Ribbon cut at Recovery Point Parkersburg

Photo by Evan Bevins U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., left, speaks with Recovery Point Parkersburg Replication Team member Demian Byrne after Byrne shared his story of recovery during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday at the 4204 Emerson Ave. facility.

PARKERSBURG — As excited as area residents and officials were about Wednesday’s ribbon-cutting for Recovery Point Parkersburg — an 80-bed, residential substance abuse recovery center — they’re looking forward even more to the future.

“What I can’t wait to hear is in six months or a year, to hear about the success stories and the impact you’ve made on people’s lives, making individuals better sons, better fathers, better husbands,” Parkersburg Mayor Tom Joyce said during the event Wednesday afternoon in the renovated former National Guard Armory at 4204 Emerson Ave. “I’m proud to say that the city of Parkersburg welcomes Recovery Point as a partner, and we look forward to many good things.”

Joyce’s optimism is well-founded, according to U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and acting West Virginia Bureau of Behavioral Health and Health Facilities Commissioner Nancy Sullivan, who said they have witnessed Recovery Point’s impact in other parts of the state.

“This program can change lives,” Sullivan said. “We’ve seen it in Huntington, and we trust that you will see it in Parkersburg.”

Manchin said he believes in Recovery Point, which started in Huntington in 2011, modeled after a similar program in Louisville, Ky., and currently led by Executive Director Matt Boggs, himself a recovering addict and graduate of the program. Recovery Point now has facilities in Huntington, Charleston, Bluefield and Parkersburg.

Photo by Evan Bevins

“Wherever he (Boggs) goes I’ll go. Wherever he wants to open one up, I’ll be there,” Manchin said.

Sixty-eight percent of Recovery Point graduates maintain sobriety for at least one year, he said.

The all-male facility will accept its first clients today, with 11 scheduled to enter by Tuesday, said Judd Fulks, program director.

“It feels incredible,” he said of the prospect of starting to work after about a year of preparation. “I don’t know that there is a word for it.”

Fulks said he’s been clean and sober for seven years and worked for a 28-day residential treatment facility for four-and-a-half years. As he was working to complete his technical degree in dependency disorders, he was invited to an advisory committee meeting for Recovery Point.

Photo by Evan Bevins More than 100 people attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Recovery Point Parkersburg, an 80-bed, residential, substance abuse recovery center in the former National Guard armory at 4204 Emerson Ave. Wednesday.

Fulks initially volunteered to help interview candidates for the program director’s position, but he soon stepped down after deciding he was meant to do the job himself.

Many people associated with Recovery Point are recovering addicts, trying to help others through the challenges they once struggled with and overcame. The nine-member Replication Team is made up of graduates of the Huntington and Bluefield programs, including Demian Byrne.

“It’s not like I intended to be an awful person or do terrible things or neglect family or lie to people. It was just that I always had to keep my eye on whatever the prize was, and the prize was always getting the next one,” Byrne said Wednesday. “Recovery Point of Huntington absolutely changed my life in every fashion. … When things go wrong in life, which they do, they helped me figure out a way to deal with it without running back to the only thing I’ve ever known.”

The program is funded with $717,400 from the state Bureau for Behavioral Health and Health Facilities and a $650,000 grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh via member institution United Bank, as well as contributions from multiple organizations and donors, including the Bernard McDonough Foundation, the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation and the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.

Speaking to Parkersburg City Council Tuesday, Boggs said Recovery Point’s programs are based on the principles of unconditional love and personal accountability. Its peer-driven recovery model is based on the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, and the evidence-based curriculum takes six to 12 months to complete, according to information provided by the organization.

Photo by Evan Bevins From left, Recovery Point West Virginia board member Tracey Reynolds; acting West Virginia Bureau of Behavioral Health and Health Facilities Commissioner Nancy Sullivan; U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.; Recovery Point West Virginia Executive Director Matt Boggs; and Recovery Point West Virginia board members David Clark and Debby Hibbard smile after cutting the ribbon on the residential substance abuse recovery facility at 4204 Emerson Ave., Parkersburg, Wednesday.

People are not charged to participate in the program, Boggs said Tuesday.

“We don’t care how much money you have; we don’t care how much money your family has; we don’t care if you have insurance,” he said.