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Ester Nicholson, a celebrated vocalist formerly with Bette Midler and Rod Stewart, is a gifted speaker, teacher, spiritual therapist and former addict who has developed a unique and powerful 12-Step-informed,complimentary program for healing addiction and dependence. The program is the result of more than a decade of work, refining a unique combination of spiritual practice and the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. The program has been organized into a 12-week process in Ms. Nicholson's new book, "Soul Recovery - 12 Keysto Healing Addiction," which will be released by Agape Media and Hay House on June 7,2013.
Ester's life story sketches a path from humble beginnings: as the youngest child born to a Baptist minister father, growing up on Long Island (NY) then moving to Los Angeles -where she honed her addiction to crack cocaine and later found her redemption from it.Showing unusual talent in music as a child, she began her love of singing in school and church 2 performances, and standing in her
backyard with faux microphone in hand. It would seem unbelievable to her at the time, that one day she would stand on the stage at Madison Square Garden in front of screaming fans as she sang with Rod Stewart, Bette Midler, Faith Hill, Beyoncé, Barbra Streisand and so many more. But this life of extremes also had a dark side.
Introduced to snorting cocaine and having a baby while still in her middle teens, Ester was setting herself up for a life denied. Out on her own, surviving by whatever means, she descended into the hell of addiction, nurturing her anger and resentment and bouncing between relationships both temporary and frightening. By the early 1980's, Ester was a "functional" addict, doing office work part time, freebasing when the money was there, and finding any means to feed her various addictions. Music was long forgotten.Finally, her child was removed from her custody when it was clear she could no longer care for her - functional or not.
As so often happens, tragedy created the perfect incentive. Slowly climbing out of desperation, Ester found her way to 12 Step meetings. At first only seeing them as a continuing venue for her disease, she later was inspired to do the hard work of declaring her powerlessness in the face of the addiction. From these tentative beginnings, she worked her way forward. One, two, five, ten days; then two weeks, then 90 days clean, this was progress that counts. But relapses happened. It wasn't clear why.
What was the underpinning that drove the addiction in the first place? It couldn't be purely medical. And it couldn't be purely psychological. As Ester later discovered addiction, dependence, obsession and compulsion are related, yet entangled challenges. They require unraveling because the dysfunction becomes a part of the identity. In point of fact, they are identity diseases. But for Ester to discover that, she needed a state-change in her awareness - a non-linear jump. For her, that came in the form of a spiritual teaching that redefined what her personal identity was. She had to "find God" but a God redefined beyond the 2 dimensional view of an angry, withholding and anthropomorphic God. And very likely, a God that would be unrecognizable to her Baptist roots.
She had hit a wall with the 12 Steps. In the early 1990's, two years sober - Ester attended an unusual church service with a gifted "spiritual director" named Michael Bernard Beckwith. Beckwith later was recognized as a "teacher" featured in the pop, spiritual-light movie, "The Secret." But the essential teaching that Beckwith expounded was one of re-identification of the self in terms of spiritual unity - essentially a "one-ness" with a redefined Divine Presence. This was a key moment for Ester, because it addressed the root identity issues that had caused so much difficulty in her life.
Studying under Beckwith - who also penned the Foreword for Soul Recovery - familiarized Ester with the metaphysical principles she 2 would later turn into the Soul Recovery teaching. But it was the inspiration of joining and uniting these teachings with the 12 Step process itself, that revealed the answer and finally turned the tables on the addictions she had suffered from for so long. Sometimes, an internal realignment changes the conditions outside. Ester had just started singing at church after nearly 10 years of "not even singing in the shower," when she got a call from Bette Midler's manager asking if she would be interested in background singing on Bette's next tour. Appearances on Oprah, Ellen and other shows followed. Then toward the end of the tour, Ester got a phone call from Rod Stewart asking if she wanted to do his next world tour. One thing led to another, and soon Ester was to be seen on Good Morning America, back on Oprah and Ellen, and widely considered a top, background vocalist call in the most competitive music market in the world.
But Ester had an even higher calling: to be of service to the communities of people who could use what she had learned the hard way. "We don't have to do this the hard way anymore," Ester declared to a workshop she gave several years ago. "What we have to do is engage both the heart and mind to address this serious personal issue that spills over into our families and communities. And it’s deeper than just substance dependence." She recognized the disease for what it was, an affliction of the identity. Ester Nicholson has spent the last 7 years traveling the nation, giving keynote speeches, facilitating workshops and teaching a curriculum for the healing of dependence and dependence-related conditions. During that time, her work has been to optimize the best practices to heal the underlying causes of these conditions.
“My life demonstrates that it’s possible to permanently heal addiction. I know that’s a controversial stand, but it is possible. I know it is possible, and I’m committed to helping others find their healing in this. It’s just too important to do otherwise.”
About the Book
What is Soul Recovery?
Soul Recovery is a process by which we uncover the essential truth that each of us are whole and complete expressions of Life – no matter what our history or experience might suggest. As we grow up and learn the lessons of our parents, friends and communities, there are coded messages that embed into the development of our personalities. Some of these are very positive - others less so. Because the human brain is capable of taking seed ideas and turning them into full fledged belief systems and life patterns - it is vital that we revisit some of these ideas to insure that they accurately resonate with the lives we are attempting to build for ourselves. For example, most of us grow up with completely rational fears that serve to protect us during early stages of development. But there comes a time when many of these fear-based ideas become impediments to our highest creative functioning and spiritual development.
That is what Soul Recovery was crafted to address. In a step-by-step incremental process, Soul Recovery's 12 Keys are designed to resolve dependence, childhood trauma, issues of unworthiness, abandonment, shame, rejection, not-enough-ness, guilt and any other influence that is incongruent with your essential wholeness as a spiritual being having a human incarnation. By addressing these impediments, you free yourself to reveal your highest potential in all areas of life – be they personal, professional or spiritual. Soul Recovery is a 12 Week process that walks the reader through the necessary steps to address patterns of dysfunction that may have become entangled with your sense of self.
Because the work is done at the level of one’s identity,many challenges – from dependence and obsessive behaviors to relationship and prosperity issues - can be resolved for good.