Anahera is a pillar of strength to her whānau and local community. Although it wasn’t always this way. There were many ups and downs. With real determination and grit, Anahera managed to overcome a problem with alcohol with the support of The Salvation Army Bridge programme.
Alcohol was something that she just grew up with in her extended whānau of nine children. Her mother left the family when Anahera was two years old, and her father, saddled with the stress of looking after so many children alone, turned to alcohol for comfort.
From the age of nine, Anahera was running the household, working out the budget and paying bills and getting a taxi to buy groceries. She began drinking alcohol at the age of 12 and became pregnant at a young age. Her partner physically abused her, and out of sadness and desperation she began drinking every day.
Fast forward several years. A key turning point in her life came when her son entered a speech competition. “Hearing my son just blew me away. He received a standing ovation and won the competition,” she says. Was the speech about living with an alcoholic? I assume so from the next paragraph but it’s not clear.
His speech was later used by community groups to support and work with children in similar situations. Around the same time though, she was arrested by three police officers outside her home while under the influence.
Anahera decided that she had had enough of drinking and sought out support from The Salvation Army Bridge in Wellington. “The detox was really trying, but there were people from all walks of life and ages going through the same thing”, she says.
“The Salvation Army Bridge were amazing, very warm-hearted, very understanding and non-judgemental.
“At the Bridge programme I was able to get a lot of my own anguish and depression out. That healing was what helped me to get through what happened next”.
Anahera had succeeded in stopping drinking and had taken many positive steps towards a healthier and happier life.
Then a moment changed her life forever. Her beloved younger sister died in a house fire, leaving Anahera to take care of her two nieces and a nephew, as well as her own children.
“That was the biggest turning point in my life. I spent the next 11 years bringing up nine children and doing this without alcohol.
It’s a testament to her sheer grit, determination and strength of character.
Eventually, Anahera celebrated another amazing milestone—the purchase of her own home. "The Salvation Army Bridge was one of the biggest influences in my life. They helped me to get to where I am today. So when I can, I now give back to the organisation."
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*All names and identifying details have been changed in this story to protect individual privacy. Stock images are used in all recovery stories. The Bridge would like to thank our tāngata for being brave and generous in sharing their stories. We wish them all the best for healthier and happier lives.