MOMSWritten by Sherry Schlenke, The Mother of a Beloved boy With The Disease of Addiction A mom sits vigil at her child’s emergency room bedside. The child has over-dosed. A second mom stands silently next to the bed with her head bowed in prayer. The two women have never met before this evening, but they share a common tragedy. A mom orders a pizza to be delivered to an airport where another mom’s child is waiting, penniless, for a flight home after leaving a treatment center. A mom posts that her son is homeless in a city where it is raining and cold. A mom online, a total stranger, offers to drive him to a restaurant for a meal, and then to a shelter. A mom drives hundreds of miles to a treatment center to visit the child of mom who is too far away to visit her child. A mom is alone and afraid in her home, awaiting surgery in a few hours. She fears her own daughter who is banging on the door. A mom online finds the address and asks for another mom to go to the house. A mom posts that her son is undergoing life-threatening surgery. The moms online post a request for a mom who lives in the area to go and sit with the anxious mom. Another mom posts directions, a map, and contact numbers for the hospital. A grandmother posts that she cannot afford any Christmas gifts for her four grandchildren whose mother is in prison. A mom who read the post, who is a stranger to this family, purchases gifts for the children and has them delivered to their front door. A mom posts mailing addresses for the children who are in prison to receive a Christmas card with words of hope and encouragement. A mom posts that her son will be moving thousands of miles from his home. A mom who lives in the city where this boy is moving offers to help him find support, treatment, and resources that he may need. A mom posts that she feels suicidal, due to the heartache involved with her child. Moms who live throughout the country post online; they offer words of encouragement and comfort, offer to talk on the phone, or to make calls to locate someone who can go to the home of the distraught mom. A mom posts that she needs to locate a free or low cost treatment center for her child. This child has been near death many times. Moms from across the country offer suggestions. A mom offers to make the arrangements for admission, while the distraught mom is en route to the center. A mom visits a beloved boy in jail because his own mom lives too far away. A mom takes food and clothing to another mom’s homeless child. A mom fills backpacks with toiletries and snacks and distributes them to the drug-addicted, homeless young people in her community. She does not know where her own drug-addicted child is, but helps the children of other mothers. A mom posts that her child has disappeared from his treatment center. Moms across the nation launch a social-media search, share the child’s picture, distribute flyers, post contact information, and contact authorities in their communities. A mom, undefeated by the recent death of her daughter, proposes a law to her state legislators for reforms in access to treatment for those suffering from substance abuse.The bill is passed. Another mom, also undefeated by the tragic death of her young son, advocates through her local State Representative for a dangerous drug to be regulated, re-classified to a higher category of harm, and placed on a USDA watch list. A mom’s beloved child dies. Moms from across the country send cards, flowers, and condolences. Several attend the funeral of this child, a child whom they have never met, of a mom whom they have never met. Just who are these moms? These are the mothers of The Addict’s Mom (TAM), a support group created by Barbara Theodosiou whose own sons struggle with addiction. Tragically, one of Barbara’s sons is now deceased. The efforts from the moms across the country in locating him when he was missing is just astounding. Through social media, over a 24 hour period, TAM moms contacted every coroner, highway rest area, jail, hospital, sheriff’s department, and newspaper in the state where Barbara’s son lived. TAM moms are not organizing a bake sale, car wash, or school carnival. These moms are marching in Washington, meeting with Congress members, and sponsoring community events. They are meeting, posting, sharing, researching, and informing society about the deadly disease of addiction. The efforts of TAM moms are featured in their local newspapers, and on their local television newscasts. These moms are not happy, care-free moms. These moms are fighting for the very lives of their precious children. Over the course of 8 years, The Addict’s Mom has evolved from a support group to include advocacy and treatment. The Addict’s Mom is a lifeline for the moms whose beloved children are battling the deadly disease of addiction. The Addict’s Mom is a unique sisterhood of women bonded by tragedy. The Addict’s Mom is a force for change.