Menomonie woman’s journey from drug addict to substance abuse counselor | Chippewa Valley News

MENOMONIE (WQOW) – A Menomonie female who struggled with medication and alcohol is now a substance abuse counselor at the Dunn County Jail.  Now, she uses her practical experience to assist inmates on their own journey to recovery.

To this working day, the audio of a jail doorway opening still triggers Sheli Jo Metzger of Menomonie.

“Within just a four thirty day period period of time, I experienced 9 felony fees,” Metzger reported.

In 2002, she was billed with possession of methamphetamine with intent to sell.

Her medication of decision were meth and opioids, and she considers herself a recovering addict and alcoholic to this day.

“I have been in restoration for pretty much 18 yrs. It’ll be 18 yrs in March,” she stated.

She served 6 months in jail and underwent cure.  In 2011, she grew to become a substance abuse counselor, doing work in different amenities in Hudson, River Falls, Menomonie, Eau Claire, and Stillwater, Minnesota.

“In 2021, I was pardoned by the Wisconsin point out governor, which basically permitted me to work in a jail placing.”

So in Oct of 2022, she began working as a substance abuse counselor in the Dunn County Jail.

She performs with inmates one-on-one particular or in groups, chatting by way of means to avert relapse.

“What I want to do the job with them for is to guarantee they have some spot protected to go, guarantee that they are performing on an precise recovery system.  So I have basically named it a care program.”

Metzger’s position was recently established as component of a medication assisted procedure system in the jail.  A $150,000 ‘Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Program’ (COSSAP) grant from the Wisconsin Division of Justice resources the system and Metzger’s occupation.

“I think Sheli Jo seriously presents hope to the inmates,” explained Sara Benedict, the prison justice director of the Dunn County Justice Collaborating Council. “They are able to see that she has remodeled her lifetime, that she was on 1 aspect of the bars and now on the other.”

Metzger mentioned, “It does enable with these inmates for them to know that I have been in jail, and notably this jail because they know that I know what they’re heading as a result of.”

Research showed medicines and alcohol were being the best good reasons they had inmates, so jail officials explained it was time they invested in a substance abuse counselor.

“The end result is, you can find a lot less probably possibility that they are likely to occur again into our jail. We contact that recidivism. If they can break that cycle of drug and liquor abuse, it can definitely cut down the crime and the selection of people that we have in jail,” Benedict explained.

For individuals struggling with habit, Metzger explained will not be concerned to accept help.

“We’re pretty stubborn and we assume we can do it by ourselves, but acquire whichever is getting offered to you.”

Benedict stated they prepare to reapply for the grant that funds Metzger’s position, or utilize for a distinctive federal grant to continue on the system.