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Addiction recovery group welcomes recoverees on stage for Cleveland theatrical production

Published: Nov. 16, 2021 at 8:13 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 18, 2021 at 8:33 AM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - A Northeast Ohio drug addiction center is once again welcoming its members to participate in a Cleveland Public Theatre performance as they continue their recoveries.

“Most of the folks in the play have not been in a play before Ed Gemerchak, executive director for Y-Haven YMCA of Greater Cleveland, said. “It helps them move beyond their own worries to do something for someone else.”

Y-Haven has been shining the spotlight on its members for over 20 years.

One of the participants, Darron Jones, has been fighting an alcohol addiction for years.

“They just picked a certain amount of people, and I was one of them picked,” he said.

This year’s play, titled 12,000 Steps, chronicles the lives of several addicts. Jones, who has been a member of Y-Haven for four months, was picked as the production’s narrator, who speaks over the experiences of the afflicted. “A voice and a memory of the past, that’s what I’m playing,” he said.

For Jones, the play is also personal; he’s also overcome his own challenges in his past.

“Back in the 90′s,” he explained, “I was in a major car accident, and this accident put me in a coma for 42 days... It’s just a miracle for me to even be here.”

Today, he’s taking on his days of sobriety with a newfound motivation: “I do it for me, it helps me move along.”

Jones hopes to remind both the play’s audience and all of Cleveland that there is always a way to recovery.

“There is help, there is hope out there,” he said, “just remember to reach out to someone.”

Y-Haven will perform 12,000 Steps this Thursday and Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the Cleveland Public Theatre, as well as Saturday at 6:30 p.m.

The Y-Haven Theatre Project is a 23-year partnership between Cleveland Public Theatre (CPT) and Y-Haven, a branch of the Greater Cleveland YMCA.

Every year, CPT collaborates with the clients of Y-Haven to create an original theatre production that shares powerful stories of recovery and personal triumph, capturing an authenticity and emotional power as the cast shares their true-to-life experiences often hidden from the world.

12,000 Steps was written and created through a collaborative process involving residents of Y-Haven and CPT artists.

The resulting script is by CPT Executive Artistic Director Raymond Bobgan.

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