It’s Here! MomPower.org: Where Love and Addiction Meet

mompower.org, moms with addicted children, empowerment
MomPower.org

MomPower.org….We are a sisterhood. A club. A flock. We are moms who love a child suffering with the disease of addiction, and together we are a mighty force. We belong to a group no one would ever want to be a part of, but once we discover the love and support of other moms on the same journey, we find the power of Mom Power, a power we cannot imagine being without. Attached in spirit, we are carried forward, onward, and upward on the winds of one another’s strengths.

By moms and for moms, MomPower.org is a place for moms with addicted children to turn when love and addiction meet. A place where empowerment blooms from helplessness and pain. A place to connect with everything you might need to find strength, wisdom, perspective, sanity and hope during a most confusing and scary time. A place created out of recognition that a healthy mom can change the dynamics of the place where love and addiction meet.

MomPower.org will help you to put the stigma, shame, blame, guilt and silence behind you so that healing may begin.

One by one and one after another, MomPower.org is helping moms with addicted children to change the way addiction is perceived—in our homes, in our communities, and in the reflection our beloved children see in our eyes. 

Together, uplifted by one another, we moms can change the dynamics of the place where love and addiction meet.

And together we are stronger.




Announcing MomPower.org: Where Love and Addiction Meet

For Moms with Addicted Children

moms with addicted children

Launching on Mother’s Day!

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 dedicated to educating, enveloping and empowering moms with addicted children. Our goal is to connect you with everything you might need to find strength, wisdom, perspective, sanity and hope during a most confusing and scary time. 

MomPower.org is mom-driven and created out of recognition that a healthy mom can change the dynamic of the place where love and addiction meet.

By providing myriad support and educational resources, we will help you come to understand addiction as a disease, not a moral or parental failure. Not a disgrace. Helping you to put the stigma, shame, blame, guilt and silence behind you so that healing may begin.

One by one and one after another, we’re helping moms with addicted children to change the way addiction is perceived—in our homes, in our communities, and in the reflection our beloved children see in our eyes. 

Together we are changing the dynamic of the place where love and addiction meet.

And together we are stronger.

moms with addicted children

Our MomPower Mom Team:

About Us: (link to bios on website)

Together We Are Stronger

Mom to Mom: Finding Peace


Dandelion Strong Blog

Help and Hope for Moms with Addicted Children

Mom to Mom: Finding Peace. Moms with addicted children

Dandelion Strong–Help and Hope for Moms with Addicted Children


Mom to Mom: Finding Peace

“It is what it is.” I feel like this is something people say when they want to give me a bit of comfort but don’t want to get involved. When I hear these words, I feel like a door has been slammed shut (by someone who has no idea what my ‘it’ really is and who doesn’t really want to know).“It is what it is” sounds so trite. A callous and crisp cliché. But . . . . “it is what it is”, truthfully, is the truth. (Although, it’s not the warmest way to say it.)


My son is an addict. Addiction has cheated us out of a relationship, and it may very well kill him. I must live with the fears and heartaches of this, whether I want to or not. ‘It is what it is.’ I can either plod through my remaining years as a miserable mess, or I can move forward with some sense of serenity. I can quiet the noise in my heart and my head. Really. I can face what is head on (instead of looking back at what isn’t).


I can only find inner peace by first acknowledging reality.


©‘Readings for Moms of Addicts’ app by Sandra Swenson [Hazelden 2018]


Launching on Mother’s Day!

MomPower.org: Where Love and Addiction Meet.

By moms and for moms, MomPower.org is the place for moms with addicted children to turn when life and love meet addiction. A place where empowerment blooms from helplessness and pain. TOGETHER WE ARE STRONGER!



Sandra Swenson is the author of ‘The Joey Song: A Mother’s Story of Her Son’s Addiction’ [Central Recovery Press 2014], ‘Tending Dandelions: Honest Meditations for Mothers with Addicted Children’ [Hazelden 2017], and ‘Readings for Moms of Addicts’ App [Hazelden 2018].


Moms with addicted children


Together We Are Stronger

Mom to Mom: The Hole In My Life Where My Child Should Be

The hole in my life

Melancolie–created by Albert György

 

The Hole In My Life Where My Child Should Be

 

I have the power.

The power to change the way I react to the disease of addiction.

The power to stop its destructive spread.

