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'We do recover' | Knoxville woman part of statewide overdose awareness campaign

Jessica Stanley began struggling with addiction at age 13. Now, she's celebrating four years of recovery with a job that helps her give back.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — When Jessica Stanley drives by her face on a billboard, she said it feels like a dream. For nine years, she struggled with addiction. 

"When I first started this journey, I thought that recovery wasn't for me," she told 10News. "I didn't think that it was possible. I didn't think that someone like myself deserved a happy life."

At age 13, Stanley was diagnosed with a substance abuse disorder. She said she went to jails, institutions and treatment centers. Although she overdosed multiple times, Stanley said Narcan brought her back.

"Everyone needs as many chances as possible to be able to find happiness in their life," she said. "That's exactly what Narcan is. It saves people like myself long enough for someone to make a change."

Credit: Submitted

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For the past four years, Jessica Stanley has been in recovery. She's a proud mother who works as a peer recovery specialist in a local emergency room.

"I speak with individuals who have substance use disorders," Stanley said. "It's very fulfilling being able to be passionate about something and not feeling like you're just clocking in for a paycheck. It feels like home."

This year, Stanley is featured in the Tennessee Overdose Prevention group's billboard campaign. She and her kids are smiling above Clinton Highway with the phrase 'we do recover.'

"[That saying] is big for me... recovery is a big group thing," Stanley said. "It's a very selfless act. It's people helping other people no matter what."