October 21, 1987 was the most painful day of my recovery. It was Tuesday night; Beechwood was my Home Group. I remember like it was yesterday. We lived at 6345 Glenview Place in Highland Park. We had no children and Sean and I were rushing to get to the meeting. I threw on my white sweatpants and my white hoodie and we ran out the door. God forbid we be late for our home group! The meeting was packed as usual and I walked back into the step meeting which was the norm for me at that meeting. The meeting had started and my friend Gloria was sharing when I walked in the room. It was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. She was crying. I was concerned as we were very close and talked every day. I had not talked to her that day so something happened. It turns out that her father died suddenly. She was clearly upset and so was I. As I listened I realized that the topic was the Third Step:
“We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. ” My thoughts were racing. This step made me feel guilty. The third step prayer which I said every morning and every night is “Take my will & my life, Guide me in my recovery and show me how to live.” That was not how I said the prayer though. My version of the prayer was: ” take my will and my life, guide me in my recovery, show me how to live… And please do not take my mother yet……”. I was “cheating”…….everyday. My secret I had was with only God. It was that there was NO WAY I could stay clean if something happened to my mother. I would never be able to make it. I was clean for 4 years and I had entirely too much guilt over what I did to her in my active addiction. I was so angry at her for emotionally dying after my father died. I was so full of fear. I dumped all of my crazy thoughts at the meeting and shared openly and honestly about my fears. I felt so relieved and I felt so much better. I just could not imagine living life without my mom. 🙏🏼🙏🏼
After drinking coffee with our “WE” and solving the problems of the world, Sean & I drove back home to Glenview Place in Highland Park. As soon as I walked in the door I hit the play back messages on my answering machine. The message said “Rozzie please come quick it’s your mother we will be at the hospital……”. My stomach dropped. I KNEW something was very wrong. I yelled for Sean to hurry; i played the message for him to hear. We got in the truck and I started saying the Serenity Prayer out loud. I never broke the chant the entire ride I believe Sean made it to Washington in 30 minutes instead of the regular 45. He dropped me off at the Washington Hospital emergency room. I went to the desk and I asked for Mary Steratore. The doctor came out and said “come with me.” He open the door to the room I walked in and my entire family was in the room. They all became very quiet. I could tell by the looks on their faces that they were extremely worried about whether or not I was going to make it through this. My brother Gene came to me and said, “She’s gone Roz. Let’s go so you can say goodbye.” She had a massive heart attack and died at 9:00 that night…… ……..While I was at my NA Homegroup sharing about how I didn’t think I could survive if something were to happen to her. These are the “miracles” in recovery.
The funeral director went to my brother and said “Mr. Steratore, I’m sorry but we really are not able to supply the amounts of coffee your visitors are drinking. Haha. The funeral home resembled an NA function.
I was 3 months pregnant with my first born child when I lost my mom. Sean & I just got married in July of that year. We started our family and built it up to 4 children. My mother never met my children….. they missed out on a great grandmother and she missed out on four wonderful grandkids.
I had four wonderful years with my mother. She was very proud of me and very proud that I got clean. Narcotics Anonymous gave Me a new life. A new career. Four beautiful , loving children.
In July 1999 we opened our own treatment center. In 2006; the MARY E. STERATORE Treatment Center inpatient residential facility opened.