Jessica Fraley is our guest in this episode. The two of us met recently when I was asked to be a guest speaker in a Chemical Dependency class at Delta College. Jessica joins to discuss her experiences, talk about drug education, and share a little on her vision. As for Jessica’s story, she grew up in an unstable house house where addiction was normalized. Her father is an addict and alcoholic, her brothers used, and she started to dabble in pills at the age of 13 so drugs had always a part of life from a young age.
Jessica endured sexual molested by a close family member for six years beginning at a young age. Her parents split up when she was twelve and at thirteen she was placed in foster care. She didn’t have any sort of mental health or therapy instead drugs were her answer, the force that calmed her, her therapy. After a brief stint in jail at the age of 17 she did heroin for the first time shortly after with someone she met while incarcerated. By her early 20s Jessica had spent 30 days in jail, had two assault charges on her record, and had spent two and a half years in prison.
At that time she regularly found herself homeless, living in her car, stealing, and doing whatever she had to do to support her habit. After a series of events she started using meth for a short time. The meth ate her skin and was destroying her physically and mentally. Her week long meth binge ended with a jail sentence after being caught by the cops passed out in a McDonalds parking lot. It was at the time, while in jail, that Jessica tried to take her own life. The experience, her physical health deteriorating and her failed suicide attempt, sparked a change and she’s been clean since November 11th, 2014. Committed to sobriety she spent the next 19 months in drug court. Currently Jessica manages a nonprofit, works at a local retailer, and is going to college full-time to achieve her degree in social work.
What We Discuss with Jessica:
- Jessica defines addiction as, “a disease that creates an instability within the brain to desire an outlet that’s indescribable for anything that one is experiencing”
- She shares her education with substance abuse growing up, and touches on what she thinks more effective drug education would look like
- Jessica opens up about her drug use, when it started, and how an unstable living environment contributed to her use
- She shares her story, how she found her way out of her addiction, what she’s doing now to make a difference, and the areas where she thinks change still needs to be made
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