Thankful for Recovery – November 2021

Thankful for Recovery

During the month of November, we highlight how thankful we are for recovery, though we are obviously thankful for it every single day. However, recovery is not just for the addict. It’s also for the loved ones behind the scenes.

Wendy Messner, Founder and Executive Director of Rage Against Addiction shares a powerful story below about a former co-worker with whom she recently got back in touch.

When we think of recovery, we think of the addict or alcoholic’s chaotic journey, and we are so thankful when they finally reach a place of sobriety!  That is what it’s all about: seeing them doing the recovery thing. Those who have not experienced a loved one fighting substance abuse could assume the story ends there, but those of us who love the one struggling know that recovery is a new beginning. It isn’t just for them but for us too.

I recently reconnected with a former coworker and newfound friend through Facebook. I remember the day we met; I was seated next to him in a training class and shortly after the class ended, we began communicating by email and talking on the phone about our mutual customer.

The story could have easily stopped there but Joe and I had something unique in common: we both had children who struggled with addiction. Logistically, we didn’t live near each other, but in reality, we were living in the same alternate universe. I say this because when you have a loved one that is addicted and struggles with substance abuse disorder, you feel like you’re not living the same life as those around you. And the truth is, you’re not. You often feel isolated and lonely.

Joe’s son began his battle at a relatively early age. “He was 18, couldn’t hold a job, and was drinking more than he should,” he recalls. “After my divorce, it seemed to get worse.  Looking back, I think I was enabling because I was feeling sympathetic to what he was going through.  I didn’t tell anyone. I didn’t let anyone in. No one knew, outside of the family,” Joe reminisces. “Wendy, you’re the only one I told at the time.”

As I think back to that time, I remember our conversations; they were a mix of work and checking in with each other on the unspoken topic that was the background of our lives.  We both realized then that we could only share with people who could relate to what we were going through.  Everyone else simply could not understand the roller coaster that we were on.

At some point, Joe and I lost touch but Joe’s journey with his son continued on its own unique path. “When he left rehab, I decided I was going to be there for him so I took FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act time) and left my job,” he said. “I stayed home for about five or six months. I eventually lost my job, and lost friends and my life as I knew it.  But I wasn’t going to let him go it alone.”

I cry as I write this; my heart overflows because my friend created what his son desperately needed: a recovery home and a support system.  Today his son is four years into his recovery.  Joe reminded me of John 15:13 from The Bible: “there is no greater love than to lay down your life for another person.”

Many of us know the inner workings of loving an addict or alcoholic, and we are no strangers to trauma, shame, and PTSD. Like our addicted loved ones, we need to change our own mindset and pick up the pieces of our own lives.

“Thankful for those in recovery” means a lot more when it gives us our life back too.  Not unlike our loved ones, our own recovery from codependency is essential for our healing and growth.  Joe soulfully told me that “in the darkness, I found a different version of God.” He is four years into this journey with his son, and they both have four years of healing and growth behind them. With relief and gratitude, he told me, “I am finally coming out of my cocoon.”

“I will always be thankful for November! Rage Against Addiction launched its first sober living house for women in recovery in November 2018. We are proud to say that Daughter’s House marks its three-year anniversary this month!  We may not have it all together but together we have it all!”

What is Rage Up To?

Take a browse at our new and improved website! You’ll find even more details about us and our events as well as a beautiful Memory Wall, updated photos of the Rage Team, and donation information.

Visit us at

Check us out on Harford Magascene and get a detailed glimpse into the lives of some very special and inspirational women.

Kristy Breslin, of Baltimore, Maryland’s WJZ Channel 13 news spent some time at Daughter’s House last month interviewing Wendy Messner and Rachel Bongiorno (our Recovery Coach and Daughter’s House Program Director) as well as a long-time volunteer and two of our former sober living house residents.

Check out the full length interview now!

Season Two of ‘Rage Talk’ is coming soon! We have been welcomed back by Rich Bennett of Harford County Living to bring you more awareness and information about all things related to addiction, recovery, grief, hope, and resources.

Check out past episodes here.

Visit Harford County Living on Facebook for details.​​

“This is a series of short clips in an effort to bring awareness to communities about the devastating effects of addiction and to also spread hope about the possibility of recovery.”

You will hear from Rage team members Wendy Messner (Founder and Executive Director); Rachel Bongiorno (Daughter’s House Program Manager and Recovery Coach); Mia Ellis (Administrator), and many others who are involved with Rage.

Rage Club is designed by Rage Against Addiction for children affected by addiction to help them and their families learn healthy ways to express their feelings through counselor-led activities such as art and equine therapy, nature walks, and much more. We encourage open and honest conversations about addiction within the family; understanding this disease is the first phase of the healing process.

We will be hosting our annual Holiday Party on December 11, 2021, in Bel Air, Maryland. Kids can decorate an ornament, eat lunch, and connect with other children and families going through the same thing. Kids need to feel heard and supported, and they need to recover too. Reservations are required in advance and can be made here.

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. ​

  • 5:45 pm every Thursday at Mt. Zion Church – 1643 Churchville Road, Bel Air, MD 21015. Contact 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.*

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 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.

  • 7:00 pm every Saturday.

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

  • Contact 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.

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 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.

Rage Against Addiction Team 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

Sarah Hoover

Rage Club Event Coordinator and Volunteer

Michael Nesline

Rage Club Mascot