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White Pearl – a ray of hope for those suffering from addictions

Samui Times Editor



White Pearl – a ray of hope for those suffering from addictions | Samui Times
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Many people suffer from a addictions, be it alcohol, substance abuse or even chocolate. The problem of addiction is widely known, however finding help to overcome addictions is not. Many people struggling with addiction find it hard to get the help they need. Government run addiction clinics often have very long waiting lists and private facilities are often beyond the financial reach of those who need their help.

white pearl 3In Koh Samui a new facility that has been set up and designed to help people deal with their addictions has opened its doors – the Samui Times went along to speak to manager Lars to find out more.

Hi, thank you for taking time to talk to us, can we start by asking –

Where the idea for the centre came from?

The concept of the rehab came from our CEO Alvaro Lopez one of the founders of White Pearl Resort. Alvaro is a recovering addict of 20 years and he wanted to open his resort facility as a rehab centre to help others with the disease of addiction.

Early in 2016 Alvaro called Lars Olsson, also a recovering addict of some 27 years, to discuss his plan of opening up a treatment centre in Thailand at his family’s resort White Pearl. They agreed there was a need for a good treatment centre and compared to other centres around the world it was possible to open a professional rehab and offer competitive rates. This allowed the treatment centre to appeal to a worldwide market.

Alvaro and Lars then put an addiction treatment team together under the guidance of an Advisory Board. This allowed them to have the three cornerstones they decided to base their Clinic on:

Medical team

Psychology team

Addiction treatment team

When we opened White Pearl we did it in memory of Misja Lerchs-Urdzewics (1971-2013) who said to Alvaro on many occasions “Why don’t you open up a rehab centre here at White Pearl?” Misja is no longer with us but her memory lives on in White Pearl and the work we do here.

How long has the facility been open?

White Pearl opened up 1 May 2016

What kind of addictions can you treat?

The addiction process is very similar across all manners of addiction, chemical as well as process addictions. So we will be open to work with most addictions eg drug, alcohol, gambling, overeating etc. In most cases there will be assessments done before clients arrive at White Pearl. In some cases when there is no time to do assessments before arriving, we will do the assessments here. A big part of those will be around chemical abuse.

Who is the team working at the centre?

Alvaro Lopez – CEO

Lars Olsson – Treatment Director

Anouk Prop – Psychologist and Counsellor

Dee Dario – Counsellor and Fitness

Robert Purcell – Support

Kannapas Jhata – Facility Manager

Sue Noel – Administration support

Our Western trained primary care team has over 60 years experience of living clean, and 40 years experience working with addiction treatment.

How long does treatment take?

This is a hard question to answer. We will have the same kind of time in treatment programs as many others have. We know that 28 days is not enough when it comes to most chemical addictions. All the new science says that the brain damage after regular intake of alcohol and other drugs will take up to one year to recover. In our assessments we will be able to say that 28 days is not enough but the client should know that early in their treatment and in the best case scenario before they arrive.

White Pearls goal is to build a one year treatment program with support systems in place for the clients when they leave and go back home. This is regardless of whether they have been here 28 days or 90 days.

When it isn’t possible to create that support system with recovery coaches in their home town we will support them with daily Skype sessions for the first 90 days at home and after that 2-3 Skype sessions a week up to a year. We will manager this by hiring Recovery Coaches in-house whose only role is to do the Skype meetings. WHY? Because we know that it is when the client returns home that the real treatment process starts. And to have the support from the people that they know and trust from the Clinic is a vital part of their ongoing recovery process.

What kind of facilities do you have?

  • One and two bedroom luxury accommodation with ensuites and kitchenette.
  • Wifi and airconditioning and balcony in all rooms.
  • Swimming pool with lounges, tables and chairs, umbrellas etc
  • Regular excursions
  • 3 meals a day
  • Yoga, mindfulness, personal fitness program, group fitness activities

Who do you treat, in terms of nationality?

We are open to treat any nationality. English is a pre-requisite to ensure the client has full understanding of all treatment procedures and is able to enjoy and participate in all activities.

What is the cost?

  • 28 days is 7,000 US$
  • 60 days is 13,000 US$
  • 90 days is 19,000 US$
  • In the clinic we will also have the possibility for people who have not developed the disease of addiction but have major problems relating to their habit of using drugs/alcohol. Anxiety, depression, problems at work, problems in relationships. This could be high achieving persons in business and for them we have created a 14 day program for 4,500 US$

 Is there a waiting list?

There is no waiting list at present. We can accommodate 14 clients at any one time.

How do you differ from centres overseas?

  1. We will be working a lot more with the body and brain. As we said earlier the brain has been badly damaged. In most cases a lot of reading information as well as group sessions and workshops.

We have constructed the program around one to one counseling for every client on a daily basis. We believe we are the only treatment center providing that.
What we know today is that Mindfulness is a good way to restore a person in an holistic way so we have integrated that 3 times a week along with healing yoga sessions.

How do you differ from centres overseas? (continued)

We will hold a topic workshop each day and a group workshop each day, Monday-Friday.

The whole program will be centered around the clients need for progress.

  1. We will have all our material on audio files so any one with reading disabilities can be a part of every written assignment.
  1. Our goal for 2016 is to have separated treatment units for men and women.
  1. We put a great emphasis on the assessments because they are the foundation for every individual’s treatment plan. Medical assessments, Psychological assessments and Addiction Assessments.
  1. Recovery plan once the client leaves our facility will cover the next 12 months. Initially one Skype call a day with our Recovery coaches for 90 days and then 2-3 times a week for the rest of the 12 months.

Thank you for taking the time to talk to us today.

If you are stuffing from addiction or know somebody who is then visit for more information


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