This is the second in our series featuring the incredible folks who work at The Temper and our parent company, Tempest. Many of the people who work here are in recovery themselves, so know first-hand what it’s like for our readers and students. Our “Student Facing Team” works one-on-one with Tempest Sobriety School students to guide them through the experience and help them with any questions or roadblocks along the way. This week, we’re talking with Max— our Experience Manager. Until recently, Max was the Lead Teaching Assistant in the school, but now works with both the Student Facing and Product teams to ensure the students have the best possible experience from beginning to end.
When they’re not championing the student experience at Tempest, Max enjoys geocaching and waterfall chasing with their pup, Remy, at home in upstate New York.
1. Name, Role, Pronouns
Max Backer, Experience Manager, They/Them/Theirs
2. How would you describe your role at Tempest?
I work with both our Student Facing Team and Product Team to help cultivate, design, and maintain a quality experience for the Tempest student from start to forever.
3. What do you think makes Tempest different from other recovery modalities?
I tried several other recovery modalities… none of which felt empowering or recognized my queer identity or lived experience as important factors in my recovery. In retrospect, I was often stripped of these, and further silenced, further shamed. Tempest, on the other hand, completely recognized my full personhood, all of its complications, all of its intrinsic beauty.
4. Why did you decide to do Tempest Sobriety School?
It was a happenstance and reluctant follow of Holly’s instagram that did it. She was blowing up her insta stories about something that made her upset, and I was like, wow, I get this person. Holly was the first sober human that I had encountered that didn’t seem like they had to sacrifice their messiness in order to exist in a sober world.
5. What’s your favorite part of working at Tempest?
Working with and for the most brilliant and empathetic humans of my entire life in a femme-centered organization.
6. N/A drink of choice?
Cold Brew from Gimme! Coffee (Ithaca shout out!)
7. Favorite Self-Care Sunday activity?
On almost any Sunday, you can find me hiking and geocaching with my pup in upstate New York. Or checking out bookstores, thrift stores, libraries, dog parks, and waterfalls.
8. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned and/or favorite part about not drinking?
That I am already whole, I am already redeemed.
9. What are the top 3 things in your “sobriety toolbox”?
Remy: my rescue pup + silent sobriety guru
Music: I’ve got playlists for every occasion
Radical Self Kindness: undoing 30+ years of negative self talk on a daily basis
10. What’s your favorite Tempest Mantra?
“I am willing to change my story.” As a writer, is there anything better than knowing you can write a new chapter for yourself?