Fighting addiction at a Thai monastery

Cengiz seemed to have it all.

A high-paying job in Germany’s tech sector gave him money and prestige, but his life was spiralling out of control. A cocaine addiction had pushed him to the brink of suicide.

Desperate for escape after waking up one morning in a pool of his own blood, he found salvation half a world away at a Buddhist monastery in Thailand known for its drug rehabilitation programme.

“Wat Thamkrabok absolutely changed my life,” said the 38-year-old Turkish German – now known as Monk Atalo – who came to the monastery 14 years ago and has returned several times to pray and meditate.

“My job was really stressful and I was a slave of Western high-performance society,” said Atalo, who hopes to write a book about his experiences. Like others interviewed for this story, he declined to provide his surname.

 

Fighting addiction at a Thai monastery

SARABURI, Thailand Cengiz seemed to have it all. A high-paying job in Germany’s tech sector gave him money and prestige, but his life was spiralling out of control. A cocaine addiction had pushed him to the brink of suicide.


 

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