PsychCentral: Sexual Predators Employed at Summer Camps in Florida, New York Still Failing Children

Child sexual predators often place themselves in areas where they have easy access to children. This is one reason why teachers, babysitters, nannies, mothers, fathers, priests, and summer camp workers make excellent abusers. And while Florida has made great strides to protect children from predators in child-care centers, they are falling behind in one major area: summer camp. (1)

Recently, the Palm Beach Post probed and discovered that camps in Florida have no restrictions, therefore there are no boundaries placed on how the camps operate. (1) Abuse can happen and does happen, and nobody is there to prevent or stop it.

Read the full blog at PsychCentral.

Nikki DuBose Challenges Whole Foods

Former model turned author and activist Nikki DuBose, was in San Francisco to challenge Whole Foods Co-CEO John Mackey to stand up for child sexual abuse survivors and speak about her role in the Omnibus Child Victims Act in the state of New York.

Pick up Nikki’s book Washed Away: From Darkness to Light on Amazon.

BodyMatters Australia – Meet Nikki DuBose: Former Model, Author, Speaker and Mental Health Advocate

Trigger warning: Descriptions of eating disordered behaviour and abuse.

In December last year we were lucky enough to have the opportunity to speak with the lovely Nikki DuBose about her recent memoir Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, her experiences in the modelling industry, her current advocacy work and her inspiring path to recovery from an eating disorder.

Read the full interview at BodyMatters Australia.

She’s Fit to Lead: Book Review – Washed Away by Nikki DuBose

What is the life of a high fashion model. Is it all glam and fame and perfection? Are those celebrity models we idolize like Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid really leading the amazing life that we perceive? Or is it a life of “fakes and… lies,” as top Australian Model Ajak Deng announced last year when she left the industry that she said she could no longer take? Or even one that is literally making its participants sick as writer turned model Madison Schill asserted in a Glamour Magazine article, detailing, among other things, how her agent literally asked her if she “drank butter for water.”

In her new, both disturbing and inspiring memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, former model, Nikki Dubose, who has appeared on the covers of and in editorials for all the biggies – Maxim, Glamour, Vogue, Vanity Fair and more lends her voice to this debate.

Read the full book review at She’s Fit to Lead.

PsychCentral: Paranoia my old friend

The other day, while sitting and rehashing all of my thoughts over to my psychiatrist through the computer screen, I began to feel annoyed. There he was, blissfully writing away on his notepad, while I regurgitated the same, unhappy words. “What does he really think? And why does he find my pain so funny?” I thought. But then I stopped and started to listen to my words. And I realized something. As much as I had tried to fool myself into thinking that I was no longer a paranoid person, or unaffected by the thoughts and behaviors of others, I was completely and utterly wrong.

So I snapped out of my tunnel, looked him square in the eyes (which can be hard for me to do with him), and said, “Stop writing on your little notepad.” He stopped. I noticed that he was maintaining that smirk on his face. I continued. “No matter how much I talk to you, my paranoia still exists, and in fact, it seems to get worse. And…all you can do is smile. I feel crazy!”

Read more on PsychCentral.

Jenni Schaefer Interviews Nikki DuBose on her memoir: Washed Away From Darkness to Light

“Author, speaker, and mental health advocate, Nikki DuBose, epitomizes the word brave. She courageously talks about tough topics that others shy away from. I know, because I am one. For a long time, I wasn’t prepared to talk about my own trauma. (I didn’t even realize I had experienced trauma.) But, with the support of people like Nikki, I have opened up. Thanks, Nikki, for encouraging many of us to share our stories. With this post, I am thrilled to have had the chance to interview Nikki about the release of her memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light.”

Read the full interview on Jenni Schaefer.

The Mighty: What I Want Others to Know About People Who’ve Experienced Psychosis

“That face. . .Look at it!” I didn’t question the voice. I leaned in until my eyes crossed and my nose touched the mirror. My glasses began to fog from my breath. The voice continued, and then another voice joined it: a giggly, female voice. “Four eyes! Loser. No one will ever love you. What an ugly thing you are. I can’t tell if you look like a girl or a boy. Get to work fatty! Change that face. Don’t stop moving until it’s done. You can win, you can be the winner!”“Washed Away: From Darkness to Light”

In my newly released memoir, “Washed Away: From Darkness to Light,” I discuss many of the graphic events that led to my mental breakdown in childhood. I think that sharing our stories is critical because there are many hurting people in the world who will benefit from our experiences, and also the more we share, the more we continue to heal and grow.

