Sharing Makes It Easier To Deal

Peter Steele's sister Cathy shares a bit of herself ...

Even though I felt she was not going to make it, it was still a shock that Amy Winehouse  died. It was the same shock I felt when my brother Pete died.

I had not heard a voice that sounded like that since I can remember.
She started at the top of her career with that voice. So many voices all in one.

It is so sad how Amy's life turned out, another tragedy in such a short period.

All you need is the predilection, that one tastes, or the soul sickness to become captured in addiction.  I am sure Amy and others with this disease did not start their life aspirations by saying “I want to be an alcoholic or drug addict when I grow up".

Addiction is a horrible, horrible disease. It ravages and takes the souls, minds, emotions, and the spirits of the individuals and has already taken so many creative, inspirational, vulnerable people who succumbed. Diseases of addiction have minds of their own. I know, I have heard it say, "drink it ... snort it ... smoke it"  many, many times.

Recidivisms rate is about 95% with alcoholism and drugs.

Other forms of addiction (money, sex, people, food, love) are a little more successful in helping the recovering individual. Recovery depends on how willing you are to surrender and realizing that you are living to die and dying to live, at the same time.

Some of us know from our own personal experiences what it is like for them and what it is does to us.

To say the least it is torture every day for them and for us...heartbreak and despair.
There are no words to describe what you see and feel for the person you love so much tangled in their own inevitable destruction.

I know in my heart that those around her did not just stand there and watch her decay right before their eyes. Moreover, out of shame and embarrassment she said or did much to push them all away.

I have been on both sides of this deadly disease: twice-in rehabs for multiple addictions (a garbage head) and for other demons like depression, anxiety, self-loath, suicidal ideations and attempts. Finally and fortunately after 33 years of messing around, through rehabs (yea I screamed “I don’t want to go to rehab, I say no, no, no!”), 12 step meetings and getting out of my own way, I’m  lucky to be alive for the last 19 years.

My heart and my soul go out to Amy’s family, friends, and fans like me.

I am sorry Amy did not have the same fortune and divine intervention as I did.

I feel like my heart has been ripped out of my chest in empathy of her despair and for our loss of her from our world!

There is a special place in the universe for people with gifts such as Amy’s and she will never be forgotten. 

I wish that Amy were here still to share more of her life with us and show us more of what she can do.

My hope is that Amy finds my brother Pete.

Bet is they would have a lot to say to each other.


  1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1flUs2TwFg




  3. Cathy, thank you for sharing your personal story with us. You are a very strong woman and be proud of yourself for what you have fought and won. Addiction is terrible and a very interesting demon. It shows itself in so many forms.I have had friends who were addicts,some died,some are still addicts and some are clean. I have found the hardest thing about trying to help an addict is how far you can push/try to help before they want to commit suicide or disappear from your life forever. Its a scary tight rope to walk,for them and us.I was one of the lucky ones who used drugs but could walk away from them.I have bipolar and my addiction is OCD/cleaning...sounds harmless but it is all consuming. Thankfully my brain "snapped" one day and I didnt want to be trapped in my home for the rest of my life having major anxiety attacks everytime I thought something was dirty and isolating myself from everyone and everything. So things are fairly good now.
    When someone dies from addiction or suicide it feels like such a terrible waste because there is help but they are too messed up to realise they want/need it.I am so proud of Peter for not dying from an overdose, sadly others just cant seem to break free, like Amy. Both taken away from us way too soon.
    "The hardest thing about life is living it".
    Cathy, wishing you happiness and love.
    Wow this is really long, edit it if you want Darcie.

