Thailand is an Alcoholic’s Disneyland. In a location like Pattaya, there have hundreds of bars to choose from, and you can get drunk for a fraction of the amount of money you would pay in the west. If you have a habit of picking up red-cards when you get drunk, it’s not going to be a problem – there is always another pub ready to welcome you. Best of all, nobody is going to give a shit if you are slurring your words before breakfast.
How Expats Poison Their Thailand Dream with Alcohol
It’s hard to say how many expats in Thailand would fall into the category of alcoholic. In a post on here last month, I talked about the growing number of westerners who are now homeless in Thailand. I doubt many of these guys ended up like this from sipping the pineapple juice. Drinking too much alcohol is a recipe for disaster – Thailand is a dangerous place to be out of control.
It is usually the expats who choose to open a bar in Thailand who have the most dramatic downfalls. These are usually guys whose only experience of running a pub is paying their bar-tab. There can be a morbid fascination in observing these people fall apart – it can be like watching a disaster movie in slow motion.
Alcohol is a perfect drug for dreamers because it makes almost any old bullshit appear plausible. It encourages a level of risk-taking that even the adventurers who want to climb Mount Everest without oxygen would find a bit reckless. Alcoholics don’t need business school – all it takes is a few bottles of Beer Chang and enough life-savings to invest in a bar. These people don’t have to worry too much about not having customers because there is no risk of their stock going to waste.
I’ve known guys who came to Thailand with the intention of drinking themselves to death – one of them was me. I’d given up all hope of breaking away from my addiction, and it felt glamorous to spend my last days on the planet sipping my beers on the beach of an exotic island. Of course, it isn’t that easy. It turns out that drinking yourself to death is a long and painful process – it doesn’t matter if you are lying on a tropical beach in Thailand or sitting in a bus shelter in Detroit.
Broken Dreams in Thailand
I’m sure most individuals who end up struggling with alcoholism in Thailand did not come here with any type of death wish. These are just people who arrived on holiday and fell in love with the place. I’ve heard from dreamers who’ve spent years working in jobs they hate just to save enough money to make their dream of living in Thailand a reality.
Thailand can be a great place to begin a new life but the majority of people who move here don’t last more than a couple of years. Of course, alcohol abuse isn’t the only reason a person might change their mind about living in Thailand, but in a significant number of cases it is what turns the dream into a nightmare.
Don’t Come to Thailand If You Have an Alcohol Problem
It is a bad idea to move to Thailand if you have an alcohol problem. Coming here is not going to cure you – it is more likely to kill you. I’m not saying you can’t build a life here later on, but you need to sort out your drinking problem first of all.
There is a Thai parable that sums up the situation really well. If you visit a temple in Thailand, you are likely to see stray dogs wandering around the grounds. They will sit down at a new location but then start to scratch furiously. After a few minutes they will get up and move to somewhere else. They do this all day long because they don’t understand they are bringing the flies with them. If you come to Thailand with an alcohol problem, you are going to be taking your flies along for the ride.