Soul Connection: Ester Nicholson’s Life Of Possibility After Addiction
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 Oprah, The 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.”