I was driving home from the Women’s I to We 3/4 House last night and I had a thought about ASI (Addiction Specialists, Inc) and MES (Mary E. Steratore Treatment Center). I got a huge lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. I was paralyzed. I stopped the car in the middle of the road. My heart sunk. How did this happen? I had a dream. And it came true. My facility opened in July 1999. I was so grateful and so happy. Living my life doing what I love to do with the people I love to do it with. Addicts. Helping Addicts. I had my own treatment center. I have a great husband and four great children. My children mean the world to me. All I ever wanted was for my children to always love to be home. I wanted to make sure that they loved being there. I hated being home. My father died unexpectedly when I was 10 years old of a massive heart attack and my mother might as well have died with him. She was so very sad and depressed. She spent her life waiting to die so she could see him again. So, needless to say, it was a sad place to grow up. I couldn’t wait to leave.
ASI was in operation for 11 years when we decided to open the Mary E. Steratore Treatment Center. It was a residential inpatient facility with 24 beds. I named it after my mother. It was my dream and it came true. The Mary E. Steratore Inpatient Treatment Center. I was able to help addicts in my own facility and I knew my mother would be (and was) very proud of me. My mother died when I had 4 years clean. My addiction took a toll on our relationship. Thank God I got four fantastic years with her. They were the best four years ever and I will always cherish them. I was so blessed to be able to own and name an addiction treatment facility after my mother.
ASI/MES was open and in operation for 20 years. On October 8, 2015 60 FBI agents raided the entire facility. Fifty more Agents also raided my home. My daughter was the only one at home when they showed up at 8:30 am. She is now in therapy two times per week because she suffers from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). She cannot answer our front door without breaking out in hives and having a panic attack. They violated my home and interrogated my daughter. They found NOTHING in my home. They left with a few laptops and a $900.00 TJ Maxx receipt. It was months before anyone was charged with anything. Literally months.
I believe I have been in shock. Ethics have always been a priority for me. They have always been of the utmost importance to me. I am devastated that this happened. I don’t understand why. I truly do not understand how I ended up here. I am 61 years old. I am clean 32 years. I used drugs for 16 years and never was arrested and never went to jail.Why is this happening now? I do not want to have the “poor me’s”. I am totally in shock though, and I need to grieve. I need to work through the five stages of grief somehow. But I cannot get through the denial stage. I’m stuck in it. This has literally put a hole in heart.I wake up every day with an empty feeling in my gutt. I get on my knees and ask God for help.I still have the hole. Then my husband sat me down and told me that he has cancer and has known for 2 months. He now has been in the hospital for three weeks due to some different complications with his heart and his good lung.
So I started this blog. It’s a way for me to express my feelings. It’s a way for me to stay connected to my old patients who I miss terribly. It’s a way for me to hear from all of you. It’s a way for me to tell myself each day that I’m going to be okay and that I can continue to do what I love to do. I had about five more years before I retired. Now, I literally have to start over. And I will. And I’ll be better for it. I won’t lose my faith. I believe in God and I believe that everything happens for a reason. I believe that the truth will be revealed. And we will all find out that this happened due to peoples envy and jealousy. Due to politics and the government. Due to society and their stigma of addiction and of addicts. I replay October 8, 2015 over and over and over in my head. Like a broken record.Now what? Those two words are something that I have been asking myself daily for the past 10 months. What a nightmare. That is the best description for our lives since Oct. 8, 2015. I have not had closure with ASI/MES or with my patients.
I need to have a gathering of all past ASI patients and staff. Well, not all staff. hahaha. I miss the patients and I need to see how they are doing !!!! I have to figure out how to pull that off. I’m not sure how anyone could just expect us to walk away from all of this like it didn’t happen. My kids were planning on working at ASI and taking it over. They will need to continue in the field and open another one. TWENTY YEARS IS A LIFETIME.