  4. Dear Cathy,
    I am glad that you are still here.
    I find no words...

  5. Addiction is devastating for everyone involved, directly and indirectly. I have a sister that has been drinking heavily since she was 16. The only time in her life that she didn't drink was when she was pregnant with her daughter. She used to weight a solid 140 pounds now she's lucky if she weighs 90. She has no muscle development at all, it's hard for her to carry an empty casserole dish. She's 49 years old and she looks 65. Her husband is 63 and is dying of cancer and I pray she doesn't follow him. We've done intervention, and of course it only works if the said person wants it to work. I'm proud of you Cathy, for loving yourself enough to get help. And yes, you may backslide along the way, but know that you always have friends to be there when you need to talk about it. Thank you so much for posting this. XO

  6. Thank you for that inspiring story....
    I lived with an addict once and in the end i had to leave him.
    I couldn't fight anymore after 5 years of trying my hardest to help him. The addiction won and i was left with nothing but a depression.
    He is still alive but you can barely call it a life.
    Amy was a very gifted singer indeed and i feel for her and her family.
    The pain and shock you feel about her is the same feeling i had last year when i heard about Pete, it sucks!! Big time!!
    I am so happy that Pete didn't die of an overdose, that he overcame his demons... Though that makes his death even more unfair....


    With love,


  7. Cathy I admire you for sharing this story, and for succeeding with your addictions.

    Much love, adoration, and respect for you...


  8. Dear Cathy,
    thank you for committing your most private story with us... I'm proud that you found the lust for life again. ♥
    [Um... the grammar looks really weird to me now but I think you know what I wanted to say. :) ]
    Love from Germany, Christine ♥

  9. It is an extreme waste whenever someone succumbs to their addictions (famous or not). Although there is alot of help out there, there are also so many roadblocks, even for someone with means such as Ms. Winehouse! But even worse for the average joe. With very little support it is almost impossible to become sober and stay sober for any length of time. Cathy you are to be commended on being able to resist and stay clean! It's so nice to hear another success story! I wish you continued sobriety! Thank you so much for sharing your story. Peace.

  10. PS. It seems a little bit weird but the death of Michael Jackson was my little "heart ripped out". I never was a fan but I was totally shocked. Maybe because of his "pitiful" life, maybe because I can't understand that such a great Popstar isn't immortal. :/
    Christine ♥

  11. I am so at awe that you are willing to share apart of yourself, for it is never easy to share some of most personal/difficult times that you have gone through in your life. I believe that sharing your story will help so many people going through the same or similar situations.... and in turn will save many lives as well for so many who think that it's too late and there is no place to go but down. Now they have a chance to go up and leave behind the darkness/demons that has overcome them and start the road to recovery.
    We have lost so many such as Amy and like you mentioned you hope that Amy finds Peter...My hope is they will find each other too and i'm certain they will if they haven't already.
    Cathy thank you for sharing your story ...I wish you lots of love,peace and happiness.

  12. Oh Cathy this message from you touches my heart deeply. I too have had experience w/loss due to addiction. My son's best friend David. I've mentioned him before. Yes the people who love him stand by now and we just wish we had done something different to save him. Lots of regrets. As far as where David is now, he too is with the beloved souls like Peter, Amy, Kurt, John Lennon, Janice Joplin too many to count. And there is music and there is peace there I know. David too played guitar. My son owns one of his guitars. I feel so sorry for you and your family and for Amy's family. The grief they are going thru you and I are all too familiar with. I cry a lot, I still do. And then I feel David's energy and his light and love and I can smile sometimes. I miss him terribly. Amy's family well they are in the grips of this now, you know. You understand. Cathy I too wish you my best to stay strong, my heart goes out to you. I was watching Peter on youtube last night....what a man!! what a talent!!

  13. I think you're all brilliant :)

  14. Oh my God Peter was so beautiful!!

  15. Cathy,

    Thank you for being brave and sharing your personal struggles with us. I have never had those addictions affect my life but I have seen how it affects others and it so so horrible. You are blessed to have recovered from your addictions. It is sad Amy never did. She may have never gotten to the point of wanting to recover herself which I think is key. My husband and I still miss Peter every day but at least we know he kicked his alcohol and drug problems nine months before he died. Yes, even though it was a short time for him to enjoy being clean at least he had that and that he battled those demons and won. That is what makes Peter a hero to fans. He always warned others about how his addictions ruined many things for him. I hate seeing drug addicts memorialized in a glamorous way. Russell Brand who was a friend of Amy's put it best when he said, ""All we can do is adapt the way we view this condition, not as a crime or a romantic affectation but as a disease that will kill. We need to review the way society treats addicts, not as criminals but as sick people in need of care."
    Cathy, you and Peter are both heros and inspirations to all by showing that drug and alcohol addictions can be overcome. Thank you for sharing.----Jessica (Black Number 1)

    p.s Here is a link to the Russell Brand interview:

  16. Cathy, I know you are a fan of Amy's, and so you are feeling what we, Pete's fans, felt when he died. I don't want to (and can't) take that away from you... but in my book, Pete was miles ahead of Amy in every way. He had his problems, but he didn't make it as publicly horrific and pathetic as she did. I have much more respect, both musically and personally, for Pete. He spoke and sang about his demons, but he managed to keep a dignity about himself that always came across. I am sad for all lives that are cut short unnecessarily, but to me the loss of Peter overshadows all the Winehouses, Joplins, Cobains, and etc. put together.

  17. Hi Cathy--

    Thanks for sharing your story. I can't even imagine what you've been through. Thank goodness you had the strength and courage to change things and get clean and that you are still here with us.
    Love & Gratitude--Patty P

  18. I know all too well what it's like having a family member who appears hell-bent on self-destruction. Sometimes even the interventions don't help when there is so much anger on both sides. Change has to come from the addict's heart otherwise it's like chasing one's tail. I'm glad those close to me who've had issues eventually reached the point where they said, "No more."

    Strength to you. Every day alive with clarity of mind is a blessing.

  19. I was unfamiliar with Amy Winehouse's work and life. As with many who suffer similar fates, she seemed to have been very driven and had a unique talent. Drive is often a double-edged sword. I'm hoping Pete's hanging out with another brilliant, driven person as well, Howard Hughes. Seems like the both of them would have a fascinating conversation.
    Cathy, you must be an amazingly multi-faceted woman, and I applaud you not only for having survived through it all but for having the... well, I can't say balls so I'll say ...ovaries to share such a personal account of your life experiences. No matter where they're located you've got some stones! Glad you're sticking to your guns and staying in good health. Seems like the world's a much better place with you in it. Wishing you continued successes.
    Posts from me may seem impersonal or clinical at times, and I do apologize if that's the perception. Having walked a fine line with scientific observation and death since childhood, I've been around terminal patients with my father on hospital rounds since kindergarten. After having observed a number of deaths that extensive it's hard to take all demise in a personal way, but rest assured, I did and do take your brother's untimely demise extremely personally. He was an absolutely, completely unique person who's art, work and life changed the way I saw the world.
    His music was not just well composed and beautifully played. It had/has humanity and passion. There's no way to listen to it and not feel, and it seemed like he had the courage to just keep going, doing what he loved, even when times got tough. I very much admire(d) that in him. I've been in touch with my own mortality for a long time, but lately Pete's spirit has provoked a great deal of thought on the subject
    and his passing has affected me on a very deep, spiritual and emotional level. Sometimes questions are better than answers.
    Seems like courage is a Ratajczyk family trait. It may be impossible to fully understand what it's like for an outsider, but your words do shed more light. Much love and respect to you, and thanks again for sharing your insights. Seems like you're making your own unique mark. Cudo's!

  20. Cathy thank you for sharing your story.Your brother was a very talented man and loosing him was so sad, one of the saddest days of my life. I really was not all that familiar with amy but she was such a young girl,its just so sad.I am sure we could have enjoyed so much more of their talent if they were not taken from us so soon.i guess we all struggle in some way with our personal demons.with me its food. i have started countless diets with no success especially since i hit 50.I start out with the best of intentions and fall off the wagon as soon as i see a piece of chocolate cake.no where near as serious as drug or alchol addiction,but i can just imagine how hard that is to conquer!!! Im glad you overcame came your demons and Peter his. best of luck and thanks for sharing.