For too many years I was consumed by the poison my son was consuming. I snarled and yelled and argued and begged and cried; I re-negotiated the non-negotiable; I rationally discussed the irrational; and, at night, I either paced the house―holding vigil for my child’s life―or dreamed of growing octopus arms to squash down all his problems.

There was no room in my head for anyone but my addicted son; that’s just what happens once an addict starts wearing a beloved child’s face.

So, while my son was the one consuming the poison, the poison seeping into our household was passing directly through me, sneaking in on the umbilical connection. I was a carrier―the Typhoid Mary of addiction―spreading misery and destruction through our family. Helping the disease to do what it does best.

You see, for too many years, I was trying to change something that wasn’t mine to change: my son.

The truth is, the only thing I can change is me.

(And that has real power.)

Addiction is horrible enough without me making it worse, so I’m done with that. There will be no more ripping apart of hearts and lives―not by my actions (or my neglect). Not by my words, thrown around like poison darts. I will not blame or argue. I will not get sucked into dramas or force issues that don’t belong to me. I will protect my boundaries, making room in my head for all the people I love. I will be calm not crazed. I will be positive. I will have reasonable expectations. I will change the tune and change the dance; I will change my family’s chance.

This doesn’t mean I don’t care. Or don’t hurt. Or won’t cry.

It just means I will fill the hole in my life where my child should be with goodness, not badness.

Kindness, not madness.

I will honor my son with my words and my actions―not the addict.

The destructive spread of the disease of addiction stops with me.

 

© Sandra Swenson 2014. Author of ‘Tending Dandelions: Honest Meditations for Mothers with Addicted Children’, ‘Readings for Moms of Addicts’ App [Hazelden], and ‘The Joey Song: A Mother’s Story of Her Son’s Addiction’.

 

Mom to Mom: Thanksgiving (when your child is addicted)—Filling Not Stuffing

 

Mom to Mom: Thanksgiving (when your child is addicted)—Filling Not Stuffing

 

When my boys were little, they hovered about the kitchen on Thanksgiving morning, eager to get started with stuffing the turkey. We tied on aprons, washed our hands, pushed step stools over to the kitchen counter, and discussed who, exactly, would need to touch the pale and pimply turkey flesh.

My oldest son dumped bread cubes into a large bowl and his brother stirred in the onions and sage; they took turns scooping stuffing into the hollow center of our holiday bird before it was slathered in oil and popped in the oven. Our home was full of pleasant aromas and anticipation and things to be thankful for.

Norman Rockwell picture-perfect.

But things changed once my oldest son became addicted.

Thanksgiving became a day stuffed with unspoken disappointment, anger, and fear rather than too much pie and good cheer. His younger brother, dad and I would wait for my son to show up—or not show up at all—while our turkey and sweet potatoes shriveled away in the oven. Retreating to different parts of the house, we avoided the sad festivities and phony smiles until tradition beckoned us to sit down at the table across from my son’s very empty place. Thankful, I was not.

It has been ten years now since my son even pretended he was coming home for Thanksgiving dinner. (I don’t know where he has turkey. Or if he has turkey.) I’ve had time to adjust to Thanksgiving the way it is and stop wishing for the way it should be, but time hasn’t taken away the hurt—or the hole where he should be. I suspect it never will. Instead, over time, I’ve grown stronger. Over time, I’ve learned a few things that have helped me to get through and even enjoy the holidays again.

1. Make room for your feelings and let go of old expectations.

I’m now strong enough to face the hurt rather than stuff it away (more often than not), and I’m strong enough to fill the holes in my life and my heart with things that make the day better, not worse. That means facing reality, not trying to re-create what can’t be re-created, starting new traditions, and spending quality time with some happy old memories.

There’s a lot wrapped up in this big day that rolls around one short day a year. A lot of hopeful hopes, fears, disappointments, and stress—when holiday tradition and expectation meet addiction it can be madness. But it’s possible to look at things differently, to do things differently,especially if the whole family is recruited to open their eyes and minds. And when the spirit of things leading up to the big day is giving thanks, that spirit is contagious.

Thanksgiving is meant to be a day for gathering together with loved ones and having fun. So simple—and beautiful—if left simple. A performance, it is not. And living up to unrealistic expectations, I will not.

I no longer spend the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving trying to pretend that everything is fine, that addiction hasn’t consumed my son (and therefore my whole family), and that we can still pull off a pretend-perfect performance.