Read more on The Mighty.

The Exclusive Book Launch Event Has Been Postponed!

Book Launch _Nikki DuBose Shannon Kopp

 

Hang Tight! The Book Launch of the Year is coming soon! Date: TBA

We can’t wait to have you as we celebrate the launch of Washed Away: From Darkness to Light (by Nikki DuBose), and the paperback release of Pound for Pound: A Story of One Woman’s Recovery and the Shelter Dogs Who Loved Her Back to Life (by Shannon Kopp).

When: TBA

What: Appetizers, Refreshments, Book Launch!

Where: Montecatini Outpatient Office – 6183 Paseo Del Norte, Suite 110 – Carlsbad, CA 92011

RSVP: shannon.gusy@gmail.com

Washed Away: From Darkness to Light is a memoir that recounts the experiences of model Nikki DuBose as she overcomes a more than seventeen-year battle with abuse, child sexual victimization, eating disorders, alcoholism, drugs, depression, suicide attempts, body dysmorphic disorder, and various other mental health issues, all while trying to navigate through the dark side of the fashion industry.

Her journey began as a young, introverted child with a florid imagination growing up in Charleston, South Carolina. By the age of eight she had been sexually, physically, and emotionally abused and had developed an eating disorder. The abuse warped Nikki’s self-perception and sparked patterns of depression and destructive behavior that stayed with her into adulthood. In her early twenties she began working as a television host and started a career in modeling. Eventually Nikki attained success, appearing on the covers of magazines such as Maxim, shooting for editorials like Vanity Fair, Glamour, and FHM, and appearing in campaigns for Perry Ellis.

Cast into a world of excess, superficiality, and vanity, Nikki traveled the globe and experienced the finest that the material world had to offer, all while feeling empty inside. Her disorders, addictions and mental health issues took her to the brink of mortality and only though a deeply painful inner-battle and her mother’s death was she able to reconnect the lost pieces of her soul and see the person she had so long rejected.

Her recovery from a nearly lifelong struggle with PTSD, psychosis, addictions and eating disorders has left Nikki with a passionate longing to help others who are also suffering by advocating for mental health and self-acceptance. In America, more than sixty-one million individuals are affected by mental illness. Child sexual abuse affects more than forty-five million people in the United States alone, yet it is still regarded as one of the most shameful issues to date. Eating disorders affect millions and are one of the most destructive and life-threatening mental afflictions today – anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any psychological illness. Despite the extent of the suffering, eating disorders and mental health issues are poorly understood in popular culture and are often stigmatized, mocked, or even glorified because of misconceptions and ignorance over the seriousness of the manner. Although the modeling industry has made strides towards body diversity in the past couple of years, there is a lack of education and awareness surrounding eating disorders and other mental health issues. We believe that through the recent societal trends and improved sharing of information, we are beginning to break this paradigm, therefore another aim of this book will be to educate the public. Washed Away: From Darkness to Light will serve as a testimony to others to let them know that they are not alone in their fears, doubts, and frustrations, and that through recovery all things are possible. (nikkidubose.com)

Pound for Pound is an inspirational tale about one woman’s journey back to herself, and a heartfelt homage to the four-legged heroes who unexpectedly saved her life.

For seven years, Shannon Kopp battled the silent, horrific, and all-too-common disease of bulimia. Then, at twenty-four, she got a job working at the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA, where in caring for shelter dogs, she found the inspiration to heal and the courage to forgive herself. With the help of some extraordinary, homeless animals, Shannon realized that her suffering was the birthplace of something beautiful. Compassion.

Shannon’s poignant memoir is a story of hope, resilience, and the spiritual healing animals bring to our lives. Pound for Pound vividly reminds us that animals are more than just friends and companions-they can teach us how to savor the present moment and reclaim our joy. Rich with emotion and inspiration, Pound for Pound is essential reading for animal lovers and anyone who has struggled to change. (www.shannonkopp.com)

Momma Sez

Growing up in Charleston, South Carolina, I was heavily influenced by the Gullah culture. My momma spoke Geechee, as we called it, which is a dying mixture related to Bahamiam Dialect, Barbadian Dialect, Belezian Dialect, Jamaican Patois, Trinidadian Creole, and the Krio language of Sierra Leone found in West Africa.

