Life does not always give us what we are expecting and can bring many challenges that make us question our ability to handle the pain. When Debbie’s oldest son, Alex, was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder at age seventeen after being hospitalized for nearly a month and then became addicted to drugs and alcohol, she wasn’t prepared for how to deal with what she would be up against over the next nine years and the fear, anxiety, and grief she would experience.  She faced terrifying realities when she almost lost him several times in his late teens and early twenties. When she received the call that is every parent’s worst nightmare – that Alex had been found dead, she felt pain like she had never experienced before, and she had no idea how she would find a way to go on. In that moment, her life had forever changed.

In her journey through grief – grieving while Alex was alive – the loss of how he was and how things were prior to his mental illness and addiction – and grieving the loss after he passed away, Debbie discovered the power of love, mindset, and compassion.  Throughout her journey as a single mom of three, she went through many challenges with Alex’s mental illness and addiction, and she supported him, fought for him, and loved him through his journey. They had a close loving relationship, and she found her path to peace.  Every day she cherishes her memories with him.

Today, Debbie inspires others who are facing the pain and grief of having a child with mental illness and addiction or who have lost a child or other loved one.  She walks with them on their journey, helping them regain their natural emotional resilience and self-love and find peace and purpose in their lives. Debbie has developed a unique process called Peace Beyond the Pain, which provides holistic tools and strategies for navigating grief, loss, pain, hopelessness, overwhelm, fear, and guilt.

Debbie is a certified Life and Relationship Coach, Grief Support Coach, Parent Coach, author of the book Finding Peace and Purpose Amidst the Tears: My Journey of the Love and Loss of My Son through His Mental Illness and Addiction, and host of the internet TV talk show and podcast Finding Peace Beyond the Pain on the Bold Brave TV Network. She was featured on Fox 5 WTTG DC TV, WUSA 9 Washington DC TV, and WAMV Radio, has been a guest on many podcasts, and was recognized by one of the world’s biggest influencers, Tony Robbins, for her journey of turning her pain into purpose by helping parents in the aftermath of losing her twenty-six year old son following his nine year battle with schizoaffective disorder and addiction.

With a diverse professional background in coaching, speaking, writing, law, and special needs, Debbie brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her work.  Debbie is committed to making a difference in the lives of those who are struggling with a loved one’s mental illness and addiction and those who have lost a loved one, reminding them that life is precious and that there is peace beyond the pain.

Debbie holds multiple coaching certifications, including Practitioner of Excellence Life Coach, Advanced Relationship Coach, and Parent and Family Coach from the Coaching Institute and Robbins Madanes Training, as well as an LLM Masters of Law from the American University Washington College of Law and a Juris Doctor from the University of Baltimore School of Law.

Debbie lives in Northern Virginia.  She loves spending time with her twenty-five year old daughter and twenty-seven year old son, writing, reading, meditation, learning, and living a healthy lifestyle.