. Mom would later say, “I left my son at the airport, proud of him. I went to pick my son up at the airport and greeted an addict.” We know of many of these young men and women who are struggling with addiction. They have already fought the war to change others’ lives for the better and now face the struggle to save their own lives. We want to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank you.

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