When my momma was angry or excited, she would often switch from English to Gullah, or the “Sea Island Creole” language. It can be very difficult to understand, and I am passionate about preserving the culture. I hate to see the culture disappear because of tourism and other reasons. I hope through my poetry and future books I can help to educate and preserve this special language.

Nikki_DuBose_Poetry_Gullah

VLOG Episode 6: Models, Financial Exploitation & Eating Disorders

Huffington Post – I was Raped by a Photographer. Here’s Why You Should Care.

Trigger warning.

Models. Rape. Eating disorders. Sexual abuse. Mental health.

While all of the above are quick to grab attention, they are also quick to receive criticism because most people do not understand them. In my episode of Real Women Real Stories, and my upcoming memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, I talk about all of the above, because I was a successful model who experienced all of the dark issues you can imagine.

Read more on The Huffington Post.

Profit, Denial & Education: Why Clothing Retailers Are Contributing to our Youth’s Mental Health Issues and What Can Be Done to Prevent Further Damage

Denial and Profit

A part of me can’t believe that I am writing about clothing retailers and that fact that they are still selling “super skinny” and “toothpick” jeans – how long must we go around and around this issue and still see no change? Yet another part of me is not surprised at all; after all, the majority of people are not properly educated about mental health issues, especially eating disorders, and the goal of businesses, especially clothing retailers – is simply, profit.

This was a recent conversation I had with Christopher Willson, the Clinical Director from Dine Monte Nido, a unique outpatient program designed to help those suffering from anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder. Chris was furious one day when he went to buy jeans for his eight-year-old daughter and found that many of them read “super skinny!” Oh dear. Now, most businesses grasp that in order to keep their profits high they must act as good corporate citizens. Therefore, clothing retailers should listen to the cries of consumers, such as Chris, and incorporate changes that will in turn, make their customers happy. Let’s look at the bigger picture –  for example, all the parents who buy jeans from clothing brands that advertise them as “super skinny”- you can expect that there are going to be some downright angry moms and dads writing letters, calling and blasting their opinions all over social media. After all, these labels place unrealistic expectations on already impressionable minds. Let’s review some statistics:

“42% of 1st-3rd grade girls want to be thinner.

81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat.”

 

You would think that clothing companies would do their research on mental health and listen to the consumers who are unhappy about how these labels are affecting their kids and teens.  Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any psychological disorder; certainly the higher ups and employees within the clothing companies must know someone who is or has been affected.

Or perhaps, they turn a blind eye, like this country has done for so long. Why? There are many reasons, but I would say that in the case of retailers a lack of education and focus on profit are the biggest culprits. To actually think about the well-being of others means to stop thinking about themselves, and to do that would (gasp!) would mean to potentially lose money, at least for the short-term.

I am relentless in advocating for change because eating disorders are an issue that affect over 30,000,000 people in America alone, and those are just the reported amounts. And, as a former fashion model who was always trying to fit into the fashion industry’s unrealistic sizes and portray an unhealthy image for impressionable minds, I am adamant about helping to restructure the business and stop the selling of products that are damaging to consumers. At the very least, we can start with mental health education – everyone needs it, especially the advertising and fashion industries.

Even if someone has not suffered from an eating disorder, almost everyone has been affected by low self-esteem and poor body image, however children and adolescents are particularly vulnerable; they don’t need added pressure from retailers telling them that they need to look a certain way in order to be accepted and valued. 

Finding the Solution

Lately I have been working with California Assemblymember Marc Levine, the National Eating Disorders Association, Sara Ziff from the Model Alliance and Dr. Bryn Austin, the director of Harvard STRIPED, on AB 2539, which will create healthier standards and promote the labor rights of models in the fashion industry. One thing that has stuck out to me in reading Dr. Austin’s research is how crucial prevention is. As she puts it, there is not a whole lot of literature and research dedicated to preventing eating disorders. Tying into Dr. Austin’s research lies my main interest: mental health education in the workplace, particularly the modeling industry. When we educate, we can help to prevent. I think that back during Karen Carpenter’s unfortunate and highly publicized case, eating disorders became known and glamorized because of the media – it’s what they do, they sensationalize – but they have yet to educate the public properly about eating disorders and mental health in general.

