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Local Moms Fighting That Drug Problem on Our Doorstep

Meet the Pleasanton moms and founders of Mothers with a Purpose, who want to beat the pervasive drug problem through education.

In July of 2010, when Donna and Kelly spearheaded Mothers With a Purpose, a group that provides support and raises awareness for families battling prescription pill addictions, they had no idea they would end up foraging friendships from working through the pain.

The duo met when Kelly recognized Donna’s son while attending an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting with her own son. The two mothers connected and realized their children were going through a similar battle of prescription drug addiction.

After meeting for hours and crying over the agony of the opiate addictions their children were fighting, they decided to take action and to start a support group. They have asked that their last names not be used, to protect the privacy of themselves and their families.

Donna recruited other families in the community who were suffering from the same problem. The group rapidly grew from the two tenacious mothers to now close to 100 people.

"Forty years ago, addicts were seen as the scum of the earth," said a former addict, who has spoken before the group about his own struggles in an effort to help Pleasanton kids who are suffering.

"Today, it can be a child from a family that makes a million dollars. It's not someone who lives in alleys; it's your own neighborhoods."

Mothers With a Purpose meets on the second and fourth Thursdays of every month at Foothill High School in Pleasanton. They welcome anyone who wants to attend and both say it takes courage to walk through the door of those meetings to face and work through their worst fears.

The former speaker said that before Mothers with a Purpose, there wasn't really an organization out there solely for support.

"The best way to get help was to talk to another parent in the same situation," he said. "There's no place to turn — it's not like you can go to church and ask around. It's really a hidden thing."

“Everyone is hurting from something,” says Donna.

According to Donna, the mission statement of the group is to provide total awareness, support and resources to those children and families confronting and struggling with the disease of addiction.

The group, which has recently become a non-profit organization, has had overwhelming support from the Pleasanton Police Department, the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, the Mayor’s Office in Pleasanton and the Pleasanton Unified School District.

In addition to the bi-monthly meetings and a website that offers many resources, Donna and Kelly attend local drug and alcohol forums. They often bring children to speak who are recovering addicts. After the forums, parents usually thank the pair for their candor.

Both agree that the disease of addiction, specifically prescription pill addiction, is a nation-wide problem. Locally, they say the knowledge of this problem in the schools and in the community still shocks residents.

Donna says every parent should have to go through a class before their kids start school.

“[This experience] teaches you different areas you need to balance,” says Kelly. “I look at life differently now. When it happens, you are a fish out of water. It is a life-time journey.”

Donna says her biggest challenge in starting the group has been standing up in public forums. For Kelly, the biggest challenge has been getting parents to listen.

“Listening is what is going to cause change,” said Kelly. “The only way to beat this is to educate people.”

“It is our recovery too,” added Donna.

"If I had had this education growing up, maybe things would have been different," the forum speaker said.

"I didn't even know what an alcoholic was; I just knew that I did drugs and I did it well and I loved it. Every day, I struggled with addiction but now I have tools so I don't need to do drugs. I can cope with life.

"It is all about the parents being educated," he says, noting that he knows of a parent of a drug-addicted teen who wanted to take her own life, because she didn't know what else to do and felt so desperate.

"She felt like she failed. And then she met others dealing with the same thing and at least had someone to struggle with. That speck of hope is so crucial to someone trying to stay sane.

"And this woman is wealthy," he added. "Lives in Pleasanton, comes from a good family and her son was raised with great values. But somewhere along the way, he got mixed up with some bad drugs."

Donna and Kelly say they have experienced some stumbling blocks since founding the support group. They have had growing pains and have suffered through knowing some of the kids in the group relapsed.

“Holidays can be trigger points [for those battling addictions],” says Donna.

Still, they are both extremely grateful for the new friends they have made over the last two years and of the welcome reception they have received in the community.

They are proud that National Prescription Drug Take Back Day will be in Pleasanton on April 30 and they encourage participation.

The event allows people to drop off prescription pills that are no longer needed, which keeps them out of their children's hands.

If a child ends up in a situation where rehabilitation is needed, both recommend at least six months of treatment. They believe 30 days is not long enough to get on top of the problem. They highly recommend learning about the signs of addiction so you can recognize it in your child.

“Lock up your prescription drugs,” stresses Kelly. “A lot of [trying prescription drugs] is peer pressure.”

In addition to the periodic educational forums in Pleasanton, , both women recommend using the resources available such as Alcoholic Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and Al-Anon and to be aware that the problem can start at an early age.

