LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Addiction to drugs and alcohol is something several East Texans suffer from.
Michelle Reynolds knows all too well, as she became addicted to methamphetamine shortly after moving to Lufkin from Houston in her earlier twenties.
"It was a new place, I was vulnerable, just looking for any kind of friend I guess, and I just got mixed up in the wrong crowd," Reynolds explained.
Along with trying to fit in, Reynolds was looking for a mental escape from something tragic that happened to her as a young child, and meth was the perfect escape.
"I was addicted to not feeling hurt from it and then my body physically became addicted to it," Reynolds said.
Reynolds continued her drug use, even becoming a meth cook, spiraling down a dark path.
"The more I got into it the more I started losing things," Reynolds said.
"I started losing the most important things. I lost my children, I lost the trust in my family."
One night, eight years ago, Reynolds and a friend were pulled over by authorities, leading to her arrest, and the beginning of her road to recovery.
"To be honest, I prayed for the day I got caught because I was sick of that life," Reynolds said.
She was sentenced to prison, where she became a chaplain's assistant, where she said she had a huge wakeup call from God.
"I knew the first thing I had to do was get to a church," Reynolds said. "I joined one in Huntington and the whole church just surrounded me with love. There was no judgment at all and I met my sponsor there."
With the support of her sponsor, Tish Bryant and her preacher, who eventually became her husband, Reynolds began going to drug court to meet all of the requirements of her probation. She also received encouragement from Judge Bob Inselmann and her family.
"It's hard, it's one of the hardest journeys any addict can go through," Reynolds said. "Sometimes you fall, but that's what sponsors are for, and you get right back up and you face it."
Not only did Reynolds become sober, she also learned to deal the demons in her past without drugs and is now a sponsor herself.
"We create this bond, we know where each other has been," Reynolds explained. "If I could go through one day knowing I helped someone, everything that I've been through is worth it."
Reynolds said she thanks God, her community, and her family for the help they gave her and hopes others can learn from her story.
"You are not alone," Reynolds said. "Do not be afraid to ask for help, there are so many people that want you to get better."
Reynolds reunited with her son in December and said her next goal is to reunite with her daughter.