The National Eating Disorders Association has been introducing literature on eating disorders into various workplaces. Education is power because when we educate we have the knowledge to understand the what, why, when, how and who. If clothing retailers are uneducated when it comes to eating disorders and the impact their marketing schemes are having on young people, and if they are only thinking about profit, then they will continue to contribute to the mental decline and fatalities of our youth. Focusing on prevention and education in the workplace are crucial steps towards changing the way retailers and advertisers approach consumers – especially our youth.

 

What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear them! Drop me a line – nikki@nikkidubose.com

 

 

 

 

Identity – Eating Disorder Hope

“Disordered behaviors and addictions might start out as seemingly insignificant attempts to reach out for comfort, but they eventually can take over our lives. When I was eight years old I began to binge eat as a way to cope with being physically, sexually and emotionally abused — that led to a more than seventeen-year battle with all sorts of addictions.

I didn’t know how to deal with my feelings and I also didn’t know who I was – I grabbed onto to destructive behaviors during the most influential period of my development.”

Read more on Eating Disorder Hope.

 

Hope and Healing from Sexual Abuse and Eating Disorders

The physical, sexual and verbal abuse in my childhood had a direct effect on my self-esteem and self-image. As a result of the abuse and other factors, I developed an eating disorder at the age of eight which lasted for over seventeen years. Later, my mental health issues expanded into substance and alcohol abuse, sex addictions, body dysmorphic disorder, suicide attempts, compulsive spending and depression. I thought that my so-called “glamorous” career as a fashion model would fix my sadness and bury my pain, but nothing could. If anything, it only made it worse because I was not dealing with the mess, merely painting over it and positioned in an industry that oftentimes mirrored the psychologically damaging situations of my past.”

Read more on Recovery Warriors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rebuilding Trust Among Family Members Through ED Treatment

“I knew that look on my brother’s face one Christmas Eve several years ago as I walked out of the bathroom. I had seen it too many times. It was one not of anger or disgust, but rather, of disappointment mixed with sadness. His silence spoke volumes, but I was certain what he would have said. ‘You’re not doing that again, are you?’

In fact, it wasn’t just my brother’s trust I had broken during the course of seventeen years of eating disorders, addictions and battles with various mental health issues. Almost everyone in my family and anyone I had had a relationship with had been whipped into the Nikki hurricane, only to be spit out again and left for dead. I had a habit of using people for what they could do for me, and then leaving them when emotions became too intense to handle. It was painful for me to form loving, trusting bonds with my family members, let alone anyone in a truly intimate capacity, which went back to the original trauma of being sexually, physically and emotionally abused as a child.”

 

Read more on Eating Disorder Hope.

 

 

 

 

 

Enchanted Holiday

Golden beams dance across my bed
I arise, in wonder of the day ahead.
Carolina wrens flutter at my feet
offering kisses as we meet.

Cinnamon and pumpkin
fill my nose
as I fantasize about the magic
that awaits in mommy’s oven.

“Daffodil, hurry!”
“Harriot, at once!”
snowy feathers and gold dust
surround my heart
and carry me to the sky

I soar
like a fairy
in the house I am weightless, free
I observe the family below
in holiday bliss
singing Christmas carols
talking about Ol’ Saint Nick

I squeal with glee and wiggle my toes
as Daffodil and Harriot
Release me safely into mommy’s arms

I gaze back into the night
a thousand stars
are winking
waiting
Until we meet again.

©2015 Nikki DuBose

Merry_Christmas_2015

Speaking at the Dream Big Event with Jenni Schaefer 1.21.16

Come hear Nikki speak on 1.21.16 at the Montecatini Outpatient Office in Carlsbad, California alongside Jenni Schaefer, Jessica Raymond, Shannon Kopp and Jennifer Palmer. It will be an evening that will inspire you to DREAM BIG!

