My Bali Hero And The Teaching Of Balance

Starting this story back in Thailand, Bangkok the place I moved to when I was about 26 years old and a place that still holds a deep love in my heart, you can probably tell what it is that I do for work which is working online and that is something I have been doing since I was about 16 years old.

I had been to Thailand before a couple of times, and Bali, Indonesia as well just in general a big fan of Southeast Asia and traveling the world while working on my laptop. I met some amazing people in Thailand but a lot of bad ones as well, but here is the thing, money was being made I was still in my younger years and it felt like a fun party life every single day.

When things were going well and having a great condo in Thailand, not always being aware of my surroundings my place was often filled with people I didn’t even know and here and there things went missing such as watches and other random things that I hardly even noticed.

Work was great and life was one big party, but the balance was nowhere to be found (More on that later).

My Place In Bangkok, Thailand

My lust for alcohol became worse and worse and I was aging at the same time, I also have a long history of depression and anxiety where I find it very difficult to find fun in the little things in life, you could probably get me to bungee jump and my face wouldn’t move an inch.

I am going to skip forward and leave Thailand for another time when I am ready to bring all those memories back, that’s one thing about being an alcoholic for me sometimes it’s a blessing to just not remember everything but when you dig deep you often feel a sense of shame.

But this is where most of my Alcohol abuse began and this has absolutely nothing to do with Thailand just to make that very clear. I felt invincible in some kind of way but sooner or later my body started to decline and I must have seen every single hospital in Asia from Thailand, Cambodia, Laos to Singapore and Malaysia and there must be some I don’t even remember being at.

Fast Forward To Bali And Meeting My Hero

At this stage, I left Thailand and went home for a while which was Europe but after about 3 months of staying sober I decided to drink not one glass of wine but a couple of bottles and managed to book a ticket to Cambodia where a friend of mine lived. The drinking continued and some of my friends and girlfriend at that time came over and I think without them I would have never made it out of there.

I Wanted To Get To Bali As Soon As Possible

We had been traveling for a while but before Thailand, I already visited Bali before, twice and my experience with Bali was great from what I remember I had my Alcohol under control so in my mind this would be the place to find back a little piece of myself that could help me get into the right direction.

In Bali, we arrived but as some say you always bring yourself with you so the drinking kept going, it was a bit on and off but mostly on but I did have my clear moments and that’s where I met one of my heroes. And I am going to explain how this man did everything he could to pretty much save my life.

How I Met Ray (Raii) With A Funny Nickname Ray Sunshine The Coconut Man.

Before I dive in, there are a lot of people in my life story that provided enormous support and love that helped me get through, but I will get there and this one is dedicated to one of my legends that I will never forget in this lifetime or the next one. (Hopefully, there will be another one, you never know)

Me And The Coconut Legend Ray

I didn’t ask his permission to post these pictures here but il ask for forgiveness later, what a blessing this man and his family have been in my life. Ray being smart as he is it didn’t take long before he figured out I was dealing with a lot of stress and alcohol abuse.

Ray happened to manage a restaurant that wasn’t far from where me and my girlfriend were living so we would go there quite often, this was during COVID-19 and it was rough for the locals in Bali. A lot of empty seats, and not much tourism so it was often just us there.

Ray would always come and talk and we ended up becoming really good friends at this point I would even call Ray family, we bonded but at the same time I was still making mistake after mistake and the drinking didn’t stop but Ray became a bigger part in my life over time and this is where he taught me the real meaning of Balance.

So What Is This Balance All About?

I’m a stubborn person, certainly not someone who would listen but Ray knew this, and telling me to stop drinking was never going to work I remember some of the small things he did for me, and this is what I would like to talk about.

You could call them little life hacks…

Ray had his sneaky ways of causing me to drink less and at the time I didn’t figure it out but one example was, that I was not going to stop drinking and I had days of withdrawals where it would just become dangerous to suddenly stop and I would ask just about anyone I had around to get as much alcohol as possible.

I can recall that Ray came back and told me that the hard liquor was sold out and they only had beer left.

