All Articles Tagged "recovery"

Soul Connection: Ester Nicholson’s Life Of Possibility After Addiction

September 30th, 2013 - By Tanvier Peart
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Ester Nicholson, photo credit Ester Nicholson website

We have all heard those inspirational phrases about light at the end of the tunnel and things eventually getting better. While in many cases this is true, the reality of our temporary struggles can overshadow the possibility of a promising future. For this reason we need people we can look to that have been through the fire, who can attest firsthand there is life after adversity.

Ester Nicholson is a motivational speaker, noted vocalist and spiritual therapist. She has toured the world with Bette Midler and Rod Stewart, and performed with talents like Faith Hill, Barbara Streisand and Beyonce. Ester has also made television appearances on OprahThe View and Ellen among other programs. Through all of her success she can also add another accomplishment that has helped to guide her on her journey: overcoming years of alcohol and substance abuse along with situations of domestic violence.

“I am walking example that it’s possible,” notes Nicholson.

Looking back at her earlier years, one could say that Nicholson had a relatively stable foundation that provided the kind of structure a young girl needs. “I believe that – even as dysfunctional as my family was – that there was a strong sense of family, church and music,” reveals Ester. Yet even with her faith, she struggled like many of us with low self-esteem and a feeling of unworthiness that would become the catalyst to years of hurt and addiction. “I thought I deserved a life of struggle and pain,” tells Nicholson. “There’s a certain consciousness that is the cause of addition. It’s a consciousness of unworthiness and disconnection.”

The next several years for Ester would include raising a child as a teen mother, spiraling downward with crack addiction and alcohol, and staying in physically abusive relationships that Ester attributes to not realizing her value. “The effect of low self worth, and not seeing myself as a beautiful, magnificent expression of God led me to believe that I deserved to be in domestically violent situations,” Nicholson recalls. Faced with an uncertain future and dangerous course of life, Ester had a major life decision: to change her lifestyle, or take her chances with addiction. Though she contemplated how her life would be clean and sober, the day would eventually come when she realized enough was enough.

“I was in a taxi on my way to the [drug] dealer’s house, when the taxi driver pulled over and turning to me said,’Young lady, please don’t do it. You don’t have to live this way anymore,” remembers Nicholson. “I knew in that instant that if I didn’t listen, I would die that day.”

Turning to a close friend for support, Nicholson began her road to recovery that included releasing elements from her past that weren’t compatible with her future, and enrolling in various drug and alcohol programs. “Before I completely surrendered, it took me two years to get 30 days of sobriety,” she admits. “I fell down many, many times. But here’s the catch: I never gave up.” Realizing that many of her roadblocks stemmed beyond her addiction to drugs, Nicholson took a serious look at her life to identify her core issues. This self-journey would quickly become spiritual, leading her to develop Soul Recovery, a 12-step program for healing dependence.

“It turns out there’s a lot of healing to be done in people who have never been addicted to drugs and alcohol, but have lost their ability to choose in other areas of life: relationships, job, healthy and more,” Ester points out.

With a newfound faith and expectation of life, Ester received a chance to fulfill one of her childhood dreams: becoming a singer. “I was already 10 years sober when I got my first big break as Bette Midler’s background vocalist,” she remembers. And the rest is a history of noted accomplishments and healing.

Now nearly 30 years sober, Nicholson looks back on her journey and her life unwritten. “I worked on the core issues that held me in ,” she says. “I cleaned up the wreckage of my past, made amends so I could walk with my head high and my back straight. Then I owned my desire for the career I have, and I claimed — in gratitude — that it would be fulfilled.”

The author of Soul Recovery – 12 Keys to Healing Addiction, Nicholson works to empower others and break the cycle that can hold you back in efforts to realize your full potential and value. With her parting words, Nicholson notes, “When you take notice of your magnificence, the world cannot help but take notice as well.”

Chaka Khan Opens Up About Her Recent Rehab Stint, And Has Change Of Heart About Lindsay Lohan

August 8th, 2013 - By Clarke Gail Baines
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We told you yesterday about a Radar Online report where a former patient from Cliffside Malibu Rehabilitation Center spoke on Lindsay Lohan and Chaka Khan clashing at the time they both were receiving treatment at the center earlier this year. According to the source, Lohan initially wasn’t taking the program serious, and because of that, Khan and Lohan couldn’t get along well and the singer eventually left treatment a week early to be rid of the drama:

“Chaka was really cool about everything at Cliffside, but Lindsay just pushed all of her buttons to the point where she was aggravated and tired of Lindsay’s s**t.

