Barbara Theodosiou and her family reveal the pain, loss, and connection that emerge from addiction, trauma, codependency, and recovery in this unique view into the heart of a national crisis.
The ringing phone startles Barbara during another sleepless night. She knows it must be Daniel, her big-hearted, intelligent son who has spent years cycling through hospitals, jails, and treatment centers. Although Daniel’s childhood struggles started much earlier, he was sixteen when Barbara discovered he was horribly addicted to DXM, the drug found in many over-the-counter cough medicines. After picking up the pieces from one more of her son’s relapses, Barbara seeks support in the online refuge she created when she had nowhere else to turn: The Addict’s Mom. There, she can “Share Without Shame” with others who understand. These other mothers know that it can become normal to hope your son will be locked up so he isn’t sleeping on the street. These other moms understand how it feels to realize you have not just one addicted child but two--Barbara discovered her oldest son Peter’s addiction just six months after Daniel’s. And when that happens, sometimes all a mother can do is try to save herself.
But this isn’t just a mother’s story. Without Shame encompasses Daniel’s own poetry and prose, Peter’s story of healing against all odds, their sister Nicole’s story of balancing compassion and independence, and other often unheard voices. This multifaceted story reveals what it truly means to describe addiction as a family disease.
“In the pages of Without Shame, Barbara Theodosiou stitches together her family’s stories of pain and healing—a patchwork of scars and mending hearts. Sharing patterns and perspectives, thoughts and feelings, her words wrap like an old quilt around the shoulders of other moms with addicted children, with the powerful warmth of truth and strength.”
– Sandy Swenson, author of Tending Dandelions and The Joey Song
“Barbara Theodosiou pens a poignant memoir of her beloved son, Daniel, and his downward spiral into addiction. Theodosiou writes honestly about the roller-coaster of emotions that go along with being The Addicts Mom. Without Shame takes us behind closed doors, allowing us to see, feel, and experience the devastating impact that substance use disorders have on the entire family.”
– Lorelie Rozzano, author of Jagged Little Edges, Jagged Little Lies, and Jagged No More
“Without Shame paints a unique, often heartbreaking picture of how a child’s addiction affects an entire family. Centered on Barbara Theodosiou’s anguished eight-year struggle to save her son Daniel from addiction, the narrative also brings in the voices of Daniel’s siblings and stepfather, who share the pain, frustration, and resentment they all experienced during those difficult years. We also hear from Daniel himself, who reveals his inner turmoil through the poems and letters he left behind. Like Theodosiou’s organization, The Addict’s Mom, this book will be a source of insight, comfort, and support for anyone impacted by a loved one’s addiction, assuring readers that they are not alone. Although a tragic tale that’s all too familiar in today’s America, Without Shame is ultimately a story of a family’s love and the long path to healing.”
– Beverly Conyers, author of Addict in the Family and Everything Changes
“Millions of mothers struggle silently with an addicted son or daughter. In Without Shame, a candid account of the impact of addiction, Barbara pierces both silence and shame, and helps mothers know where to turn.”
– D’Anne Burwell, author of Saving Jake: When Addiction Hits Home
“The heartbreakingly familiar story of the devastation of addiction told by the pioneer of online family support.”
– Maureen Cavanagh, author of If You Love Me: A Mother’s Journey Through Her Daughter’s Addiction and Recovery
“I am so grateful for Barbara’s courage to begin The Addict’s Mom (TAM) and to share her story. TAM was the first support group I ever encountered, and I remember staying up for hours enthralled with reading because I couldn’t believe so many were like me. It brought me the strength of a sisterhood with people I had never met, yet connected with on a level no one can understand, unless you have been in our shoes. A few years later, I also began to share my own journey publicly, and I don’t think I could have done that without being able to share without shame in TAM. Thank you, Barbara, for being a change maker in a world afraid of change.”
– Katie Donovan, Founder and CEO of A Mother’s Addiction Journey
“I first met Barbara eleven years ago when our loved ones were in treatment together. Over the years, I watched her courageously teach an entire society that there is no shame in having a child with a substance use disorder or mental health issues. Barbara’s generosity and compassion have resulted in an internet following of over one-hundred thousand moms with children lost to addiction, still struggling, or recovered. She was always ahead of the curve when it came to understanding that addiction’s stigma must go. Her willingness to be honest at great personal sacrifice in a culture of shame will always be remembered, appreciated and admired.”
– Beverly Buncher, founder and CEO of the BALM Training Institute for Family Recovery Services and author of BALM: The Loving Path to Family Recovery