I no longer stuff down my sadness, putting on the dressing of normal life in the same way I shove myself into my jeans after a big meal—by taking a deep breath, swallowing the pain, and pasting on a smile.

Instead, I plan ahead. I take the time to face my feelings—I take the time to grieve and cry for what was and what isn’t—and then, acknowledging the pitfalls I don’t want to fall into, I figure out ways to make the holiday work. And one of those ways is to ask for help—from friends, family, a therapist or counselor or any of the hundreds of support groups, like Al-Anon, Families Anonymous, or The Addict’s Mom.

2. Celebrate those who are at the table and let go of perfection.

I have Let Go of thinking that I’m the only one who can make the day (any day, actually) perfect, for anyone. Or that I can please everyone. Thanksgiving is made all the better with family participation—which means asking for everyone’s hands and hearts to be in the right place at the right time. Together we can prepare and adapt to the fact that our addicted loved one might not show up (or worse).

But, who is not at the table shouldn’t take up more space than the people who are.

There is no end to the room I have at my table. And in my heart. But both my heart and home have rules. Before the big day, I set my boundaries (and set up escape hatches), knowing that it’s possible that not everyone who shows up is going to behave. I can’t control the actions of anyone else, but what I can control is me (and even that is no easy task.). By facing reality, my actions don’t need to be reactions. My boundaries don’t need to be rough, they just need to be strong.

3. Try something different; open your heart to something new.

When the holiday hurts, maybe it’s time to try something different—something smaller, or bigger, or somewhere new. The meal, the menu, an old family recipe, the way (or the place) that we’ve always celebrated Thanksgiving…. the little traditions mean nothing compared to the meaning of the big tradition itself. There was a time when I would spend weeks shopping and chopping, mixing and rolling, cleaning and decorating, for a meal that, for all of its hype, actually took less than thirty minutes to eat (not counting the time spent talking). But I enjoyed all the creative chaos. Until things changed. And then I didn’t. I felt a bit guilty at first, serving store-bought pie or stuffing from the deli, but the reality is, that isn’t what matters. And no one ever noticed—or if they did, they didn’t care.

4. Share your gratitude and give back.

Who is at the table is more important than what is on the table (or where the table is). In the holiday hubbub, it’s easy to forget what the holiday is really about.

Giving thanks.

So I’ve learned, having grown in my own recovery, to make every effort to live in the moment. To give thanks for the moment. To give thanks for those around me—those people who matter, and who deserve to feel like they matter, no matter what else is going on. I take the time to soak in and appreciate everything I have to be grateful for. Of which there is a lot.

My need to fill the hole that addiction has left in both my heart and life is big. And I’ve found that helping others keeps me moving forward. It may be overwhelming to add one more expectation to a day already laden with so much, but giving thanks by showing thanks doesn’t have to fall on one particular day in the fall. I’ve got 364 other days of the year in which to do what my heart needs to do. It helps me to help kids whose moms, for whatever reason, are unable to do mom stuff for them right now. And maybe someday someone will do the same thing for my son.

5. Accept what is, one day at a time.

Yes, I’m finally strong enough to fill the hole in my life where my son should be with things that make the holiday better, not worse. I’m strong enough to face reality—to accept what is—to start new traditions, and to spend time with some happy old memories; those are mine to keep and enjoy, forever.

Old memories still have the power to bring tears to my eyes, but I’m finally able to treasure my memories for what they are: gifts. I am blessed to have had so many years of such happiness, and not even addiction can take that away. After everything that has happened, I still have my sons’ smiles, the sounds of their voices, and the feel of their hugs, no matter how far away they may be. So, in giving thanks, I take the time to remember what was before embracing, fully, what is. I laugh, I cry. I allow the movies in my mind to fill my soul.

This year I will visit my 91 year old mom in Memory Care, then my dad and I will have our Thanksgiving dinner at the home of friend I grew up with and her parents, people we’ve known for about 55 years. Friends like family–I’m immensely grateful for that.

Many years ago my oldest son sent me this message:

“Happy Thanksgiving, Mom. Hopefully, someday I’ll give you a reason to be thankful for me. I love you. Thank you for still loving me.”

No matter what, I have always been thankful for both of my boys. And I’m thankful for what I have now. And I’m thankful that they both know how much they are loved.