Lindsay was just doing stupid stuff for attention, so Chaka told her she was childish and told her to grow up. She never lost it, but started yelling at Lindsay. Told her to knock it off, asking her if she came to rehab to get well, or just to piss around.”

Since that original report came out, Chaka Khan has responded to it all by opening up on her website about her trip to rehab and why she needed it, as well as discussing drug addiction, and sharing her well-wishes for Lohan on her website:

“To choose to do what is necessary to better one’s self is commendable. I applaud Lindsay Lohan for doing the work. She is a lovely young lady and I pray for her well-being. The battle of addiction is a serious and long process, which is why I chose to address my use of prescription medications—which came about as a result of the knee surgery I had a few years ago. When and if necessary, I will seek alternative methods and traditional treatment to stay ahead of any potential problem.  So many are not here today, and have lost this battle with addiction. Because these medications are legal, their abuse is often unknown—until it’s too late. If not handled they are a silent killer.”
In response to all that, Lindsay Lohan actually sent some love to Khan via Twitter, and the singer responded:
So all is copacetic. And kudos to Khan for opening up about a very real issue. We wish them both well in their recovery and that they’ll indeed “stay ahead of any potential problem.”

Road To Recovery: Jackie Jackson Says Paris Jackson’s Health Is Improving Daily

June 30th, 2013 - By MN Editor
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Nikki Nelson/

Nikki Nelson/

From Essence

Following a suicide attempt earlier this month, Paris Jackson was admitted to a hospital where she has remained since the incident. According to her uncle Jackie Jackson, Paris’s condition has improved and she could be heading home any day now.

“She’s doing wonderful right now,” Jackie told E! Online Saturday. “She’s getting better. She should be out soon.”

According to reports, Paris was rushed to the hospital on June 5 following a possible overdose. A source claims there were multiple cuts on the star’s wrists as well.

Sources say the troubled teen may be spending the summer with her biological mother, Debbie Rowe, with whom she recently forged a relationship.

You can read the rest over on  Hopefully, Paris is getting all the support she needs from doctors and family.

Getting Better Everyday: Nelson Mandela Released From Hospital After Being Plagued By Pneumonia

April 6th, 2013 - By Drenna Armstrong
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"NMandela pf"

Danny Clifford/WENN

Friends, family and supporters of Nelson Mandela are surely breathing a sigh of relief.

The former South African president has been discharged from the hospital after a bout with pneumonia. He had been in a hospital in Pretoria since March 27th.  The Telegraph posted a video of Mandela being returned to his Johannesburg home in an ambulance.

A spokesperson for the 94 year old Mandela said that he will now have home based high care after the doctors confirmed his condition had improved.

His spokesperson also thanked the hospital and team for taking care of Mandela while he was being treated.

This is the third time since December that Mandela has been in the hospital in Pretoria for health issues.  His last visit included surgery and recovery from a lung infection.

As we know Mandela is beloved around the world so hopefully, he will continue to get better and fully recover from pneumonia.  We’d love it if he didn’t return to Pretoria again – at least not for a hospital stay – but we know this must all be taken one day at a time.

Our prayers and well wishes go out to Nelson Mandela!

“I Truly Felt I Was Slipping Away”: Robin Roberts Covers PEOPLE, Talks Recovery After Bone Marrow Transplant

February 13th, 2013 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Robin Roberts

If you’ve been missing Robin Roberts’ beautiful face on Good Morning America, you’re not alone. You’ve probably read about the bone marrow transplant Roberts had to have five months ago for myelodysplastic syndrome, a major battle for Roberts, a cancer survivor. She sat down with People magazine to talk about the hard recovery process and her health now. She covers the magazine looking absolutely gorgeous, smiling with her close-shaven hair cut and looking more and more like the lovable lady we’re used to seeing every morning next to George Stephanopoulos.

