Knoxville woman kicks addiction, now on race journey

Everybody measures progress differently.

For Evangeline Smith, it's in "months clean."

"You know, my family was falling apart. I decided that I was sick and tired of living sick and tired and I just had to something, had to change something. So, I checked myself into rehab."

Smith - known as "Red" to friends - suffered from a 20-year-old addiction to pain medicine, before getting clean. She enrolled in Peninsula Outpatient Center's Women in Treatment program and soon learned how to live life sober.

"The only time that I really had as far as sober time in the past was being pregnant with my son and he had grown up with me as an addicted mom," she said. "So, learning the new family dynamics of me as a sober person was probably one of the more challenging aspects of getting clean and staying clean."

Smith also gained weight in rehab, which was expected, but not welcomed.

"Once I saw that -- okay I have a handle on things -- I was ready to do something to change my body. I knew I had to do it the right way, [because] I'm fixing to be 40 years old. I know my metabolism has changed so I knew I had to get on a healthy eating habits and exercise plan," she said.

Smith applied for the Covenant Health Biggest Winner team, and was accepted. Since November, she's been training to complete the club's annual race in April with fitness coach and Olympian Missy Kane.

"I was like, 'Me?! Run a marathon, are you kidding?'" she laughed. "But I thought, I've done a lot harder things in the last year so why not, you know? I figured if they were going give me the opportunity to go and work out with some amazing people and have some amazing coaches, you know, why not?

Smith is down about 15 pounds, and several inches. She and her husband both quit smoking, and the whole family is eating better.

"My husband and my son have been fully supportive," she said. "It's been a whole lifestyle change for us. Once they saw how dedicated I was to my sobriety, then putting forth all the effort into this, they were behind me 100 percent."

Now, she can't wait to cross the 50-yard line at Neyland Stadium, with them cheering as she finishes her race.


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