National Recovery Month

Addiction is an epidemic. For many, The Salvation Army is the cure.

During the month of September we celebrate the recovery of those who broke the chains of addiction, raise support for those currently struggling with substance abuse, and build awareness and understanding for drug addiction across our island communities.

Addiction is an epidemic. For many, The Salvation Army is the cure. We provide specialized substance abuse treatment programs that combat addiction through holistic work-therapy, group and individual group counseling, in-patient and out-patient programs, case management, social assistance, and many other programs that help those struggling with addiction rebuild their lives.

Below you'll find stories of recovery and restoration made possible by our drug & alcohol rehabilitation programs and by our donors and supporters.


"Miracles Can Happen"

“People used to fear me,” says David Chung, 46. “I was involved in drugs, gangs, and crime. I was the kind of guy you wouldn’t want to mess with.”

David didn’t have the typical background of a drug addict or a criminal. Born and raised on Oahu, he grew up with a loving family that spoiled him. “I got everything I wanted and needed. In fact, being spoiled is what got me into drugs as a teenager. I spiraled out of control after high school and got into serious trouble,” he says. For twenty years, David led the life of a drug addict and was trapped in a cycle of drugs, crime, and prison.

“Every time I was arrested, the judge offered me rehabilitation or prison. Prison was only 18 months, treatment took two years. I chose prison every time,” he explains. In 2009, he committed a felony. The judge, recognizing his pattern, sent him to The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center, where he learned structure, received treatment in exchange for work therapy, and received spiritual support from the Officers. “I started to understand how I was hurting others and myself. The Salvation Army helped me realize life is so much more than drugs and crime,” he says.

Once he completed his treatment, David was offered a job at The Salvation Army. “They empowered me to become a better man and live a life full of purpose to serve others like myself. I am now the Production Manager of the program, and I take our clients who are struggling with addiction to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, where they can learn from recovering addicts.”


“As the program’s Production Manager, I see firsthand how the smallest donations can turn a criminal into a man of God who cares for his family. Miracles can happen. I see them every day working at The Salvation Army.”


“The Salvation Army saved me with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.”

My name is Kenneth and this is how The Salvation Army saved me with the answered prayer of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and led me to The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) in Iwilei.

"I lost my jobs, my home, my car, and my family. Then, living homeless and hungry, I lost all hope.”

My life was pretty normal until age 14 when my mother walked out on our family and my father turned to alcohol. I had to become the “man of the house,” working long hours throughout my high school days to take care of my family’s bills. After graduation, I worked two jobs while attending UH West Oahu as a full-time student. Before long it seemed I had it all. I bought a townhouse and a car. Life was good until friends introduced me to cocaine, marijuana, and alcohol. I finally felt relaxed and stress-free. Then came the painkillers. Soon, my $100-a- day habit was $600-a-day. I lost my jobs, my home, my car, and my family. Then, living homeless and hungry, I lost all hope.

It was during this time as a homeless man on the streets of Honolulu, I pulled out a Bible I carried and it fell open to this verse in James, “You do not have, because you do not ask.” Starving, I jokingly said, “Okay, God, if you’re real give me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.” Just 45 minutes later it appeared. A young woman walked up and offered me a PB&J sandwich, a prayer, and information about the ARC. God was reaching out to me through this prayer and a sandwich and I knew I had to seek help with the ARC in Iwilei. They immediately took me in, gave me a hearty meal, and lots of love.

The structured program was strict, but The Salvation Army Officers and staff genuinely cared for those of us in the program. I graduated in six months, became a dispatcher for the thrift store, and began attending worship services at The Salvation Army Kauluwela Corps near Chinatown. One Sunday after worship, a group of young people started making dozens of PB&Js to hand out to the homeless. I was blown away because it was that sandwich, prayer, and information about ARC that saved me.

Kenneth at The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center

With my life back on track, I am now the Residential Manager of the ARC. I take our clients to our Kauluwela Corps to show them how they can also do great things for others after they graduate. They might just turn around and save someone else one day. I am here today, clean and sober, with a stable job, and a group of friends who hold me responsible all because of The Salvation Army’s outreach program.


Finding Love In Recovery

Davida and Thomas

“We’re kind of like the Brady Bunch,” laughed Davida. “Thomas and I each have three children, stable jobs, and live in a decent home together. You would have never guessed that we were both heavy ice addicts or that I went to prison.”

Davida was just six-years-old when her parents divorced. She moved around O‘ahu with her mother for years until they settled in Honoka‘a north of Hawai‘i Island. “I never felt grounded, so I rebelled as a teen. Drugs and alcohol became so easy to get when I started hanging with the wrong crowd. I got married at age 18, only to find myself a single mother a few years later.” Faced with raising two young children and paying bills on her own, Davida discovered crystal methamphetamine eased her stress. “My upbringing wasn’t quite the fairy-tale either,” said Thomas. “My mom was a chronic runaway at a young age and my grandmother took care of me. My grandmother relied on The Salvation Army’s worship services and keiki programs when I was little. She sent me to The Salvation Army’s preschool, Camp Homelani, and she tried to keep me out of trouble the best she could, but she constantly worried about my mom.” Drugs trickled into his hometown of Kaimuki and into his hands when he was a teenager. He quickly became a functional user of crystal methamphetamine. “I was offered a job at a health organization right out of high school,” said Thomas. “I climbed the ladder in just a few years in the community relations department and I learned how to hide my addiction well.”

By their mid-twenties, Davida and Thomas were both heavily addicted to crystal methamphetamine. They both lost their families and homes. Thomas found himself seeking treatment at The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) and Davida, feeling hopeless, sought help at The Salvation Army Addiction Treatment Services (ATS). Thomas learned structure, reconnected with his family values, and was inspired to be a better person and father to his children. Davida was able to find her solid foundation, “I sought treatment at other institutions, but ATS was different. The way they talked to me, I felt like a person of value. I felt like I mattered and they wanted the best for me,” she said.

Thomas graduated from the ARC and found a stable job managing three clean and sober homes. “That’s where we met,” said Davida. “I was a resident in one of the women’s homes. I couldn’t stand him and the way he spoke, but he cared for me and kept me accountable.” Thomas said the secret to their love story is sharing parallel pasts and the love for their children.

Today Davida is a professional welder and is a graduate of Honolulu Community College. Thomas supports the family through his job as a resident manager of their Waikiki condo and continues to manage three clean and sober homes, half of his clients are graduates from The Salvation Army’s treatment programs.

Davida and Thomas

Thomas smiles at Davida, “We’ve both been married before, but our relationship is like no other. We have such similar, sad pasts, but look at us now…we have fun setting curfews and making sure our kids are doing well in life and in school. We are blessed and we try to help others see how blessed they can be too.”

Our Programs

Drug & Alcohol Rehabilitation

Through holistic work therapy, group and individual counseling sessions, spiritual direction, life-skills development, residential treatment programs, outpatient programs, and many other programs, we help families and individuals break the cycle of chemical dependence. Click below to learn more about our substance abuse treatment programs

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