My name is Brice. I’m eighteen years old and I’m an addict. In my opinion, growing up in Bali isn’t ideal for a teenager, or at least not for me. Picture a paradise island, with an endless summer, overflowing with drugs and booze, beautiful girls everywhere, and no rules—now, add a few thousand wealthy expat kids! We were driving motorbikes at the age of twelve, going into discotheques, throwing massive house parties! It was Ibiza for kids!
After getting expelled from high school for the third time and getting caught smoking narcotics, which is considered highly illegal in Indonesia, my parents decided to move me to Europe. I was fifteen. I only lasted a few months before getting expelled from school again and moving back to Indonesia, this time to Java, with my father.
During this time, my father was diagnosed with fourth stage lung cancer and died just before the summer of 2015. This had a huge impact on me. After spending my sixteenth birthday in the south of France, I decided to travel but I had no money at all! I was about 16 years old when I hitchhiked from the north of Portugal all the way down to the south coast of Spain, to Málaga. Here I was arrested for travelling underage.
During that year, I did a lot of self-discovery. I also poisoned myself with very harmful narcotics and I got myself into many life-threatening situations. I was sent to child protection services in Torre del Mar and was bailed out a few days later. I lived in Málaga for a year and enrolled in an international school. I tried this time, I really did! I really wanted to press the reset button on my life, finally graduate from high school, and go to university.
But it only took two weeks before I was taking drugs with a few kids at school and only a month before I was back on my drug of choice. It took around six months for me to reach rock bottom, and that was when I went into to my first rehabilitation clinic. The withdrawals of my drug of choice led me to act out aggressively and slightly insanely, and so I was taken to a psychiatric hospital. I spent a month there. I was heavily medicated and was put on anti-psychotic drugs. I had been clean for about three months when my mother collected me. I think it took around 18 hours before I started taking drugs again.
During the transitional period between my time in the psych ward and Yes We Can Youth Clinics, I crossed the line. I don’t want to go into detail about the things I have done to my mother, to others and to myself, but it was very serious. I enrolled in at Yes We Can Youth Clinics on 23rd August 2017, which is also my clean date.
Yes We Can is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Not only did it save my life, but it also made me feel that my life is worth saving. Close to a year later, I am now an Amateur IRONMAN® age group long-distance triathlete. I quit smoking, I eat healthily, and besides all these practical life changes, I have finally developed a bond with my mother. It’s a bond of love and trust, and I also have this bond with my brother. These things are priceless. I’m currently finishing off my last year of high school and I’m going to apply for a Bachelor’s Degree in International Business Administration.
Recovery has its ups and downs: it took me a year to fully recover and gradually reintegrate into school. In less than a year, I have completely turned my life around. I have a grip on my life now. I have goals I’m working towards, and I love it!
I want to add that I was never addicted to drugs, sex, or anything else. I was addicted to a good feeling, a feeling of oblivion and escape. And that feeling was what brought me from A to B: it let me forget about everything and it was an excuse to stay alive. But that feeling was never the problem, it was the solution: a temporary solution, a quick fix. Take away all the stimuli of a good feeling and you’re left with the problem— and that’s what I started to work on because if I don’t face the core of my issue, I will only slip back to where I once was. And I’m going to be frank: I’ve had plenty of good fun in the past, but if I’m really honest with myself, those were only the few hours when I was heavily under the influence of God knows what.
I tend to forget the dark times: times when I realised that I didn’t really have any friends, or when I made my mother cry, or when I failed yet another year at school. I’m never going to change until I look at myself in the mirror and be honest with myself. All it takes is one year of persistence!