At the time I didn’t think much of it, beer it was, and I just went ahead and got semi-drunk on that and managed to pass the day without touching any hard liquor. You could say my brain wasn’t there but Ray knowing I would one way or another get Alcohol at least managed to save me from further self-destruction. You might be thinking and I had these same thoughts as well, but he still got you beer?

Yes, he did but trust me on this it was either that or a couple bottles of vodka and if you ask any medical expert I am pretty damn sure they will say the beer was the better choice. No alcohol at all would have been the best but if you knew me then you know that wasn’t going to be a possibility.

These Life Hacks Saved Me!

You see, those beers got me through the day but the hard stuff would have destroyed me even further, and with these little life hacks from Ray, and being in Bali for about 3 years this has given me more productive days, less damage, and gave me a chance to get through some days in a positive mindset.

There was zero incentive for Ray to help me like this, a drunk stranger.

And while writing this there are about a thousand more things I could mention, one being keeping people out of my place that just came to drink but without mentioning it to me. The people you think are friends are not your friends when all they do is come and drink and cheer you on while I looked like absolute shit.

Without me knowing it, I was being taught what balance was in the most clever little way which sums Ray up, the man has endless tricks up his sleeves and such a positive vibe that it’s almost impossible not to feel safe, loved, and protected.

Something else I will always remember is that Ray always managed to put a positive spin on things, even if it was make-believe but I think the most important factor here is that all these small things added up and I was getting through days without drinking at all. Being the stubborn drunk I was a no to getting alcohol, but instead of giving up Ray would find all these kinds of tricks to balance things out.

If you know a bit about Bali you will know that there is a place called Ubud which is kinda of the “Jungle” in Bali, a place to get out of all the busy life. This huge place brings a lot of memories and the owner was one of the best painters I ever had a chance to meet, and he designed the entire place himself.

Another thing about Ubud is that you can still get alcohol there but since I am a nightmare on a bike and this place was a bit far into Ubud it wasn’t easy for me to go to a local shop and during these times the whole family would come a long and it was a great reset, besides the place being absolute stunning it took Ray 2 or 3 hours longer to get to work and we would often stay 2 or even 3 to 4 weeks.

I forget the name of the owner but managed to find one of his paintings, this was the one I liked the most.

I’m starting to enjoy writing more on this and more memories come back, Ray would refuse to let me on a bike but normally he would most certainly have taught me how to drive like a boss but it was another way of keeping the alcohol away, and thinking about all this it requires a ton of patience to go through all this trouble.

But life wasn’t always about Alcohol there are always a lot more stories and the crazy amounts of fun we had and also the good things we did such as constant donations, I would often be drunk of my mind and wouldn’t even remember most of it but a lot of people remembered my name, which was kinda cool.

Behind the alcoholic, there is so much more and I updated this topic to also add that besides the bad there were also a lot of good and amazing moments.

Before judging these are just a couple of random pictures I found and the black “Trash” bags have an amazing story behind them. When you come and visit a village or town in Bali, Indonesia the “leaders” or the elders come together and make sure every single person in that village will get the same amount as everyone else.

Seeing that while in most of Europe we can’t even wait to enter public transportation before letting people off first was just awesome. Ray was always there to help out including my girlfriend Natnalee, and I could never forget Ricky who stayed with me for a month making sure I would eat and honestly, this man has a heart of gold and made the best chicken I ever had.

But both Ricky and my dearest person who helped me through anything deserve a post on their own, from the outside it can be easy to judge a person on his worst behavior and forget about the million other moments that were just beautiful.

I would love to write more but I am not much of a writer and I am not sure if I will ever be able to put everything done as I know for a fact Ray has done a thousand other things I might not even know about and this is dedicated to him, my friend and someone I consider family.

The day I return to Bali is the day that I am going to be completely sober.

Long overdue thank you to Ray and his entire Family.

Category: Articles, Stories
Martijn van Eijk
Martijn is a passionate creator and the driving force behind He created this website to assist individuals and their families in conquering alcohol addiction and finding a joyful, fulfilling life after alcohol. With a deep understanding of the challenges they face, he empowers readers with valuable insights and practical guidance on their journey towards recovery. Author of the Stop Shaking Book.