Montecatini-DreamBig-Flyer EVENT FINAL-121115-1_Nikki_DuBose

South Magazine

“Charleston native Nikki Dubose, 30, grew up immersed in chaos. She had an alcoholic mother with dissociative identity disorder and bipolar disorder. She was physically abused at age 4 and sexually abused at age 8, which is the same year she started binge eating. Overeating turned into purging by age 10, which eventually morphed into anorexia nervosa.”

Read more on South Magazine.

UnModeled Podcast with Nikki DuBose

“Today’s guest is Nikki Dubose, a former fashion model, host, and commercial actress who recovered from a 17 year battle with anorexia and bulimia.
In this episode we discuss:
* Why the fashion industry needs to be better educated about eating disorders.
* What it’s like to recover while dealing with body dysmorphic disorder
* How 12 Step and faith can help you discover a new self in recovery.”

Listen to the podcast here.

 

 

Social Media: False Reality and Unnecessary Pressure

“Today more than ever it’s easy to get caught up in the distractions that social media provides. With just the touch of a finger you can reach anyone in the world, scroll up-to-the minute news and search recipes for dinner while listening to songs from your favorite artists. While accessibility is alluring, however, it has its disadvantages. As people attempt to connect with the world, they are becoming more disconnected from themselves and each other, and living in a false reality that is laden with heavy, unnecessary pressures.

According to Cornell University’s Steven Strogatz, engaging in social media makes it hard to discern between our real relationships and those formed through the various outlets through social media(1). A false reality is created as a result of frequently interacting with “friends,” many of whom are obtained instantaneously. Focusing on the quantity of virtual friends directly affects our ego and psychological state; what we value simply becomes nothing more than a numbers game. Thus we focus less on our real relationships and the most important one, which is the relationship with ourselves.”

Read more on Eating Disorder Hope.

“When Abuse, Eating Disorders & Sibling Rivalry Collide — Stop Comparing and Love Yourself”

“I love my brother. He’s twenty-four and I’m thirty. We’ve been through so much together during our relationship; through Mom’s alcoholism and eventual death, my seventeen-year eating disorder and the physical, sexual and emotional abuse I received as a child. We’ve just been through it. Our bond has been strengthened by the pain and nothing can ever replace the love that we share.

I’ll never forget the first moment when Mom placed him in my arms in the delivery room. He was wrinkled, red and so fragile. I thought if I blinked too hard he would shatter into a million pieces. Time ceased to exist as I studied every tiny finger and toe. And his eyes, his beautiful, big brown eyes – I was hypnotized.”

Read more on Eating Disorder Hope.

My Survivor Story of Childhood Sexual Abuse — Peaceful Hearts Foundation

“I grew up in charming Charleston, South Carolina in the eighties and nineties. Its beautiful cobblestone streets were lined with gorgeous gardens and mansions that dated back well before the Civil War. At first glance, one would have not suspected that anything bad could have happened behind the wrought-iron gates and pastel-colored walls of the grand estates. But like all homes, each one holds a story, and ours was no different.

After the divorce, Momma and I moved into a modest, one-story home on a quiet street shaded by Spanish Moss trees. It was no mansion, but it was our dream, an escape into another world. I was only two, and Momma was nineteen, and more than she desired love, she wanted security. She soon found it in the arms of an older man who promised to love and protect us. Our home quickly expanded, and the idea of a ‘family’ was no longer a fantasy, it was real.”

Read more on Peaceful Hearts Foundation.

My Story of Childhood Sexual Abuse with Peaceful Hearts Foundation

If you or someone you know is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, please visit Peaceful Hearts Foundation.

 

8 Ways Your Struggle Brings Gifts

8 Ways Your Struggle Brings Gifts

  • They make us stronger. That’s right — after recovering from a lifetime of abuse, eating disorders, drug addiction and alcoholism, one thing is for certain, I am a stronger person. I don’t see my former addictions and mental health issues as a downside, rather as things that have made me more powerful, able to tackle anything life brings my way.
  • They help shape our character. Of course we are all born with character, but I believe that my struggles have sharpened mine. With every challenge we face, our character is being built, so we can choose to see troubles as a blessing.”

Read more on Recovery Warriors.

