Many of our clients have walked a hard road before reaching our program doors. Here they share their personal stories about the lives they were living, the programs that helped them, and how they want to give back to the world.
Aloha House, Inc.
“I was a party person. I liked drinking, then I got hooked into cocaine and then crystal meth. Eventually I stopped, and I was clean for seven years. Then I got into a motorcycle accident, and I was prescribed pain pills, and I got hooked on those. From there, things got really bad, everything spiraled downward, and eventually I ended up homeless. After an incident where I caused a lot of pain for my family, I entered the Aloha House Residential Treatment program on Valentine’s Day, 2019. I stayed for 45 days.
“After that I moved to the Sober Living Program, where I participated in intensive classes, group and individual counseling sessions. Now I have a car, home, job, money in my account. This is all thanks to the team at Residential, plus the support I’ve gotten from the Sober Living Program, and all that they have done for me. Read more…
Marcus now helps ensure the safety of our community in his work screening visitors to Maui during the pandemic.
“I don’t want to kill myself anymore, I’m getting on with life. It’s working, it is.”
Over twenty years ago, while driving through Kihei, Russell had an asthma attack, causing him to lose control of his vehicle and hit a bicyclist. The bicyclist was injured and later died. Russell suffered tremendous guilt and remorse after the incident.
“I went to prison for five years; I wanted to, I felt I owed it to his family. After I got out, I wish I could say I stayed clean and sober, but it didn’t happen. I went on a journey for a while. I had to stop my head from talking; the thinking will kill you. I had to do something to shut it off. That’s why I used drugs. But I’ve be clean for five years now.
“Some people will make it, and some people won’t, this is a very mean, mean disease.” Read more…
Russell is a participant in Aloha House’s Behavioral Case Management Program
“I was born and raised on Maui, and my father was an alcoholic. I’m the middle child; for some reason the middle child seems to get the hardest time. My father used to beat me and my brother up, and I seemed to get the most cracks. But I still love my father.
“I think I started using because I wanted to, and because I could. My parents divorced in 7th grade. After that I decided to stay with my grandma. She raised me for the next several years. I was a hard head. I was drinking, smoking weed. I got into ice my senior year of high school. Over time I just did ice and drinking, then just ice.
“Without Aloha House I don’t know where I’d be right now.” Read more…
Kaeo continues to work as a HVAC installer. He says, “My boss has supported me through all my ups and downs over the years, and now I can pay him back by working hard, and with a clear mind.”
“When I was growing up, I was just hanging out with the wrong crowd. That’s when I started getting into trouble, and I went to prison. I was in and out of prison for 17 and a half years. When I got out and I was on parole, I was still using and partying, not caring about my family.
“I couldn’t stop smoking crystal meth, even from inside, and whenever I got out. In fact I got another 10 years while I was in prison, from smuggling in drugs because I wanted to get high.
“Today, after 17 and a half years of being in and out of prison, and doing drugs the whole time, my friends who knew me from before can’t believe it. They keep asking, ‘How is he doing it?’” Read more…
James works as the on-site manager at a condominium complex. He and his former Sober Living Program roommate, Kaeo, continue to provide sober support for each other.
Malama Family Recovery Center
“Before becoming a client with Malama Family Recovery Center, I was living a life of insanity; doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results. I was not being honest with my family, friends, or my probation officer. I was living a lie, and lying to everyone. If I hadn’t found this program, I would still be in my addiction, unable to get out of the pit of Hell. Malama has helped to shape me into the strong, virtuous woman that I am today.” Read more…
Lisa works at Malama Family Recovery Center as a Care Coordinator and Therapeutic Living Program Coordinator.
“I was born on Oahu, I came to Maui when I was 10 years old. One of the first places I lived on Maui was at the Women Helping Women shelter. My father was very physically and mentally abusive, and he was an addict. My mom took us away from him because he was very violent. I loved to sing as a child, and my mom always told me I always carried a light within me, and somehow I was very positive, despite my surroundings. But I used to get beaten up a lot by my father, I would have bruises from head to toe. I learned then, as a small child, what I need to do to survive. I was always afraid, but I always had hope.
“I have so much gratitude for what I have today, because I saw the very bottom.” Read more…
Spring now works as a Program Assistant in the Aloha House residential program, and is studying Liberal Arts and Human Resources at UHMC.
Maui Youth & Family Services
“I spent my childhood in Oregon, in a very abusive home. People reported it to CPS, but no one would ever do anything. My mom brought us to Hawaii when she moved here for a guy she was dating. I was 12 at that time. After a couple of years, things got really bad with my mom, I got in contact with my dad, who I hadn’t had contact with for 14 years. He was in Atlanta, and I begged him to let me and my brother come live with him because things were so bad with mom. After two weeks of talking to him we moved there. We really didn’t know him, but we were desperate to get out of there. A few months after we arrived, he sexually assaulted me.
“I didn’t get the help I needed until I was in a Maui Youth & Family Services program home.” Read more…
Trinity, age 19
Trinity is enrolled at UHMC and pursuing her educational goals.
“I was born and raised on Maui; I come from being the 9th child of 12. I first went into foster care when I was 4 years old. My dad was very abusive with my older siblings, so me and two other siblings were taken away. Then I got legal guardianship with my grandparents.
“At 14 there were a lot of things going on around me, including the passing of my grandmother. When one of the school-based counselors from MYFS learned I was suicidal, I was put into a therapeutic foster home.
“If I didn’t get the help I did, I don’t know how my life would be. I think I would be dead by now.” Read more…
Aponi continues to move forward in accomplishing her life goals.
Jolie has participated in Project Venture, a prevention program that features community involvement and cultural learning. She says:
“Project Venture has made a difference in my life and how I make my decisions. They have taught me how to rethink everyday situations even the smallest of things. They helped me have different ways of looking at something, to make a decision, or learn how to resolve or avoid a conflict in the future.
“The staff are always willing to help me with anything I might need. They taught me multiple skills like camping etiquette, learning about cultures around the world, and even first aid. They also give me an opportunity to get out of the house, while being safe and learning something new. That is how Project Venture has impacted me and my life.”
Jolie is looking forward to starting her freshman year at Kamehameha Maui in the fall of 2021.