Support Artists in RecoveryPlease note: many of our “credentials” come from the school of hard knocks. My friend, Greg Tamblyn, sings it best… enjoy!

To be truly radical is to make hope possible rather than despair convincing.

Barbara Allen

Barbara is a leadership coach, yoga teacher, writer and bereaved parent. Her diverse business background includes 27 years experience in the manufacturing, sales, marketing, engineering, education, and government sectors. Barbara’s career was derailed by nearly a decade of debilitating illness. This gave her the opportunity to refocus her energies toward reducing suffering in the world. This new direction motivated her to establish Forward Flowing Consultancy in 2002. read on >

Tom Allen

Tom, Barbara’s husband, is a fire protection engineer with one son, Ben, who lives in Arlington, VA. As Jim’s step-father they forged a strong bond. Jim loved to cook on the grill and often schooled Tom on the fine art of this kind of cooking. They also shared a love of working with wood. Items that Jim made can be found around their home. Also active within The Compassionate Friends, Tom serves as treasurer of the Greater Baltimore chapter. read on >

The Collaborative Spirit

Barbara and Tom extend their efforts by supporting others working towards similar goals. They have been blessed to meet many parents, siblings and grandparents – some have lost their children, others are fighting to keep theirs alive. Together the world is a safer, friendlier and more hopeful place. These efforts are noted and linked from this site. read on >

Mission Statement

  • To move addiction from the outdated moral model of ignorance and persecution to the disease model of compassion and science.
  • To encourage change in the national consciousness as a means for:
    • Saving lives by pursuing treatment versus incarceration
    • Joining others with similar goals
    • Raising funds for rehabilitation through James’ Place (a 501(c)3 currently being established)
  • To bring more voices to the table of civil discourse towards shattering the stigma of addiction.
  • To reduce suffering in the world through grace, ease and dignity for all.

Primary Goals

  • Empower those affected by this disease (i.e. addicts, parents. spouses, family members) to focus their energy on the battle for life rather than the handicap of stigma.
  • Encourage deeper, more compassionate consideration of this disease in the communities of medicine, psychiatry/counseling, legal, research, churches, media and neighborhoods.

Potential Costs – Personal and Local/National Budgets

  • Personal time invested to better understand issues of addiction, law enforcement and the global impact of both.
  • Courage – personal and community – to have meaningful conversations towards new solutions.
  • Drug issues cost the US over $500 billion every year. Ultimately local and national budgets can be positively affected.
    — Learn more: The Budgetary Impact of Ending Drug Prohibition, at
Shatter the Stigma…bringing humanity to the disease of addiction!
No Shame or Blame – Just Love


In 2003 Barbara Allen became an avid researcher and writer on all topics related to substance addiction, treatment, legal policies at local and international levels, social impact and stigma. Today she offers presentations on these topics for all interested groups. With a focus on other parents now living with addiction to those who have also lost chldren to addiction, her passion shines from within. She works to create expanded awareness on a topic that many prefer to shunt aside yet has a huge economic impact on the smallest of towns and the largest metropolitan areas. Barbara supports online group forums and parents referred for the kind of support only parent-to-parent communication offers.

Barbara is the creator and distributor of the “NO SHAME OR BLAME – JUST LOVE” wristbands. She has given out thousands to groups across the U.S who have been stigmatized by the disease of addiction, suicide, HIV/AID, and gay rights. In memory of Jim, Bill and Amanda, there is never a charge for these wristbands. Through the wristbands hope and compassion is shared and freely given.

Barbara is active within The Compassionate Friends locally and at the national level. Finding solace and a loving community, she and Tom are grateful for the healing and friendship TCF has brought into their lives.

Known for her candor, warmth and delightful sense of humor, Barbara continues as an activist in memory and honor of her loved ones – children Jim and Jessie, brothers John Roger and Bill, and niece Amanda.

What parents are saying about Barbara:

  • “Barbara is a kindred spirit who offers a straight forward, candid, yet sympathetic approach to my needs.”
  • “I value Barbara’s experiences, perspective and positive energy.”
  • “Barbara offers perfect love and kindness.”
  • “When I attend Barbara’s group sessions I feel like I belong.”
  • “Barbara makes me realize that my son’s death was not my fault and that I am not a bad mom.”
  • “Barbara is a special person with a deep sense of caring.”
  • “Barbara has helped me to understand that there is hope.”
  • “Barbara has helped me to understand that I no longer need to feel ashamed.”
  • “Barbara taught me that it was not my fault that my son was an addict.”
  • “Barbara was a gift to me when I desperately needed help.”
  • “Barbara has taught me that I matter and that I need to take time for me.”
  • “(Through Barbara’s work) I have found the courage to honestly say how my son died.”

Faces of Addiction

We humans are complex creatures and rarely are we one dimensional in our responses and interactions with the world. The faces of addiction cross time, culture and geography. read on >