Maryland Addiction Recovery Center

By The Fix staff 07/22/17

At MARC, clients step down through levels of addiction treatment as "they learn, demonstrate knowledge, and practice tools and techniques" under the care of their therapist and the clinical team, with the eventual goal of re-integrating into their daily lives.

The front of a large brick house with blue awning and shutters, front yard with grass and trees.
Location : Towson, MD
Phone : (410) 773-0500
Price : $12,500
Overall :
Accommodations :
Treatment :
Food :
Insurance : Yes
Detox : No

Maryland Addiction Recovery Center (often shortened to MARC) is a drug and alcohol treatment program located in Towson, Maryland, a small city in Baltimore County just outside Baltimore proper. The facility specializes in creating individualized treatment plans through its hybrid inpatient program, which draws upon elements of sober living and residential treatment. Outpatient therapy is available as well. Though inpatient detox services are not offered, ambulatory detox services are provided as needed. 

Though many of the clients who attended MARC were there for serious cases of alcoholism, others reported coming in for opiate issues or simply as the result of a court-order. While some alums reported a wide range of “ages, races and lifestyles” among MARC clientele, others said the demographic was somewhat more predictable: “early 20s mostly, white, mostly heterosexual, middle class.” Even if resident experiences seemed to vary significantly, the overall treatment experience was rated highly across the board. 

Instead of a formal food plan, MARC residents are provided $80 a week to shop for themselves which reportedly had its disadvantages. “Seeing how I was in early recovery [and] lazy,” one alum said, “I did not eat very [healthily].” Regardless, the facility does have on-site vending machines with snacks, and tea or coffee was also readily available for those seeking a caffeine fix.

Although the lack of food services was a slight disappointment for some, most living in the community living center gave the accommodations high marks. The homes are decorated with tasteful, modern decor, each with shared living areas, couches, flatscreen TVs and more. While residents do have roommates, most reported positive experiences. “I had a lovely roommate who serenaded me with his guitar everyday throughout my time there,” one alum said.

As with most sober and transitional living environments, those living at MARC are expected to keep up with a list of basic chores and treatment groups throughout the day. “Monday through Friday was all day treatment,” an alum said. “At night we either got taken to outside meetings or went on pass with sober supports to meetings.” Others mentioned time to watch TV in the evenings, exercise at the residential gym and other social activities like “bowling, JumpZone, recovery events and picnics.” The chores were essentially what one might expect: “We had to keep the house clean or [we] lost passes or privileges.”

Though treatment in general is 12-step oriented, clients were clear that the curriculum was non-religious. “It came up during group a few times,” one former resident said, “but it wasn’t a big topic of conversation.” Other elements of care included one-on-ones with counselors, peer support groups, life skills training, vocational help and evidence-based care. As an added bonus, MARC also includes a bevy of holistic services in their treatment programs. “We had yoga twice on the weekends,” an alum said,” and towards the end we had exercise groups twice a week in the afternoon.” Alumni also said having psychiatrists, doctors and nurse practitioners on-site at the clinical offices was a boon to their recovery.

As far as personal freedom goes, MARC alumni said that the experience was “an eclectic mixture” likely to vary depending on the staff members involved. “‘Different therapists offered different approaches,” one said, “however, they all worked towards the same goal.” Though many said the approach was more tough love than permissive, it was done “without making [clients] feel bad.” The same variance in approach applied to the use of electronics as well. Though internet was not available, TV and phone privileges were likely to vary depending on where residents were at in their recovery. Above all, clients reported fair treatment: “[The] consequence always suited the infraction.”

Perhaps in fitting with its different approaches, residents reported taking many different things from their time at MARC. While some cited the “support provided by the counselors” as the heart of the program, others mentioned “the relationships [they] developed with fellow patients.” More specialized was the organization’s use of personal timelines in helping clients get their heads around addiction. “Their approach to treatment was focused more on mental health and coming to terms with past experiences,” a client said. “Sharing your personal timeline as well as listening to others’ was a very memorable experience.”

In all, Maryland Addiction Recovery Center is a facility that is likely to have something for everyone. Though it is a 12-step oriented program, the recurring theme among alumni was that of a program ready to meet clients wherever they were in recovery. “They are flexible and learn what best suits the needs of their clientele,” one alum said. Moreover, virtually all the clients who went through MARC reported being able to stay sober for years after leaving the program. Though there were quibbles about not-frequent-enough social outings and occasionally “some immature behavior”—alums were generally fond of their time at MARC. Perhaps indicative of the overall experience, most of the praise was relatively level-headed: “It was positive,” one alum said simply.

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