ABOUT US

By moms and for moms, MomPower.org is the place for moms with addicted children to turn when love and addiction meet. A place where empowerment blooms from helplessness and pain.

MomPower.org is unaffiliated with any recovery-based organization and is solely responsible for the site content. MomPower.org is grateful for the generous support of Hazelden Publishing which underwrote the development of this website. MomPower.org is mom-driven and created out of recognition that a healthy mom can change the dynamics of the place where love and addiction meet.

The MomPower Team:
Sandy Swenson

Sandy Swenson

Sandy is the mother of two sons—one of whom struggles with addiction. Author of ‘The Joey Song: A Mother’s Story of Her Son’s Addiction’ [Central Recovery Press], ‘Tending Dandelions: Honest Meditations for Mothers with Addicted Children’ [Hazelden Publishing], and ‘Readings for Moms of Addicts’ App [Hazelden Publishing], Sandy lives in the place where love and addiction meet—a place where help enables and hope hurts.

Sandy is a voice for moms of children suffering with the disease of addiction, putting their thoughts and feeling into words. Her latest project is MomPower.org, an easy to navigate hub connecting moms with addicted children to a world of help, hope, and empowerment.

Sandy lives in suburban Minneapolis, Minnesota. When she isn’t writing or traveling to speak with other parents coping with the disease of addiction in their family, Sandy enjoys gardening, reading, and spending time with family and friends.

Blog: sandyswenson.com
App: Readings For Moms With Addicted Children – Apple App & Android App
Book: Tending Dandelions
Book: The Joey Song

Katie Donovan

Katie Donovan

Katie has spent over the last 20 years in the marketing, events and communications industry. After experiencing the addiction journey with her daughter Brittany, Katie left her marketing career, in order to focus on family recovery. She has now dedicated her life to guiding others through the overwhelming process of finding quality treatment for substance abuse, coaching families through their own recovery, and a consultant for the treatment industry.

Katie sits on several local and national boards, has been invited to congressional hearings, testified in front of the FDA, and a national speaker on addiction. Katie is also one of the leading forces behind the creation of Hope Not Handcuffs in which she was awarded the PAARI Leadership award for her advocacy work, in addition to a Global Humanitarian Award.

Katie is a professionally trained and certified family recovery coach, interventionist as well as an addictions recovery coach. Katie has been a featured author/blogger for national advocacy groups in addition to being interviewed on Fox, ABC, NBC, Fox Sports and featured in the December 2018 issue of Time/Money Magazine, as well as numerous media sources.

Katie and her daughter Brittany also co-founded a blog, where they dig deep about their journey at www.amothersaddictionjourney.com, which reached over a million views and seen in 146 countries within 30 days of its inception and has been syndicated in over 30 publications, including USA Today and Babble by Disney.

Katie lives with her husband John, and their youngest daughter Brooke in Macomb Twp, MI.

A Mother’s Addiction Journey – Blog & Coaching
Taking Back Your Life – Podcast
Email: katie@amothersaddictionjourney.com

Sarah McDade

Sarah McDade

Having grown up on a nursery in rural Upstate New York, the daughter of a history teacher, and an RPI mechanical engineering major, I never imagined I would be an advocate for families impacted by addiction. After moving to the “big city” of Washington DC in the 1970s I met my future husband, the late Joseph McDade, who taught me that addiction was a brain disease. Therefore when our son was impacted by the use of illegal substances I held no shame and just wanted to get help for him. After my inquiries were rebuffed by four medical professionals, a therapist mentioned Caron Treatment Centers in Pennsylvania. Once I placed a phone call there I knew I had found an entity that understood me, and my son eventually found treatment there.

After my son got well I became determined that I would help other parents find resources for help with the baffling disease of addiction. One by one, after interviews with therapists, visits to treatment centers, reading books on addiction, vetting support group by support group, my resource lists grew and grew. These have been shared with parents referred to me and with treatment professionals in my region. This volunteer passion has somewhat subdued my hobbies of gardening, local history, and genealogy. It has become a full-time volunteer occupation because so much help is needed.

