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 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.
Beverly Buncher, MA, PCC, CBFRLC, CTPC, known as the foremost Family Recovery Life Coach in the nation, is the Founder and CEO of Family Recovery Resources, LLC, and the BALM® (Be A Loving Mirror®) Training Institute and Family Recovery Services.
The BALM® Program is designed for families impacted by substance use (SUD) and other use disorders, professionals who are called to help families affected by use disorders, and recovery treatment centers looking for a holistic family program to add to their facilities’ services.
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
Beverly Conyers is the mother of three grown children and four grandchildren. She started writing about addiction in 2003 after learning that her youngest daughter had become addicted to heroin. Her mission is to gain insight into the disease, to better understand the process of recovery, and to share comfort, strength, and hope with anyone who has been affected by addiction.
Currently an adjunct English teacher at a community college, Beverly has also worked as a magazine editor and newspaper correspondent. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Worcester State University and a master’s degree from Clark University. Raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, Beverly has lived in central Massachusetts for many years.
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.
Pam Jones Lanhart
Pam has lived in the shadow of addiction her entire life. Growing up with parents who struggled with substance use and having three siblings who were impacted, Pam determined that addiction would not touch her family. So when her son became affected at the young age of twelve, Pam set out on a mission to understand the disease, how it impacted families, and what the recovery process looked like, not just for her son, but for herself as well.
As a result, Pam started a nonprofit in Minnesota called Thrive Family Support, which helps families nationally connect to resources, education, and support. Thrive has support groups both online and throughout the country. Pam’s mission is to educate and inform families about a compassionate, loving response to substance use disorder. Pam is a high-profile advocate in Minnesota and throughout the country, recently winning the Parent Advocate Award from Know the Truth in Minnesota. She is a certified peer recovery coach, family recovery coach, and family systems case manager/interventionist. Pam runs the private Facebook group Thrive Family Addiction Support and also does private one-on-one coaching. Her passion is to help women step out of their own shame, fear, and anger so they can best support their family members.
Pam is the author of the Facebook page and book Praying Our Loved One Home. She is the mother of four amazing children, is a grandmother, and has been married to her husband, Paul, for thirty-eight years.
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.
Sarah McDade, Metropolitan Washington, DC
Joanne has been inspired by her son’s journey through addiction to specialize in Family Recovery, and support the urgent needs for dramatic healing, transformation, and hope in our families and communities.
In her private practice, Hearts At Work Family Recovery, Joanne helps families to empower their love and inspire recovery – their own and their loved one’s. She believes that love is strengthened through education, support, and developing the skills to re-connect, and communicate effectively. Drugs don’t win here. Love does!
Joanne is a Certified BALM® Family Recovery Life Coach (Be A Loving Mirror), Certified Facilitator of The Work of Byron Katie, and Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She participates with her community Drug Prevention Coalition and created the Facebook Group, Loving Your Child Through Their Addiction. Joanne also created and facilitates the Moms Turning It Around Support Group. She is blessed with two adult sons, and lives in Arizona enjoying the wonders of nature, gardening, mountain biking, and visiting with family and friends.
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.
Nancy Vericker, with her son, JP, coauthored their award-winning book Unchained: Our Family’s Addiction Mess Is Our Message. It is the true story of JP’s descent into opioid and alcohol addiction, homelessness, and hopelessness to being a cofounder of Northeast Addictions Treatment Center.
Unchained recounts how through faith, tough love, and the Twelve Step program, the Vericker family helped JP, now in recovery for more than nine years, return home to a renewed life. Their book provides hope and strategies for families grappling with addiction.
Nancy and her son have shared their family’s story on the TODAY Show and Conversation with Cardinal Dolan, as well as conferences, radio programs, and newspaper and magazine articles. Unchained won a 2019 award from the Catholic Press Association in the Healing Book Category. Nancy, who has been in recovery for more than twenty-nine years, has been honored as a Person Who Made a Difference by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.
Nancy writes a twice-weekly blog on recovery issues for families struggling with substance use disorder on Facebook’s The Addict’s Family and Mothers Against Substance Abuse pages. She works with the Family Program at Northeast Addictions Treatment Center. Nancy works as a spiritual director at Fairfield University and as a youth minister at her parish. She also works as a retreat and conference speaker. Nancy holds a master’s degree in spiritual direction from Fordham University. She has been married to her husband, Joe, for thirty-six years. The couple have four children and one grandson and live in New York.
