This website use cookies and similar technologies to improve the site and to provide customised content and advertising. By using this site, you agree to this use. To learn more, including how to change your cookie settings, please view our Cookie Policy
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
AU
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
   You are currently viewing the Australia version of the site.
Would you like to switch to your local site?
Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > 295 > THE LAST RESORT

THE LAST RESORT

RESEARCH SHOWS THAT QUEER PEOPLE ARE MORE LIKELY TO SMOKE, USE ALCOHOL AND DRUGS, ATTEMPT SUICIDE AND SUFFER MENTAL-HEALTH PROBLEMS THAN THEIR STRAIGHT COUNTERPARTS. AS OUR COMMUNITY CONTINUES TO PROBE THE REASONS WHY, CLIFF JOANNOU VISITED RESORT 12 — AN LGBT REHAB FACILITY IN THAILAND — THAT AIMS TO HELP THE HEALING PROCESS

REHAB

Resort 12 is a 40-minute drive from the northern city of Chiang Mai, in Thailand. Located at the foot of the surrounding mountains, a lush green jungle hangs over its thick stone walls and a bamboo fence that must be 12ft high. We approach a guarded gate before we snake around the perimeter to the towering main entrance.

The huts that are visible through the foliage look akin to those in a fancy resort, with their perfectly manicured gardens and man-made lakes.

“From the moment I came through the guard gate, I noticed little things,” Jim, 54, from St Louis, and a client at R12 tells me later that day. “I immediately spotted the barbed wire between the bamboo, and the next gate had to be opened by a fingerprint scanner. It is scary. Then the gate closed behind me. It’s a very subtle prison. But you know you’re in a safe environment. I love not having triggers such as bottles of booze in a restaurant.”

As we talk, the birds chirp and flutter outside. It’s a tranquil environment, peaceful and still. But the calm in the air runs counter to the psychological and emotional turmoil its residents are battling. The majority of people at the “villages” within addiction treatment centre The Cabin are fighting drug and alcohol problems. Some are sex addicts or even hooked on the gym.

I’m escorted through the grounds to R12, the only addiction clinic outside of the USA dedicated to treating LGBT+ people. Everybody at The Cabin shares common facilities such as the gym, but the treatment rooms are separated, with the main distinctions being The Edge, which is for young straight men dealing with anger issues, and R12 — which treats the very specific needs of LGBT+ people.

At R12, I meet Stu Fenton and Sandi James. Stu was a school teacher in Sydney and a former crystal meth and GHB addict. His first experience of rehab was in 2003, age 33, when he spent 11 months getting clean.

Sandi is also from Sydney. “I was from a similar stomping ground to Stu,” she tells me as we sit in one of the therapy rooms at R12. “I was one of the gutter-dwellers. Heroin was my drug, I didn’t really touch anything else and I was on methadone for years.”

The main difference between the experiences of Stu and Sandi and other people here is that they are the counsellors leading the recovery programme. When Stu left rehab he decided he was done with teaching. Inspired by his experience, he changed career direction and trained as a therapist. Since then, he’s worked in his own practice and at hospitals, helping treat gambling, sex addiction, love addiction/avoidance, depression and anxiety.

Sandi has studied extensively and is about to embark on her second Masters degree in applied science psychology. She previously worked in the mental-health sector with Aboriginal people (both adolescents and adults), and people with severe behavioural disorders or alcoholism. She has also worked with the trans community and people with gender-identity confusion.

READ MORE
Purchase options below
Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Attitude - 295
If you own the issue, Login to read the full article now.
Single Issue - 295
$7.99
Or 799 points
Annual Digital Subscription
Only $ 3.08 per issue
Get the last 12 back issues free with this subscription
SAVE
61%
Was $39.99
Now $39.99
Monthly Digital Subscription
Only $ 4.14 per issue
SAVE
44%
$4.49
Or 449 points

View Issues

About Attitude

Double cover special! RICKY MARTIN + KYLIE. PLUS: The stars of BPM - the gay film everyone’s talking about, Ben Whishaw’s new BBC drama, and how an LGBT rehab clinic is fighting addiction