As early on as she could remember, Max felt different and overwhelmed by life. She felt that she never truly could fit in. Getting into recovery gave her the opportunity to see the true value in her life and how she could help others. Read below her inspiring story of strength and hope.
“My name is Max and I am an addict and alcoholic.
I am 26 years old and I grew up in Durban, South Africa. I had an extremely loving family who had provided everything for me and more. My earliest memories were that of me always feeling different, overwhelmed by life and constantly comparing myself to other people. When I was 7 years old, I cried on my dads’ shoulder, asking him ‘who will pay for my medical aid, who will I work for, how will I ever make a living?’
That same year I was sick and had discovered the cough medicine my mom left on the side of my bed, I decided I was tired of feeling sick and so I drank the whole bottle and hid it under my bed.
Wow, what a sense of ease and comfort. I no longer felt like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders. From that day forward I dug through my parent’s medicine cabinet and bought medication from the pharmacy on my parents account, I constantly chased that feeling of not having a care in the world.
Life in school was hard for me, I was constantly teased a lot for how I looked. All I wanted to do was look and feel like the other girls-they looked genuinely happy and okay to be themselves. I had begun to starve myself and use laxatives in order to lose weight.
These were all a fix for me throughout school and college. After finishing school, I had decided to study Culinary Arts, through that I had felt like I finally felt my place in the world, in a kitchen at one of Durban’s best restaurants.
In 2016 my father had passed away and this I used as an excuse to use more. I had also gone to a psychiatric ward and started to see a psychologist. As my using progressed and I could not feel the relief I had first felt when I was 7, I began to feel empty, hopeless. I had hit my rock bottom.
A week later I had found myself being driven up the driveway of The Cedars, my mom was crying, all she wanted was for me to be okay as I was the only thing she had left of my dad.
I finally had a chance to start my life on a clean slate. I had to get brutally honest about things I had never told anyone, I had the chance to build healthy relationships with those around me, I was shown how cunning, baffling and powerful this disease is, which was so evident
even without the substance.
I learnt the true value of how one addict can help another through our own experiences of recovery and how to deal with life on life’s terms.
Through the 12 steps of recovery I do not need to get overwhelmed by life, as I had as a child, as long as I follow a few simple suggestions; go to 12 step meetings, have a sponsor, write daily inventories, service to others and have a relationship with a Higher Power.
My journey to recovery has been a little strange, but I am grateful to have the experiences that I have because I can help others. The Cedars has been my second home, and one of the most incredible healing environments,
that has shown me that I can be of value to others.
I live a happy, joyous and free life.”