Sister’s House Opening
It’s easy to get caught up in the negativity during this COVID-19 quarantine; most schools are now closed for the rest of the school year, and many people are understandably worried about employment and the uncertainty about the near future. COVID-19 has produced countless other problems as well. Because long-term drug and alcohol use can cause significant underlying health issues, COVID-19 can be very dangerous to those in active addiction. It can easily spread among the homeless communities, which do not have access to adequate and affordable healthcare and in large populations during incarceration. For those in recovery, this virus has caused a major shutdown of many important face-to-face interactions which are essential to those who need support; Narcotics and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, therapy appointments, and meet-ups with sponsors have now become virtual and while that’s better than nothing, the lack of personal interaction as well as a lack of routine has proven to be difficult.
Rage Against Addiction has been planning to open our second level two sober living house for a while and coincidentally, it just so happens that during this trying time in our society, we were able to do so. Sister’s House officially opened on May 4th and was launched under the successful Daughter’s House program, which strives to provide “more quality options to addicts in transition between rehab and recovery.”
Daughter’s House is also the name of our first sober living house that opened in November 2018. Both houses are in the suburbs of Harford County, Maryland, and hope to play an important role in women’s recovery.
Rachel Bongiorno, Program Director, provided some information regarding the Daughter’s House strategy:
What is the goal of Daughter’s House?
“To keep the women safe and healthy. We try to help them learn to build a better life again by loving them in a positive way. We provide encouragement and recovery through the 12 steps. We meet them where they are and try to push them to be amazing women.”
How and why did this idea get started?
“Wendy (Founder of Rage Against Addiction) had a daughter who struggled with addiction and she wanted a place where women could get better, recover, and feel safe.”
What is the admission process to become a resident?
“I do a phone screening for every individual. Just a background on them to get some personal information. I give every woman a chance because I believe everyone deserves one.”
Are there certain criteria that must be met before applying?
“It is case by case for every woman. Rehabilitation bed to sober living house bed is always good, but I have also taken in women off the street.”
What is the average length of stay?
“There is no set length, but we try to have them with us for three to six months. We have had women stay there one day and some stay for over a year.”
What is a typical day like for the women?
“Get up between 7 am and 9 am, depending on if they have a job or not. Do their chores. Some women have an IOP [intensive outpatient program] and some are job searching or going to their job. They come home and have dinner, go to a [NA, AA, or other support] meeting, and repeat. Each week may include different smaller activities such as in-house counseling, yoga, craft-making, or community service projects.”
What responsibilities/obligations do the women have during their stay?
“Stay clean. Follow the rules. Be respectful. Learn to love themselves again. Gain a life worth living.”
What usually happens after a resident leaves this program?
“This is also case by case. Some residents are still clean or sober and some are not. We encourage them and help them to have a solid plan before they leave.”
We Do Recover
January 20, 2019
My name is Lindsay, and I am an alcoholic. My sober date is January 20, 2019. I had an amazing childhood, a loving family, and a ton of friends. My drinking really took off when I turned 21 and was able to get alcohol myself. I was working in a casino at a restaurant and fell into a group of friends that everyone could tell was bad for me, but I was blind to see it for myself. It started with drinks after work, then turned to full-blown partying until the sun came up. For years my family voiced their concerns, but I chalked it up to just being young and living what I thought was my “best” life. Boy was I wrong.
It took me 4 years, a lot of heartbreak, a lot of fighting with my loved ones, and physical altercations to finally realize I had a problem. On January 19, 2019, I took my last drink. That night will always play in the back of my mind. I hurt not only myself but two people who I love with my whole life: my parents. On the morning of January 20, 2019, I woke up to both of my parents, my fiancé (now husband), and my sister waiting for me to have an intervention. My sister took me to my first meeting that night and that is when my recovery started. Here we are, 16 months later, and I’m still sober. I work my program, I’ve removed the toxic people in my life, and I give back what I can for recovery to help others as they helped me. Always remember: WE DO RECOVER. I want to thank my parents, my husband, & my sister for their constant support in my recovery.
“We didn’t come this far to only come this far.”
Written by: Lindsay Clemens (Belcamp, MD)
*Please be aware that some policies, locations, programs, and contact information have changed due to COVID-19 protocols. Maryland’s current orders by Governor Hogan are located here. *
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. *Online meetings are now available.*
- Mt. Zion Church in Bel Air, MD: Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Mountain Christian Church in Joppa, MD: Please register here and join.
- (Postponed: The group is usually held at Mt. Zion Church at 5:45pm on Thursdays and at Mountain Christian Church at 6pm on Fridays.)
GRASP (Grief Recovery After a Substance Passing): A local support group for those who have lost someone to addiction. Located in Bel Air, MD. *Online meetings are now available.*
- Please contact email@example.com for more information.
- (Postponed: The group usually meets at 7pm on the 2nd Wednesday of every month at Mt. Zion Church in Bel Air, MD.)
- The private national Facebook group is still 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. *Online meetings are now available.*
- Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
- (Postponed: The group usually meets every Saturday at 7pm at Mt. Zion Church in Bel Air, MD.)
Psychology Today: A national online database of mental health related articles and of therapists listed by state. Please visit here to search in your area.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services national online database of mental and behavioral health, addiction, and veteran’s treatment centers listed by state. Please visit here to search for services in your community.
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: A local sober living house designed to assist women who are transitioning from substance abuse treatment. Click here to visit the Facebook page.
HALO (How to Live Without Our Addicted Loved One): An online grief support group. Click here to ask to join the private Facebook page.
RAA ABC (After Baby Care): A program that 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: A program offered for children who are touched by substance abuse disorder. Click here to register.
Rage Against Addiction Team
Wendy Beck Messner
Founder and Executive Director
Chairman of the Board of Directors
Recovery Coach and Daughter’s House Program Director
Family and Recovery Resources and Support
Rage Against Addiction
P.O. Box 1
Forest Hill, MD 21050
If you are interested in submitting a photo and story of your recovery, or a photo and a story of your lost loved one, please contact Mia Ellis at email@example.com. (Please keep your story between 350 and 450 words. We reserve the right to edit your content for spelling, punctuation, etc.)
If you would like to donate to any of the Rage Against Addiction programs, including but not limited to the ones above, please visit our Programs page here.