A Father’s Journey

 

The best gift you can give your family is recovery. Michael Foley, Clinical Director at a Maryland recovery house, describes his journey from addiction to recovery as well as the impact it has on being a mentally and emotionally present father for his son.

  • What is your personal experience with addiction?
    My personal experience with substance abuse taught me that addiction is a progressive disease that can sneak up on us before we realize what is happening. At the age of thirteen, I began drinking and smoking on a regular basis. For a very short period of time, I sold drugs, partied all of the time, skipped school often, and felt like I was on top of the world. By the age of seventeen, I was using IV heroin on a daily basis and stealing to get my next fix. Before I even realized what happened; I was damaging all of the relationships in my life without a care in the world and heading into a long period of jail sentences and complete chaos.
  • How has it affected you as a father, significant other, and individual now and in the past?
    My experience with addiction taught me that I have to be mindful of my feelings, thoughts, and behaviors; to ensure that I am living a life that aligns with my beliefs, morals, and values, and not heading back towards misery. I take steps to remain self-aware these days which has helped me be a better person all around. I avoid acting out on defects of character that I dealt with in the past such as being lazy, blaming others, and stealing. Instead of being lazy, I work hard. Instead of blaming others, I accept responsibility. Instead of stealing, I give back to the community. I teach my son about the dangers of addiction and hope to instill the principles of recovery into his life. My experiences have also led me to grow closer with Christ, who I attribute all of my successes to.
  • What advice do you have for other parents / guardians who have gone through the same journey or who are currently going through the same journey?
    My advice for anyone dealing with active addiction in their life and/or in the life of someone else would be to reach out to someone in long-term recovery. My experience has been that individuals in recovery are the most loving and caring group of people that will help guide you towards freedom. One of the most profound things that I have heard in a 12-step meeting that has stuck with me was that you should be able to live your life without being afraid to share it with anyone. Secrets and feelings of guilt are the biggest enemy for an individual in recovery. Today, I am proud of who I am and what I do each day.
  • What do you wish others, who haven’t experienced some type of addiction challenge, knew about it?
    I wish others knew that there is hope for any addict out there; no matter how far gone they may seem to be. I wish they knew that addiction is a disease that leads to the inability to make rational decisions due to the neurobiological changes in the brain that are going on in the mind of an addict. I once stole all of the Christmas presents from a dozen children and gave it zero thought. I was operating from the part of my brain that deals with instinct, rather than rational thoughts. This does not excuse my behavior, but it is important to understand why addicts do things like this.
  • Where do you see yourself (or family) in 5 years?
    I see myself married with another child in five years. I imagine that I will be living in Havre De Grace, Maryland which is my favorite local town. I also aspire to be working closer with my church, traveling more, and continuing to work with individuals that are struggling with mental health and addiction. Another very important goal of mine is to get my 5K race time down to 18 minutes.
  • Where do you work and how have your experiences helped you in your role?
    Today, I hold multiple therapy/counseling licenses through the state of Maryland. My full-time job is as the Clinical Director at Hope’s Horizon. This is an addiction treatment center. I also work as a Private Practice Therapist at Rose Wellness and I own Evolutions Recovery which is a business that provides safe and affordable sober living housing in the Harford County, Maryland area. My experience with addiction led me to being able to feel empathy, judge people less, and gave me the desire to work in a field where I go home each day feeling like I contributed to something positive. Recovery has given me confidence, increased self-worth, and taught me that I can achieve anything that I set my mind to.

Read the Note on Matters of Mental Health by WendyI recently talked to a family who lost a loved one to the disease of addiction: a father, leaving behind an 11 year-old boy.  The grief of a child losing a parent runs deep.  We often think of the motherless child, but not having a father is just as difficult.  It’s the loss of a role model, mentor, and someone to look up to. This type of loss can and will cause grief for a life time. Father’s Day can be hard for those grieving…now imagine you are a child without a dad.

 


Upcoming Events

We are excited to announce this summer’s events. Ticket purchase information will be available soon, so make sure you save the dates!

Rage Club’s Night At The Field

Rage Club is designed for children who have been directly impacted by addiction. Whether a child has lost one or both parents to substance abuse, is living with a guardian due to addiction-related hardships, or has one or both parents incarcerated or in treatment, our club understands that children need to heal too. We have quarterly meetings where children can feel safe and heard.

National Recovery Month Night Out

To honor National Recovery Month this September, we will be hosting a ‘National Recovery Month Night Out’ with delicious food from Old Line Grill and music from The Perfect Beat. Please join us as we celebrate the individuals in our community who work hard each and every day to maintain and enhance their recovery journey. We have unique sponsorship opportunities available that will directly benefit our programs as well as opportunities for you or your business to donate items or services for our silent auction, raffle baskets, and games. Please contact Rachel@RageAgainstAddiction.com for more information.


Community Resources

 

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 (1643 Churchville Road, Bel Air, MD 21015) – every Thursday at 5:45pm. Contact lheitmuller@zoominternet.net or visit here for more information about meetings.

-Mountain Christian Church (New Life Center 1802 Mountain Road, Joppa, MD 21085) – every Friday at 6:00pm. Please visit here for more details.

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.

-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 services.

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

-7:00 pm every Saturday.

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

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

​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.

Rage Club: Designed specifically for children affected by addiction to help them process their feelings and learn about the disease by offering counselor-led activities, such as equine and art therapy, nature walks, and more. The group meets several times a year. Click here for more information

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. *Please read and answer the membership questions prior to joining.*

RAA ABC (After Baby Care): Provides post-partum care packages to new mothers in early recovery.


Rage Against Addiction Team Members

 

Wendy Beck: Founder and Executive Director

Rachel Bongiorno: Recovery Coach and Daughter’s House Program Director

Mia Ellis: Newsletter Writer and Administrator

Amanda Buddenbohn: RAA’S ABC (After Baby Care) Coordinator

Tara Kuzma: Chairman of the Board of Directors

Sarah Hoover: Rage Club Event Coordinator and Volunteer

Michael Nesline: Rage Club Mascot