Mary Ann Otte - From Pain to Purpose
Updated: Sep 3
“When it became life threatening I knew I had to let go of the stigma, I had to come out, I had to let others know...I knew this wasn’t a battle we could face just the two of us,” were the courageous words from Ohio native Mary Ann Otte.
After a long battle with addiction her son Joe tragically overdosed in 2013, since then Mary Ann has made the choice to take her pain and turn it into purpose.
The drug addiction issues in America are far from new news, but we still don’t seem to be turning a corner on the magnitude of problems that come with addiction.
Mary Ann continued sharing her story with watery eyes and a shaky voice, “the last time I was trying to convince him he needed to go into treatment, he was out of money, lost his job, things weren’t good. I had him convinced the next day to go to a one year treatment facility. It was that night I got that call, that I wish no one ever has to go through, but I got it."
In 2018 over 70,000 people overdosed and died from opioids alone. If you include the deaths from all drugs and alcohol, this nation is losing well over 200,000 people a year to deaths caused by drugs and alcohol.
Mary Ann described the night she got that horrible phone call about her son's death, "it was horrendous. I didn’t really think that it could possibly be true.” When the phone rang and she was told that her son Joe was gone she replied, “where did he go?" In disbelief the news sank in, "He was gone. That’s what he meant, he was gone. He was dead.”
Mary Ann Otte could have been quiet and stayed in seclusion for the remainder of her days after experiencing such pain, but she has chosen to seek her healing and be a voice of hope and healing for others.
No one deserves to lose a child or loved one to addiction, but the story doesn’t have to stop there. Pain can turn to purpose, countless people need hope and healing amidst this crisis we are in.
"I just pray that that is never something anyone has to experience," she said with conviction. Since her sons passing Mary Ann has partnered her words with action, and in 2015 she launched the Joe Otte Memorial Fund.
"There is hope, even in my situation there is hope. There is hope that those out there struggling find the help that they so desperately need, and desire. How could I not possibly try and help, and prevent, others from following that same path? At some point these people may hear just what they need to hear to stay clean and sober," Mary Ann explained with compassion.
In the years since Mary Ann and her organization have helped countless individuals and families that struggle with addiction. Every year a fundraising dinner is held, and this years banquet will be October 3rd at Woods Tall Timber Resort.
The funds raised go to help fulfill that prayer she prays, "I pray that that is never something anyone has to experience."
The Joe Otte Memorial fund has purchased thousands of Narcan kits for local organizations, helped start recovery meetings, donated to other local nonprofits that are in the same fight, and helped produce many educational resources geared towards prevention and recovery.
Her heart is a shining light to those that have lost a loved one. She lives with a conviction to see addicts and alcoholics live in the freedom that is available for them.
If you are interested in donating to this cause, or interested in attending the fundraiser you can contact Mary Ann HERE.
Quotes taken from "From the Heart (A Life Worth Saving) - Video Project
Watch the full video HERE
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction or mental health issues, reach out and get help. There are great local resources available.
ADAMHS Board - 330-343-1811
Recovering Reality - Recovery Coaching- email@example.com - 619-880-6935
Tuscarawas County Job and Family Services - 330-339-7791