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Former addict pens sobering memoir

Stacy M. Brown | 7/4/2013, 10:42 p.m. | Updated on 7/5/2013, midnight
Esther Nicholson Courtesy photo

Ester Nicholson admitted long ago that she had a problem. Something experts say is critical to recovery.

However, for the singer, writer and motivational speaker, addiction was a broad term.

“When people asked what started my addiction, I don’t think it began with the first time I smoked (marijuana) or the first time I took a hit of cocaine,” said Nicholson. “It started with my low self-worth and my not feeling like I was good enough. There was an addiction for approval and wanting someone to want and love me.”

It was about 25 years ago that Nicholson looked in the mirror and saw a broken woman, a hopelessly addicted teen mom who had endured abusive relationships and a lot of self-loathing. Nicholson details her journey in her new book, “Soul Recovery: 12 Keys to Healing Addiction.”

Nicholson’s story is profound, if not inspiring. She said she underwent a spiritual transformation, which liberated her from the many addictions she faced.

“When I first started writing, I was terrified about exposing my life,” Nicholson said. “I was worried about being judged as a horrible mother because of everything I put my child through. But people need to know the truth, so I started writing my deepest horror stories.”

While writing the book, Nicholson said she had to take many breaks because putting her story on paper brought back some of her most dark memories.

“It took me four years, because sometimes it would completely lay me out revisiting everything and I would just be a pile of mush in bed crying,” she said.

Overcoming some of her habits has led Nicholson to realize her true gifts. She is a talented vocalist who has worked with superstars Bette Midler and Rod Stewart.

A New York native who now lives in Nashville, Tennessee, Nicholson said she is living her vision by serving others on their journey from crisis and challenge to the promise of a new life.

Her book advances the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous into operative principles and practices that guide people to their inherent fullness of power and wholeness, she said.

“With my approach, you get more out of it the longer you keep peeling back layers— searching,” Nicholson said. “I don’t want people to misunderstand and think that I’m [crazy], but that first year, a veil parted and I saw myself not as a horrible mother or an abused kid, I saw myself as a possibility. Because it’s not just about recovery, it’s about seeing the possibility in the mirror and working from within to reveal your true potential.”

Nicholson said her darkest hour has turned out a blessing.

She said had she been able to sing with Midler or Stewart years ago, life would have been disastrous. “When I got together with Rod Stewart, I was 13 years sober,” she pointed out. “I wouldn’t have been ready for the job had I gotten it sooner. With all the money that I make from singing, I would have been dead or at least would have gotten fired had this come sooner and before I was sober.”