ARC WEEKLY DIARY
Note: We only use nicknames in the diary as a client’s anonymity is respected at ARC
Waking up at the ARC is a deafening experience, you will be deafened by the silence! If you come from a busy city, peace and quiet can seem a bit weird at first. The air is clean and crisp in January and the songbird’s morning chorus is all that can be heard. We start our day with an 8am silent meditation. We make our way from our villas and sit upstairs in the Recovery Centre, there are no walls under the large overhanging roof. We face the lush green meadow opposite. Meditation is a great way to start the day.
MONDAY 8 am: Just the three of us today. Bubble our Greek Londoner has made it with 3 minutes to spare. “Good Job Bubble!” he has been struggling with timekeeping. We try to help clients with living skills. Getting to work on time will be important in Bubble’s new life.
Mac is in his thirties and hails from Slough, UK. Heroin and crack cocaine are his drugs of choice. He gongs the gong for us to begin. Many people say “I tried meditation once, it doesn’t work for me” The addict especially needs to still the racing mind, it is called spiritual practice, and we need to practice it. There is no wrong way of doing meditation, the only wrong way is never to try it.
Tuesday: Bubble received a message from an old friend ‘You were like an ocean liner adrift at sea, better now that you are a fishing boat with a destination’ Clients are asked to jot down their most Significant Event of the day (Siggy) before they go to bed), and drop it in the Siggy Box. Mac wrote that he had been studying quotes and liked this one. ‘The strongest hearts have the most scars’. I am impressed. Not long ago, both these guys had only one thought for the day, how to get high!
Wednesday: Our French client Ozzy is in his early fifties and has had more experience in group therapy he helps newcomers find their feet. He explains the cycle of sex addiction to Bubble and Mac. They are like a pair of nodding dogs and relate to every word he says. Ozzy is 7 months clean, he got clean in ARC and now lives in Chiang Mai. He comes to group therapy three times a week. The power of recovery is in the group. One addict helping another.
Thursday: The guys have been asking if they can ride bikes to the local NA meeting. I talk it over with Mike the Director of Treatment. Who would think that permission to ride a bike would make a guy so happy? I thought they were going to shout FREEDOM !!! as they pedaled away. A little responsibility goes a long way. I can’t help feeling a little relieved when they got back, and more than a little proud when I saw the beams on their faces.
Friday: The big event on a Friday is going into the city to AA and/or NA meetings. We then meet up at the Dukes American restaurant. It has the best pizza and ribs in town and the clients really enjoy hanging out with fellow alkies/addicts and swapping notes. They say at meetings that the most important person in the room is the newcomer. Our clients are given coins or keyrings for achieving different lengths of clean/sober time. 1 day, 30 days, 60, 90 etc. A one day coin can be the most valuable currency a guy or a girl ever owns, recovery is after all One Day at a Time.
Saturday: Lots of written work gets done from Monday to Friday, the weekends are for relaxing. Mac and Bubble challenge Mike and I to a game of pool volleyball. OK, let’s have it!
Clients win 10-9L, (we will never live this down) lots of cheating accusations, controversies and fun! Our pug puppy Billy Boy even came on as a late reserve.
A team of masseurs arrive at 2pm. The Recovery Center has a beautiful teak floor and catches the breezes, we roll out our yoga mats out and chill for an hour. The yoga ladies are very experienced, you can ask for a hard or soft massage. I am a bit of a fairy and go for a softie. By the time we finish we just have time to take a shower and get ready for our in house AA meeting. Local members attend. All the clients do service as greeters, serving tea and cakes, or running the meeting itself. Doing service gives a great sense of fellowship. The meeting finishes at 6pm, we bid the visitors goodnight, settle down to homemade Spaghetti Bolognaise and watch the footy followed by a movie, Does it get any better than this?
Sunday: is excursion day. Bubble wants to go to the Sunday Market in the city. Mac wants to go, go-carting. ‘Sort it out between yourselves I tell them, find a compromise’ Bubble wins out on the promise that they will go-cart next week. Afterwards we go the AA meeting in the beautiful Suan Buan Park at 6pm, and everyone enjoys eating delicious Thai food and fruit shakes at the outdoor market afterwards. Two more clients have booked in for next week. I really love this job. Over and out for another week.