The Cabin is a network of international drug rehab facilities. The newly-relocated Chiang Mai centre is located outside the northern Thai city, at the foothills of the lush green mountains.
It’s a tranquil space designed for recovery. Its programmes help clients look deep into themselves to help work through the roots of their addiction, whether it’s to alcohol, drugs, sex or even the exercise.
While everybody at The Cabin shares common facilities such as the gym, the treatment rooms are separated, with the main distinctions being The Edge, for young straight men dealing with anger and aggressive issues, and Resort 12, a new addition treating the very specific needs of addiction in LGBT+ people.
Addiction is a frighteningly scary beast. Although people may share similar paths to substance abuse, every person’s experience is entirely unique.
Mike, 34, from Slough started his own successful music agency aged 28. Two years ago his business folded, and Mike’s since been mostly unemployed, doing odd jobs in music and production, but mostly surviving on benefits.
Resort 12 was Mike’s third time in rehab. His previous experiences are 28 days in one facility outside London, and another charity-based one in the capital. Looking back at his past rehab experiences, he now realises how important it is to address the gay element in his therapy.
Here is his story...
“I remember leaving my record label job and I had all these bands that wanted to come to my agency, so my ego was up there. I was earning good money and that first weekend I picked up the crystal pipe. It was sustainable in the beginning but by the third and fourth year I was not turning up for meetings, calling in sick... nothing mattered, not friends, or family or work, just the drugs. It was all consuming.
“I took recreational drugs in my 20s without a problem, but for me meth was always a big no-no, like heroin. When I first did it there was intrigue there. None of my friends did it, so I kept that part of my life secret for a long time. The first time I injected, I remember there was a lot of peer pressure. The house I was at everyone was doing it, and I'd been in that situation before but I was happy not to do it. But with sleep deprivation coupled with a bit of intrigue, there was a thought of ‘fuck it, I'll try it.’ After that first time I was doing it everyday for a week with no sleep, no food.
“[Drugs in the gay community have] moved away from the dancefloor into a room with the curtains closed. It's gone underground again. Rock bottom came four years ago on Christmas Eve. When everyone's going home to see their families I cracked on, then it was suddenly the day after Boxing Day, I hadn't been home, I had really bad psychosis, I injected for the first time ever and I called my friend and said, ‘I don't know where I am, I need help because I think people are following me.’
“To be at Resort 12, in a room full of other gay men talking about trauma, childhood experiences, not feeling that you have to censor yourself is invaluable. In other rehabs you don't realise you're censoring yourself at all. You think you're being really honest - and you are to a point telling stuff you've never told people before, about injecting and using - but all the sexual stuff, which is a massive part of my addiction, you do leave that out because you are worried about being judged and that people don't want to hear about certain websites, talking about unprotected sex, or even just men having sex with each other.
“It was a massive difference and freeing to walk into a room to talk openly.
“I came out when I was 15 and had years of bullying from my older brothers. I'd walk into a room on a daily basis and called ‘you gay, you queen’. I just thought that's what happens. It did drive me underground. During that time I went really quiet, watching what I said and how I said it, playing football to hide it when the reality was I was the more creative one. I’ve since learned to understand why I was being so secretive with my adult behaviour and the drugs.
“At Resort 12 you work out your own way to repair it in yourself. In situations when I'm triggered now I don't give myself such a hard time. You talk about stuff you may have never talked about with anyone before.
“Growing up with an inbuilt gay shame, to discover a sudden sexual liberation can be really freeing. But over a certain amount of time, the drugs can become destructive. It's not intimate, it's more animalistic and really uncaring and it just gets messy.
“What this has done is given me a safe platform to be kind to other gay men. Take away the sexual element and the flirting and there is a really amazing kindness that gay men can share. I feel healthy, clean. I've put on weight, so I look better. I feel massively different now. I've got a programme in place, Narcoti2cs Anonymous meetings in place, boundaries.
“The last rehab was so abhorrent and dark, but Resort 12 has made me look back at that relapse and see that I don't want to go back to that place. I take a lot of strength from that because I know that my past life is not sustainable for me.”
If you or a friend would like more information about the support and services available at Resort 12, contact the team at resort12.com