“Trust in the goodness of people.” Art exhibit highlights local stories of recovery from addiction.

Reed Byers, a local featured in the art exhibit, hopes his story helps others.
Reed Byers, a local featured in the art exhibit, hopes his story helps others.(Laura Bowen)
Published: Aug. 26, 2022 at 10:25 PM EDT
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MARIETTA, Ohio (WTAP) - A traveling art exhibit highlighting addiction recovery is taking a stop at the Washington County Health Department.

WTAP spoke to a local whose story was featured.

Every photograph lining the exhibit hall spotlights a local successfully recovering from addiction.

Reed Byers is one of those faces.

“I shared my story a little bit at a time and I noticed when I would share my story it would kind of encourage other people to reach out and be less ashamed of their past,” he said.

Byers hopes the project lessens stigma against people struggling with substance use.

“I hope they walk away with a little more humanity and kindness and a shifted perception that people can change - people deserve the chance to change…,” he said.

Each photograph features a series of hand-written notes from the subject.

One of Byers’ reads “Trust in the goodness of people. Their light can change the world.”

He remembered, “My defense attorney Shawna Landaker - I remember she stood in the courtroom advocating for me for a lesser sentence, maybe drug court or something, and I was sentenced to two years in prison. She told the judge - she said ‘We are all much better than the worst things we’ve ever done.’”

After over 10 years of addiction, Byers turned his life around.

“You know now I’ve got the life that I hoped for myself and it’s way beyond what I ever thought it would be,” he told WTAP.

Byers’ story isn’t the only one that ends with a new beginning.

He said the project aims to highlight recovery stories from locals at each location the exhibit travels to. That includes Gallia County, Jackson County, Meigs County, and more.

For the time being, however, the exhibit can be viewed at the Washington County Health Department.