READING an article in the newspaper about someone you love isn't quite like reading about a stranger.
When I read news reports there is always part of me that sends prayers to a family torn apart by an accident, a head shake at some silly fashion trend or a smile about something positive but to read a story about your sister and the comments that follow is just terrible.
Just recently I watched my older sister get sentenced to jail for trafficking and supplying methamphetamine also known as ice.
Unfortunately those who read newspapers never get the full "behind the scenes" story.
I think the article was more focused on the negatives rather than the positives of Jessica's story - because that's what sells papers.
I hope that by writing this, the readers who shook their heads and cursed my sister for being just another addict polluting our society will read this and it will give them some understanding and compassion.
Every addict has their own story of how they have made a wrong choice/fallen in with the wrong crowd/weakened and then had their life taken over by this controlling drug.
I also hope it will warn parents of how easily it can happen to their children, regardless of how they were brought up.
Jessica was the middle child out of us three girls and always the cheeky one.
She had this smile that, even though it was all teeth, made you smile with her and wonder what she was going to do next.
She was always so happy and bubbly and was very protective as we got older and was always looking out for me.
She was my best friend. There wasn't anything we wouldn't share with each other.
As happens, circumstances changed, she became depressed and a moment of weakness turned her life upside down. As she has said: "it was an instant addiction".
She became an addict and turned into a totally different person than the one I grew up with.
She was secretive, evasive, and a liar and thief. But she wasn't always.
The Jessica I knew would never have done the things she did; it's the drug addiction - drugs change people so dramatically.
I never believed just how much until I watched Jessica go through it.
Not only mentally but also physically - the weight loss, the sores on her face.
The family were all terrified of losing her and we tried everything to help her but nothing worked until she really hit rock bottom.
She couldn't truly see a way out and I think part of her didn't want to; it was a way for her to escape reality.
The turning point between being an addict and a supplier was not long after losing her job and with no source of income she began supplying as a way to fund her own addiction.
Seeing someone you love go through this and knowing it's the drug that got them there is heartbreaking. Until she was ready to help herself there wasn't much we could do but to keep communication open and let her know we were here if needed and pray to God she would pull through.
Thankfully she did.
She has managed to beat this addiction. Since finding out she was pregnant she has been clean, completed a three-month rehabilitation program, and although she will spend the year in jail I have no doubt she will come out on top and with a beautiful baby by her side.
I never would have thought my sister would end up in jail.
Although she is clean and has beaten it now, she will continue to fight this addiction for the rest of her life.
We are behind you 100% and are so proud of you. We love you, Jessica.
Ice is everywhere and unfortunately seen as socially acceptable by youngsters.
It is cheap and is such a powerful and highly addictive drug, it will change the person you love into someone you can't even recognise.
Please take the time to educate and warn your children, friends and loved ones about the danger of this drug.
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