People across the country have been sharing their stories from addiction to sobriety as a part of the #CleanChallenge.
An east Tennessee couple’s story of overcoming addiction together has gone viral as a part of the challenge and is inspiring hundreds of thousands of people.
“This December 31st,” wrote Brent Walker of Cleveland, Tennessee, including a before-and-after picture, “will be 3 years we have been clean and sober living for God.”
Walker told The Western Journal that he was only 9 years old when his addiction started with cigarettes and it only spiraled from there. By the time he was 15 years old, he was addicted to cocaine, acid and ecstasy.
Just five years later, his 19-year-old brother died, which led him to “shooting up pain pills and meth,” but it was also when he met his now-wife, Ashley.
“She fell in love with me from day one and I wasn’t ready to settle down. I wanted to deal my drugs and get high,” he told The Western Journal. “So that’s exactly what I did.”
In 2015, Walker faced three counts of sale and delivery of meth. When law enforcement officers tried to arrest him, he ran. Facing an additional charge for evading arrest, Walker said he had a “big wake up call.”
Ultimately he spent two years in jail and another eight on felony probation — which he is serving until 2024.
While in jail, a minister named Mayfield Brown began meeting with Walker and encouraging him to visualize a better life for himself. When he was released, however, he returned to his life ruled by addiction.
On December 31, 2016, he and Ashley had been going through a multiple-week “binge,” but he looked at her as she slept and knew they could have a better life.
“I remember watching her sleep and I could just see a perfect life. It seemed so real — we were clean and married, had a beautiful house and car,” he told The Western Journal. “I woke her up and told her I wanted out, I was done with everything, I want to get sober and asked her if she would do it with me.”
“She said, ‘Babe I’ve been waiting my entire life for you to say that.'”
From that point on, the couple has remained sober.
They got married a month later, and three months after that, Walker gave his life to Christ. “We have lived for Christ since and He has blessed us is more ways that I could ever imagine,” he said.
Both Walker and Ashley went back to school — Walker to earn his GED and Ashley to earn her CNA — and Walker continues to praise God for the ways that He has saved and blessed them.
Walker’s wife encouraged him to share his story and to encourage others who are bound by their addiction, which is why he posted the now-viral #cleanchallenge post on July 26, 2019.
Since then it has received over 180,000 reactions, 16,000 comments and 130,000 shares.
He told The Western Journal that he was not expecting his story to reach as many people as it has and that he was “very shocked,” but the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
Ten people have even told him that his story motivated them to check into rehab.
He hopes that his post shows that overcoming addiction isn’t easy and that it takes determination, but that God can help you get through the tough times.
“When you turn your life over to Christ, you let him take over and He will be behind you the whole way, holding you up making sure that you make it,” Walker said.
“Once you make it, you will live the most happy and blessed life. It will truly amaze you how happy you become.”
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