Recovery is all about the Journey: Bon Voyage Gus Roberts

After four and a half years at the helm, Seasons Program Coordinator, Gus Roberts, is leaving his position at the rehab and setting sail on a new adventure. During his time here he has guided countless people into recovery from the depths of addiction and provided a rock steady, North Star for his willing team of staff.

His passion for his helping people is infectious and the story of how he ended up working at Seasons has that very special glitter of recovery magic surrounding it, Gus said: ‘I wasn’t really a vision of hope when I arrived here. I was living on the dole in a halfway house, I was clean and sober but I was thinking is this it?

He had originally come to the island for a two week holiday in 2011 to attend the AA and NA conventions here and attended a meeting to pick up his 1 Year Birthday Chip where he shared the story of how he got into recovery. Afterwards he got talking to Seasons founder, Richard Smith and his nephew, Jason Phillip Smith.

Gus said: ‘Things pretty much changed for me overnight. They asked if I could share my story with the current clients at the rehab and then I was offered some support work….. I went home, packed up my half way house in my one suitcase and moved to Bali.’’

“I’m very grateful to Seasons and the opportunities that I was given”.

After some time as a support worker at Seasons, he moved across to manage the Seasons Charity program, YBS (Yayasan Bali SuaraHati). Following this, with the support of Seasons, he gained a Certificate IV AOD (Alcohol and other Drugs), Certificate IV Mental Health and progressed to the Program Coordinator role at Seasons, which he held since late 2013.

A Growing Fleet

Over the past few years scores of clients have passed through the rehabilitation centre and Gus cites one of the best things about his job as being part of their transformation. Another thing he is particularly proud of is the growth of the facility.

“When I started out we were in a 3 bedroom villa and there wasn’t much program and now we have 22 beds across two facilities plus one on one private client care and a great program. That growth has been special to be a part of.” he explained.

Really though, he sees his personal highlights in terms of the people he has met and the relationships he has developed. And part of his plans for the next few months involves going to visit quite of few of his friends who have since left the island He smiles:

“The people are the main thing: we are all away from home, on an island and we become like family. It’s just the fellowship here.”

The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner

The story Gus told of his battle with addiction and alcoholism still resonates with clients today and is one of the most vital pieces of ammo in his well-equipped locker against the disease and one of the things he really draws upon to help those in his charge.

“I’d been drinking and drugging in excess from the day I started as a young teen. I got through life for a while, achieved some things and then it turned on me and took everything away”, said Gus candidly, “It removed everything: my family, my friends, my material possessions and my health. I was basically dying, I went through a lot of treatments and finally I surrendered and did what was suggested. The last one I did was for 15 months and I have been clean and sober for the five and a half years since.”

“Early on I was a great example of what not to do in recovery and in treatment. I had a lot of self will, I tried to run the show, I was dishonest, lacked the willingness and I’d really wanted to get clean for a long time and couldn’t. I really see those behaviours in others and that’s actually the stuff that triggers me the most in my job, I get triggered by people who bring up my own stuff cause I guess I don’t want them to go through what I went through which was just years of painful loneliness and relapsing and not wanting to be alive anymore and it really doesn’t have to be that way.

I have an incredible life today thanks to recovery. I carry that message to them (the clients) too. I’m just blown away by what happens when you take direction and work the program.”

While we are talking, Gus gets a message from a client who is on a visa run in Singapore saying how thankful they are for all the help and support he has given them and how sorry they were to miss his last day at the rehab. And Gus smiles and explains that this is just the sort of thing that really makes his day.

Steering the Seasons Ship

Captaining the Seasons ship is frequently not an easy job and when dealing with clients who are exhibiting the sort of behaviour he did in rehab Gus calls on them, gives them some suggestions and shares his own experience about when he had the same attitude. “It’s that ego, I try and help them find some humility, that’s what I needed; A good dose of humility.” He laughs.

“You are not dealing with the person, you are dealing with the disease and we are powerless over the disease. I have to remember that and have some compassion.

These are people who are not well and are full of fear and a lot of their behaviours are out of fear.” he said, “They are frightened and they are trying to stay safe. It’s really important to remember that and to recognise the difference between disease and the person. That’s really the key to working in treatment. If you have that compassion, then you have the awareness to be able to help people.”

Repairing the Sails

In order to work in this environment Gus really stressed the importance of looking after himself and to keep his sails in full flight he goes to meetings, makes sure that he prays, meditates and has friendships outside of work. He really puts a lot of stock into getting down by the ocean and out into nature saying that it is here he finds peace and feels connected.

“The thing is that I am an addict too and I am up against the disease all the time. People who work in treatment are traumatised, we cop a lot of abuse and we take on a lot of anger. We are trying to guide people out of the lowest point in their lives. These people are lucky to be alive and they hate themselves and if they are angry at themselves they are going to be angry at everyone around them. And if you are going to guide them out of that hole it’s really important that you take care of yourself.” he explained.

Having said that he also shared his passion for working with addicts and alcoholics and a strong desire to do so again in the future.

Map, Sextant and Compass

Gus explained that he wants to seek a new experience in his own recovery and that its time for him to change things up and actively do this. He said: “I’m going to have a break from working in treatment and go travelling. I’m going back home to connect with family and friends because those relationships were non-existent when I moved to Bali. And thanks to recovery I have loving relationships with them again. My brother is getting married and then I’m going to America to visit people, some of whom are people that I met through Seasons and they are some of the best friends I have ever had.”

“Who knows I might be back in 3 months because it’s pretty good here! It’s nice to know this place exists and that I have two homes, Sydney where I’m from and Bali which holds a very special place in my heart.”

If you have a problem with drugs or alcohol and want to do something about your problem call one of our advisors at Seasons today for your free consultation today.


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