To read about a drug-testing kit you can use in the home, click .

jeff March 08, 2012 at 08:18 PM
If you never met these women and you are a parent, I suggest you attend one of their meetings. You will find it difficult to find someone as passionate about teen drug use, and the urgency to stop it than Kelly. As makes of home drug test kits, Teensavers is proud to have met and support these courageous women, and have their support.
james smith March 09, 2012 at 01:21 AM
Mothers with a purpose is were HOPE is Found and U never have to fight addiction alone anymore. There only love, understanding ,awareness and education to be found at their meetings. JUDGEMENT does not exsist and mothers helping each other is the only way to heal and move forward in addictions. MY hat goes off to my sister Kelly and Donna. Thanks for helping me stay clean for another day LOVE JIMS
Anti Denial March 09, 2012 at 01:41 PM
AA is not a safe place for teens!! The courts mandate violent felons and sexual predators. AA has no meetings just for minors. Here is a website that addresses the dangers of minors going to AA and NA meetings. www.nadaytona.org
Anti Denial March 09, 2012 at 01:43 PM
Please check out www.leavingaa.com and www.orangepapers.org about concerns people have over the 12 step message.
Anti Denial March 09, 2012 at 01:45 PM
These wonderful Organization has www.smartrecovery.org has free online meetings, and lots of free literature. It is science based and secular.
Spencer G. May 16, 2012 at 07:03 AM
Dear "Anti-denial" 12 step programs have been proven (yes proven) to help individuals with drug and alcohol addiction. Addiction is an AMA recognized disease (http://www.ama-assn.org/resources/doc/alcohol/alcoholism_treatable.pdf) meaning it has a planned course of action. This disease is progressive (meaning it gets worse, never better), chronic, and fatal. The fact that uninformed posts are being made on this site is irresponsible. This is the reason why a lot of people aren’t getting the help they need. 12 step programs do have young adult and teen meetings (they are especially strong in the east bay area). Please do not post irresponsible harmful information, behind an alias i might add. Spencer G. spencergha@gmail.com
Anti Denial May 16, 2012 at 01:48 PM
Actually Spencer there are many professionals who do not believe it is a disease! If Alcoholism was a disease you could not have people being able to quit all by themselves! That is not a progressive, chronic and fatal disease! Actually most people quit without AA or rehab. It is people spreading your 12 step dogma that has people thinking they have a disease for life, and that their chilldren have the disease too! This is totally irresponsible. The reason people are not getting the help they need is because of AA and NA's monopoly on the industry. You say there are teen meetings? Are they just for minors under 18 years of age? If so where? Do they do background checks? Are felons allowed to be sponsors? I think we know the answers to these questions! What you are posting is irresponsible, making people think AA and NA are safe places for minors. AA and NA need to stay out of our schools and college campuses, and get them help other than 12 step dogma that most teens hate. You are real funny talking about an alias coming from an organization that hides behind being anonymous! That is how so many crimes that are done by AA members never get reported, leaving vulnerable members of society at great risk.
Anti Denial May 16, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Here is the Georgia article about the mandated NA member who was arrested for molesting a little girl during a NA meeting this year. AA/NA meetings are not a safe place for teens or children! http://nadaytona.org/2012/03/29/narcotics-anonymous-member-arrested-for-molesting-child-during-na-meeting/
Anti Denial May 16, 2012 at 02:09 PM
Here is an article of a mandated pedophile that was sent back to jail for sexual abusing women at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. http://nadaytona.org/2012/04/06/sex-offender-alcoholics-anonymous-member-jailed-for-preying-on-women-in-aa/
Anti Denial May 16, 2012 at 03:00 PM
Here is an article by Laura Tompkins who wrote an article in the Huffington Post speaking of the AA negativity in 12 step dogma. She is one professional that does think addiction is a disease! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/laura-tompkins/alcoholics-anonymous_b_1383849.html
Patti May 17, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Anti Denial, whatever program an addict chooses to follow and finds hope, compassion and possibly success is a good thing. As far as addiction being a disease I invite you to check out a recent 60 Minute interview. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18560_162-57423321/hooked-why-bad-habits-are-hard-to-break/?tag=currentVideoInfo;videoMetaInfo
Anti Denial May 17, 2012 at 11:03 PM
Here is a popular website for people who want to leave AA or has already left AA. Here are there personal stories that drove them to leave the religious 12 step dogma. http://stinkin-thinkin.com/why-i-left-aa-stinkin-thinkin-stories/
Anti Denial May 17, 2012 at 11:23 PM
Patti, I read the article. By this woman's own admission, she states that drugs change the brain, and can continue to effect people for a long time after quitting. Even though she states addiction is a disease, she confirms that the effects are not lifelong. The idea that drugs and alcohol may change the brain does not mean it is a disease. People incur all kinds of changes physically by accidents and injuries. Once healed, they are not diseased for life. It does not mean it is a progressive disease for life. I do not see how anyone can believe addiction is a disease. How is it that nearly 90% of people stop or moderate without the help of AA or Rehab? So how do you explain that? Even brains that have been effected by drug abuse does NOT make it impossible to quit on their own, because it happens all of the time! Easy? No! Possible? Yes! The program the addict chooses impacts not only them, but their family as well. Moms bringing their children to meetings to sit with court mandates that have been convicted of serious crimes multipe times is NOT a good thing. Sending teens to AA or NA is flat out dangerous. Go sit in court one day and see the people being mandated to AA who beat their wifes and children, robbed stores, manslaughter, rape, attempted murder, murder including sexually perverted mentally ill criminals as well. No, I dont think you want to go looking for hope, compassion or success at an AA meeting. Not with a 95% failure rate and the inherent dangers!

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