Kim Castro Owens, MSCM, MAC, CAADC, CCS is CEO of Kim Castro Consulting and former executive director for Recovery Outfitters, Inc., a drug and alcohol treatment center in north Georgia. Kim’s roles include strategic planning, implementation of corporate goals, program development, developing community partnership, general oversight of staff, facilitating crisis/trauma/conflict resolution groups and presenting at workshops and family education groups.
One of Kim’s areas of expertise is combining cutting edge clinical practices within a Christian framework. Kim discreetly works with staff having personal crises as well as preventing compassion fatigue and burnout. Kim excels in crisis intervention, skill development and executive consultations.
She is known for her candid, energetic, inspirational and open approach. She uses her leadership qualities, gift for identifying talent, ability to manage conflict, and her strength in connecting with others to help clients and their families on their journey to healing. We are grateful we had the opportunity to sit down with Kim to learn more about her profound life and experiences.
What inspired you or led you to your current career?
It wasn’t a direct path.
I always wanted to work with people. I love people and animals, especially ones who are misunderstood. I started doing a little bit of mediation after graduating from KSU’s Conflict Management Masters program. It was good that I could help people work out good parenting plans, but otherwise, it was not fulfilling to me.
While I was doing mediation, someone who had been trying to hire me for a long time said, “Why don’t you come work 20 hours a week with me while you’re doing mediation.” I always said I would never want to work with addicts because my dad was an addict. My grandfather, who retired from the Navy as captain at age 50, was an alcoholic. He did nothing after the Navy when he had so much he could have given. But he loved me as only a grandfather could, so, of course, he was my favorite person in the world. Then I married my first husband, but he was an addict, so that only lasted a year. I was learning about addiction just through my life experiences.
Every man I loved pretty much was an addict. But it felt like they had caused a lot of my pain, too.
When I first started working with young male addicts, I started seeing these miracles happen. What I saw was that these are guys who feel too much, and the world’s a really painful place for them. They are very empathetic. They just don’t have much emotional resilience. It’s a gift to be able to connect so deeply with people. Society (especially other teens) say “toughen up” or whatever, but what many of these guys have is a gift. But if you don’t build resilience around it, it destroys you. Literally, you’ll die.
But the ones that built resilience, I would see them change their life, see their families change because of them, and see them help others. It was like having a front-row seat to miracles. I could hardly believe it. I became so immersed as it was amazing to watch the transformation.
Then, in February of 2016, within nine days, three former clients relapsed and died, and a fourth was in the ICU. Fentanyl was becoming prevalent, and some strong heroin was going around. One of them was my former personal assistant, who had been on the list of people who could pick up my kids from school. I would sleep at the hospitals with the families with a blanket and pillow. Half my job was working with the families.
I looked like Mother Theresa on the outside, doing everything for everyone. But on the inside, I was dying. I literally abandoned my family because I felt I had to save people. I had fallen so far away from God.
Through my pain, I completely surrendered and sought God with all of my heart. I also went to counseling and went to a conference and a retreat, and that both really helped me. Basically, I just ran to my Heavenly Father, and I couldn’t get enough time with Him. It was weird, it felt like such an obligation before. Then I was like, that’s it! We’ve been secular rehab all this time, although I had been very open about being a Christian, then I was like, we’re not doing this without Jesus in the center. So, we’re going to become a Christian rehab.
We changed the program, and all of a sudden, the referrals stopped. Everything stopped. I was confused and was thinking, “God, I trust you, but this is weird, I thought this is what you were calling me to do.”
After much prayer, I felt a calling to work with professionals. I’m such a make it happen-type person, but I said, I don’t know what you are doing God, but I’m going to trust you to take the next step.
I had been teaching classes to help people become CACs or Certified Addiction Counselors. I started putting more into these classes and loved teaching and sharing my knowledge and experience with those who wanted to help those suffering from addiction. I still teach here in the Woodstock/Canton area. I thoroughly enjoy teaching these classes, as well as doing supervision groups with counselors.
I had been working with No Longer Bound and Angel House doing CAC supervision with their counselors. This year I am also teaching family workshops with No Longer Bound. They had never done family workshops, and that’s my specialty. So, they asked me to do their workshops. Then Angel House wanted me to work directly with both their staff and their clients- I completely enjoy working with those women! In September, I also became the clinical director for 3D Teen Recovery, and I absolutely love the work I do there as well. There are other places that I would love to work with as well. I never knew this would be what I love to do so much, just seeing God’s blessing and anointing and just growing. Two years ago, I would have never guessed I would be where I am today.
How long have you lived in Woodstock?
Twenty years in Woodstock. I moved here when my son was about two.
It was like a witness relocation program when we moved here [laughs]. My sister lives in the neighborhood with me too. We were like, “what in the world?!?” There was not much going on. It’s been incredible to watch the growth. It’s such a cool place.
What is your favorite restaurant in Woodstock, and what do you love there?
I love Rootstock & Vine. Everything there is so good. I always get their pimento dip. But with everything they have – I always try something different. I love the whole atmosphere. They have good music. It’s such a cool view from the roof deck. Anna and her husband are such warm hosts.
Who is the most interesting person you’ve met here in Woodstock? Who would you like to see nominated as a Face of Woodstock?
