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Mary Fran Bontempo is an award-winning 2-time TEDx speaker, author, humorist and podcast host who teaches audiences to uncover their brilliance and resilience using the 15-Minute Master.

The podcast graphic has a photo of Mary Fran Bontempo in the bottom left hand corner under the podcast logo. Mary Fran is smiling and wearing a mint green sleeveless lace dress. The graphic also has a photo of Robyn sitting on the floor and wearing a black tank top and jeans.


About Mary Fran Bontempo

A sought-after presenter for corporate and association events, Mary Fran is the author of The 15 Minute Master and The Woman’s Book of Dirty Words and co-founder of the podcast 4 Chicks Chatting.

Mary Fran proves small changes can create life-altering transformations, allowing individuals to be positive and successful in a rapidly changing world. A Huffington Post, Thrive Global contributor, and columnist for numerous websites, Mary Fran created a life-affirming brand of wisdom and wit after meeting the challenge of her son’s heroin addiction. She is a frequent media guest and speaker, and audiences of all ages delight in her empowering and entertaining message.

First Phase

Mary Fran’s first phase was fairly typical–married, had three kids, church singer, youth minister, substitute teacher, and worked in the family recruiting business with her husband. She also wrote a humorous local newspaper column.

The Day the Rug was Pulled Out from Under Her

 On Mother’s Day 2010 Mary Fran that her son was a heroin addict.   The suspicions were there, but as a mom, it was easy to deny them.     As a mom of an adult child, her hands were somewhat tied.   Both are common emotions in such circumstances.

The two companions, not friends, of crisis, are denial and distraction.

An addict will get high, then there will be a period that is like a train wreck and you are ready to do something, and then they pull back.   Almost as though they know you are ready to intervene.

Mary Fran suggests that if you feel in your gut that something is wrong, it is.   Address it.  Don’t deny it.  And don’t let yourself be distracted.

First Steps for Crisis Management

 The first steps for crisis management are:

  • Research – find resources.
  • Talk to others for outside help.
  • Remember – There is no shame in this. Everyone knows someone who is affected by this.  The odds are that if you were not doing drugs with your child, you weren’t lighting up a joint with them, and you didn’t cause the addiction.  

The three C’s of addiction:

1st C – You didn’t cause it

2nd C – You can’t control it

3rd C – You can’t cure it

Getting a child into recovery is the best feeling ever.  You can finally sleep.   Your child is finally with people who can help him/her and he/she is safe.

It’s a very dark time, but getting treatment is the beginning of the light.

The Second Phase

The 15-Minute Master

People often say to take life one day at a time.   But with an addict, you often have to take life in 15-minute increments.   You can get through anything in a 15-minute time frame.  It’s about taking one action at a time.

The experience of living 15 minutes at a time led Mary Fran to write her book, The 15-Minute Master.   She now applies this principle to every aspect of her life. Mary Fran also speaks on it and leads workshops to teach others how to survive and thrive 15 minutes at a time.

The 15-Minute Master is broken down into 15 minutes, three main questions, and one action step.

Three questions are:

  • What can I do about this? The question is not: what do I want to do? The outcome is the main goal, but what are the resources?
  • The next question is: What should I do? Should I act or not?
  • And the third question is: What am I going to do about this? Do I need courage?  Do I do nothing and let it evolve?  Do I need to take a step back and let someone else handle it?

Who Are You Going to Call?

If you can’t solve the problem, call in the experts.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help, but first, identify that you do indeed need the help.

Sometimes you need to surrender.   That doesn’t mean giving up.   It means giving yourself time to process what’s happening and allowing yourself the grace to let someone else help.  Turn things over to God, or your higher power.

Be gentle with yourself and give yourself time to heal.   There will be PTSD.  Trust has been broken and has to be rebuilt.  You may forgive, but you’ll never forget.  The relationship has been destructed and must be rebuilt.   It is a process.  There must be grace all around it.

Mary Fran’s Two Other Books:

Not Ready for Granny Panties

The Women’s Book of Dirty Words

Mary Fran’s favorite dirty word is, relax.  Just relax really means shut up and leave me alone.   If told to relax, Mary Fran has learned to do just that.

Change is another dirty word.  But look at change as an opportunity not a threat.


The best advice is to find a purpose in the horror.  Sometimes that is to serve others.

Find your brilliance.  You have gifts.   Identify them and use them to serve others because you will be serving and fulfilling yourself at the same time!

Your gifts don’t have to be used in a traditional way.   You may have the gift to teach, but that doesn’t mean that you have to be in the classroom.   Teaching can be accomplished in different ways such as through speaking and writing.

Use your passion and it will gift others and yourself.

Dream Life Recovery

Mary Fran has always been active in the recovery world.   She is now on a mission to help bring families into the recovery process.    Dream Life Recovery is building a resource for families of addicts to turn to.

Today Mary Fran is working for her son and writes blogs for Dream Life Recovery.  She writes pieces from the perspective of a parent.   There is also a video series she is working on with her son.

More on addiction recovery. 

Learn more about Mary Fran:


To learn more about your host, Robyn Graham, click HERE.


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