Faces of Addiction: Hawkins Recovery Court's first 'alumni mentor' shares her story

Jeff Bobo • Mar 11, 2020 at 8:30 PM

ROGERSVILLE — At her lowest point, in jail after appearing in Hawkins County Juvenile Court on drugs for a custody hearing, Kerri Horne sat there for weeks praying to God for help.

She prayed 40 days and 40 nights, and at one point she thought her prayers weren’t being heard.

Then a miracle happened. She went to Hawkins County Sessions Court for a case review and was accepted into Judge Todd Ross’ Recovery Court.

That was the catalyst that turned Horne’s life around after 25 years of drug and alcohol abuse. Nearly two years later, she has full custody of her son, volunteers in an addiction recovery support group, and is the Hawkins County Recovery Court’s first “alumni mentor.”

Horne shared her stories during a Feb. 18 Recovery Court event in Rogersville called Faces of Addiction.

“At this point I was a mess”

The root of Horne’s addiction can be traced back to her childhood when, between the ages of 7-9 she suffered sexual, mental and physical abuse from an 18-year-old family member of her babysitter.

At 10 years old, she was attending Bible school at Persia Baptist Church and was saved, which she thought would get her through the abuse she had undergone, but not long after she turned to drugs and alcohol to numb the pain created by those experiences. 

“At 11 years old, I was trying to comprehend and get through everything that had just happened to me,” Horne said. “I didn’t know what was wrong. I was a kid. At 11 I had my first drink of liquor. I felt good again. At 12 I smoked my first marijuana joint. And at school I got mean and took it out on other kids. What had been done to me, I took out on them because I didn’t know any better.”

She added, “I started mixing pills with my drinking and my smoking weed. At this point I was a mess. I had a bad attitude. No responsibilities. It was bad. At 18 I took my first hit of meth. My body went numb. My heard went numb. My head went numb. That was the most relief I’ve ever had over everything. I continued to do meth and mix everything with it.”

In 2005, Horne attempted suicide.

“Thank God they committed me into Indian Path Pavilion,” she said. “I stayed in there for two weeks in-patient, and then did about a year and a half of out-patient. At that point I quit the meth. I still drank a little bit. While I was there, I got a prescription of Adderall and a prescription of Valium. I didn’t see a use for any of these drugs when I had a prescription at this point.”

Setback after setback after setback

In March 2007, Horne was diagnosed with cervical cancer, and at that point she was using pills, pot and alcohol to numb the pain.

In June 2007, she had a very bad car wreck. She broke her neck, shoulder, collarbone, a rib, and had a collapsed lung and brain swelling.

“I gave it back to God at this point. I should have left it with God. I should have never picked it back up.”

She would go to a pain clinic and walk out with five prescriptions at a time.

She was married in 2008 and initially used pills and pot with her husband, but they later started using meth together.

She was told she couldn’t have a child due to the cancer, but she did manage stay clean long enough to have her son in 2009.

She was “going hard on meth”

Her marriage went bad in 2014, and she went back to the pills.

“When he would hit me or abuse me, I would leave the house and go buy meth,” Horne said. “I hit the meth bowl. I was numb again. He could do whatever he wanted to me. I didn’t care.”

Her mom died in 2016, and her marriage was on the rocks, but Horne didn’t care. She was “going hard on meth.”

She and her husband used meth together which “made things so much worse”.

Her child was removed from her custody in 2017 “due to my choices and his father’s choices, which was the best thing that ever could have been done for my son.”

She and her husband split for good in 2017, and she was home alone without her son or husband.

“I did not care if I live or die. Instead of get to my knees and give it to God, I put a needle in my arm and I prayed for death.”

Bottoming out in Juvenile Court

In April 2018, she went to Hawkins County Juvenile Court to fight for custody of her son, but she showed up in court highly intoxicated on meth and pills and was ordered to take a drug test.

“I failed and I was caught. I detoxed on my own very badly for five solid days. This time I’m hitting the walls and I’m crying and I’m asking God — I just don’t know what to do.”

After about five days in jail, she started praying. She curled up in bed and pull the covers over her head and cried and prayed every day and night, asking God to help her.

“Please just show me something. Just help me. For 40 days and nights I done this, and never once did I hear a reply. Never once a glimmer of hope. I thought God forgot about me. That was it.”

But God did hear her and put her in Judge Ross’ Recovery Court.

“That was about the 42nd or 43rd day, and I’m thinking, ‘All right God. You’re hearing me. I know you’re there. Thank you.’ ”

That August she went back to Juvenile Court to get her son. What she didn’t know is his grandmother had been praying for her, her church had been praying for her, and other families had been praying for her.

“God hears me now”

She was granted supervised visitation. One night she was allowed to sped the night, and they all went to church the next day. That day in church her heart was beating hard in her chest and she knew something was different.

“I had begged and prayed while I sat in jail and I thought God didn’t hear me. God hears me now. I feel him. So I put my head on that altar and I prayed until I got through. From that day, all the stuff I just told you about that happened in my life. I left it on that altar, and I’m not picking it up again. It’s staying there.”

On Dec. 20, 2018 she went back to Juvenile Court for what was expected to be a 90-day supervised custody probationary period.

“I walked out of there that day — thank God — with full, sole custody of my son back.”

As of the Feb. 18 Faces of Addiction event, Horne was celebrating one year and 10 months sober.

This is the second in a series of four stories of recovery that were told during the Faces of Addiction event.

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