This is me filling, not stuffing.

May your Thanksgiving be filled with things to be thankful for, too.

 

© Sandra Swenson 2015. Author of ‘The Joey Song: A Mother’s Story of Her Son’s Addiction’, ‘Tending Dandelions: Honest Meditations for Mothers with Addicted Children’, and ‘Readings for Moms of Addicts’ App [Hazelden]

 

 

Dandelion Shop for Moms with Addicted Children, Sandy Swenson

The Dandelion Shop is a curated gallery of Dandelion Designs created in partnership with an array of ETSY artists especially for moms with addicted children.

 

Facebook, Sandy Swenson

 

 

Staying Dandelion Strong. ‘Readings for Moms of Addicts’. A New App.

Exciting News!

Readings for Moms of Addicts App

READINGS FOR MOMS OF ADDICTS

 Now available in Apple and Google/Android app stores!

As moms with addicted children, we may often feel fragile, but we are strong. And we are many.

To every mother living with the complicated reality of loving a child with an addiction, Sandra Swenson has been where you are today. As a follow-up to her beloved meditation book Tending Dandelions, Sandy has written brand new honest readings for mothers living in the place where love and addiction meet. With the Readings for Moms of Addicts app, you can carry these new meaningful readings with you wherever you go. Sandy honestly addresses codependency, shame, grief, stigma, and how she came to realize that letting go is not the same as giving up. Wherever you and your child are in your unique recovery journeys, these readings will remind you that you are not alone.

This app contains 146 new readings that are different from, yet complementary to, the readings in the book Tending Dandelions published by Hazelden Publishing. This convenient and searchable app format provides the perfect tool for use in support groups–such as Al-Anon, Nar-Anon Family Groups, or Families Anonymous–or at any time you need connection and motivation.

🌻🦁❤️

Excerpt:

Love (Unconditional)

Addiction has changed my understanding of love.

Before my first child was even born, back when he was just a bun in the oven—before I even knew that such a love came baked-in to motherhood—I already knew a love that was pure and beautiful, unconditional and without end. But in time, beaten down by The Addict’s cruel lashes, I’ve come to know a love that is painfully less than that.

And more than that.

Never could I have imagined that my child would use and manipulate me and my love, even while starting out on the road to recovery. Never could I have imagined that I would need to protect my heart and soul from the child I love, or that the field in which my love was meant to grow would be so harsh.

My love now has boundaries. It has to. But still, it is a love unconditional and without end.

Maybe it’s even stronger than it would have been, because it’s been growing, and adapting, in a storm.

A tattered, yet enduring, dandelion.

“If you let us, I promise you, with every fiber in my being, that we will rip your heart out and suck you dry until you are bleeding out—a ravaged, withering carcass left out in the cold. I’m not saying that we want to do that to you, but I’m saying that we will because we are insane addicts whose addiction comes first before anything and anyone.” —Charles A. Peabody

Quoted from the app Readings for Moms of Addicts available in the App Store or Google Play. (c) Sandra Swenson.

http://bit.ly/DandelionStrongAppleApp

http://bit.ly/DandelionStrongAndroidApp

Staying Dandelion Strong

Other books by Sandy Swenson

Tending Dandelions

The Joey Song

Mom to Mom: The Land of Tears

Tending Dandelions, The Land of Tears

I’ve lived for years in the land of tears—and there’s no escape from the sadness.

By day, I retreat, pushing other people away, and I roam the dark house every night. I cry, I pull myself together, and I crawl back into bed. I get up, I fall down, and I try not to drown. I can’t eat. I eat too much. I eat away at the fears and worries that are eating away at me. I slap on a smile, I force out a laugh, even on days when I don’t make my bed and don’t take a bath. I build up a wall, I knock it back down. My love and loyalty get kicked all around. I pretend to be strong. I pretend not to hurt. I try to believe things are going to get better, but too often I don’t believe they will. I suffer in silence; I feel so alone.

I’ve lived for years in the land of tears—and there’s no escape from the sadness.

“It is such a secret place, the land of tears.” ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

 

Today’s thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is from the book:

Tending Dandelions
by Sandra Swenson

Tending Dandelions

Dandelion Shop for Moms with Addicted Children, Sandy SwensonThe Dandelion Shop is a curated gallery of Dandelion Designs created in partnership with an array of ETSY artists especially for moms with addicted children.

