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Living with a higher power

Like most children, Christina Frye idolized her father as a little girl.

But that was despite her idol using illegal drugs and doing prison time for drugs, arson and armed robbery.

To hide her painful childhood, Frye began drinking when she was 9, smoking marijuana at 11 and using methamphetamine at 13. She first went to jail for shoplifting at 19.



It took Frye nine trips to state prison in Chowchilla, in Central California, over the next 18 years to decide she “didn’t want to live like this anymore.”

The wake-up call came one day when she was “just sitting in a room with hundreds of women dressed in orange jumpsuits,” Frye said. “I had spent 10 years or more of my life behind bars. Most importantly, I had spent 10 years or more of my children’s lives behind bars. I just didn’t want to do it anymore.”




In despair, the mother of three asked help from Adult Drug Court – a program through Nevada County Superior Court for people who have committed a nonviolent crime that would send them to prison. But instead of going to the slammer, participants get treatment, go to 12-Step meetings, receive counseling, are supervised in their progress and return to court for regular updates with the judge who presides over the program.

The prison sentence hangs over their heads if they fail.

After 21Ú2 years with Drug Court, Frye will graduate from the program on Aug. 18, she said.

She also recently won a $1,000 scholarship from the court’s John Darlington Scholarship Fund, named after the now-retired judge who started the local alternative court program.

Judge Robert Tamietti now presides over Adult Drug Court, and awarded Frye the check she’ll use to earn a drug and alcohol counseling credential at the Breining Institute in Orangevale.

Frye already is working as a counselor intern with Community Recovery Resources, a local nonprofit that helps drug addicts and their families.

“Anyone who wants to change her life can do so, with help,” Frye said. “But it cannot be done alone.”

Today Frye, 40, lives with her boyfriend in North San Juan. He’s a diesel mechanic whom she met at a drug counseling session. Frye’s parents are in a more stable relationship now than when she was a child, she said.

“My father’s been clean for 10 years,” Frye said. “He’s not in prison and is off parole.”

“It looks like I’m grateful for everything I had to get through to become the woman God always wanted me to be,” Frye said, dressed in a neat pastel pink shirt, jeans and sporting a smart, black purse. “My significant other and I both believe in God and Jesus Christ. We both know if it weren’t for Him, we couldn’t be here.”

Like other recovering addicts, Frye will remain vigilant. “I have asked my higher power to relieve me of the obsession to use drugs,” she said.

Frye believes those who struggle with addiction are good people trapped in a vicious cycle, she said.

“Just because they use drugs and are in prison doesn’t mean they are bad people,” she said, with compassion in her eyes. “They have just made bad choices.”

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To contact Soumitro Sen, e-mail ssen@theunion.com or call 477-4229.


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