Guest MomPower Moms:
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.
Susan Burrowes is the author of Off the Rails: One Family’s Journey Through Teen Addiction, winner of the 2019 Benjamin Franklin Silver Award for Parenting & Family books and an Indie Book Award finalist.
She is the mother of two wonderful, terrible children in Santa Cruz, California. Susan works with high-achieving teens at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she ponders her fate every day.
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.
Book: Stay Close: A Mother’s Story of Her Son’s Addiction
(St. Martins Press, Macmillan, NYC; translated and published by Rizzoli, Milan, Italy)
Linda S. Clare
Linda S. Clare writes from her life experience about the impact of loved ones’ substance use disorder and is the author of seven books, including novels and Prayers for Parents of Prodigals, releasing January 2020 from Harvest House Publishers. She is a former educator for Lane Community College and George Fox University. From her home in Oregon, she coaches writers and never stops hoping for her three sons’ recovery.
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
Joyce Ferrie is a wife and a mom. She grew up in Minnesota, spending the first fifty years of her life in this beautiful state. Now retired, she and her husband share their time between Montana and Florida. She and her husband were blessed with a beautiful son named David.
Joyce and her husband were 100 percent blindsided by their son’s addiction, as so many parents are. The strength one can gain when trying to save a child from the throes of addiction is empowering . . . and so their story begins. Joyce remembers her previous life with her son while she works to adjust to her new life without him.
The art world gives so much to the human soul. Joyce is highly involved in textile arts. She is a member of SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) and is a regional representative for this organization. The “making of things” brings peace and contentment, and is powerfully healing.
On Thanksgiving 2019, Lisa celebrates thirty-eight years of recovery from eating disorders—anorexia and bulimia—which she’d grappled with from age sixteen to twenty-eight. This year, she also celebrates sixteen years of recovery from secondhand drinking—the negative impacts of a person’s drinking behaviors on others. The reason for the disparity in the numbers of recovery years between the two is her untreated ACEs (adverse childhood experiences) and the stigma, misinformation, and shame that surrounds the family disease of substance use disorders.
It was Lisa’s secondhand drinking recovery, which began in 2003 when one of her loved ones entered a residential treatment program for alcoholism, that’s inspired her work of the past sixteen years. Her mission: to simplify current brain and scientific research in order to change (and in some cases, simply start) the conversations that can shatter the stigma, misinformation, and shame surrounding this family disease.
Author of twelve books, a national keynote speaker, and consultant, Lisa is the founder of BreakingTheCycles.com. She lives in Northern California.
Book: 10th Anniversary Edition If You Loved Me, You’d Stop! What You Really Need to Know When Your Loved One Drinks Too Much
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.
Kathleen Pooler is a retired family nurse practitioner and author of the memoir Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away from Emotional Abuse, published on July 28, 2014, and the upcoming sequel, Just the Way He Walked: A Mother’s Story of Hope and Healing. She writes about how she tapped into her faith in God during her biggest obstacles and disappointments to transform and heal from life’s greatest challenges. She believes that every little bit of hope matters and that we are all strengthened and enlightened when sharing our stories.
She lives with her husband, Wayne, and their golden retriever, Max, in eastern New York and blogs weekly at her Memoir Writer’s Journey blog: krpooler.com.
Stories by Kathy Pooler
“The Stone on the Shore” in The Woman I’ve Become: 37 Women Share Their Journeys from Toxic Relationships to Self-Empowerment, published by Pat LaPointe, 2012.
“Choices and Chances” in My Gutsy Story Anthology, published by Sonia Marsh, September, 2013.
Coming Soon: Just the Way He Walked: A Mother’s Story of Hope and Healing
A story of how one woman’s simultaneous battles with stage 4 non-Hodgkin lymphoma and her young adult son’s addiction to alcohol and drugs test her resolve to never, ever give up hope. Written for parents of children who are addicted, particularly mothers, this is a story of love, faith, hope, and breaking the cycle of addiction. Family relationships (father-son, mother-son), single parenting, the impact of addiction on families, and the need for education in breaking the cycle of addiction are all explored. The message of resilience and faith in the face of insurmountable odds serves as a testament to what is possible when one dares to hope.
