© 2022 90.5 WESA
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Western Pennsylvania has a strong tradition of neighborhood, personal and community commitment. Our pride in pulling together goes far beyond supporting our deep-rooted sports teams. 90.5 WESA Celebrates People Making a Difference honors the individuals that are making a difference in people's lives on the ground level and reminding us we are all truly a part of each other's lives.This special series, supported by UPMC, will highlight, honor and celebrate Western Pennsylvanians who are unsung heroes daring to make a difference to others in our community.00000176-e6f7-dce8-adff-f6f770c8000000000176-e6f7-dce8-adff-f6f770ca000000000176-e6f7-dce8-adff-f6f770cc000090.5 WESA PA listening area counties:Allegheny, Beaver, Washington, Westmoreland, Butler, Armstrong, Cambria, Somerset, Bedford, Fayette, Indiana00000176-e6f7-dce8-adff-f6f770cd0000This project is made possible by a generous contribution from UPMC.

Nearly 100 Classes Later, Mom Of Heroin-Addicted Son Finds 'Sanity' In Faith

Mark Nootbaar
90.5 WESA

When Chico Ficerai’s son admitted he was addicted to heroin, she turned to her church. The prayer and support helped, but she needed more guidance.

The mother of three eventually found it at another church offering support to parents of addicted children through a program call Six Steps to Sanity.

She took the 12-week course based on Allison Bottke’s book “Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children,” and she took it again. Ficerai decided to bring it back to her own church, Saints John and Paul in Wexford.

“Six Steps to Sanity has truly given me peace,” Ficerai said. “I have found that life can go on, and that as long as these kids are alive, there is always hope.”

Credit Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA
90.5 WESA
Mother-of-three Chico Ficerai leads a faith-based addiction recovery class for parents with struggling children in the basement of Cardinal DiNardo Center at Saints John and Paul Church in Wexford. She's led the "Six Steps to Sanity" course every Thursday for nearly two years.

  Since hosting her first session in 2014, Ficerai estimates she has reached 120 parents, including Jack and Diane Anke who lost their daughter Katie to addiction in 2015.

“Chico is wonderful,” Jack Anke said. “She understands the situation, she has done an amazing amount of work and she is a good facilitator.”

Diane Anke said some parents come to the first meeting in the 12-week cycle and are not sure if the tough love approach is going to work for them.

“I tell them that I really believe that had we had this program when Katie was going through all this she would have stood a better chance,” Diane Anke said.

Ficerai, who works full-time, said she always has the energy she needs to prepare for the sessions. She said she hopes to be able to continue hosting the program until she is in her 80s.

Chico Ficerai explains the acronym SANITY and the basics behind Six Steps to Sanity.