  21. Cathy, I've prayed for several years for Peter and Amy. I loved them both very much.They had much in common - sensitivity and good heart. They were too sensitive for this world. Do not worry. Both are free, happy and joyful. They are both in Heaven.

    On this mountain he will destroy
    the shroud that enfolds all peoples,
    the sheet that covers all nations;
    he will swallow up death forever.
    The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears
    from all faces;
    he will remove his people’s disgrace
    from all the earth.
    The LORD has spoken.

    In that day they will say,

    “Surely this is our God;
    we trusted in him, and he saved us.
    This is the LORD, we trusted in him;
    let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”

  22. BTW-Welcome to our little club, full of mourning fans who feel the very heart of who we are ripped to ribbons. I'm terribly sorry you've had to join our ranks. Amy seems very special, different. Hope you'll come to know that she had a very fulfilling life outside of the spotlight. Perhaps in time her family will have the wisdom, empathy and kindness to share on a blog too.

  23. So very eloquent said Cathy. Thank You 4-8

  24. Cathy – thank you for your honesty. It ain’t easy to admit things like addiction – not easy in an inner circle and even not easier with people you don’t know personally. Knowing several addictions from my inner circle with family and friends and also being an addict myself too for years (next year’s my 10th anniversary of being sober). I am not proud that I was an addict as this is never an intention you have – like said here : you are not 10 yo and decide to be an addict when grown up – I was sure at the age of 11 that I never will smoke – well 3 years later it was different – until now my only addiction that I did not get rid off ;-) Later on same thing happened with other substances … & I was so sure that things like that will never happen to me – one thing I have learned : Never say never - it might always be just a short step. The other thing I have learnt: You are responsible for yourself - of course it is not easy to say NO - especially with people you love - but at least it is always up to yourself to say YES or NO. And Cathy you are so right – it can turn so quick and you loose so many things (soul, mind, emotions) and a long hard way back – this lasts for a lifetime.
    Society is not very reliable with these kind of things – society helps to create addictions but is not able to help addicted people – at least this is the impression I got from the system here in middle Europe and it seems to be quite similar in US unless you are very famous or on a TV show ;-) It is so important in these situations to get medical help on one side but even more important is that you have caring people around you for support. The long waiting lists on recovery institutes are a torture – I mean within that 6 or 8 weeks of waiting time (sometimes even longer) I can really understand that many addicts just go back to their conditioned lifestyle or die before they even get to an institute. To act quite sarcastic one could also say that this is just another possiblity of society to deal with addictions – you know like the problem solves itself ….
    Being on holiday fort he past weeks (and therefore completely offline) I had a lot to read on my return back home - all the memories shared here are very special but on this one I had to make an entry. Also I was shocked to hear that Amy Winehouse has died – I like her music and think that she was a very talented woman – what a tragedy. My feelings go out to her family and friends. It is always tragic when someone so young dies – addicted or not. It made me feel glad to know that Pete finally was successful with his recovery but also I found it was such an ironic tragedy that he had just such a short time of being sober again and then … I mean wtf? Life is really strange sometimes …
    Anyway it is great to hear from you a successful recovery story - I know it is daily fight that people like us have for a lifetime and therefore I wish you all the best & lot’s of strength.
    Love & respect to you & take care

  25. Very well put, honest look at both sides of hell. For those that wonder, "how could it have gone so far?" I have a mother who has a severe methadone addiction. There is only so much you can do for an addict short of hog tying them and bringing them to a remote cabin. I have so much empathy for addicts. It saddens me to imagine the hopelessness one must feel not to be able to climb out.
    There's the fear of being cast out and not being allowed back in.
    I have my own struggles with "issues", and it is difficult to restructure a coping system its exhausting to come up with a healthy substitute...
    Sometimes, as an admirer, I feel guilt in contributing to the destructive lifestyle of these two amazing artists. I often wonder if they would have been more content had they both not been thrust into fame.
    I just shake my head. Humans are so complicated and fragile.
    I am so sorry you yourself struggle with demons, Cathy. May peace follow you