Marilea C. Rabasa
Marilea grew up in a small Massachusetts town. For seventeen years, she taught English as a Second Language in northern Virginia. Before that, she lived overseas with her husband and children in the Foreign Service.
She and her partner now spend most of the year enjoying grandchildren, boats, and salt air on an island in Puget Sound. She also sings in a small women’s choir. They still spend time in New Mexico, where they had gone to live after they retired.
Marilea received her master of arts in (reflective practice) teaching. In 2013, she joined Story Circle Network, based in Austin, Texas, and began writing down and publishing some of her life stories. They have appeared in the SCN anthologies, their journal, and their blog, “One Woman’s Day.” She also contributed to Sober Magazine. Much of her full-length work exposes a lifelong battle with substance use disorder, and the writing itself has proved to be cathartic and healing.
Marilea has a website, www.recoveryofthespirit.com, where she has blogged on this topic and her own recovery since 2014. Her award-winning t memoir, A Mother’s Story: Angie Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, written under a pseudonym, Maggie C. Romero, is an intimate portrait of substance use disorder and how it was passed down in her family from generation to generation. Marilea is herself a substance user, and when Angie’s drug use, at age twentyone, became apparent to her, she jumped into a recovery program to cope with her daughter’s illness. The ensuing years proved to be a powerful and poignant redemption journey, as she began to claim recovery for herself even as she watched her beautiful daughter continue to struggle. This memoir is a story of hope that will resonate with many people, as epidemic as substance use disorder is in our society.
Her second memoir, Stepping Stones: A Memoir of Addiction, Loss, and Transformation, by Marilea C. Rabasa, is a sequel to her first, and it’s scheduled for publication (She Writes Press) in July 2020.
Find out more here:
Books: A Mother’s Story: Angie Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, written under a pseudonym, Maggie C. Romero; Stepping Stones: A Memoir of Addiction, Loss, and Transformation by Marilea C. Rabasa
Internationally recognized author Lorelie Rozzano is a writer, blogger, and recovery advocate who works in the field of mental health and addiction, helping individuals and their families recover from substance use disorder. As a daughter, mother, wife, and survivor, she offers insight into the world of chemical dependency. Lorelie has given thousands of people the glasses they need to see addiction from every angle. She has written several books on the topic, including Gracie’s Secret, Jagged Little Edges, Jagged Little Lies, and Jagged No More.
Teresa Shaffer is the mother of three sons. With her husband, Brian, she lives in Monticello, Indiana.
She is also the founder of MOTHERS OF HOPE, a support group for mothers of addicted children.
Victoria Stith specializes in helping parents of adult children with substance use disorders find peace of mind and freedom from suffering, while also being the compassionate and helpful parents they want to be.
She is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor with expertise in anxiety issues, and in Mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioral Approaches. She is also a Certified Family Recovery and Wellness Coach who applies evidence-based practice, personal experience, and psychological science to the symptoms and suffering that often arise in families dealing with addiction.
Victoria helps parents through online courses and coaching, as well as through a free Facebook group just for parents.
In 1995, Pattie Vargas encountered a life-changing event that set the course for the rest of her life and career. What could have resulted in a dead-end, bitter saga of mere survival instead led her on a journey to discover the difference between going under and pushing through. The lessons learned along the way sustained her through the loss of her son in 2017 to the complications of substance use disorder and the new normal of living with grief and family addiction. Anyone who has become accustomed to a long-term marriage, a lengthy job tenure, or just the status quo can relate to the shocking revelations that come with an unexpected jolt of reality. We may not be able to control what happens to us, but we certainly can control what becomes of us and how we can continue to serve others. This is how Pattie discovered The Resilience Factor.
Pattie is an Amazon best-selling author and frequent conference speaker on the topic of growing through change and developing personal resilience. Pattie holds a master’s degree in Organizational Management and is certified in the use of DISC behavioral assessments. She serves as the Chief Learning Officer for Connected Women of Influence in Southern California and is a past board member of the American Business Women’s Foundation, a nonprofit focused on wage equity. She is also a National Ambassador with the Shatterproof organization.
Find out more here: