LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Lufkin native Brent Tanksley has a happy life, a great job, a beautiful wife and two adoring children.
But things didn't always burn so brightly for Tanksley.
"I was introduced to drugs and alcohol primarily when I was in high school" Tanksley said.
That introduction led to a chain reaction for him as he approached graduation.
"By the time I was probably a senior in high school drugs were becoming more primary in my life and I was neglecting a lot of the things that were important to me." Tanksley said.
Some of those things included his high school sweetheart and future wife Mary.
By the time he was 18 he had his first run in with the law, which was followed by more incidents.
"I went to treatment multiple times and nothing ever slowed me down, I never really saw the problem." Tanksley said.
The bumpy road that Tanksley faced almost cost him his family.
"My beautiful wife had stepped away for her own health and the health of our child." Tanksley said.
In the summer of 2009 Tanksley came to speak to a counselor at ADAC in Lufkin to get help.
"I was just a bad person, a bad guy and I believed that, I believed that and he informed me that what I had was a disease and a disorder of the mind and that it was highly treatable." Tanksley said.
Soon after that he checked himself into a treatment center in Beaumont Texas.
"From there I began to pick up the pieces of a shattered life." Tanksley said.
He went back to school, and now uses his experience to help others working as a counselor at ADAC here in East Texas.
"It's the joy of my life I get to help somebody every day. One of the greatest joys of my life is to see somebody come in and broken and for me to get to reach out a hand and try to help them." Tanksley said.
Tanksley also fixed things with his wife and now has two beautiful children who are his entire world.
"I never thought it would turn out this way, but I'm extremely grateful that it did, utterly grateful. I never thought life would turn out as good as it has." Tanksley said.
Tanksley found a bright light at the end of a dark tunnel.
"The greatest joy and miracle in my life is that I wouldn't have it if I could, I know I can't handle it, but life is so much better without it. I just didn't realize it. I had to stop and learn how to live and learn how to apply tools so that I could find happiness and balance." Tanksley said.
Tanksley hopes that by sharing his story he will inspire others and hopes to let people know that it's never too late to reach out for help.