Alcoa woman shares addiction breakthrough after heart-to-heart with officer on way to jail


ALCOA, Tenn. (WATE) – Sometimes a story can touch your heart and remind you how far you’ve come. That’s the case for a Blount County woman.

Sherry Smith reached out to our newsroom after seeing a piece we aired about a Tennessee couple who beat their addiction. Smith says it spoke to her because it mirrors her life and the changes she’s made in two years.

Smith says in the past, a patrol car parked out front meant, “Nervousness. Were they here to get me?”

But now, she says it gives her the feeling of freedom.

On Tuesday, Smith hugged Alcoa Police officer Alexis Rodriguez, who had arrested her in July 2017.

“Drugs will take your life, not only your life but it will take your money, your heart, your soul and everything else in your life,” said Smith.

As a reminder of all her hard recovery work, Smith says she looks at a photo of her and her husband, deep in her addiction, seven days before she was arrested.

In July 2017, Smith says she was addicted to meth and called 911.

“I turned myself in. I earned myself that charge that day when I handed it [meth] to them but it was my cry for help.”

At the time, while she sat in the back of Officer Rodriguez’s patrol car, Smith says they had a heart to heart.

“She said, ‘What makes you want to do this drug?’ and I said, ‘I don’t know.’ She said, “It’s an awful drug. You need to get off of it.'”

“They don’t always see us as the bad guy and eventually our tough love can have an impact on their life,” added Officer Rodriguez.

Smith says she’s been rebuilding her life every day since then.

“I’m not ashamed and I’m not ashamed to say I’m in recovery.”

She has a job, a home and healthy relationships. Smith, adding she and her husband are working on purchasing a home and going on a vacation.

“It’s just nice to see her getting her life back. She doesn’t look the same, she has a goal in life, she’s rewarding herself for the hard work she’s put in and my heart’s with her,” said Officer Rodriguez.

“My message is – don’t give up hope. There is help out there. If you want it bad enough, you can do this,” said Smith.

Help is out there if you may be struggling with an addiction problem. You can call the TN Redline at 1-800-899-9789 for free confidential information and referrals.

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