Puyallup: News

Lights of Hope event to unite families struggling with addiction

Being a parent of a drug addict typically brings darkness and shame, but the Addict’s Mom, a nationwide organization with chapters in Puyallup, hopes to bring light to parents walking with their children battling addiction.

Lights of Hope will honor and support lives that have been shattered by addiction and remembering those lost. Candles will burn as beacons of hope on Saturday (Sept. 12) for the 22.7 million Americans addicted to drugs.

“I hope it will bring an understanding that addiction is a disease,” said Pamela Kirgin, administrator for the Washington State Chapter of Addict’s Mom. “We have to change something.”

Lights of Hope invites all to step out of the shadows of addiction by lighting three candles to spotlight September as National Recovery Month. One candle represents those in active addiction, the next celebrates addicts in recovery and the last speaks for those who have died as a result.

Kirgin says most teens get hooked on pain pills following a sports injury, and then move on to heroin or methamphetamine.

“Don’t think it won’t happen to your child,” she said. “My daughter graduated high school and got addicted at 22. You have to know your kids aren’t exempt. It can be your child.”

The national organization was started by Barbara Theodosiou after she found out two of her four kids were struggling with addiction. Her crusade, now called The Addict’s Mom, a Facebook community, is a home for many. It’s a place where mothers share their hopes, fears and grief without shame. Like millions of other parents who have lost their kids to addiction, she speaks for all, regardless of the circumstances.

“It shocks me. It crushes me. It steals my soul. There are no breaks, no holidays, there is no solace here,” Theodosiou said in a press release about the event. “All I can do now is tell his story to the world in the hopes that I am able to make the smallest change in a broken system that houses the mentally ill in violent jails.”

The Addict’s Mom, now 30,000 strong, takes pride in bolstering battered spirits, sharing the miniscule amount of community resources available and offering support where once there was none.

Lights of Hope is slated for 6 p.m. Saturday (Sept. 12) in Pioneer Park.

For more information, visit www.addictsmom.com, or email barbara@theaddictsmom.com or call 954-309-0992.