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Local woman credits Y-Haven, her children for helping her get clean

Posted at 6:18 AM, Dec 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-02 06:18:40-05

CLEVELAND — The holidays can be a challenge for people in recovery from drugs or alcohol, and as the days are shorter and the weather turns colder there is often a dramatic spike in opioid overdoses.

For Kim Barnes, she was no different. Now that she’s on the road to recovery, she says she’s not a finished product but every day clean is a step in the right direction.

“At first, I thought that it wasn’t harmful to me. It was fun. I didn’t think that I was harming anyone or myself,” Barnes said. “But as time progressed it became unmanageable.”

Barnes has been a client at Y-Haven, the YMCA of Greater Cleveland’s substance abuse treatment program which offers housing and counseling for men and women suffering from addiction. She’s been involved in the program for six months and credits her counselor for helping her stay sober.

“Recovery is hard. Especially when you’ve been using (since) eight-nine years old,” said Y-Haven counselor Delores Crosby.

Crosby has helped Barnes stick in the program. After being in and out of five different treatment centers over the years, Barnes' stay at Y-Haven has far exceeded any other program she’s utilized to get clean. Her breaking point hit close to home and was an eye-opening experience.

“Even my kids were avoiding my calls because I was always asking for money,” Barnes said. “It made me think ‘wow, even my children don’t want anything to do with me.’ It hurt a lot but helped me to see me. That’s when I came to terms and said yeah, it’s been a real problem.”

As the holidays arrive, Barnes understands the temptation to use it again. But through her counseling with Crosby and treatment at Y-Haven, she’s better prepared for the emotional rollercoaster of addiction.

“I came in here in May, so July was (difficult). I cried because I was so used to drinking or getting high on those days,” Barnes said. “That’s how I celebrated. I knew that’s not something I wanted to do but those feelings were still there.”

Barnes started drinking when she was just six years old. It eventually led to the use of cocaine and other opioids. Her stay at Y-Haven has marked her longest stretch of sobriety and she is about to turn 62 with six-months clean.

“I am forever grateful for here (Y-Haven). It has helped me, more than I can even explain,” Barnes said. “I didn’t love myself and it has taught myself how to love me and forgive me.”

Having a plan in place for dealing with the reality of her situation has helped Barnes understand what’s necessary to stay clean. In times of difficulty or struggle, she knows the steps she needs to take to resist the urge to use.

“Seeing her transition is just awesome,” Crosby said. “That’s the reward in this work, seeing when they transition, and they become a different person.”

One of the big motivating factors behind Barnes’ recovery is her children. They were one of the main reasons she chose to get sober, and their support helps her power through days when it becomes a struggle.

“It means, I won’t even say a new beginning I’ll just say a beginning because I never had that before,” she said.