The Rise of the Bali Rehab

If you are facing the pain of addiction or watching a loved one go through it, going on holiday is probably the last thing on your mind. If you are in Australia, you might open Google and type ‘rehab Australia’ and find the treatment centre with the best rating. But, unknown to many people who are seeking help, there is another powerful option — Try typing ‘Rehab Bali’ instead.

Drug and alcohol rehab is one of those things that has traditionally been either very low quality or very expensive. Addiction treatment through the public system has been generally clinical, sterile, but relatively cheap. On the other end of the scale are the high-end rehab centres frequented by and made famous by celebrities such as Charlie Sheen and others.

Promises Malibu high end rehab
Famous high end drug rehab Promises Malibu

Bizarrely, the surge in celebrities using high-end rehabs led to strange new levels of popularity and an increase in profits over the last thirty years. It’s no wonder since such rehabs can fetch as much as $100,000 for a single month stay. But such prices leave the non-wealthy addicts of society out in the cold and facing the low-end options of the public system: prison-style decor, uncomfortable beds and metal toilets.

But, over the last ten years, another option has arisen.

The Rise of Asian Rehabs as an affordable alternative

The low cost of living in Asian countries has meant that the high quality of rehabs in the West can now be provided at a fraction of the cost. With the addition of perfect sunny weather, tropical beaches and cultural activities, the industry has spawned an entirely new type of rehab — one that focuses on life-affirming activities and wholesome living rather than sterile, hospital environments and complicated lectures.

The innovation of this activity-based rehab was first spawned in Bali by Dr Richard Smith, an Associate Professor at Paramadina University and the founder of Seasons Bali — the only ISO9001 certified rehabilitation centre in South East Asia.

“We were actually the first rehab to open in Bali. I originally founded the Hader Clinic in Melbourne. At some stage, I realised that times were changing and there was a benefit to people getting out of their home country. I knew that an ISO certification was a lot of hard work, but it felt necessary because I knew that there is a common view that the service in Asia might not meet the standards of rehab in the West. The ISO certification ensures that the standards are as good as, if not better than the best rehabs in the West.”

It’s true that consumers in the West have commonly sought out cheaper services in Asia with the expectation of a drop in quality. Examples like the dental industry in Thailand are proving that standards have risen dramatically. But, there is still a guessing game at play. 

I worked for a company that implemented ISO standards once. It is not for the faint-hearted and requires a tremendous amount of work over a long period of time. But, in a space where anyone can open their own rehab centre, you have to applaud the move by Seasons Bali

In addition to the ISO certification, Dr Smith and his staff are driving strong changes in the rehab industry. While traditional models of drug and alcohol rehabilitation such as Alcoholics Anonymous have seen success, it has been loudly proclaimed for some time that conventional rehab models are long overdue for a makeover.

“Many countries and cultures have been slow to learn from past mistakes, and many societies around the world still treat addiction like a moral defect and addicts like people that deserve to be shamed. Slowly, however, society has made small changes to serve better the needs of individuals struggling with addiction.” (Source)

The innovation of Dr Smith and Seasons Bali retains the successful aspects of the traditional model.

“We retain a lot of respect for traditional models of rehab. The principles of Seasons Bali were born out of our rehab centres in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. But it was clear some things needed to change. We take our clients out of their familiar environment. So, they are separated from all of their well-grooved habits and triggers. Then, rather than undertaking their treatment in a clinical setting, we bring them to paradise.”

The natural beauty of Bali can provide a tremendously comforting environment for someone going through treatment. Activities from surfing to volunteering at local orphanages create a sense of community and inspiration that can better train them to enjoy and embrace life rather than cultivating a sense of denial.

Seasons Bali Rehab Program Director Richard Smith
Seasons Bali Program Director Dr Richard Smith

Technology and advancements in science are changing the world. With it, the increase in user data is teaching us about what works and what doesn’t. You can see a new type of leadership emerging in sports, management and the medical industry. The new direction takes people away from negative affirmations to the positive. Seasons Bali have implemented a model that encourages its clients to begin supporting each other from the beginning.

“Through developing a sense of community and responsibility, clients learn from the beginning that supporting others is a key aspect of recovery. By becoming heroes to others, it takes them out of the victim mentality and empowers them to pull others through their darkness”

From the heart of addiction, the view is often obscured. The idea of life without your vice is impossible to visualise. For an addict in a clinic in their home town, it can be even more obscured.

“Our hard work is done during the week. Then, weekends are the real practice time. They learn to get out and touch nature and experience the natural beauty and bliss of the elements. This is an opportunity that is rarely afforded in local city rehabs.”

Transformation Starts Here

Taking that first step towards recovery is one of the most powerful things you can do. If you or a family member need help and you want to get the best treatment possible, get in touch with us now. With over twenty years of helping people to find peace in recovery, we are South East Asia’s Leading Addiction Treatment Centre.

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