‘Alcohol and drugs robbed me of remembering the joy where my gifts were able to take me but getting sober did redirect my creativity.’
“It was a constant struggle growing up in a religious home, wanting to be an entertainer despite my parents wishing I’d become a leader in the ministry. It was alcohol that became my avenue to escape both the difficulties of performing and the path my parents expected of me.
“After graduating from a performing arts conservatory, I took jobs entertaining, singing and touring on the Caribbean, then across Asia, Europe and the U.S. for several seasons. My body began to require a break, not just from touring but the combination of poisons I was taking into my body and the rigorous movement required for me to perform the way that I do.
“My rock bottom was the point where not only was vodka not getting me drunk anymore, but I physically couldn’t function, from getting out of bed to forming a complete sentence without relying on substances. It was rehab that saved my life. It was at an upstate facility where a nurse asked me what day it was as I was being assessed. I had no idea what month we were in, let alone the day. She placed her hand on my thigh and said, ‘April 29th, it is April 29th.’ That’s the day my new journey began.
When I was out in the world, suffering from addiction, my mother would always plead with me to return to church. Although I did not become a pastor like my father, her vision for my life has manifested itself in a way that has become my greatest fulfillment.
As I started to regain clarity, I realized I lost many memories from my musical theater touring days. Alcohol and drugs robbed me of remembering the joy where my gifts were able to take me but getting sober did redirect my creativity.
“I wrote recovery-based songs with a soulful vibe in treatment and then performed them for the fellowship. This showed me that there is a clear intention for the purpose of my existence here on Earth. Now with two years of sobriety, I focus on uplifting others, with motivational videos on Instagram and speaking engagements in the rooms of AA.
“When I was out in the world, suffering from addiction, my mother would always plead with me to return to church. Her hope for my life was to become a leader in the ministry. She has since passed away, and although I did not become a pastor like my father, her vision for my life has manifested itself in a way that has become my greatest fulfillment. Today, I speak in front of crowds of people, referencing a powerful book, that happens to be big, spreading a message of love and hope.”
Interviewed by Ian J. Stark