Talking about Myself in Thai

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Week 17 of my Six Month Attempt to Speak Fluent Thai

My goal for the remaining couple of months of my challenge is to prepare for a YouTube video where I talk about my experiences at Wat Thamkrabok (a Thai temple where people go to get help with addiction problems). I understand that not everyone is going to be interested in hearing about this type of adventure, but it is something I feel passionate about, and I’ve learned that following my passion is the best way to stay motivated.

Talking about Thamkrabok

Wat Thamkrabok is a detox temple located in Saraburi. I ended up there eight years ago in a desperate attempt to quit alcohol. I was an extreme alcohol enthusiast from a young age. I entered my first rehab at age 19, and I was in and out of treatment programs like a yo-yo for years afterwards – at one point I even ended up living on the streets. I had almost lost all hope of recovery when I discovered the unique treatment program at Thamkrabok. I tell the story of what happened to me there in my book Dead Drunk.

So why do I feel this need to tell my story in Thai? I remember back in 2006 desperately searching for solutions for my drinking problem. I was living in village in Phitsanulok at the time, and I felt certain I was going to die there. I’d already been told my liver had been damaged a few years before that, and I was expecting the worst. Every night, I would go online looking for answers, but I kept on getting the same advice – the stuff I already knew wouldn’t work for me. My search felt completely futile, just something I did when I was drunk, but then I came across a web forum where somebody mentioned Thamkrabok. I arranged to go there the next day, and for the first time in years I felt hope.

There are thousands of YouTube videos about addiction available in English but very few of them are in Thai. Most Thai people seem to know what Thamkrabok is already, but there isn’t much information about what actually happens there, and more importantly, what happens afterwards. It would be better if there were Thai people making this type of video but there just isn’t. By sharing my experience, I can feel like I did my bit. Even if nobody ever benefits from hearing about my experiences, I’ll still benefit from the act of sharing it.

Beginning of My Thamkrabok Story

I’ve been working on my talk about Thamkrabok for about two weeks. I’ve made an audio recording of what I’ve done so far, so I can get some feedback from you guys. Here is the transcript, and you’ll find the audio below.

สวัสดีครับ วันนี้ผมอยากพูดเกี่ยวกับประสบการณ์ของผมที่วัดถ้ำกระบอก แปดปีที่แล้วผมไปที่โน้นเพราะต้องการเลิกดื่ม แอลกอฮอล์ ผมรู้สึกขอบคุณมากกับการบำบัดของวัดถ้ำกระบอก มันทำให้ผมรู้สึกดีขึ้น ผมอยากอธิบายว่าทำไมจำเป็นต้องไปที่โน่น
ผมเกิดที่ประเทศไอร์แลนด์ ตอนเป็นเด็กมีความสุขมากแต่ชอบวิตกกังวลและคิดไปเอง ตอนอายุสิบสี่พ่อแม่หย่ากัน ผมหดหู่มาก คืนหนึ่งผมขโมยขวดวอดก้าจากตู้พ่อแม่ ผมดื่มจนเมามากและอาเจียน ผมชอบเพราะว่าตอนเมาไม่ต้องห่วง หลังจากนั้นผมหาเพื่อนใหม่ชอบดื่มแอลกอฮอล์ด้วยกัน เวลานั้นผมคิดว่าแอลกอฮอล์วิเศษเพราะว่าทำให้ผมมั่นใจและสบายใจ เมื่อก่อนนั่นผมเรียนรู้เก่งที่่โรงเรียนแต่ตอนเริ่มดื่มแอลกอฮอล์ไม่สนใจโรงเรียน ตอนอายุสิบห้าผมถูกไล่ออกจากโรงเรียน

Press play below to listen

Other posts in this series on learning Thai

Week 0- My Quest to Speak Fluent Thai in Six Months
Week 1 -Creating the Right Mental Conditions for Learning Thai
Week 2- Maybe Just Getting Out There and Speaking Thai is Not Enough
Week 3 – 5 Improvements in My Approach to Learning Thai
Week 4 – Generating Enough Passion to Learn Thai
Week 5 – Undoing the Damage from Speaking Thai Badly for Thirteen Years
Week 6 – Early Impressions of Glossika Thai Fluency Course
Week 7 – Introverts Can Learn Thai Too
Week 8 – Winning Strategy for Achieving Fluency in Thai
Week 9 – Thai Fluency in 10,000 Sentences
Week 10 – Problems with Staying Focused Prevent Me from Learning Thai
Week 11 – Importance of Cracking Thai Fundamentals
Week 12 – Painful Lessons while Ordering Pizza in Thai
Week 13- If I Can Become Fluent in Thai, So Can Anyone
Week 14 – How I Make Time to Study Thai
Week 15 – Redefining Fluency After Losing My Way While Learning Thai
Week 16 – My Learn Thai Fitness Challenge

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4 thoughts on “Talking about Myself in Thai

  1. I do that too. Before I jump I try to look. I think it is a great idea to let the Thai addicts who are interested what to expect when they go to Thamkrabok. It will help alleviate some of their anxiety.
    In the US even addiction specialists cannot agree on a definition for alcoholism or even a treatment. If it is the same for the Thai people having some information may embolden them to go.
    I had to try to control myself many times before I finally knew I had to just quit. People who suspect they have a problem with alcohol almost certainly do. So the quicker we can get them through the phase of trying to control themselves and into the phase of “I gotta quit” the sooner they can have their life back. If your information, done in the Thai language will get them in there, wonderful.

    1. Hi Mark, the think I liked most about the Thai approach was that it was so simple. I came out of the temple with fewer beliefs than when I went in, and I think this is why it worked for me.

      If somebody watches my videos and thinks ‘maybe change is possible’ that would be wonderful. Maybe believing in the potential to change is more important than the method we use to make it happen.

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