Mothers of addicts connect with the help of social media


There was a time when Barbara Theodosiou struggled to get out of bed.

"I'm the mother of four kids, and two of them are addicts," she said.

Theodosiou went through depression and despair at her inability to help her two sons break the grip of addiction.

"I kept wondering what I did wrong to make them choose drugs and alcohol. I was ashamed and exhausted. I tried everything I could think of to help them," she said.

Theodosiou said that standard support groups didn't help.

"There's nothing like commonality to me. I could talk to anybody in the world, but unless you have a child that's an addict, you're never going to understand what I'm going through," she said.

Theodosiou created a Facebook page called "Addicts Mom" with a fan base that has grown to more than 5,000 mothers of addicts.

"I just decided that it was going to be my life's work to help mothers get rid of the stigma of being an addict's mom," she said.

Anne Salter specializes in addiction counseling and knows the subject well; nearly every member of her family, including herself, has struggled with addiction.

"I think it's wonderful what Barb is doing and I'm glad to be joining a part of it," Salter said.

Donna Marsden feels the same. Her son struggled with addiction for 10 years.

"I think as parents we become sicker than they in a sense. I don't self-medicate, so I was feeling everything," Marsden said.

"We're all in denial, and it's not like we've ever been through this before," said Deni Sher, who also joined the Addicts Mom Facebook page.

The women said being able to engage with each other through social media gave them strength and hope.

"We're all walking in the same shoes, and I really want to help other families maybe avoid this," said Sher.

Theodosiou has now expanded beyond Facebook, creating websites for fathers of addicts and addicts themselves.