PHUKET: Phuket is renowned for its party scene, especially during the holidays, when tourists venture from around the globe to enjoy the island’s nightlife, and expats let their hair down.
For many people, the annual revelry is marked by a few heavy drinking sessions followed by a few hangovers – and a new year resolution to take it easier next year. For some, however, the festive season likely marked a series of binges that progressed from drunken stupor to blackouts.
“Not remembering what you did the night before is a serious indicator of a drinking problem,” explained one Phuket member of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), the global organization that has more than two million members worldwide.
“Blackouts tend to frighten normal people into cutting down how much they drink, but if the person keeps drinking to the point that they cannot remember what they did the night before, then they might consider seeking help,” he added.
Many people over-indulge during the holidays, and many of these people might be heavy drinkers. That does not mean these people have a drinking problem, the member explained.
“What has proved to be a clear sign of a progression towards alcoholism is the inability to stop after a few drinks. Once a person cannot stop, despite all the promises they make to themselves and to loved ones, they are already displaying alcoholic behavior,” he said.
Worse, usually those on their way to developing a serious drinking problem have no idea – or will not admit – that they drink much more than the people they are partying with.
“This is what makes it very difficult for people to recognize they might have a drinking problem,” another AA member said.
Those who do see the progression much more clearly, however, are those who are subjected to watching it reduce their loved ones to mere shadows of their former selves.
What to do about it
The first rule is to never be angry and to not directly confront a potential alcoholic.
“Treat them as a sick person. Let them raise the issue, then at least the person you are concerned about has admitted there is a problem,” explained one Phuket AA member who has been sober for more than 15 years.
“This could be something as simple as them talking about how much they drank, whether they remember or not, or even just complaining about their hangover. Then at least you can discuss these aspects,” he said.
Of course, a concerned person can contact AA in Phuket or Al-Anon, the support group for people living with alcoholics.
“AA does not do interventions, but members will talk to the person if the person agrees,” one AA elder said.
“It is also strongly suggested that the concerned person come to a meeting to learn more about alcoholism and AA before taking steps to help the person they are worried about,” he added.
“Every meeting in Phuket is an ‘open’ meeting, meaning that anyone interested in AA may attend, even if just to hear our stories and how we stopped drinking.
“One wife came to a Phuket AA meeting and ended up going home to tell her partner: ‘I went to an AA meeting today, and I saw half your buddies there…’ Some people are very surprised who are alcoholics in recovery and are now living happy, sober lives,” he said.
If AA seems an appropriate suggestion, leave an AA leaflet around the house. “Just leave it lying around, some Phuket members got sober this way. Help could be this simple,” was the advice.
But if recurring drinking bouts keep resulting in dire circumstances, taking a hard line against specific behaviors may be required. “Never clean up their messes and don’t make excuses for them. If the boss calls asking why he or she isn’t at work – tell them the truth,” one well-experienced AA member advised.
Setting parameters for some behaviors might seem absurd, but they may well be needed for drinkers beyond the pail.
“Be very clear about breaking promises. If the person cannot adhere to a promise made, then there must be some consequence. It might be as simple as: ‘You’ve done it again, so now you go to an AA meeting, or give up drinking for two months, or go see a doctor’ – this can be whatever is agreed, but stick to it,” one AA member urged.
Seeing a doctor can drive the point home. Test results that prove the liver has sustained severe damage from prolonged heavy drinking is usually hard to argue, he added.
“If the person can control his or her drinking, then all well and good. They are probably just a heavy drinker, not an alcoholic, and we take our hat off to them.
“But if drinking remains a problem, the consequences usually become more severe. For one AA member, the wife took the kids and the passports and moved out of the house. If the drinking stopped or the member sought help, then the wife and kids would be nearby to provide support
“He did stop, after joining AA. That was more than 14 years ago and the couple have been happily married since,” he added.
Alcoholics Anonymous (Phuket)
Tel: 081-7372246, 084-3077408 or 081-8954763.
Google: AA Phuket
‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people
On October 18, the ‘Always Smile Journey’ group and its partners will host an exhibition with plenty of fun activities at the Yak Yai Market, near Chalong Circle, in Phuket. This event was designed to raise funds to provide free English classes for underprivileged people on the island of Phuket on Saturdays and Sundays. The group does not accept donations but aims to raise money through the sales of the products available at the event.
From 2 pm to 8 pm, there will be a number of artists, musicians and performers who will keep the attendees entertained along the way. There will be a short film about His Majesty King Rama 9 as well as fun activities and games for kids and families, which are all free of charge.
