Convicted Lufkin meth addict working to turn his, others' lives around

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - After hitting rock bottom, Steven Gardner, the ministry coordinator at the Lufkin Dream Center, has spent the last five months working to turn his life around.

"I'm not ashamed of where I've come from, but I'm sorry for the way I've been," Gardner said.

These days, Gardner spends his mornings reading through Scripture with friends at the Lufkin Dream Center.

But in October of 2011, Gardner was arrested at a Lufkin motel for possession of methamphetamine. Last week he pleaded guilty to the crime in court.

"I was pretty much on the street most of the time," Gardner said. "I did have some drugs on me. The only place I had to stay was the motel."

Gardner said he tried drugs at an early age at home with his parents and has been in and out of jail for drug use most of his life.

But for the last five months, Gardner has been working to turn his life around.

"There is a good life, but it can't come with drugs and crime," Gardner said.

As the ministry coordinator at the Lufkin Dream Center, Gardner devotes his time to planning fundraisers and outreach ministries for children in need.

"We try to show love to the kids; we pass out bibles. Give clothes away, give food," Gardner said.

Angelina County Adult Probation Supervisor Dustin Fore said overcoming alcohol and drugs is a struggle that takes time. He said people like Gardner set an example for others trying to overcome similar lifestyles.

"It can be overwhelming, and to have someone come in and say, "I did these things, and was successful; it can be done" that's an example you need," Fore said.

Gardner said he has even written a book documenting his journey from drug abuse to sobriety to show others change is possible for anyone.

"A person can change no matter where they come from no matter how they grew up," Gardner said.

In the process, that person can transform himself or herself into an example that helps another find success.

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