From the Author of Soul Recovery – 12 Keys to Healing Addiction
Neglected at home, a victim of emotional abuse by her mother, Ester Nicholson gave birth to a daughter while still in her middle teens and was shortly thereafter introduced to snorting cocaine. Lost in years of addiction, she neglected her own child, indulged in destructive relationships, became obsessive about men, raged at the world, heaped self-abuse and pain on herself, lost job after job, surrendered custody of her child and was nearly homeless. Even her early AA meetings were merely another way to dress up and attract men. But slowly the concepts seeped in, and with wise sponsors and teachers around her, she began the journey to recovery. Yet, she knew she was still fragile and in danger of slipping…until she blended the 12-Steps with a spiritual pathway that realized the Spirit Within…and achieved her Soul Recovery.
Excerpted from “Soul Recovery – - 12 Keys to Healing Addiction…and 12 Steps for the Rest of Us—A Path to Wholeness, Serenity and Success” By Ester Nicholson – (Hay House/Agape Media)
“I hung around Cocaine Anonymous (CA) and AA meetings for two years before I was even able to string ninety consecutive days together. As I look back now, I didn’t actually want to heal at a deep core level. I just wanted to stop doing drugs so I could get my
man back, and keep a job for longer than a month—maybe even get my daughter back. So, I hung around the meetings, flirting and looking for approval with my dingy red dress on and a mouth full of cavities. I had barely looked at the 12 Steps hanging on the wall, let alone tried to practice them.
But over time, I came into contact with people at CA and AA whose lives seemed to be working. They had a sense of personal security and power. And I wanted that for myself. I wanted to have a life that I could be proud of, a home for my child and a mate who respected me. Sometimes, we need a reason to get serious about our healing. My reason started with wanting simple things. That was enough to begin stringing a few days together, then a week, a month and more.
I was entirely unprepared when one evening after being clean for almost ninety days— going to work on time and paying some bills—that “thing” happened again. My mouth started watering, my gut was in knots like I had just taken a laxative (symptom of a drug addict in the midst of a craving), and my heart was palpitating. I was ravenous for just one more hit—one last party. My inner voice said, “Don’t do it, Sweetie, you’re doing so well— please don’t do it.” I knew that once I started—once the monster was out of the cage— no matter how badly I wanted to stop, the binge would not be over until it was done having its way with me. Maybe this time, it would finish me off once and for all.
Even as I tried talking myself out of it, I was already out the door. I didn’t even take time to put on a pair of shoes, I noticed as I
was hailing a taxi. The hunger hit me so suddenly, and took me over so completely, it was if I had become possessed—blinded utterly by the insatiable need for a hit of cocaine. I knew that where I ended up was entirely out of my control. “The alcoholic/addict will absolutely be unable to stop with the unaided will.” —Bill Wilson
I hopped in a taxi to take me to the neighborhood where I could feed the monster raging in my gut, my head and my soul. I was shaking as I got into the cab. I couldn’t wait to get there. “Dunsmere and Redondo,” I told the driver. I was already paranoid, looking around, sitting low in the back seat just in case someone from AA spotted me.
We drove a few blocks and the driver pulled over and turned off the engine. “What the hell are you doing?” I thought to
myself. “Hurry up and get me to the hood, man. The face of God turned around and looked deeply into my eyes. He said
to me, “Young lady, don’t do it. You’re better than this. Don’t kill yourself. God loves you. I love you.”
In that instant, I knew if I persisted on my current path, that day would be my last. The grace of God was speaking through this cab driver, extending to me the branch of life. I could listen, turn around and go back home, or I could drive on to certain death. The monster raged at the cabdriver and said to me, “Don’t listen to him, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about! Come on—you’ll just get one and then you’ll be done.” But the loving will of Spirit had won. I heard God speak to me, and for once, I was listening. With tears in his eyes, the cab driver turned the car around and took me back home.” Excerpt from “Soul Recovery”
In the first step of recovery, we’re told that we must admit we are powerless over our addictions. Those addictions can be the usual ones that come to mind when people hear the word “addict”—alcohol, cocaine, heroin, painkillers… any type of narcotic. But they
can also involve things that we don’t typically call addictions: worry, fear, and the lifelong illusion that we’re not worthy of anything good. That was certainly my experience for many years – I was powerless. And if you’re suffering from addiction or dependency to the point where you have lost the power to choose whether or not you will act on your addiction, you are too.
Day after day, week after week, year after year, you have tried to effort your way into wholeness— just to fail, over and over and over again. It is at this point that you’re demonstrating a misguided belief in a God outside yourself: a God who isn’t available or
friendly, a God who deems you to be unworthy. But you keep begging and hoping that one day there will be mercy and a
reprieve from the torment of addiction—a reprieve from the repeated pattern of pain and suffering.
Believe it or not, this is a wonderful step. It’s an important and necessary starting point on your spiritual journey. But you were never meant to pull over and park there. Step one was designed to create a state of surrender such that you would stop trying to save and change your life from a limited sense of power. It opens a way for you to connect to the real power— the one power—Spirit.
However, many of us in recovery end up doing exactly that; we pull over and park in “powerless” mode even after practicing the 12 Steps of Recovery for many years. Why? Because we’re still operating from the illusion of unworthiness, childhood trauma and deep-rooted fears.
The way to enlarge your spiritual life is to take God out of the sky, churches and books, and put Him back within your own heart. It’s from this conscious union that you are restored to wholeness and can reclaim authority, dominion and mastery over your life. You get to take a journey from what you now believe about God and your oneness with Spirit, to an actual realization of your oneness with It. From that place, you are on the road to true healing and transformation.
Ester Nicholson, renowned vocalist for Bette Midler and Rod Stewart, former addict, teacher, speaker and author uses her own astonishing story as the core of her powerful book: Soul Recovery – 12 Keys to Healing Addiction….and 12 Steps for the Rest of Us—A Path to Wholeness, Serenity and Success (Hay House/Agape Media). Soul Recovery, the process that Nicholson developed to heal herself of cocaine addiction – unifying the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous with a spiritual pathway—filled
with metaphysical principles and practices – has guided thousands to their recovery and highest potential. The book includes a forward by Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith. For more information, go to soulrecovery.org