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Back from addiction, she's voice for recovery

Posted by Ralph Ranalli July 22, 2007 01:22 PM

Stanley.JPG
(Globe staff photo by Bill Polo)

WELLESLEY

Almost seven years after getting clean and sober, 28-year-old Ashley Stanley has to think a moment about where her story really starts.

Was it that one eve of Yom Kippur, when she dissolved into tears in her father's car at the airport and admitted she was an alcohol and drug addict?

Was it after the first relapse and descent into a daily crack cocaine habit, when she returned to rehab for the second time -- the one that ultimately worked?

Or was it actually much earlier, as a teenage soccer star? With 450 saves in her junior and senior years at The Rivers School in Weston, Stanley, who lived in Wellesley, was one of the most gifted goalkeepers in school history and the first female student athlete recruited to a Division 1 college. She was a US Olympic team hopeful, planning for a career in professional soccer, when injuries in both knees abruptly ended her life's dream at age 19.

That's when the old Ashley fell apart, and the struggle that would define her adult life began. That's probably where the story begins.

With soccer out of the picture, there was a huge void. She partied. Hard. At one fraternity party, she tried cocaine. She lost her soccer scholarship to the University of Rhode Island and dropped out of school.

"It was like I disappeared," Stanley said.

Read more about Ashley Stanley's remarkable descent and comeback in the online edition of today's Globe West.

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