In late 2016, Brent and Ashley Walker were young and in love — but their relationship was complicated by both drug addiction and jail time. The Tennessee couple was on a “roller-coaster,” as Ashley described it to News 4 Jax. But at the time, Brent wasn’t interested in getting clean.
“I remember telling my friends that I will never live the sober life — it was so boring,” the now-30-year-old told the news station. “I couldn’t see how people could live sober.”
Brent had started dealing drugs and doing meth at the age of 18, soon after his brother was killed while driving under the influence. Around that time, Brent met Ashley, and they dated on and off for years. The relationship was turbulent, with Ashley stepping in repeatedly to bail Brent out of jail.
“It was very exhausting,” Ashley has described that period of time. “It was like you’re on a roller coaster. He would have his few days that he wouldn’t be on the drugs and we would be coming down, and he would be him. When he would get back with his old friends, he would be a totally different person.”
However, she also says that she always saw the potential for a better future with Brent.
“I always told him I see something different in him, and I want to have that long-lasting relationship with him,” she said “I always wanted to be sober with him, have a family, have a life with him. I knew we would be able to do it. We just couldn’t get past the drugs.”
Finally, in December 2016, Brent was ready to begin the journey to sobriety.
“Just making small goals is how we started,” Ashley said.
Their first goal was to get married after their first 30 days of sobriety. They made it — and went on to overhaul their entire life.
In a recent Facebook post with the hashtag #Cleanchallenge, Brent put together side-by-side before and after photos of the couple.
On the left is a photo of Brent and Ashley in late 2016, before they kicked their addictions. On the right is a photo of the pair from July 2019, two and a half years sober and visibly healthier and happier than they are in the “before” picture.
In his caption, Brent expressed the hope that the couple’s remarkable transformation from addiction to recovery would inspire others who may be battling their own demons.
“This December 31st will be 3 years we have been clean and sober and living for God,” he wrote alongside the photos. “I hope that my transformation can encourage a [sic] addict somewhere! It is possible to recover!!
So far, the social media post has more than 19,000 comments and 144,000 shares.
Since dedicating themselves to living a clean life, Ashley has reconnected with her family and Brent has earned his GED. The couple also enjoyed some beach time on a recent Florida vacation.
Now, the two are working toward their next goals, including improving their credit score in order to put a down payment on a home, and regaining custody of their children. Ashley has two kids and Brent has three from previous relationships.
“It’s not an easy road. It’s a very hard road. But once you get past your year mark, it’s been like blessing after blessing, and happiness all the time,” Brent said of their journey together.
Here’s hoping this beautiful success story will inspire those who are struggling with addiction to also seek help and find their way to a brighter future.