Renee Gable, she’s a really good friend, and I love her family. She’s such a good advocate for recovery, her family, her friends, and a good cause. She is the City of Woodstock Planning and Zoning commissioner. She just gives and gives and gives. When I was going through a really hard time, she would come to pick up my daughter. She’s really plugged into the community. She’s always bringing awareness to things. She’s amazing. And she attends my classes wanting to learn the latest methods for treating addiction.
Another interesting person that makes Woodstock so much better is Barbara Bonatucci. She lives in Deer Run too, but works at The Arbor at Bridge Mill. She’s just really present in the community, has a big heart and is always reaching out. All of our kids are best friends.
If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? And why?
Lisbon Portugal because my son is playing in the lacrosse World Games there next summer. He made the Italian team. You have to have Italian heritage, so he tried out and made it. We just found out like a week ago, and we are so excited! He’s the men’s head lacrosse coach at Montreat College near Asheville, NC.
What is your favorite movie OR what is the first movie you remember seeing in a theatre?
I have two kinds of favorite movies. I love Elf, I LOVE Elf. It’s so funny, and I have it memorized. And I love The Shack.
What advice would you give a crowd of people?
This might be too much, but honestly, I would say, develop a relationship with Jesus. Pray and study the word, and do your own work, go to therapy. And then, you can stop the intergenerational transmission of dysfunction and addiction. Really, reading the Bible for yourself before you discount it and doing therapeutic work. Because then it will change everything generationally.
Also, “the only way out is through.” I don’t know why, but I always clung to that. We all try to find shortcuts around doing the hard work of going to the emotional places that scare us. But you have to go through it to get to the other side. You gotta go back to a place you don’t want to go to get somewhere you’ve never been.
What is something on your bucket list?
I would definitely go to the Holy Land. That is my ultimate dream trip.
I’ve already been skydiving, I’ve walked on hot coals, that second one wasn’t on my bucket list, but I just did it because my sister did it [laughs]. I’ve been scuba diving, but I think I’d like to get scuba certified. Or I think I would like to go to an animal preserve or rescue and work with orphaned animals for a summer. I love animals.
Also, go on a mission trip with my family. To be able to serve in another country together. I can’t imagine anything better than experiencing that with my family.
What is your favorite music/ three bands you would like to see (dead or alive)?
I like any dance music, I love to dance.
I love Lauren Daigle. I love her, she’s amazing. She’s like Adele but better.
And then I love, he’s a local singer, someone who I just absolutely love and he has an incredible voice, Davin McCoy. He’s Renee’s stepson actually. Amazing.
And this is crazy, this guy is so deep, it sounds weird coming from me, I’m almost fifty, but it’s a rapper called NF, he’s like the clean version of Eminem. He has some really deep stuff. It’s really cool. At first, I was like, I don’t want to hear that. Then I was like, this guy’s good!
What current / former local business makes you the most nostalgic about Woodstock?
I haven’t been there for a while, but it brings back really good memories. I loved Berry Patch Farms. You cut down your own Christmas tree and get pumpkins and the blueberry picking. This summer is the only summer I haven’t done it. My kids used to do it since they were little, and it’s interesting because my niece, who is 26, now has two children of her own, and they do that kind of stuff now too.
Choosing anyone alive and a non-relative: with whom would you love to have lunch? Why? Where in Woodstock would you have lunch?
Of course, Jesus. That would be the best. But two people. Bob Goff, who wrote “Love Does,” I love him. He’s hilarious. And Brené Brown. She’s the best. I use her curriculum. I’ve read every book of hers a couple of times.
What is your favorite thing or something unique about Woodstock?
I absolutely love the Woodstock Trail System. My office is backed up to them, and I walk with my clients. Some of my clients that have ADD or ADHD, they do better when we go on walks in the trails. It’s better because it occupies them enough to get freed up, and I love it. And if I go on a walk myself, I’ll bring my book to put in the book library or rocks to leave around. I love going for walks.
Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?
I would love to be here in Woodstock doing personal growth workshops for families and a lot of life coaching stuff. Just a lot of growth and some intensive workshops, and maybe some retreats too. I hope I am still training and teaching counselors. My classes are always experiential, so even students get an opportunity for personal growth in all of my CAC classes.
(Even for friends or family), what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
I’m a pretty open book, so most people know most stuff about me. When I was little, I was the president of the daredevil club, and that has grown into being courageous in my relationships.
Also, I love Harry Potter. I’m like a fanatic. That’s on my bucket list too, to go on the Harry Potter tour in London.
What three words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
Love, faith, and connected.
If you were cast into a major motion picture and had your choice of anyone to be your co-star, who would you choose?
I love Will Ferrell. I LOVE him, he’s hilarious, and it seems like he would be a blast to work with. And I think Ellen is hilarious and relational. I love her.
If you had a full-time staff member that was fully paid for, who would you choose: Chef, Housekeeper, Driver, Coach, Physical Fitness Trainer, or Nanny?
One hundred percent, that one’s easy. Housekeeper for sure. That’s the dream. Sometimes I find myself feeling envious and jealous of the ‘50s husbands who had their wife just taking care of everything, how nice would that have been? But it’s hard. I stayed home for three years, and everybody thinks you have nothing to do. I love my work now.