 

In Memory of Ryan

You know, we were kids. He was older, and hiding my Barbies was his thing. Just like most cousins, he liked to tease; it was his way of showing affection. Of course I cried a lot – I loved my dolls more than anything. But as I grew, I wanted to spend more time with him and his brothers, and less time with my dolls.

Then came the times he spent showing me how he could play the guitar, and I was impressed. This kid was good. Like radio good. I spent hours at his feet, cuddling my knees and bobbing my head, as he ripped away tunes, sweating over sheets of music. Of course the teasing always came back. At Halloween he locked me in a dark room and blasted loud tapes of spooky noises. I cried. He laughed.

I didn’t see Ryan for years, but I always thought about him. As life took us in different directions, he and his brothers were constantly in my heart. I struggled with my own issues – depression, eating disorders, addiction, the after-effects of abuse. I was trying to keep my head afloat in a dark ocean of confusion; I wanted to visit my family, but I felt detached from the world. I could no longer identify with the little girl who once played freely and enjoyed life for what it had to offer. I was simply someone else…an identity I had created to cope with life. Often, I contemplated destroying that identity altogether. I wanted to die.

Then came the day – it started out like every other day. Except on this day, I learned that Ryan was gone. He had taken his own life. The memories we shared, were all I had to hold onto. We could never create new ones.

I wish he could have known that, whatever pain he was going through were only temporary. I wish he could have known that he could have reached out…to anyone. I wish that as kids, I could have told him anything, just one thing, that could have made a difference. But I can’t go back and change that. I can, however, help someone else, in honor of him.

I changed my life in honor of my mother, who died in 2012. More importantly, I did it for myself. We can all do it, in memory of someone we love, in honor of ourselves.

If you or someone you love needs to talk, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

As well, you can visit their website to find out more about suicide prevention and ways you can help in your area.

God Bless,
Nikki

Now and Always, I Choose Life

Every thirteen minutes another person makes the horrifying decision to end their life in the United States.(1) That’s one too many; imagine how many precious lives could be saved if they could see themselves through the eyes of the people who love and care for them.

Suicide is something I am all too familiar with. In honor of Suicide Prevention Week, I would like to share a bit of my story.

I am now thirty years old; thankfully I am able to see life on the other side of that seemingly endless tunnel of despair. But life wasn’t always like this, no, in fact, for most of it, I struggled with the after-effects of sexual, physical and emotional abuse, a seventeen year eating disorder, alcoholism, depression and stints of heavy drug use. On the outside, I seemed like I had everything together, but on the inside and to a close few who really got to know me, I was desperate to die.

Thoughts of death began to creep in around my early teens, when my mother attempted suicide twice. When other kids my age were just beginning to blossom at school and make friends, I was living in a nightmare, visiting Mom at the mental ward. Visions of her bandaged arms haunted me for most of my adult life, although they were detached somehow; I buried them in a deep place. After all, mothers weren’t supposed to be the ones who needed care.

I internalized the clouded feelings. If Mom wanted to die…I wanted to, too. What was my identity? How was it being formed? My mental state deteriorated at a time when it should have been growing. I was angry and began to dabble in my own forms of self-harm and ultimately, turned towards sharp objects for relief. I needed something to release the intense misery that I felt inside.

At eighteen I was married, although it was brief. I was looking to get away from my family, and move as far away from home as I possibly could. I looked for anyone and anything to cure the loneliness and painful memories that kept resurfacing from my childhood. My eating disorder was worse than ever; I binged and purged multiple times a day. When that couldn’t numb me anymore, I reached for a full bottle of ephedrine and swallowed it whole. The world became dark and I collapsed. Thankfully, my husband at the time came home and found me, my sweaty body convulsing on the floor. I was angry. “How could he do this to me?” I thought. “How could he let me live?”

I continued to struggle with thoughts of suicide, especially when I was recovering from anorexia. Many people are not aware how many deaths are due to suicide from those suffering from eating disorders, but I teetered on the brink for far too long.(2) I was blinded as to my worth; years of trauma had led me to believe that I was not good enough. Throughout years of recovery, however, I am grateful to say that not only am I alive and thriving, but I am able to help others see their value as well. Our darkest times truly can serve as our most valuable lessons.