For my work in helping my fellow parent, I have been honored by awards from the Chris Atwood Foundation, the Unified Prevention Coalition of Fairfax County, and locally and nationally by Caron Treatment Centers.

Support
Sarah McDade, Metropolitan Washington, DC
Email: sarahmcdade@aol.com

Cathy Taughinbaugh

Cathy Taughinbaugh

As a result of her journey with her own child’s drug use, Cathy, a former educator founded CathyTaughinbaugh.com and became a certified parent coach in order to help other parents who are struggling because of their child’s substance use.

In her private practice Cathy uses a science-based program backed by 40 years of clinical research. She uses these evidence-based methods to empower parents to motivate their teen or young adult child who struggles with alcohol or drug use to seek change. The outreach that Cathy has created provides a forum for those that need support to care for themselves or their loved ones.

Cathy is the creator the Rise Up Mom’s Support Club, a support group for moms who are experiencing the challenges of parenting a teen or young adult struggling with drug or alcohol misuse. The group offers coaching, speakers, information, and inspiration.

Cathy is a graduate of the University of the Pacific with a degree in psychology. She is an Associate Certified Coach, certified through the International Coach Federation. Cathy is a Certified Parent Coach through the Parent Coach Trainers Academy, Certified Life Coach from the Life Coach Institute of Orange County, and has a Certificate of Completion from Robert J. Meyers, Ph.D.& Associates, Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT).

Cathy is one of over 200 Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT) Parent Network Coaches trained by the Center for Motivation and Change and works with the Partnership for Drug Free Kids. Cathy serves on the Contra Costa County Alcohol and Other Drug’s Board.

She lives with her husband in Northern California and is the mother of three adult children.

Cathy Taughinbaugh’s Blog
Treatment Talk Coaching for Parents
Rise Up Moms Support Group

Maureen Cavanagh

Maureen Cavanagh

Maureen Cavanagh is an author and the founder of Magnolia New Beginnings, a non-profit 501c3 organization that provides access to online support groups for anyone struggling with a loved one’s addiction and provides access to recovery housing in Massachusetts. She is also a CCAR recovery coach and trainer, family recovery coach and interventionist and President of Magnolia Recovery and Consulting Services.

Maureen’s first book, a gripping memoir, If You Love Me: A Mother’s Journey through Her Daughter’s Opioid Addiction, is a story of a mother who suddenly finds herself on the frontlines of the opioid epidemic as her daughter battles—and ultimately reckons with—substance use disorder. The memoir was published by Henry Holt/MacMillan in 2018. If You Love Me was favorably reviewed by the NY Times, Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and the audiobook was named a runner up for Amazon/Audibles 2018 Memoir of the Year.

Maureen holds a B.S. in Communications from Weber State University, an MPA in nonprofit management from Suffolk University, an M.Ed Special Education/ESOL from Salem State University, and speaks nationally on the impact of substance use disorder on the family and the power of hope.  Maureen’s unforgettable story, told with love and humor, brings the opioid crisis out of the shadows and into the house next door. Her real-life account is inspiring and harrowing, and ultimately a story of recovery and renewal.

Maureen lives near Boston, Massachusetts with her partner of many years. She is the mother of four and is enjoying every minute of watching her daughter bloom in recovery. She believes deeply that education, connection to others, and sharing stories of recovery are integral in the midst of this crisis.

Magnolia Recovery and Consulting Services
Magnolia New Beginnings
If You Love Me: A Mother’s Journey Through Her Daughter’s Opioid Addiction
Magnolia Beginnings Blog
Collateral Damage Podcast
Taking Back Your Life

Julie Neale

Julie Neale

Wife · Mom · Friend · Two Adult Children · Advocate for Grace and Recovery · Lover of Nature, Music, Beauty

Head of Distribution and Creative Collaborator for the documentary ASK: Can Love Survive Addiction and Codependency? and Co-Producer for the film Normie.

