September is national recovery month and two East Texans are hoping to raise awareness about substance abuse. Two Lufkinites were stuck in addiction for 60 years combined but today they're sobriety is helping them to encourage others that they too can win the battle with addiction.
Brenda Beard and J Williams do not know each other but were both addicted to drugs for decades. Today, they are both living sober lives and sharing their stories to encourage others to win their battles with addiction.
At the age of 12 Brenda Beard was introduced to meth.
"The people that I was using with were older than me and they noticed that I was really getting into a bad addiction," Beard said. "They told me because I was a minor I couldn't do it anymore. They probably saved my life."
Not knowing where else to purchase her drugs from she stopped using for many years.
J Williams also found himself battling addiction as a child.
"When I was eight I started stealing beer from my dad," Williams said. "By the time I was 14, I was a full blown alcoholic."
Drinking turned into an every day issue for Williams.
"I drank a fifth of whiskey a day, so at a young age my parents had to put me in my first treatment facility at 14," Williams said.
He said there for 30 days but said it was only helpful for the wrong reasons.
"It gave me more ideas of what I had not drunk before," Williams said.
Treatment didn't work for the rebellious teen who then turned to cocaine and later became a meth cook.
"It just progressively got worse," Williams said. "I wound up turning to methamphetamine and alcohol was just a daily thing. I couldn't function without it."
Law enforcement finally caught up with him.
"They offered me the opportunity to get out of the business or go to prison," Williams said. "I was looking at some federal time; about four lifetime sentences."
After 20 years of addiction, Williams said he finally decided to live a better life for himself.
"You end up getting to a point where you're a hopeless state of body, mind and spirit. So, I was so miserable I decided it was time to quit," Williams said.
Beard decided it was time to quit too after things went down hill.
"After my divorce I went a little wild; alcohol and extacy," Beard said.
The Lufkin woman finally got the help she needed for her addictions after spending time in jail for her second DWI.
"When I woke up there were a lot of flashing lights around me, my car was in the ditch upside down, I had to be cut out," Beard said.
It was the wake up call she needed to recover from her 40 years of addiction.
Beard and Williams have both been recovering from addiction for the past few years and give credit to the support they've received while in treatment.
"There's a lot of potential for getting recovery in this town of Lufkin," Williams said.
The help they've received has given them the opportunity to provide help to others conquering their addictions.
They were once the victims but now they're the victors.
Beard now has two jobs and is able to live the happy and healthy life she's always wanted.
Williams said next month will make two years of sobriety and he's thankful for the recovery programs he's be able to be a part of in Lufkin.