Heather Monroe

Family Partner Family Peer Support Panelist

My story is like many others: I was a meth user for 15 years. I never knew I had an addiction because to me, growing up, drinking, and taking pills is what I saw my family doing. I didn’t know I had an addiction because I was able to stop when I found out I was pregnant with both my children. Over the years I dodged DHS because I always knew when they were going to show up and I made sure the things they look for were good and didn’t look like a concern.

That was until June of 2015 when my world got turned upside down. DHS showed up and asked to see my children, who were visiting family at the time. Not only did they take my children but my whole family got ripped apart. I was keeping my addiction hidden from my children and family and now everyone knew what was going on.  The shame and guilt I felt the month that followed turned my addiction full-blown and I spiraled out of control. I lost my home and was evicted; I didn’t see my children. I had my family telling me I messed up beyond repair. I was in college at the time and only needed a couple of credits to graduate but I dropped out. I was living in a motel and felt my world was over. I was getting shamed at court and had no idea what they wanted from me.

In December 2015 they ordered my husband and me to Family Drug Court. We had our first hearing in January 2016. We felt hope for the first time. They knew we had problems, but they told us what to do and where to go for help. In our second court, we were ordered to go into rehab, which we agreed to do.

Until a week before rehab, I struggled with trying to get sober. My husband went into rehab a month before me and that’s when I hit rock bottom. I had no way to get money and food but I still had to find a way to make it to my classes, UA’s, and court without him. I mentally was sick and tired of it all and turned all that against my addiction, I started fighting back. I worked on step one and admitted I was powerless over my addiction and needed help from the man upstairs.

I went into rehab on May 31 and graduated on July 31 from rehab. I had no home when I got out of rehab but I was ok and felt hopeful now that I was sober. I was given and chance with providence sober living and got my children back in December 2016. We graduated from Family Treatment Court in August 2017.

I became a Parent Partner with Northcare in March 2020. As a Parent Partner, I get to walk alongside and encourage parents who are currently going through the DHS system. I can talk with parents about the feelings of guilt, shame, and being scared that anyone who has been through this process shares. I get to sit with them and encourage them to take things one day at a time and let them know they have someone on their side cheering them on and someone that believes in them.