By Joanna Delalande
Peta recovered after she looked beyond herself
After 20 years of drug addiction, regular trips to jail and an overdose that nearly cost her life, Peta Walker is speaking at an addiction and recovery seminar 18 months clean and sober.
"I feel I am a blessing to my family now, not a burden," she says. "I am able to send money home to support and encourage my parents and three children Portia, Peter and Declan."
It is hard to believe the 38-year-old was not always so hopeful and full of life, as she spent over half her life controlled by drugs.
Peta grew up in a loving, supportive environment and attended church with her parents but rebelled from her family during her teenage years.
Struggling with insecurities and discomfort with who she was, she turned to alcohol and later drugs as a way of escape.
"I started drinking socially and smoking pot before moving to speed, heroin and methadone which was my drug of choice," she says.
She explains the times she spent in jail became a sort of relief, giving her a break from her hectic lifestyle of chasing illegal substances.
Even after a particularly severe overdose landed her in a coma doctors doubted she would fully recover from, Peta returned to her life of drug abuse.
"During those 20 years I gave up on everyone," Peta recalls. "I even gave up on God. I couldn't look in the mirror because I hated what I saw."
It was not until three years ago that Peta, desperate for change and healing, remembered the God her family served.
She said: "God, if you are there and you love me, you have got to help me because otherwise I am going to kill myself."
Her prayer was answered through the Perth-based Fresh Start Recovery Programme, where medical treatment, counselling and rehabilitation helped her beat her addiction.
With new friends, new hope and a new job working as housing coordinator and Aboriginal liaison officer, Peta today is filled with confidence and a sense of purpose.
She credits only one person for this transformation in her life.
"I absolutely know that God has done this work in my life," she says. "I tried doing it on my own and with numerous rehabs but the only lasting way is God. When you let go and let God rule in your life He does amazing things for His glory.
"It's all about God now. I give him all the praise, honour and glory because my life is all about Him."
Peta encourages current patients at Fresh Start to beat their addictions and gives them the promise of a better future.
She hopes her story of a changed life will bring hope to the people around her and glory to the God who saved her.
"God is not just a Sunday God," she says. "I read my Bible daily and live my Christian faith every day. I thank God every day for what He has done, what He is doing and what He is going to do. I am excited about my life because I know that this is only the start." •
Fresh Start is based in Subiaco, WA, and can be contacted online at freshstart.org.au, or call 08 9381 1333