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Antibiotics, test prep and drug & alcohol rehab in Bali – all good things in course April 8, 2013

Posted by Sharehouse Jakarta in Big Picture.
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Ever hoped a wise wizard would kidnap you and lock you up somewhere pleasant with good food until your thesis, final exams or other academic objectives were wrapped?

Well, I met some guys in Bali last month in essentially the same boat. Their goal is getting free from substance abuse. And guess what? There’s a course you can take for that — in Bali — and even some apps.

Yayasa Bali Suara Hati (YBS Bali) is an example of Indonesia-based behavioral therapy that uses the widely renowned 12-step method.  It’s run by Richard Smith whose other drug and alcohol treatment centers include the high-profile Raymond Hader Clinic in Australia and Seasons Bali (not the five-star hotel chain but nearly as expensive).

Located in a normal middle-class neighborhood with a few chickens in the street and a couple paper mache devils left over from Nyepi (Balinese new year), YBS was busy but peaceful when I visited. The acting program coordinator – he’s a former patient so I’ll call him Dan — had his hands full helping a young man catch a plane for a court date in Australia. Other clients had just arrived.

My impression was that YBS Bali was very friendly and highly personalized.  Dan took time to answer my questions. And he wanted to know about my background. I told him I wasn’t a 12-stepper, although I had done a stint as a wilderness therapy instructor in Arizona.

The staff at YBS is mixed Indonesian and Australian. They have 10 beds total. These are available at a fraction of the Seasons Bali rates — approximately Rp 20 million per month  for Australians. This is because YBS is partially supported by the other facilities. Indonesians, meanwhile, may pay even less. Depending on income or family background, “tuition” may be as little as Rp 2 million.

Aside from price, the course of treatment varies from one institution to another in terms of length. Raymond Hader’s trademark program is 90 days. Seasons Bali (in Kerobokan) aims to help executives get back on track and back to work in only 28 days.  And YBS, which is well-suited for clients who have already started down the road to recovery but need more time to seal the deal, is flexible. YBS even has outpatient option so that clients who have already reached a certain stage of recovery can still take advantage of the coaching and counseling.

Why Denpasar? In fact, thanks to the financial support and direction that YBS gets from Australian entrepreneur Richard Smith (recently featured in the Jakarta Post), the program has a prominent international component. Smith, who has himself been clean for approximately 10,000 days (logged via iPhone app) , is a recognized expert on substance abuse and behavioral therapy in Australia. Many people have been inspired by how he turned his own life around after several failed attempts.

Sure YBS may resemble family life in some ways —  since you’re sharing space with lots of other people and everybody’s got problems. And parents are encouraged to visit. But families are a rehab strategy that really works and I’ve seen it personally.

The bottom line is, if you’re hooked on something and it’s destroying your life, you can learn from people like Dan and Richard who have been through it.

And how is this related to education in Indonesia? The way I see it, whether it’s a course of study or course of treatment, you have to start from where you are and you can’t stop — not even for a day. In fact, it’s common and perfectly OK (although not very fun) to fail and start over. That could apply to Richard Smith. He was a millionaire before he lost everything – and got it back again. It could even apply to retaking the GMAT. The point is you keep going.

Of course, rehab probably isn’t exactly what you had in mind when your folks mentioned “study abroad.”  And hopefully you’ll be able to accomplish your academic goals without outside intervention.

Just remember, sometimes smart people do drugs (alcohol is a drug, by the way.) If that’s you, but you still want to do something big with your life, then I’m sure you’ll find a way to quit and move on up.

Here’s a list of links to behavioral therapy providers in Indonesia and the region.

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