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Overcoming the Struggle

Thanksgiving is now behind us, Christmas is quickly approaching – whether we’re ready for it or not – and 2020 is almost over (thankfully!)

This pandemic has brought many different challenges to everyone but the ones who have been affected the most this year are those with mental health disorders, those in active addiction, or even those in recovery. It has become quite apparent that isolation, worry about how to pay bills or keep a job, the cancellation of in-person support groups, and the overall unpredictability of the future have caused an increase in substance abuse among persons who are already struggling and among the general population as well.

However, there are many who have overcome addiction and turned their lives around, and Miranda Stein is proof that change is possible. A former heroin user, Miranda, now 26 years old and an employee of Macy’s Operations and Logistics, led a “completely unmanageable” life before coming to Sister House (one of Rage Against Addiction’s sober living houses) as a manager. “I was doing anything just to get my next fix. I also stole from my family and burnt a lot of bridges,” she said.

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As her addiction continued, her trust in others and in herself disappeared. She drove while high and even had possession charges against her. “The drugs completely consumed me and my everyday life…They completely took me to a dark place.”

At some point, Miranda had enough. Thankfully with the help of a sponsor and a network of caring people, she is now doing well and also tries to help others do the same. As Manager of Sister House, she keeps the residents “on the right track and doing the right thing.” But being a part of Sister House also holds her accountable and allows her “to have more relationships with women who are in recovery trying to turn their life around. I tell them there is light at the end of the tunnel. If you can pick up a drug, you can put it down as well,” she said. “It is an everyday battle, but it does get easier over time. Some days are harder than others, but you will get through it if you build your foundation the way the 12 step fellowships tell you to. Don’t give up!”

When she looks back to her time in active addiction, she wishes she listened to her father who told her to “be independent” and to take care of herself. She became addicted very quickly after spending time with people already in the drug scene, and everything spiraled downward after that.

Recovery has given Miranda a fresh start and a new perspective on life. “I have so many people I could call if I am just having a bad day, where ‘normal’ people don’t often have that option. Addiction has definitely impacted me in a positive way and made my life better in a sense now that I am clean.” She enjoys watching football and cooking, and is working on getting her associate degree in Applied Science. She spends her time with the women at Sister House watching movies, going to support meetings, and reminding them (and herself) that “all things are possible because you can really do or be anything you want to be if you put in the work and make an effort. The sky is the limit.”

Honoring a Memory

If you’ve lost someone or know someone who has, you can understand why the holidays may not be so festive and bright. Memories can cause a flood of emotions and sometimes it’s just not possible to feel very merry. Their absence can often feel extra obvious as families get together, presents are wrapped, and traditions are continued. But there are many ways to make the holidays a bit more bearable and significant, and honoring the memory of a loved one who has passed can be very meaningful.

Here are some beautiful ways to carry on the life and legacy of a loved one:

  • Light a candle at church or in your home and say a prayer for the family

  • Share a story or a photo online or at a family gathering

  • Buy and hang a special ornament on your tree or around your home

  • Look through old photographs or videos and talk about the memories

  • Serve his/her favorite meal at dinner

There are so many other honorable things you can do, and they don’t have to be limited to just your family or those you know.

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  • Buy a warm drink for the person behind you in line at the coffee shop

  • Cook his/her favorite recipe and deliver it to a homeless shelter or substance abuse recovery house

  • Purchase and wrap a new toy to contribute to the toy drive at your local police department, fire house, or hospital

  • Make a card and write a positive message to give to someone you pass by on the street

  • Create crafts and give them to residents at a nursing home

There is no right or wrong way to grieve and to remember those lost along the way. If it is you who has lost someone, just remember to be gentle with yourself. Find some quiet time to care for yourself by taking a walk, continuing a hobby, reading a book, doing something else you enjoy, and reflecting on and feeling your emotions, whatever they may be. If you know someone who has lost a special person, offer your help by making dinner, sitting with the person, inviting them out for coffee, or listening. It is OK to say, ‘I don’t know what to say but I want you to know that I care.’ It is a better choice than saying nothing, or saying things that invalidate the hurt. If you don’t know what to do, remember your presence matters more than any present.

Community Resources

​*Please be aware that some policies, locations, programs, and contact information have changed due to COVID-19 protocols.*

Addiction Connections Resource: A non-profit organization that assists with providing resources and support for addiction treatment and that educates the community about substance abuse disorder. Located in Fallston, MD. Please visit here or call 443-417-7810 for more information. 

Ashley Addiction Treatment: An inpatient treatment center that personalizes clinical programs based on individual need. Located in Havre De Grace, MD. Please visit here or call 800-799-4673 for information about online and in-person meeting services.

Celebrate Recovery: A local support group for those with addictive behaviors. Located in Bel Air, MD and Joppa, MD. 

  • Mt. Zion Church in Bel Air, MD: Contact lheitmuller@zoominternet.net or visit here for more information about meetings.

  • Mountain Christian Church in Joppa, MD: Please register here to join. *Please check out the updated information regarding meeting details.*

Daniel Carl Torsch Foundation: A non-profit organization that provides drug overdose awareness and prevention, and offers Naxolone training. Located in Timonium, MD. Please visit here or call 443-554-6150 for more information.

GRASP (Grief Recovery After a Substance Passing): A local support group for those who have lost someone to addiction. 

  • 7:00pm on the 2nd Wednesday of each month. *Please wear a mask and practice social distancing.*

  • Located in the Education Building at Mt. Zion Church - 1643 Churchville Road, Bel Air, MD 21015

  • Contact lisa.craig4@verizon.net for more information.

  • The private national Facebook group is available. Please visit here to ask to join.

The Klein Family Harford Crisis Center: A clinic that provides immediate care for mental health and addiction. Located in Bel Air, MD. Please visit here or call 410-874-0711 for information about online and in-person meeting services.

Loving An Addict: A local support group for family and friends of those in active addiction.  

  • 7:00pm every Saturday. *Please wear a mask and practice social distancing.*

  • Located in the Education Building at Mt. Zion Church - 1643 Churchville Road, Bel Air, MD 21015

  • Contact lisa.craig4@verizon.net for more information.

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We serve locally but think globally. For counseling, or for addiction, substance abuse disorder, or mental illness treatment, please contact your area’s health department, county government, hospital, or law enforcement agency.

Rage Against Addiction

Programs

Daughter's House: Designed to assist women who are transitioning from substance abuse treatment to recovery; includes two sober living houses (Daughter's House and Sister House) located in the suburbs of Harford County, MD. Click here to visit the Facebook page.

 

HALO (How to Live Without Our Addicted Loved One): An online grief support group specifically for those that lost loved ones to substance abuse. Click here to ask to join the private Facebook page.

RAA ABC (After Baby Care): Provides newborn-care items to mothers in recovery. Please send monetary donations to:

Rage Against Addiction (Rage ABC)

P.O. Box 1

Forest Hill, MD 21050

 

Rage Club: Designed for children (8 to 15 years old) who are impacted by substance abuse disorder. This group meets several times a year; meetings include counselor-led discussions and fun activities. Click here for more information.

Rage Against Addiction

Board Members

Wendy Beck Messner

Founder and Executive Director

 

Amanda Buddenbohn

RAA'S ABC (After Baby Care) Coordinator

 

Tara Kuzma

Chairman of the Board of Directors

 

Rachel Bongiorno

Recovery Coach and Daughter’s House Program Director

 

Mia Ellis

Newsletter Writer and Administrator

Rage Against Addiction Team Members

Sarah Hoover

Rage Club Event Coordinator and Volunteer

Michael Nesline

Rage Club Mascot