Victor came to New Life Foundation at the beginning of July for what he calls big problems. He started drinking when he was 16, doing drugs when he was 18. Sometimes he disappeared for days at a time. “I don’t accept orders,” he says to explain why everything he’s tried has gone wrong.
His stay at New Life is a “present” from his mother and step-father. What prompted this “gift” was an overdose that landed him in a psychiatric ward for the second time. The doctors say he was trying to kill himself: Victor doesn’t remember.
His father died in a car accident when Victor was very young. And, until now, Victor’s relationship with his step-father has been tumultuous. The last year and a half before he came to New life, he wasn’t living at home. Sometimes he stayed with his older sister. Other times he slept in stations, public buildings, outside, wherever he landed when he felt sleepy. Victor’s mother gave him money for food but he used it to buy drugs and eventually took up dealing.
Victor’s mother heard about New Life from friends in Belgium. When she suggested he come here, Victor said no, it was too far. But then he thought it over and decided Thailand might be interesting.
“I’m learning to understand myself,” he says. “This is the first time I’ve felt content in my life.”
At New Life, Victor has learned to control his angry emotions and to accept his parents, especially his step-father. His stepfather traveled with him to Thailand and will return with his mother every three months to visit. He’s also learning to accept his troubled past. He credits his life coaches, Tom and Sabrina, for his new insights. “They really understand me,” he says.
“Finally I’m doing something useful,” Victor says. “My mother is proud of me.”
Originally, his mother had suggested Victor stay at New Life for two years. He plans a shorter stay – maybe six or eight months. He doesn’t want to go back to Belgium. He thinks it would be hard to be in his old environment with his friends who are still using drugs. Instead, he hopes to stay in Thailand, find a job and study the Thai language.
Maybe Victor’s T-shirt best describes how he feels about himself now: “I’m not perfect but I’m a limited edition.”