Successful Addiction Recovery: Max’s Story

“After one month I knew this was the place I needed to be.”

Max discusses successful addiction recovery

Max has been substance free since March 22, 2017.

He has now graduated and is living at Hope on the Hill, the Manor of Hope’s graduate program.

Father's Day breakfast at the Manor of Hope

Meet Max

When it comes to music, Max is an old soul. Mornings you’ll find him humming a tune, usually something written long before he was born. A self-proclaimed “nerd”, Max plays the trombone and spent countless hours in the jazz band, marching band, wind ensemble, orchestra and wind symphony.  Shy, he preferred the orchestra pit over the stage during high school musicals.  Captain of the “Hi-Q” team at Strath Haven, Max was a stellar student and interacted with a close knit group of like-minded friends.

Oh, and Max is a brilliant young man, declaring a major in Physics as he entered Cornell in the Fall of 2005.

Max is one of four children raised by loving parents, Sam, a cardiologist, and Beth, a former nurse turned homemaker, in an quiet neighborhood near Media, Pennsylvania.   He wanted for nothing during his childhood but appreciated the value of hard work, an ethic his parents instilled in him at an early age.  Sam and Beth were not strict parents because they didn’t need to be.  Max never got into trouble…….

Max refrained from experimenting with alcohol and drugs until his first week of college when the party  atmosphere drew him in.  Weed was the drug of choice; accessible, inexpensive and ever-present on college campuses. It started as a social thing, a way for a shy young man to feel part of the college crowd.  Almost imperceptibly, Max’s use increased over time.  No longer just a social activity, Max was smoking weed at least 5 times a day.  Although he didn’t believe he had a physical addiction to pot, he began to wonder if he didn’t have a problem.

The emotional and psychological attachment was powerful however Max believes that his physical addiction did not truly begin until he tried heroin in 2015, 10 years after his entrée’ into the world of drugs and alcohol.

Mid way through his junior year, Max dropped out of Cornell and returned home.  His friends still in college, he felt isolated and depressed and began using cough medicine to get high.

“Drugs made dull things more interesting; they eased the boredom of daily life in Ithaca.”

Max returned to Ithaca late in 2008, taking a job with a company that organized music festivals and car shows.   Max was making money and access to drugs was easy.

After nearly 4 years, Max returned to Pennsylvania, renting an apartment in Philadelphia.

Max began to notice changes to his personality.  He became more reckless.  Max thought nothing of going to Kensington day or night to buy drugs.  He stole money from his parents and abandoned his family and friends. 

In 2015 when he began using heroin he “fell off the face of the earth”. 

If you don’t succeed at first…try again.

In November of 2016, Max entered a detox facility.  He fully planned to go back to using drugs, but just “casually”.  Max overdosed three days after he returned from the program.

He had Thanksgiving dinner with his family, drove to Kensington to obtain heroin and Xanax.  He snorted the heroin and took the Xanax the next day at his parents’ house.  Max overdosed on the living room floor.   His father, Sam, performed CPR until the paramedics arrived.  Max was hospitalized and evaluated by a psychiatrist; he spent a week in a psych ward in Chester.

Max overdosed a second time only a few months later and was hospitalized once again.

In March of 2017, Max’s was placed into a mandatory detox program by his probation officer.  A light flickered on and Max began to come to terms with his addiction.

He knew he needed to get and stay sober.

He had watched his friends move on; they graduated college, obtained jobs, got married and bought homes.  Max realized that it wasn’t too late; there was still time to change his life.

Max and his Mom

The Manor of Hope

“I have hope for my future and I trust my intellectual abilities again.”

Max knew he needed additional support after detox and was drawn to Manor of Hope because of the highly structured nature of the program.

“After one month I knew this was the place I needed to be. The structure it provides is exactly what I needed.  The staff is great and we are supported in everything we do.  I have a meaningful job which I would not have been able to obtain without a college degree.  Steve (Killelea) has the right vision.”

Max plans to extend his stay and move to the Manor’s graduate house after he completes the 12 month program.

Hope on the Hill

“When you’re addicted, your world shrinks because you need to get money and you need to get to your dealer.  I want freedom from the feeling that the world is closing in on me.”

Max has been substance free since March 22, 2017.

Max and his family on graduation day.UPDATE: Max has successfully graduated from the Manor of Hope and has been substance free since March 22, 2017.
He is currently enrolled in our graduate program and now lives on his own at Hope on the Hill.

soledad o'brien and the manor of hope

Matter of Fact Correspondent Jennifer Davis from the Soledad O’Brien show traveled to the Manor Of Hope, to talk to some of the residents about their personal experiences with meth.

Max talked with her about his own experience.

See Max’s Interview