WORDS LIM TECK CHOON
Eve Psychosocial Rehabilitation Centre
RE:Life Mental Health Clinic
Saeshanathan Thanasegaran, or Saesha as he prefers to be addressed, is a man that has overcome his addiction demons. Since then, he commits himself to helping other addicts that wish to overcome their addiction.
We managed to sit down and chat with him recently and are glad to be able to share his story and thoughts with you.
SAESHA, YOU HAVE OVERCOME YOUR ADDICTION. WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO SEEK REHAB IN THE FIRST PLACE?
Well, I couldn’t have done rehab on my own. When someone is caught in the web of addiction, they are unable to think for themselves and they prefer to be in the addiction cycle.
My family, especially my brother and my uncle, were my ‘two towers’ that told me rehab was going to change my life forever.
Had I not done rehab, I would have found myself without any shelter, and I would have been left alone to fend for myself.
WHAT WERE YOUR GREATEST CHALLENGES WHEN IT COMES TO OVERCOMING YOUR ADDICTION?
My greatest challenge was being honest and truthful with the people who tried to help me with my issues, be it my behavior or my addiction. I was always in denial.
My uncle and my brother were and still are my greatest support system.
Besides that, spiritual healing was also another path which I had followed, and it has added value to my recovery.
YOU’RE NOW AN ADDICTION THERAPIST. WHAT DOES AN ADDICTION COACH DO?
An addiction therapist is someone that does peer to peer support and conducts recovery sessions for those who have chosen the path of recovery or for those who are finding the recovery process difficult.
WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO BECOME ONE?
I just felt my story was something that could be heard by others who were going through this.
When I met my mentor, Chris Sekar that currently works at Gleneagles Hospital, he told me what good this can do for me and how far I can go with this, from addiction coach to addiction therapist.
Doing that has now led me to continue to do my degree in psychology at a local university.
PLEASE TELL US MORE ABOUT HOW YOU BECAME AN ADDICTION THERAPIST.
I first registered for this course with a rehab center that was offering this training.
The training was conducted for about 8 weeks and for the final round, we had to conduct a case conferencing, in which we had to apply what we had learnt to understand a real-life situation.
Once I completed the course, I received a Level 2 certification and started my journey as addiction therapist.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR PROUDEST MILESTONES AS AN ADDICTION THERAPIST?
I would say that my proudest moment would be when I was invited by a local university to speak in front of students and their lecturers about my journey and struggles of my addiction—what I had gone through while in it.
It was conducted in front of about 80 people, the biggest crowd that I have faced till to date!
ONE THING MANY FORMER ADDICTS FEAR IS A RELAPSE. DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE ON STAYING CLEAN?
Relapse is one thing that we all fear.
One thing that I have learnt is that we always need to be aware of our past and how life was during our times in addiction.
With each step and move that we make in our life, we should always be reminded that we are only doing things forward and not going back.
As certain recovery groups would say: “One day at a time.” This saying goes along way for us in recovery.
LASTLY, DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR PEOPLE WITH ADDICTION, BUT ARE WORRIED THAT THEY MAY NOT BE ABLE TO FIND HELP?
My only advice would be: if you cannot get yourself to find help, don’t push away help that comes your way. Be it from family, friends or even strangers.
Allow yourselves to receive the help that comes your way, it’s done out of grace and love. After all, no family member would want their son or daughter to go through the agony of addiction.
Receive the help that comes your way because in the end, it’s totally worth it.