Guest MomPower Moms:
Alex Alba

Alex Alba

I have been a facilitator of a parent and family support group in Washington DC for four years. I continue to learn from the struggles and bravery of people dealing with addiction in a child, partner or sibling. I marvel at how varied and rich our recovery journeys are, and the ability of people to strive for and find degrees of serenity in the worst moments.

I am interested in the tool of mindfulness, especially how it can teach us to sit with painful emotions so that we can learn to respond rather than react to the chaos in our lives.

I have a background in editing and ESL teaching, and have lived in many different countries.

Libby Cataldi

Libby Cataldi

Libby Cataldi is a mother, grandmother, teacher, former Head of School, and writer. She has two sons, Jeff and Jeremy. Jeff is a recovering heroin addict, who suffered a fourteen-year addiction. He is sober today and lives a productive, healthy life. Together with her sons, Libby wrote Stay Close: A Mother’s Story of Her Son’s Addiction, a story of hope and redemption.

Libby and Jeff speak throughout the United States and Italy about the hope of recovery. They’ve presented at the United Nations in Vienna, Austria, and in New York City. Libby works closely with San Patrignano recovery community in Rimini, Italy.

Living most of the year in Florence, Italy, she is a proud member of the American International League of Women, a group dedicated to raising money for charity, and the Florence Dragon Boat Ladies, who are breast cancer survivors and row as a sign of hope after cancer. She also served on the board of the International School of Florence, and holds a doctorate of education from the University of Pittsburgh

Most of all, she is grateful every day that her son came back to himself and his family.

Website: libbycataldi.com
Blog: libbycataldi.com/blog/
Book: Stay Close: A Mother’s Story of Her Son’s Addiction
(St. Martins Press, Macmillan, NYC; translated and published by Rizzoli, Milan, Italy)

Danni Morford

Danni Morford

Danni Morford lives in Austin, Texas with her husband. She is the mother of three boys. Their eldest son, Travis died July 8, 2007 when he was 25 years old. Travis struggled from the disease of addiction from the age of 12.

Writing and journaling have been a part of her grief journey. Her letters to Travis show you the heart of a mother, whose son died from addiction. Danni shares her letters in the hope it will help to rid the shame and stigma of this disease that make it so hard for the addict to recover.

Danni and her husband are involved with several recovery organizations and a grief support organization, The Christi Center.

Nancy Downing

Nancy Downing

I am somewhat of a newcomer to the world of addiction and addiction recovery.  Even as my husband and I sent our daughter, Valerie, into treatment in July of 2017, I merely identified her as “having a drug problem.”  I attributed all the conflict and insanity of the high school years to her severe anxiety.  Only after Caron’s amazing Family Education Program did I finally admit that my daughter has the disease of addiction.

Thanks to Caron, I was able to fully embrace the importance of working on my own recovery, even as the reality of my daughter’s addiction was sinking in.  I discovered a knack for telling stories through my shares at Nar-Anon, and they are the origins of most of my articles.  I hope that my stories help parents understand this confounding disease and find ways to love their children and themselves in a healthy way.

Just in these past few months, I have become passionate about family recovery outreach and education.  I was honored to be the parent speaker at Caron’s Gratitude Breakfast.  I started and currently facilitate a monthly 12 Step Workshop for parents of addicted children.  I also consult, via weekly video conferencing, with Recovery Africa, which is working to establish family support groups (like Al-Anon) in Ghana.

Life and motherhood brought me through many career changes, including working as an architect, a stay-at-home mom of two wonderful girls, a commissioned water color artist, and now, a piano teacher.  Perhaps it is not surprising that I find myself sharing my experiences of my daughter’s journey and my own recovery through MomPower.

Nancy Wu Downing, Rockville, Maryland
Email:  wudowning@gmail.com