Tag Archives: Palmer Drug Abuse Program

What’s the meaning behind the Monkey Fist?


Monkey FistAfter posting our popular article  PDAP: “An Instant Army, of Love and Support”  about the Palmer Drug Abuse Program we started to get questions about the illustration of a “Monkey Fist.” People wanted to know, What the heck is THAT?

This symbol actually has great meaning for both the addict and the family.

What’s the meaning behind the Monkey Fist?


Reprinted from the PDAP website (now Rise Recovery):
A symbol of success…

There are two primary symbols PDAP uses to acknowledge sobriety and family involvement. Teenagers and adults involved in the PDAP recovery groups receive a “Monkey Fist” for 30 days of continuous sobriety. Parents receive the “Parents Heart” for participation in PDAP family group for 30 days.

The “Monkey Fist” is a mariner’s knot used by ships to help them dock. A baseball sized knot with lines attached is thrown from the ship to the dock-the first contact the ship has with land. The crew on shore catches the knot, secures the line to the dock and pulls the ship to shore. At PDAP we have adopted this as a symbol representing our sobriety as we are being pulled in from the sea of drugs and alcohol. The fist symbolizes first contact to solid ground, with the group symbolizing the crew that pulls the newcomer safely to shore. Traditionally, the small leather monkey fist is suspended on a leather thong around the PDAPer’s neck. This symbol also serves as the PDAP logo.

The Johnson Institute reports that if a family is involved in a recovery program then the users have an 80% higher Parent's Heartchance of success then those who do not have family involved. In the PDAP Family Group the symbol for program participation is the Parent’s Heart. The heart is made from carved wood, and is also suspended on a leather thong. Embossed on the heart is a Monkey Fist symbolizing the drug abuser who lives in each PDAP parent’s heart.

Addiction: A Disease Powerless to PreventPowerless to Prevent
Trish Frye, Program Director of Palmer Drug Abuse Program, spoke at the funeral of “Brittany” on February 11, 2012.

InstantArmyGraphicPDAP: “An Instant Army, of Love and Support”
~ Written by grateful San Antonio PDAP Parents
In February 2007, we found out our youngest daughter, age 17, was a meth addict. This was of course a complete shock. We cashed in college funds and sent her to a treatment center, thinking that they would fix her.

Rise Recovery (formerly Palmer Drug Abuse Program) Home Page

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If you found this article helpful please see our “Ask Joe” posts listed at the bottom and consider reading

“Why Don’t they Just Quit? Hope for families struggling with addiction.”

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Why Don't They Just Quit? Hope for families struggling with addiction.
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