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Holistic Recovery for Young Men: Interview With Alastair Mordey

Dennis Relojo

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The Cabin Addiction Services Group is a globally recognised addiction treatment provider with a collection of inpatient and outpatient treatment centres around the world; it now has nine facilities in five different countries. The Cabin group’s clinical method ‘Recovery Zones’ is practised across all centres and was authored by certified and accredited Addiction Counsellor Alastair Mordey who has over 15 years of experience; this model has a highly successful 96 per cent completion rate. Treatment at the centres is administered by a multidisciplinary team of highly experienced, licensed addiction specialists.

A few weeks ago, I had the chance to speak with Alastair Mordey, Programme Director at The Cabin Group.

How long have you been working in this industry?


I have over 15 years experience in the industry and have worked in an entire range of settings from street outreach and frontline services to the management of residential units. In 2010, I moved to Thailand and co-founded The Cabin Chiang Mai, which has since become a multinational treatment provider, The Cabin Addiction Services Group. In 2016 I pioneered The Edge, a treatment centre for young men aged 16–30 suffering from addiction and behavioural issues.

Why did you choose to work in this field?

I have been in recovery myself for 17 years and know how it feels to live life as a series of disasters. I truly believe that addiction is a search for safety and meaning in a fast changing world. It cuts across all human cultures and socioeconomic groups and manifests itself in many different ways. Some addicted people use drugs, others use food, some gamble or act out in chaotic relationships. It is caused by isolation, childhood adversity, and the loss of traditional belief systems and culture. By coming out of isolation and finding a potent source of meaning we can change the way we think and have a life beyond our wildest dreams. I have seen this in both my personal and professional life.

What is the Recovery Zones method and how does this differ from other treatment programmes?

Recovery Zones is unique to The Cabin, an ‘all addictions’ model used to treat both chemical and process addictions. Recovery Zones imparts 12 Step abstinence principles using secular terminology and is augmented by mindfulness meditation (or Vipassana) which is native to Southeast Asia.

Mindfulness and relaxation assists in healing the deep spiritual maladies associated with addiction and other behavioural health disorders. Our specialists use this treatment model at all our centres.

Tell us about your work at The Edge?

In 2016, I pioneered The Edge and the key difference at The Edge, is that it is the only centre dedicated to the holistic recovery of young men (16–30) outside of the US, providing personalised treatment to create an individualised programme balance of psychological counselling, physical exercise, nutrition and mindfulness.

All clients partake in group and one-to-one treatment sessions combined with wilderness therapy which involves extensive hiking and trekking excursions into the tropical jungles of Chiang Mai, as well as a choice of Muay Thai Boxing or Triathlon Training – both proven to be particularly effective in creating meaning and purpose in the lives of young men who have often lacked direction.

This intensive programme combined with the centre’s remote location steers young men into recovery from addiction and redirects them into gaining a new perspective on life and enthusiasm for their future. Wilderness therapy has been proven to be an effective tool for developing determination, communication and teamwork. Clients will be able to change their attitudes, while experiencing the vast array of activities that the area has to offer, such as rock climbing, white water rafting, kayaking, archery and zip lining.

Do you do any charity work with The Cabin Group?

We have set up The Cabin Foundation and our graduates at The Edge regularly embark on competitive triathlons (from Olympic distance to Ironman distance) to raise funds for poverty stricken, methamphetamine-affected hill tribe villages in the Golden Triangle area of Northern Thailand.

You’re currently writing a book with the working title ‘Answer to Zarathustra: The Wisdom of Addicts in a Godless World’ – when will it be available?

I’m hoping it will be published by the end of next year. It addresses nihilism in modern age and the increasing levels of isolation, loss of community and traditional belief systems and how addiction is a search for the transcendental, in a world bereft of meaning.

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Alastair Mordey (BA Hons, FDAP), is a certified and accredited addiction counsellor. He has over a decade of experience working in all four tiers of the UK’s treatment system, from detox to aftercare.


Dennis Relojo is the founder of Psychreg and is also the Editor-in-Chief of Psychreg Journal of Psychology. Aside from PJP, he sits on the editorial boards of peer-reviewed journals, and is a Commissioning Editor for the International Society of Critical Health Psychology. A Graduate Member of the British Psychological Society, Dennis holds a master’s degree in psychology from the University of Hertfordshire. His research interest lies in the intersection of psychology and blogging. You can connect with him through Twitter @DennisRelojo and his website.


 


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