My mom was not so lucky. Only a couple of months before her death she was in rehab, trying to get her life together. However, she kept talking about how she wanted to die. And she did…she created that life. It was the hardest reality for me to face. My life will turn into the way I want it to. I choose life, today and always. What do you choose?

If you or someone you love is contemplating suicide, please call 1.800.273.8255  Just talk, to anyone. Whether you know it or not, there are so many people who love you.

Visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to learn more about suicide and ways to get involved in your area

To learn more about eating disorders, check out the National Eating Disorders Association.

It Happened In August: Family, Addiction and Breaking the Curse

Three years ago today Momma died in a car accident while driving back home to Charleston fr23973_1313607114603_321567_nom Myrtle Beach, SC. Her body was infused with so much alcohol, that she couldn’t see or steer properly and she lost control of the wheel. She was thrown through the windshield, over fifty feet in the air. Her friend was killed on impact. Within seconds, lives were changed forever, and as Momma lay dying in MUSC alone, no one in the family knew the horror that was taking place. However it was obvious; all the warnings were there. Years and years of signs pointed to the culmination of that tragic day.

I was only three years old when I had my first sampling of alcohol. As I stuck the red straw in my mouth and tasted the Long Island Iced Tea, I looked up at Momma and proclaimed, “More, more!” It was a joke to the family, a look-how-cute-she-is moment that no one thought twice about. Perhaps we should have. After all, Momma’s birth mom died from alcoholism. We never met her; she had to give Momma up at birth.

At thirteen, I was hitting the bars with Momma at my side, letting hormones and anger guide my way. Resentful at the abuse that had taken place for many years, I wanted to blow off steam, however I was careful to notice that Momma was quickly spiraling out of control with drinking. Frightened, I became turned off by alcohol.

By the time I reached twenty-one, I had gone through one divorce and several failed relationships. I was determined to be the one to leave, to always be in control. I was living on the other side of the country in California, wanting to be as far away from my family as possible. Momma was losing her battle to alcohol, although it was kept a secret for the most part. I became carried away in the party scene and played with the dangerous game of lets-see-how-many-drugs-I-can-take. Death was not scary to me, I just wanted to drink and take drugs.

In my mid-twenties, I was a successful model, and had tried to sober up many times. For a few years, I rode sobriety like a wild rollercoaster, never knowing when I would take the deep plunge and drop off the face of the earth again. When Momma finally passed away in 2012, I saw a reflection of myself in her casket. It was time to jump off the rollercoaster and choose life once and for all. I’m so thankful I got help and got sober before it was too late. Today I live my life in gratitude one day at a time.

If you or someone you love needs help, I recommend the following resources:

National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc.1.800.622.2255

Alcoholics Anonymous

Adult Children of Alcoholics

What I Learned About Love, I Learned From My Dad

“All right now, hold my hand real tight, don’t let go until you know when.” Dad peered down from his dusty baseball cap marked 88 and gripped my hands in his big bear palm. From my tiny viewpoint, the world was blanketed by the nighttime sky and littered in stars. Dad’s smile lit my heart, and at once, I release10422042_748861415164380_5452174188489951681_nd my faith and threw back my head, revealing a deep, belly laugh.

“Anda- one, anda-two, anda-three!” Dad swung me higher and higher, until the third count, when he released me and I soared, just for a few seconds, like a superhero amongst the crowds of blurry faces who were scattered amongst the bleachers. It was race night, and like every other Saturday, it was our time; we didn’t get to see each other often, but when we did, time stopped and life became precious.

I hit the rocky ground on both legs safely with a resounding “thud,” and, although shocked, I quickly dusted myself off and turned to face the one person who I knew would be right behind me. “That’s my girl! Didn’t think I’d let you down, did ya?” Dad swept me up in his arms and carried me back to the bleachers, as all fear of the unknown faded away.

My dad has always been my hero, whether or not he truly knows it. In my eyes, I couldn’t tell him enough. And when it comes to my relationships I’ve learned a lot through my biggest one: the one with my father. He’s taught me so much about what it means to love people for who they are on the inside, to see beyond the exterior package. The obvious is not what we see, it is what we choose to get to know about someone that makes them beautiful. Growing up in a small, country, two-bedroom home that raised over twenty children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Dad learned early the value of staying close and loving through it all. As I went through my struggles, he not only taught those to me, he showed them, too.

