Hope for tomorrow
LESS than a year ago, she was stuck in a miserable world of violent relationships and heavy drug use. A former meth addict shares how the simple promise of hope helped turn her life around.
A METH addiction is not a life sentence and Anita Maxwell is the living proof.
After losing herself to the drug scene, and falling in and out of abusive relationships, Ms Maxwell said she was trapped and hopeless.
But run-ins with the police and having her children taken out of her custody were the rude shocks she needed to lead her to the Esther Foundation’s safe house.
“I came from a past of domestic violence and drug abuse; I was a very heavy meth user,” Ms Maxwell told the Southern Gazette.
“I was in and out of violent relationships, and just so entrenched in that world.
“It’s a pretty fast-paced scene with drugs, and I was quite miserable before I came here; I’d just had my children removed from my care.”
Her family stepped in and suggested she get help, and Ms Maxwell said entering the house had been a relief from her suffocating world.
“I felt quite relieved to be somewhere safe; I think I just felt a real peace being out of that crazy scene,” she said.
“It was hard but I was happy to be getting my life back on track.”
The Esther Foundation houses about 45 women throughout the City of South Perth.
Ms Maxwell has been a resident with the Esther Foundation for nearly a year, living among other women in situations that involve abuse, domestic vio- lence, teen pregnancy, depression and more.
The recovering addict said this new chapter of her life had given her the confidence to be a functioning member of society again.
“I was in such a hopeless place before coming here,” she said. “I just thought meth was a life sentence and I didn’t think I could ever get clean.
“I actually tried to find a photo of me or a mug shot from when I came into the house. I look completely different and you wouldn’t even recognise me now.”
The programs in place at the foundation are focused on rehabilitating the women, as well as encouraging them to become functioning members of society.
Since her arrival, Ms Maxwell’s quick mind and business savvy landed her a pivotal role in the Esther Foundation’s Recycled Clothing Shoppe, a retail store on Mends Street that sells pre-loved designer goods at a competitive price.
“All the leaders here saw something in me that I’ve never seen before,” Ms Maxwell said.
“There’s a huge place in my heart to help women get out of the scene, especially those who are really stuck in domestic violence.” The Esther Foundation is a not-forprofit organisation based in the City of South Perth.
To raise money and increase facilities and services to the girls in need, the foundation is hosting the New Life Ball next month.
Everyone is invited to the charity cocktail event on May 21.
Esther Foundation spokeswoman Annette Russell said all of the Esther residents would be involved in producing the ball as part of the program.
“There's no quick fix here at Esther; it's very deep work getting to the core of the women's issues and brokenness,” Ms Russell said.
“The girls are usually here for a minimum of 18 months; we're not interested in a superficial fix but one that is life-changing and longstanding.
“And because of that healing, the women naturally get a heart for helping others because the transformation is so real to them that they want to share it.”
Through the foundation, the residents run the catering business Catergirls, the Recycled Clothing Shoppe and the Esther Cafe in South Perth.
Anita Maxwell and Esther Foundation director Patricia Lavater.