The Other Side of Addiction – June 2019


by Wendy Beck Messner

Mindy T.Mindy T. found herself incarcerated and alone. “I violated probation on an addiction related assault charge. It was the first time I had ever experienced jail.” Her struggles started in 2013.

“I have an addictive personality”, she tells me. “There was some opioid abuse in my past, I detoxed myself off methadone and then traded one drug for another, alcohol. I was a functioning alcoholic working in the healthcare field, but alcohol quickly created a lot of personal issues for me”, she reveals.

I met Mindy for the first time when she arrived as a new resident at Daughter’s House (a Rage Against Addiction sober living house for women) the day after she was released from the Harford County Detention Center. ”

” I am so grateful” she tells me, ” I don’t feel like I deserve to be here.” “Of course you do” I told her and we hugged. The room was filled with her positive energy as we talked. I love to cook and I’m good person but there is a lot of addiction in my family.

When Rachel, Daughter’s Houses Program Director, told me Mindy was one of the first women to graduate from the Substance Abuse & Behavior Health Unit at the detention center I couldn’t wait to meet her!

The Female Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Unit is new to the detention center and is offered to woman who are serious about their recovery. The women are screened for the program through a classification recruitment application and interview. Mindy didn’t really think she qualified at first because she didn’t think her alcohol abuse was considered “substance abuse.” “I knew I had a problem, but I didn’t know I had a disease, “she told me.

This program is not a get out of jail free card, and she knew that if she chose to be in the program it meant she was taking her sobriety seriously and the program was going to back
me 100%.

Her choice was easy and she agreed to go to the orientation because under her current circumstances and pending court date she may be in jail for a while, so she felt she had nothing to lose. She admitted that being in the general population dorm and not drinking and not dealing with her emotions would be powerful and could get “pretty volatile,” “so this program was perfect.. absolutely perfect” Mindy confides.

Once she was set up for orientation she was moved to the new unit, “it was a nice surprise,” it was very different then the general population dorm in comparison Mindy said it was a peaceful setting. Mindy went on to explain all the things the program had to offer from 12 Step-Meetings, Anger Management, Book Discussion Group, Commitment to Change, Conflict Resolution, Countdown to Freedom, Yoga, Art Therapy, TAMAR (trauma, addiction, mental health recovery) and so much more. We were busy from 9am – 3pm. She knew that she had court coming up and if she had to stay, Mindy thought “thank God I chose this!” If she was coming back, she was coming back to something that was set in place to help her with her sobriety.

Mindy didn’t get probation and she didn’t get released but the Judge was pleased that she was enrolled in the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Unit and she wanted to see her through. Mindy got 90 days to complete the program. Graduation from this program is a job well done and the support guided her to the next phase of her recovery. We are happy to have her at Daughter’s House.

Mindy wanted me to finish up by saying I want everyone to know they keep you busy in your sobriety and it is an intensive treatment program. As she finishes telling me about her journey she smiles and says to me and the rest will be history! The other side of addiction is recovery and recovery is full of possibilities!

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xoxo Wendy

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