Show Us Your Shirts

Image, stack of tees



Americans use t-shirts as personal billboards in order to advertise, celebrate, raise awareness, express belonging, and to show solidarity. We wear them with pride, and sometimes to show off a little.

“Been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt.”

Sound familiar? How many of us have said these very words, or some version of them? In this country there is a t-shirt for EVERYTHING. Retailers use shirts to promote their brand (✓), industries make the everyday appear sexy (“Got Milk?”), fans cheer for their beloved team (“Go Ducks”), and virtually every vacation yields a keepsake shirt of some kind (“I ♥ New York”).

Every political campaign has a shirt, as do nonprofit fundraisers, 5k runs and car washes. Some families wear matching shirts at their reunions, or even at Disneyland to find one another among the sea of bodies and faces. Most parents acquire a stash of t-shirts collected by their offspring from summer camps, Little League, music festivals, and whatever sport they may have played throughout the teen years. My son collected so many t-shirts during his 9 years of basketball, I assembled them in a quilt as a college graduation gift.

Advocacy groups also have shirts… and I have a bunch of those. Actually, the advocacy group of which I’m a part is just starting to wear shirts, and it’s certainly not to show off. In fact, we’re a group of people who usually do the opposite of showing off, and we all too often hide in shame. The last thing we want to do is advertise. But I am happy to say this is changing. We are now working to overcome our shame, and our silence, and we are bravely stepping out to raise awareness and to educate. We are finally telling the world what we care about and who we’re fighting for: Our children.

We are the parents and families of those who suffer from the disease of addiction.

I just started collecting addiction-related t-shirts last year and counted 7 in my closet this morning. Some of you likely have many more than I do:

Image, tee 4


The Meth Action Coalition t-shirt was my first. I’ve been a

board member with MAC for 8 years, and I’m as proud of the

drug prevention work we do in my community as any work I’ve

ever done.


Image, tee 6

I ordered this shirt as part of an Addict’s Mom fundraiser. TAM

has tens of thousands of members nationwide who are helping one

another navigate the daily fear of addiction. There are Facebook

pages for moms, dads, grandparents, and siblings. If you’re not already

connected, check it out: #TheAddictsMom


Image, tee 2Participants wore this shirt at the Change Addiction Now (CAN)

rally in Olympia, WA last spring. The mission statement featured

on the front (not pictured) says “Embrace Educate Empower.” It was

my privilege to be a speaker at that rally, and to meet so many people

advocating for families. I’m honored to have just been elected to CAN’s

advisory board, and will likely be collecting more shirts along the way! #ChangeAddictionNow

Image, tee 1


This Battlefield Addiction t-shirt was a gift from a sweet mom at

the CAN rally. We walked part of the way together during the march,

and have since connected as friends on social media. Battlefield Addiction

runs support services in the Tacoma, WA area.


Image, tee 5


The purple tee was a freebie handed out on the streets of Washington, DC.

My son, daughter and I participated in the epic #UNITEtoFaceAddiction

rally last fall, and a woman handed this to me as we exited the metro on

our way to the event. Many thanks to the DC Prevention Center that provided these.


Annie t shirt


And here’s my favorite. My daughter made these shirts. She, my son and I wore them together at the #UNITEtoFaceAddiction rally. I am grateful every day for the sentiments expressed on these shirts.

DC t-shirts

Lastly, I’m adding this shirt because I LOVE IT. I ordered it from an organization called The Christian Left. While the sentiment isn’t exclusively about addiction, it’s good stuff nonetheless. Let’s all wear this shirt… and if not on our backs, then on our hearts.

Image, tee 3

Yep, been there, done that, got the t-shirt. And I’m excited about my growing collection.

Now it’s your turn. Show us your shirts to help raise awareness about addiction! Please share your photos on this Facebook link

Author: Barbara Stoefen

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  1. Love the t-shirts, Barbara! What a great idea. I clearly understand how the topic of the addiction has most people wanting to “hide in shame.” Wonderful that you and your daughter are spreading awareness by wearing the cause! Thank you!

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks Cathy! Call me strange, but addiction is my favorite thing to talk about, and to wear on my sleeve.

      Post a Reply

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