The Ohana's Elliott Michael Smith Explains Why Luxury Rehab Works

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Feb. 26 2024, Published 4:56 a.m. ET

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Drug and alcohol rehabilitation is gritty, internal work. Grappling with both disease and habit can be gut-wrenching. But the place where you do that work? Well, that can be beautiful with every amenity. Consider The Ohana, a drug and alcohol detox and rehabilitation center, in Hawaii. Elliott Michael Smith, founder of The Ohana Hawaii, explains the benefits of “luxury rehab” and why recovery should not be a punishment.

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Q. What is The Ohana?

Smith: The Ohana is Hawaii’s number one evidence-based detox and residential inpatient treatment program and a world-class luxury, resort-style facility. We prove that people searching for much-needed treatment do not have to sacrifice amenities and services.

Q. What inspired you to create The Ohana?

Smith: When I was looking to get sober I had a great idea to get away from my environment. The first thought I had was Hawaii.There were close to no optionsand I was floored. I couldn’t imagine a better place to recover. After getting sober I knew the mystery of the islands was what I wanted to open a treatment program. In 2020 when my work in film and television was put on hold, I knew the moment was right and The Ohana was born.

Q. What makes The Ohana different from other recovery programs?

Smith: First, what inspired me to open here- the magic of Hawaii.And what really sets us apart is that we do things differently here. We blend medical, holistic, and adventure-based approaches, all backed by solid evidence, to help our clients build a life that's truly worth staying sober for.

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Q. How does The Ohana approach treatment?

Smith: The first step we take with every client is completing an assessment. We collaborate with the patient to create a customized treatment plan that most effectively addresses the patient’s needs. The plans use a variety of modalities like cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and group therapy. Our team includes doctors, nurses, therapists, and addiction specialists– all dedicated to providing both compassion and the highest level of care.

The Ohana goes beyond simply treating addiction– true recovery involves addressing the mind, body, and spirit. Their holistic approach integrates traditional therapies like cognitive-behavioral therapy with alternative modalities like yoga, meditation, and adventure therapy. Our guests practice mindfulness amidst the lush Hawaiian landscape and find inner peace through the rhythmic flow of the ocean. These experiences go beyond mere activities, becoming powerful tools for self-discovery and emotional regulation, crucial aspects of long-term recovery.

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Q. How do you provide such individual attention to each patient?

Smith: Large, impersonal treatment centers can be overwhelming and hinder individual progress. We offer an intimate setting with a maximum of 8 clients. This allows for personalized attention, deeper connection with therapists and peers, and a stronger sense of community. The intimate atmosphere fosters trust, encourages open communication, and creates a safe space for vulnerability and growth, all essential ingredients for lasting change.

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Q. Why does The Ohana offer “luxury rehab”?

Smith: The journey to recovery is rarely easy, often demanding immense strength and resilience. While the primary focus lies on overcoming addiction and reclaiming control, the environment in which this healing occurs plays a crucial role. Recovery shouldn't feel like a punishment. At The Ohana, luxurious accommodations and amenities create an environment perfect for relaxation and well-being.

Imagine waking up in a private room with breathtaking ocean views, indulging in gourmet meals prepared by expert chefs, or unwinding after therapy with a soothing massage. These amenities are not mere indulgences. They provide comfort, reduce stress, and promote overall well-being, all crucial factors for a successful recovery journey.

While luxury amenities and innovative therapies are appealing, they alone do not guarantee quality care. The Ohana prioritizes evidence-based treatment and is accredited by the Joint Commission, a testament to our commitment to the highest standards of care. We have consistently been recognized as a top-rated rehab facility in Hawaii. This combination of accreditation and recognition assures patients and their families that they are choosing a facility that prioritizes both effective treatment and exceptional service.

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Q. Wait, tell me about the gourmet meals.

Smith: Food is not just sustenance; it's fuel for the body and mind. We provide our guests with delicious, nutritious meals prepared by expert chefs. Our meals are not only delicious but intentional.Fresh, local ingredients, thoughtfully prepared dishes, and a focus on balanced nutrition contribute significantly to overall well-being, supporting both physical and emotional healing.

Q. What’s next for The Ohana?

Smith: Soon, we will be adding four more beds, bringing our capacity to 12 guests. In 2024, we will be opening a new location in California. Like The Ohana, the California location will celebrate the mystical power of the locale, in this case, the desert. Our team is so excited to create our first location on the mainland.

While the term "luxury rehab" might conjure images of extravagance, the true benefit lies in the holistic approach to recovery The Ohana offers. Through its blend of 5-star amenities, innovative therapies, and personalized care, The Ohana proves that personalized care is a pathway toward a brighter, healthier future. For more information about The Ohana and to discover treatment options, visit


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