But it wasn’t an easy road to get back to the old Robin. She went through so many ups and downs physically and personally over the last few months. On top of having to worry about having the operation, Roberts had to deal with the death of her mother, who passed when Roberts took her medical leave. As her sister gave her the bone marrow necessary for her operation in September, things became more difficult after the fact, and the 52-year-old GMA anchor said for a time she felt like she was dying after slipping in and out of consciousness repeatedly. “I couldn’t eat or drink. I couldn’t even get out of bed. I was in a coma-like state. I truly felt I was slipping away … then I kept hearing my name.”

But luckily, with time and rest, Roberts tells the magazine that she is feeling much better. Hence her decision to come back to GMA to see if she has the energy and ability to do her thing again on February 20. “It’s an amazing feeling, each day feeling stronger.” In reality, she’s not even the old Robin, she’s new and improved, and we can’t wait to see her back next week!

Pick up the newest issue of People to check out her full interview.


“I Can Begin The Process Of Returning To The Anchor Chair” Robin Roberts To Return To GMA Next Month

January 14th, 2013 - By Veronica Wells
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robin return 2


The whole nation has practically been rooting for Robin Roberts’ recovery. And this morning we saw that she’s looking like she’s well on her way. With glowing skin, a beautiful baldy and her signature smile, Robin announced that it won’t be long before she heads back to the job she loves. In a “Good Morning America” segment this morning, Robin expressed her gratitude for her coworkers, her doctors, her family; including the sister who donated her bone marrow, and all the fans who sent well wishes and words of encouragement while she was out.

Check out the Robin’s update on her health and the good news she had for all of her fans in the video below.

This is excellent news. Robin’s certainly been blessed and we’ll be happy when she’s healthy enough to return. Such a strong woman!

New York City Council Candidate Running On Hurricane Sandy Recovery Platform

January 9th, 2013 - By Tonya Garcia
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A Far Rockaway resident in front of her home in November. AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

A Far Rockaway resident in front of her home in November. AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

Selvena Brooks, a communications specialist for the Service Employees International Union, is running for a vacant seat in the New York City Council’s 31st District. The district covers the city’s Far Rockaway area, which was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. In fact, Brooks is submitting paperwork to run as a “Rebuild Now” candidate, representing a party that’s focused on the Sandy recovery effort.

The New York Observer‘s Politicker blog quotes a statement from Brooks: “I am asking for people’s support on the Rebuild Now line, because we need strong leadership in not only rebuilding from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, but also rebuilding our education system, local economy and neighborhoods.”

Brooks at a gun violence rally. Via Twitter

Brooks at a gun violence rally. Via Twitter

Brooks is one of a number of candidates running for the position, which became vacant when the previous official, James Sanders, left for the State Senate. A special election is set for February 19.

Parts of New York and the surrounding area are still coping with Sandy’s aftermath, months after the storm hit in October. It was only last week that Congress approved a government flood insurance program that would pay out $9.7 billion to 120,000 victims of the storm. The measure passed overwhelmingly in the House and unanimously in the Senate. One of those who voted against the measure, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the former Republican Vice Presidential candidate, who said the flood insurance program is “insolvent,” according to Bloomberg.

That vote followed a thorough blasting from fellow politicians, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

A vote for a larger relief package was cancelled on the 1st after fiscal cliff talks were finally resolved. The governors of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut had originally asked for tens of billions of dollars in aid.

There will be another vote on January 15, which would bring the aid total to $60 billion.




Small Business Spotlight: Making Breast Cancer Treatment a Little More Pleasant with the BFFLBag

October 31st, 2012 - By Sakita Holley
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Post-Op Breast Cancer Treatment Bag

Every October during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, there are tons of stories about products whose proceeds are donated to breast cancer research and celebratory photos showing women and men who’ve successfully completed another run for charity. What we don’t hear about are the companies who are on the ground directly impacting the lives of breast cancer patients and survivors.

The BFFL company, founded by oncologist Dr. Elizabeth Chabner Thompson, was created to improve a breast cancer patient’s post-op experience and to help them prepare for the recovery process. BFFL’s signature product is the Breast BFFLBag, which Dr. Thompson launched after years of contemplation and six months of work. She describes it as the “ultimate insider’s guide to what a patient would need, but might forget to pack when going to the hospital for breast cancer treatment.”

