The Addict's Mom Founder Marks Son's Death With Facebook Candlelight Vigil

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The Addict's Mom Founder Marks Son's Death With Facebook Candlelight Vigil

By John Lavitt 04/08/15

Barbara Theodosiou marked the passing of Daniel Montalbano, whom she called a "very unique and gifted soul."

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Daniel Montalbano
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On April 7, The Addict’s Mom held a candlelight remembrance on Facebook in memory of Daniel Montalbano (1991-2015), the son of TAM Founder Barbara Theodosiou. Entitled Lights of Love: Remembering Daniel Francis Montalbano, the event marked the tragic passing of a talented young man to the twin demons of addiction and mental illness. In a recent interview with The Fix, Theodosiou painfully recalled the most recent relapse of her son and her desperate struggles to help him walk a path of recovery.

After leaving a local rehab in South Florida without any money or identification, Daniel had been missing for over a week. Despite a massive search effort, the heartbreaking end to this latest ordeal occurred when police got in contact with Theodosiou. They informed the loving mother that her son’s body had been found in the morgue. In a poignant message on the group’s website, she expressed her grief and her courageous resolve:

“Daniel was a very unique and gifted soul; he was a free spirit. He expressed that soul and spirit in his art, and in his writing. He was brilliant; he had a thirst for knowledge. At times misunderstood by others, I remained in awe of his ability to overcome defeat time and time again, and to rise up stronger, and more determined in his quest for a successful adult life. It is because of Daniel’s pain and struggles that I created The Addict’s Mom ... I know within my very core that his life is my inspiration to fulfill the mission of TAM. Although Daniel’s life is a high price to pay, his life will not be in vain.”

Upon hearing of his death, countless TAM moms contacted Barbara to express their support. In a stirring and emotional tribute, thousands of TAM members and supporters posted pictures of candles they were burning on the night of April 7 to honor Daniel’s memory. The Addict’s Mom group page and her personal profile page were also filled with such images and condolences. Picture after picture of burning candles, message after message of consolation, the online experience reflected the loving convergence that has come to characterize the community of The Addict’s Mom.

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Growing up in Manhattan as a stutterer, John Lavitt discovered that writing was the best way to express himself when the words would not come. After graduating with honors from Brown University, he lived on the Greek island of Patmos, studying with his mentor, the late American poet Robert Lax. As a writer, John’s published work includes three articles in Chicken Soup For The Soul volumes and poems in multiple poetry journals and compilations. Active in recovery, John has been the Treatment Professional News Editor for The Fix. Since 2015, he has published over 500 articles on the addiction and recovery news website. Today, he lives in Los Angeles with his beautiful wife, trying his best to be happy and creative. Find John on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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