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.