Hawaii Island Recovery

By The Fix staff 04/07/15

Clients at Hawaii Island Recovery come for the view but stay for the treatment.

Hawaiian Island Recovery
Photo via
Location : Kailua Kona, HI
Phone : (866) 390-5070
Price : $33,000 for 30 days
Overall :
Accommodations :
Treatment :
Food :
Insurance : Yes
Detox : Yes

Hawaii Drug Rehab Center Review

Nestled in the town of Kailua-Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii, Hawaii Island Recovery’s office is just a walk away from the beautiful Ōneo and Kailua Bay. Catering to the needs of its residents, HIR is the right place for those seeking counsel for all types of substance abuse and addiction, depression and anxiety, and other co-occurring disorders in Hawaiian style. “This program is based in an amazing recovery community which patients of this treatment center have a rare opportunity to be a part of. This community I now consider my family and the foundation on which I built my new life,” boasts one HIR alum.

If you ever find yourself in Hawaii, you know you are there for one reason - location, location, location – and that’s one of the main reasons people find their way to Hawaiian Island Recovery. Along with the sweeping views of the biggest island in the state of Hawaii, HIR brings top quality treatment, amenities, and recreation to the table. In addition, people who went to HIR noted that the price, privacy, and other non-medical treatment services were determining factors in their choice.

There are three different types of primary care options and one aftercare path for clients. HIR also offers an outpatient detox and treatment option. Primary care allows for 30, 60, and 90 day programs, all of which include the following services: a pre-medical approval and assessment, consultations and evaluations with the necessary professionals who provide personalized treatment plans and discharge plans, medications, individual and group therapy sessions twice and once a week respectively. Set in a location that is immersed in culture and nature, Hawaii Island Recovery believes in approaching addiction through various forms of therapy including holistic and adjunctive modalities such as acupuncture and massage. However, HIR brings special therapeutic accommodations to their patients in the form of animal assisted therapy with dolphins and horses once a month: “We had equine and dolphin assisted therapy 1 time per month. Lots of outings- snorkel trips, the beach, hiking. Lots of fun excursions and excellent amenities,” reports one former client. 

Hawaii Island Recovery alumni gave very high ratings for treatment. While doctors are not found in residence, they are on call and readily available whenever necessary. These doctors are instrumental in detox programs and in constructing medication plans. There is always a nurse present to distribute medications.

Typically, HIR follows a 12-step based program, using the aforementioned services as supplementary forms of treatment. These 12-step meetings were held daily but weren’t required for all members. According to one past resident, the “combination of 12-step (meeting in the community in the morning and evening) and various therapeutic modalities is the combination that I feel saved my life.” All therapists have Master's Degrees, two are certified substance abuse counselors, and two are certified in EMDR. There are 10 staff members and eight contracted employees who provide care to a maximum of eight clients at any time.

While religion is neither emphasized nor understated at HIR, following a 12-step program does put focus on the existence of a higher power. However, HIR believes in catering to the needs and belief systems of each resident. Those who are religious have opportunities to go to church, while others are welcomed to comply with whatever belief system (if any) that they hold.

Each day starts early with a room inspection and morning AA/NA meeting before breakfast at 8:30am and ends with another meeting after dinner. However, activities between meals can range from expressive arts therapy, to dolphin therapy, to acupuncture, individual or group counseling, yoga or shopping, excursions, and movie nights. While phone, TV, and Internet privileges were allowed, they were given sparingly. On average, these benefits were given for an hour a day depending on how long someone has been at HIR. 

Most residents have roommates; this helps to keep everyone accountable and integrated into a small community. For the most part, past alumni report no drama between roommates or staff in the house. To keep things in order, everyone enrolled in the inpatient program is given light household chores to do throughout the week with Sundays designated as the weekly cleaning day. If rules are not followed and daily obligations are not met, the staff is known to be consistent and respectful when handling punishments or any other forms of disciplinary action. Typically, any abuse of privileges results in them being taken away until the resident learns to be honest and accountable. To help with the process, any rule infractions are brought up during group and individual meetings to address any underlying issues and keep the lines of communication open between staff and residents.

The residents that come to Hawaii Island Recovery are as varied and diverse as Hawaii itself. At any given time, there is a relatively balanced male to female ratio of residents. These men and women typically range in age from their mid-20s to 50s. Since Hawaii is considered a melting pot of the racially diverse, many of the residents, past and present, are mixtures of Asian and Pacific Islanders, African American, Native American Indian, with the majority being Caucasian. Some residents have jobs and families, while others identify themselves as being poor and currently out of work. Regardless of their backgrounds, alumni report that they remain close to the people in their program’s cohort and a majority of them are still sober.

HIR offers its patients above average food with a reputation of being extremely healthy. While most alumni gave the food favorable ratings, some were not too keen on the quinoa. The chef is very considerate of her residence’s eaters. Among the most favored dishes were the flank steak rolls, sweet bread French toast, salads, and meals with fish, which is apparently caught by a staff member with a commercial fishing license. It seems that those lucky enough to enroll at HIR can enjoy freshly caught meals.

In addition to dolphins and horses, HIR comes with personal trainers once a week (although one former resident complained that “the gym could have been more frequent and the trainer more available”) and experiential and recreational learning activities in and outside of the treatment center. The house itself boasts a Jacuzzi, which is nice to come home to after days of snorkeling, hiking, and other outdoor activities. 

Once clients are discharged from the facility, they can still make use of HIR’s aftercare services, which include consultations, continued group and individual therapy sessions, case management, drug/alcohol testing, classes in life skills to help smooth the transition, relapse prevention and recovery, medication management, and more. According to some alumni, Hawaii Island Recovery’s primary and aftercare services are what have kept them sober more than three years out of the program.

Hawaii Island Recovery uses an expansive toolbox of therapeutic techniques, different forms of treatment, compassionate staff, and an ideal location. “They helped me to understand my addiction in a whole new way… I feel so much better about myself now and feel happy and hopeful about the future.” 

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