FAYETTEVILLE, WV (WOAY) – On the final day of National Recovery Month, Cliff Massey has a lot to celebrate.
This summer marked his sixth year in recovery from active addiction, he works at the Fayette County Health Department as a harm reductionist and peer support specialist, and he has recently been named to the state’s new recovery subcommittee.
“It’s an honor. It’s something I haven’t really thought a whole lot about until I started talking to some close family and friends,” he said. “Just the realization of how big this is and how much it matters in our state and the ability to kind of make a difference if we can, which we can, because we are.”
The state formed a governor’s council on substance abuse prevention and treatment in 2018. In the development of a substance use response plan, the council decided recently to also assemble a group of people in recovery from all over the state to bring them to the table.
Massey was one of fourteen selected as he works every day to help those with substance use disorder get the help they need, whether that be a ride to treatment or through the county’s harm reduction program.
Because of his own lived experience, he says one of the reasons this subcommittee is a step in the right direction is because he believes those in recovery are powerful tools to help those working toward it.
“Whatever it takes to keep somebody alive is what I try to do,” Massey said. “We don’t push any kind of agenda. It’s nice to have options and choices and that’s what we lack today is a lot of different options and hopefully that’s something that we can make a difference in and change.”
Massey hopes to bring ideas to the table about how to further support people throughout the entire process of recovery even after they go into treatment.
He says it is easy to quickly form opinions without facts and it is easy to get bogged down by negative news, but as he stands as a living embodiment of recovery, he hopes to continue to give that gift to others.
“Recovery has given me a life worth living. and it’s given my daughters a father, man. And that’s probably the most profound thing that I see on a daily basis,” he said.
As a member of the subcommittee, Massey will participate in quarterly meetings with the state.