LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - After years of battling with their addictions two East Texas women want to inspire others just like them to live a clean and sober lifestyle.
Since they were teenagers, Johnna Gresham and Lindsey Atkinson used drugs to escape from the harsh reality of life.
"I stole, I lied, manipulated people, used people, even sold myself a few times, to get money for drugs or to get drugs," Gresham said.
Lindsey was just a 19-year-old when she got hooked on pain medicine.
"I lived with my grandmother who had some medical issues, and I was stealing hers," Atkinson said. "I used it to numb the way I felt."
Twelve surgeries later, and Atkinson's addiction got worse. She eventually got arrested for it.
"I caught my first felony charge for prescription fraud," Atkinson said.
Gresham's addiction started when she lost her brother in a drunk-driving accident. However she officially hit bottom years later when she almost lost her daughter to Child Protective Services.
"I was tired, I was ready," Gresham said. "I can remember crying on the way to the dope house to get more, but I didn't want to get more, and I couldn't stop."
So Gresham asked God to save her.
"He answered my prayers when 10 angels dressed in blue came and handcuffed me and took me to jail," Gresham said.
Now Gresham and Atkinson want to dedicate their lives to saving others.
"God just called us to do it, and being recovering addicts ourselves, we want to give back as much as possible," Gresham said.
Their plan is to open a women's sober-living home.
"Lufkin has an epidemic on their hands, the drugs that are in this town are everywhere, and you can only turn your head so long to it," Atkinson said.
"Within a year of them living there, our goal is for them to have their own home or own apartment," Gresham said.
Both women said being sober has allowed them to live the life they've only dreamed of, and that's all thanks to recovery.
"I have all of this because of recovery, and without my recovery, I don't have a single thing that I have today," Gresham said.
"Johnna is one of those who is out helping others, and she understands that's a key to maintaining her sobriety, and it is also a good example of sober living," said Judge Paul White, in Angelina County.
"If I did whatever it took to get high, then I can do whatever it takes to stay clean and sober because my life depends on it," Gresham said.
If you'd like to contribute to Gresham and Atkinson's women's sober-living home, you can visit their Serenity house Facebook page.