What is Sand Island Treatment Center?
Is the Center accredited and by whom?
In its CARF evaluations, the Center has repeatedly received a three-year accreditation, the highest offered by the organization. In reports issued in 2010, 2013, 2016, and 2019, CARF found that SITC excels in staffing excellence and well-managed programs and applauded the Center for its well-maintained and peaceful physical setting as well as its compassionate, person-centered care in all aspects of its work.
How is the Center funded?
How is Sand Island Treatment Center different from other treatment programs in Hawaii?
The clientele represents the people who need the longest and strongest lifelines in our community. They are service-resistant and are accustomed to living on the streets in an anti-social, distrusting, and fight-for-your-life environment.
The Center’s approach is a long-term one, believing that sobriety and clean living cannot be accomplished in 30-, 60-, 90- or 120-day programs. Instead, the Center offers a residential safe-haven for clients for as long as they need it, often up to two years or longer, where they can break their addictions and rebuild their lives with new habits and skills. The Center teaches the tenets of Alcoholics Anonymous and supplements those teachings with counseling on everything from anger management to financial literacy to personal relationships.
The philosophy guiding the Center’s work is that deep damage requires time, teachings, community, and healing before a person can safely return to mainstream life. To cut that short puts the client at risk once they are back out in the world and facing the many challenges, stressors, and temptations that can derail their sobriety.
How does the Center determine which clients they can take and whether they are equipped to best serve them?
Before making a final decision, we ask a simple question: “If we don’t help them, who will?” For many of the individuals referred to the Center, that answer is often “no one.” Those are the clients who are made a top priority.
We keep hearing that the clients at the Center are often judicially referred and can be “tough cases.” Can you elaborate?
Most of the clients are fighting multiple demons by the time they arrive at the Center, and treating those various issues requires patience, time, and deep counseling before the hardened persona can crack and be open to a new path.
What is your success rate?
The Center is expected to move from its current location to a new facility in the coming months. Can you address that?
While the move is a big undertaking, the staff and clients are looking forward to this new chapter and believe they can bring their culture of trust and healing to that community and help many others get well.
The move to the new location is necessary due to the expansion of the Sand Island Wastewater Treatment Plant.
What do former clients have to say about the facility?
Of course, not every client finds success. When that happens, it’s the addict’s tendency to blame others, and for some, they will fault the Center for their failings.
Why are former clients now counselors?
When clients enter the program and meet their counselors — people who’ve made it through their addiction and built new lives for themselves — they see what’s possible. They are inspired to do the work, and they know they are supported by a community that understands how difficult the journey is.
When people have lived shared experiences, they learn from each other. They find role models. This experience is completely different from that of other treatment options that pair addicts with clinically trained social workers and therapists who have not lived in that world.
Director Mason Henderson has hand-picked the staff over the years, offering opportunities to intern at the Center after the successful completion of treatment and intense training. He then continues to mentor these individuals as they undergo the rigorous preparation and testing required to become certified counselors.
The Center also has a zero-tolerance policy for recreational drugs or alcohol for all of its staff members.
The current facility has been provided to the Center by the City and County of Honolulu for free, and it’s reported the terms for the new facility are quite generous. Can you explain why the city gives the center such a lucrative deal?
The city and the Center have enjoyed a very good relationship over the years, as the Center treats the most chronic, service-resistant populations in our community, often getting those people across the finish line and back into society as a taxpayer, employee, and member of a family. The city, law enforcement officers, and judges who refer clients to the Center have seen the work pay off. They believe in the Center, and the Center works diligently to deliver on that trust.