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.
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.
“Here I’ve been able to fully incorporate the value of kupono – honesty and integrity – and this has made a huge impact on my life. I was able to graduate from Malama and accomplish my goal of becoming a staff member.
“Now I am giving back to an agency that helped to form my foundation today. I get to surround myself with women and children who are like-minded, and now, my hope for the future is to be a leader in this organization. I want to help lift other women up to be the strong women that they were made to be.”
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.
“In high school, my mom encouraged us to all to be active in sports and other activities, and I was a cheerleader all four years. In my junior year I started drinking and partying; I was trying to fit in, because I didn’t know what my self-worth was. I had daddy issues. This caused me to jump into different relationships, and I became toxic; I became my dad.
“I had different stages of substance use – alcohol and weed, which is the gateway to cocaine; I was experimenting with heroine, then I was trying opioids, then later meth, both smoking it and then injecting it.
“These are what brought me to Malama. My daughter’s father left me, and my whole world crashed. He left me for someone else, but I was the toxic one. I lost my kids. Then I went to jail. It saved my life. If it wasn’t for that I wouldn’t be clean.
“The day the cops picked me up, I had used a bad needle. I should have died that day. They had to cut the needle out of my hand so the infection wouldn’t go to my heart.
“In February 2021 I make three years clean.
“I have so much gratitude for what I have today, because I saw the very bottom.
“I became involved with NA and church, and I built a foundation of support for myself. All the people I hang out with now are in recovery; I had to change everything. The one thing I’m most grateful for is my change in mindset. The brain does heal, and we do recover.
“It took me a long time, almost my whole life, to stop being angry at my father. I’m free today. I learned to love my scars by forgiving those who gave them to me, including myself. I learned how to love my whole self. That’s what Malama helped me with.
“Since participating in this program, my hope for the future is to continuously be the change I want to see, to be the positive example, as one less drug addict out there.
“I started college in January 2021. I never thought I would do that. And I love my job so much, it doesn’t even feel like work. I’m in this field because it reminds me where I never want to go again. It also allows me to help people because I have my experience to share. I love recovery.”
Spring Taylor, Age 35
Spring now works as a Program Assistant in the Aloha House residential program, and is studying Liberal Arts and Human Resources at UHMC.