Entering drug rehab takes courage. Our residents leave behind their homes, jobs, and families to fly to Hawaii and begin their journey towards sobriety.
If you or a loved one is preparing to take this courageous step, you likely have a lot of questions.
One of the most common questions our staff hears is, “What does a typical day look like in drug rehab at Hawaiian Island Recovery?” In order to answer that question, we sat down with Eliza Wille, our Program Director.
Read on to learn more about the life that awaits you or your loved one at HIR.
What does a typical day look at HIR?
Eliza shares, “Our clients have a very full schedule. It’s bookended with two AA meetings, so they wake up quite early in the morning, and they attend a beautiful AA meeting right on the ocean. There are often whales in the background, dolphins, and turtles on the shoreline. Whether someone really buys into the AA model or not, that’s an opportunity for them to connect with other people who are like-minded, who are also committed to sobriety.”
“In between those bookends,” she explains, “clients attend therapy sessions—individual and group. There are also experiential therapies they are going to do on a routine basis. In the morning time, we do what we call the heavy lifting. That’s when residents are doing more emotional and psychological types of interventions. The afternoon is dedicated to the more somatic types of interventions—those that focus on the body.”
After these afternoon sessions, residents attend their evening AA meeting before enjoying some downtime at home. At the close of each day, everyone enjoys one more opportunity to come together and reflect on the triumphs and challenges of the day.
Why does HIR include therapies that focus on the body?
While you may think of therapy as a time to discuss your emotions and beliefs, we want to guide you towards holistic health. Your physical health is just as important as your mental and emotional health.
Eliza explains, “We know that people in recovery have long ignored the needs of their physical self with poor nutrition and lack of exercise, and the body keeps score. That’s why every afternoon is devoted to bodywork. Residents enjoy Reiki, craniosacral therapy, massage, and acupuncture.
They go to the gym and receive personal training. That’s our way of trying to create a balance for them. For lunch and dinner, we have meals prepared by our chef. They’re very nutritious meals, they’re well-balanced, and our clients always report that that’s a focal point of their stay—the quality of the food and the love that goes into preparing it.”
Recovery in Hawaii almost sounds fun! Do residents ever have hard days?
Although we do have fun here at HIR, drug therapy isn’t easy, and every resident has hard days.
Eliza explains, “Recovery is not a straight shot. It’s punctuated by ups and downs. We have, in effect, when people come in, taken
away their primary coping mechanism for dealing with uncomfortable feelings. We’ve taken away their alcohol. We’ve taken away their drugs.”
Without drugs and alcohol to numb the pain, residents are forced to face feelings that may be difficult or uncomfortable. Eliza shares, “We teach our clients new tools to be able to manage those difficult feelings and also give them an opportunity to process them. When clients have bad days, we just urge them to lean into our staff, lean into the process, and really allow themselves to receive the support that we’re here to offer.”
How does HIR support residents after they leave rehab?
Family, or “ohana,” is an important concept in Hawaiian culture, and we consider every resident a part of our family here at HIR.
That’s why Eliza and other staff members stay in close touch with residents after they complete the program.
“When we make a commitment to a client, we see that through. We want their lives to become the success that they envision. Through phone calls and ongoing messages, we’re here for clients for the long haul. That’s our commitment.”
Still, have questions?
If you still have questions about HIR and what you can expect from drug rehab, contact us at 866-491-8009. Our staff is ready and waiting to answer your questions and provide the support you need as you navigate this decision.
Who is Eliza Wille?
Eliza fills two special roles here at HIR. In addition to serving as our Program Director, she is also an Animal Assisted Psychotherapy Specialist. In other words, she oversees our Ocean-based Treatment Program.
While studying Psychology at The University of Hawaii, Eliza worked at a renowned dolphin research facility, where she was involved in cognition and learning research with captive dolphins. In addition, she participated in field research of non-captive marine mammals whenever possible. Eliza also holds a Master’s Degree in Social Psychology from the London School of Economics. Her work with both wild and captive dolphins, additional experience with therapy horses, and extensive study of psychology have all shaped her ability to guide our residents through therapeutic encounters with dolphins.