The big bike crew is also a part of this event. They will ride a parade from Rawai Beach heading to the market and showcase their gorgeous two-wheel buddies.
One of the highlights of the Always Smile Journey exhibition is the ‘Happening’ artists group, who will draw and paint a picture of the His Majesty King Rama 9 under the name ‘Street Art King Bhumibol’ on a 4×10 meter sign live at the event so the guests will experience this large-scale art in action. The Happening will also offer portrait sketching for the participants.
There will also be some western menus available at the event which will be donated to underprivileged children.
This free English class project has over seven years of experience through its cooperation working with individuals and other charity organizations. Throughout the years, the group visited several areas such as Ban Laem Hoy School, Ban Bopud School and Ban Angthong School in Samui, Surat Thani province, Ban Bueng Ao Oun School and Ban Kakoh Rayong, in Surin province, Jalae Village of Lahu (Muser) in Chiang Rai province, as well as community education centers in Siem Reap, Cambodia and in Luang Prabang, in Laos.
This event is a cooperation between several groups, including Happening, Yak Yai Market and Arrow Media, Tattoo artist group, Thonburi Art School Alumni, International School of Tourism, Suratthani Rajabhat University, big bike group from Phuket, artists/performers/musicians from many provinces as well as several businesses across Phuket.
21% of Thai teenagers are gambling
PHOTO: Gambling, local style, Rai Et, north-east Thailand – Pinterest
Early in October the Thai Health Promotion Foundation met to discuss the gambling situation in Thailand in 2019. Also present were the Centre for Gambling Studies, Stop Gambling Foundation and related groups.
The meeting was set up after a report revealed that more than half (57%) of the Thai population, or 30.42 million people, gamble. The director-general of the Centre for Gambling Studies at Chulalongkorn University shared the report, which was based on data from a survey of 44,050 people across 77 provinces.
The figure is an increase of 1.49 million people from 2017. While most Thai gamblers are of working age, 2.4% of the total were aged between 15-18 years. This means that 21% of that age group are gambling.
According to California’s Council on Problem Gambling, youth, like everyone else, gamble for many reasons, including entertainment; socialisation; competition; loneliness, and boredom; to get rich quick; to impress others; be the centre of attention; make new friends, and because winning provides an instant, temporary boost of confidence.
“The California Council on Problem Gambling lists depression as one reason youth turn to gambling, noting that depression can just as easily be an effect as a cause. This is especially important to note in a country like Thailand.”
In an article in The ASEAN Post, it was noted that in December 2017, Thailand’s Department of Mental Health (DMH) reported that an estimated one million teenagers are believed to suffer from depression, many of whom go untreated, with two million more are at risk, making upward of three million among a population of eight million teens then.
The DMH said that stress and anxiety may affect a student’s ability to concentrate and perform well at school, and they may show several warning signs, such as lack of attention, loss of interest in daily activities, lethargy, sadness, and sleeping issues.
“It is clear from studies that depression and gambling go hand-in-hand: the unfortunate case in Thailand is that it is affecting children too.”
SOURCE: The ASEAN Post
Professor: Military government too interested in tourism – not people’s welfare
A professor of Rangsit University has criticised the previous military government for focusing too much on tourism and not enough on the welfare of the Thai people. The professor was speaking at Chulalongkorn University at a seminar discussing street stalls and urban development.
She questioned the National Council for Peace and Order’s policy of clearing street vendors in all but a few areas such as Yaowarat and Khao San Road that mainly cater to tourists.
She claimed that the NCPO – in power since the coup of 2014 until this year’s election – was more interested in economic development through tourism than in the welfare of the public.
Having affordable street food options was not just about tourism, she said, it was vital for poor workers who have migrated from the countryside, adding that it was part of an informal rather than a formal economy.
“For years people had earned their living from selling goods and services, including food, on the streets.”
This in turn provided an affordable option to eat for workers who came to Bangkok on for large investment projects. The issue, she said, was not just about tourism but the wider economy that might benefit.
The professor noted that CNN had once called Bangkok the best place in the world for street food but this had changed with the sanitized food trucks that have appeared since stalls and vendors were banned from most areas.
The Thaiger notes that banning street vendors has divided the capital. Many are happy that the sidewalks are easier to navigate, but others – including tourists – have said that the lifeblood and character of the city has suffered.
SOURCE: Naew Na | ThaiVisa Forum
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