Facebook, Sandy Swenson

Mother’s Day–Sending Hugs and Dandelion Wishes

 

Mother's Day, moms with addicted children

Mother’s Day: Together We Are Stronger

As moms living in the place where love and addiction meet, our hearts are always confused and hurting—but as Mother’s Day nears, our tender hearts seem to become even more so. As moms with addicted children, this day doesn’t feel or look the way it’s supposed to.

But, we can find strength and comfort in each other—and in the enduring blessing that is motherhood.

And we can celebrate that.

FB Live Video:

Mother's Day: Together We Are Stronger

We can find strength and comfort in each other—and in the enduring blessing that is motherhood. And we can celebrate that.

Posted by Sandy Swenson on Tuesday, May 8, 2018

 

”Sandy Swenson is the Obi Wan Kenobi of healing. Treat yourself to this brief video if you need comfort, company along the road of a child’s addiction, or if you just plain want to nourish your soul.” ~ Parent Pathway

 

The Joey Song, Mother's DayTending Dandelions, Mother's Day

Dandelion Shop for Moms with Addicted Children, Sandy SwensonThe Dandelion Shop is a curated gallery of Dandelion Designs created in partnership with an array of ETSY artists especially for moms with addicted children.

Facebook, Sandy Swenson

Mother’s Day: Together We Are Stronger

Moms with addicted children, dandelions, Mother's Day

Finding Strength as a Mother of an Addicted Child

From One Mom to Another

If you have a child struggling with addiction – whether or not they’re in recovery – you undoubtedly understand the pain that accompanies it. Through the stress, worrying, and helplessness that come with this role, it can be easy to forget about your own well-being. We’re here to remind you that you’re not alone, and you are stronger than you think.

Hear firsthand from another mother in this position, author Sandra Swenson, as she reflects in a touching video on the emotional turmoil she’s experienced as the mother of a child suffering with an addiction. You can learn more about her journey and lessons she’s learned along the way in her blog post on parenting an addicted child.

Sandra’s latest book, Tending Dandelions: Honest Meditations for Mothers with Addicted Children, offers honest, daily meditations for mothers of addicted children. Her first book, The Joey Song, offers an inside look into her story with her son’s addiction.

Find support for Mother’s Day at an upcoming Facebook Live event

On Tuesday, May 8th at 8:00 p.m. CDT, join Sandra online for “Mother’s Day: Together We Are Stronger,” a Facebook Live event during which she will offer thoughtful support and meditations based on her own experiences loving a son struggling with addiction. To join the event, follow Sandy at facebook.com/sandyannswenson now, then sign on to Facebook at the event time to tune into the live broadcast.

 

 

 

Tending Dandelions
by Sandra Swenson

Tending Dandelions

Dandelion Shop for Moms with Addicted Children, Sandy SwensonThe Dandelion Shop is a curated gallery of Dandelion Designs created in partnership with an array of ETSY artists especially for moms with addicted children.

Facebook, Sandy Swenson

Mom to Mom: Self-Respect

Self-Respect

 

When my kids used to say, “Mom yelled at me,” what they meant was that I had told them to clean their rooms, or to say “please” and “thank you,” or to obey some other parental directive they didn’t like. To them, this was yelling because we just weren’t a yelly household. So I don’t know how my child became comfortable with yelling and swearing at me once he became an addict, but he did.

And I let him.

I used to be strong. I had self-respect. I would never have let anyone walk all over me. But with my addicted son, I pretty much rolled out the red carpet. He sneered at me and called me names; he was rude, insulting, and mean. He manipulated me, used me, and abused my love and trust. When he said he hated me, didn’t call back, or didn’t show up, I pretended it didn’t hurt. Instead, I groveled. I was desperate, determined to hang on to the last imaginary thread of our relationship–even if it was abusive.

This is not love–not of the self. Not of anyone.

 

“Unconditional love doesn’t mean you have to unconditionally accept bad behaviors.” ~Anonymous

 

Today’s thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is from the book:

Tending Dandelions
by Sandra Swenson

Tending Dandelions

Dandelion Shop for Moms with Addicted Children, Sandy SwensonThe Dandelion Shop is a curated gallery of Dandelion Designs created in partnership with an array of ETSY artists especially for moms with addicted children.

Facebook, Sandy Swenson