The average Madame Noire reader, or any African-American woman under the age of 45, has a higher risk of developing and dying from breast cancer than any other cultural demographic. On this final day of October — Breast Cancer Awareness Month — we talked with Dr. Thompson for insight into why risk factors for African-American women are so high and to find out more about the inspiration behind the Breast BFFLBag.

Madame Noire: Both you and your mother were diagnosed with breast cancer. How did you mother’s struggle with breast cancer change the course of your career and inspire you to launch the BFFL Co?

Elizabeth Thompson: I had prophylactic mastectomies, a risk reduction surgery because of my serious family history of breast cancer.  My great grandmother had bilateral breast cancer, my grandmother, and my mother all developed breast cancer. I was truly petrified of being next.  As a doctor, I understood my risk and had been under intense surveillance.  After a biopsy in 2002, I had enough. I wanted to have a fourth child and then I resolved to take action to reduce my own risk.

My mother developed breast cancer during my last year of medical school.  She waited until after I had submitted my “match” list before telling me of her diagnosis because she did not want to influence my decision as to where I would train. Her struggle with breast cancer truly drove me to become a radiation oncologist and help others in their battle against cancer.

MN: Did you launch BFFL after your risk reduction surgery?

ET: I underwent a relatively new procedure when I had my risk reduction surgery. It was a direct to implant procedure whereby, I could preserve my nipples and emerge from surgery with reconstructed breasts. After my surgery, my reconstructive surgeon asked me to work for him part-time and take care of women after they underwent the same procedure.  I was patient #50, by the time I left the practice we had published a landmark paper on the procedure and I had helped with almost 500 patients.  That’s where I created the “tip sheet” and made the first BFFLBags.

When women would come to the office, their family and friends would ask me, “What can I do for her?” At first I would hand them a typed list, then the patients and family would ask me to “make it for them.” So, I would buy all of the contents and put it together in my basement. My husband had enough with that and encouraged me to make the BFFLBags for all women facing breast cancer.

MN: Is there a reason that African-American women are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than their white counterparts?

ET: No. It’s not more likely to be diagnosed, but rather more likely to be detected and diagnosed at a later stage. We know that survival rates are better when cancers are diagnosed at an early stage.

MN: Why are African-American women at risk of being diagnosed with a more aggressive form of breast cancer?

ET: Biologics and access to care. We are still looking for a clear biologic explanation for the fact that a small number of African-American women are presenting with “triple negative” very aggressive breast cancer. Secondly, the issues of lack of access to care and delayed diagnosis are issues that must be addressed. We know that diagnosis at a later stage of disease (bigger tumors which may have spread) will lead to higher mortality.

One bright note is that community health centers that have nurse navigators—these are nurses that are employed to teach the community about having appropriate screening, looking for “red flags” – will promote earlier access to care and early detection, and if a cancer is diagnosed, higher compliance rates with therapy and women diagnosed with breast cancer have better outcomes.  We should be pushing for these nurse navigators at all health centers.

Are Unemployment Benefits Undermining the Recovery?

October 7th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(New York Times) — Dan Tolleson, a researcher and writer with a Ph.D. in politics, has been out of work since 2009, except for brief stints as a driver. Still, he opposes President Obama’s call for Congress to renew extensions on unemployment benefits.  “They’re going to end up spending more money on unemployment benefits, while less money is coming in on tax returns,” he said, suggesting that the government should focus on measures that might encourage businesses to hire. “Far better to relax some of these outrageous regulations.”  Make no mistake — Mr. Tolleson, 54, has collected unemployment checks, saying he had little choice. But his objection to a policy that would probably benefit him shows just how divisive the question has become of providing a bigger safety net to the long-term jobless, a common strategy in recessions.  President Obama wants to continue offering benefits for an extended period of time, a maximum of 99 weeks, as is now the case. The measure is part of his jobs bill, which he once again called on Congress to pass in a press conference on Thursday.

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Report: Black Women Lead Job Losses

August 17th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(Crain’s) — While the recession hit black men harder than any other group, the economic recovery has shifted that impact to their female counterparts, according to a recent report by the National Women’s Law Center, which shows that black women have lately seen their unemployment rate rise even as other populations—including black men—have finally begun to regain jobs.  Between June 2009 and June 2011, black men gained 127,000 jobs while black women lost more than twice that number, 258,000, the report says. That means that black women have now lost more total jobs than have black men since the recession began in December 2007.

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