Faces of Recovery: Ashley’s Story
One of the main goals of our weekly Faces of Recovery series is to feature local Bell County citizens who have struggled with and subsequently overcome substance addiction. However, since beginning the Faces of Recovery series, the Daily News has received correspondence from people outside of Bell County who have read the series and have stories of their own they want to share.
Addiction is a universal issue that transcends borders and county lines. It does not matter where a person comes from, their struggle with addiction will resonate with anybody who has had their lives affected by it. So while this week’s Faces of Recovery story is not a Bell native, they do indeed have a story to tell.
Ashley Corman-Thompson hails from Lincoln County — which is about a two hour ride from Bell County. Corman-Thompson is 25 years old and her story with addiction began when she was 10 years old.
She recalls her father drinking recreationally during the summer while he was out working. She remembers her father looking and feeling refreshed and enjoying his beer, and she wanted to have that same feeling. While she initially hated the taste of beer, she still took some of her father’s supply to emulate his enjoyment. She noted that over time her father had noticed his supply slimming.
“Then it was smoking marijuana, using pills and alcohol by the time I’m 13. I lost my grandfather, and I went out of control. I believe it was the first hurt I ever experienced,” she said.
Corman-Thompson described the state taking her on unjust ground, which resulted in an ugly court battle — all of this at the age of 15.
“At this point, my grandmother is dying and I’m angry,” she said.
Corman-Thompson’s sister is granted custody of her, still 15 at this time.
“I stole my grandmother’s car and wrecked it while high. Six months later, my grandmother passed and 10 days after my birthday I started using pills very heavy and actually got kicked out of the alternative high school (she was attending) for a week. They asked me to do outpatient rehab,” she said.
Her use continued and continued to get worse. She then found herself pregnant with her son, Brantley. After giving birth to him, she relapsed on pain medication.
“I left him for drinking and pills,” she said.
Three months later, she was pregnant again with her daughter Braylee. She was married and had her daughter at 19. Corman-Thompson described a period of success where she received her GED, got a house and went to nursing school.
“Then some stuff happened in my marriage, and I was introduced to methamphetamine and more pills,” she said.
At this point, she went to her mother and told her she needed help. During her stay with her mother, Corman-Thompson started using heroin and stole a large sum of money from her mother and the police were called.
“If she hadn’t (call the police), I would be dead today,” she said.
Corman-Thompson turned herself in because she knew she needed help. It was while she was in jail that she finally found the means to be on the road to recovery in a revival that was held at the jail she was lodged in.
“They took me in as family and through everything never gave up,” she said.
Corman-Thompson completed a three-year sentence and has been clean since February 2017. She now works with women in jail, sharing her story and trying to spread the word that there is hope in addiction and recovery is possible.