I’ve learned what it means to let go and allow love in. What it means to heal. For most of my life I shut myself off to love and used relationships as a way to abuse myself and others, long after my abusers left. Dad has always been there, in the background, offering advice and encouragement in his own kind way. The faith that he instilled in me as a child has slowly grown over time, and without his care, I don’t know where I’d be. At thirty and through two marriages, I can’t deny the huge role that his stability has played.

I finally know what it means to love myself. Although this one, like every relationship, is one that is a constant work in progress, the love I have for myself is mirrored by the love Dad has for himself. As we’ve grown and constructed healthier lives, our self-images have been strengthened. My dad has a much better image of himself than he used to, especially when I was living in the depths of my eating disorders. A perfectionist at my core, Dad’s voice was always in the back of my mind whispering, “You don’t have to be perfect for someone to love you.” When I was at one of the lowest points in my life at eighteen and attempted suicide, I never imagined that I could flourish and get to the place of contentment that I am in now.

Because of our relationship, I’ve learned what I want in a partner, and what I don’t want, the latter through my own trials and errors. I learned that I want someone faithful, loving, and kind. A person who looks past the obvious; someone who sees my soul. And just like Dad, someone who is always there to catch me when I fall.

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose

Finding Freedom through the Past

“I’ll never forget that fateful day when the horrible memories resurfaced. Although blurry and confusing, one thing was clear; I had been touched in places I shouldn’t have. Held down for far too long until I felt like I was going to perish from suffocation. A crimson, misshapen face, rough hands and chapped lips signaled my demise. As I sat alone in my bedroom and gazed into unwelcoming silence, one after another the past flooded my brain like a movie. A film that I, the prisoner, watched in unrelenting horror.”

Read more on Eating Disorder Hope.

 

Seven Ways to Have a Better Body Image

“Perception of the body is something everyone shares, whether positive or negative. Body image can be shaped by a variety of complex factors including genetics, environment and the media.

Negative body image is nothing to be ashamed of. Everyone, at some point in their lifetime, experiences a poor picture of themselves, whether it be mental or physical. The important thing to remember is that you are never alone and reaching out for help is a critical step in building a healthy self image.

Here are seven ways to clear away the dust and reconstruct a better body image.” 

Read more on Recovery Warriors.

 

Body Image from the Inside Out

“Every day I am faced with a challenge. I can either accept and embrace myself, or I can choose to listen to the negative voices that threaten to tear down the walls of my self-worth. Building my body image is a job that begins on the inside, and it’s one that I must form with blocks of love and patience.

In order to construct a solid foundation, I must clear away the rotted materials and replace them with long-lasting ones. As I take inventory of my life, what do I see that needs to be swept away? What does not serve me anymore? What are healthy changes that I can make that will ensure a positive environment for my mind, soul and body?”

 

Read more on Eating Disorder Hope.

 

Peanut Butter Power Bars

You will need:

1.5 cups rolled oats, blended into a fine flour
1/2 cup rice crisp cereal
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons dark chocolate chips
1/2 tablespoon coconut oil

 

To make:

Line an 8″ square pan with parchment paper. Blend together the oat flour, rice crisp, and salt in a large bowl.

Add the peanut butter, maple syrup and vanilla. Stir well. Press into pan and roll until smooth. Place into the freezer.

Melt the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a pot over low heat, stirring until smooth.

After freezing the mixture for about ten minutes, remove from the freezer and slice into bars. Drizzle with the melted chocolate and refreeze. These can be stored in the freezer up to a week or longer in a container.

Remember to eat mindfully 🙂

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Savory Basil, Bacon ‘n Egg Pizza

You will need: 

1 pizza crust, like Udi’s 

3 to 4 slices of turkey bacon, cut into quarters

1 small onion, sliced

salt, pepper, oregano

1 tomato, chopped into quarters

garlic, minced

cheddar cheese, sliced thin

olive oil

4 organic eggs

fresh basil leaves, torn

To make: 

Preheat the oven to 425° F. Cook the turkey bacon in a nonstick skillet over medium heat until crispy, around 7 to 9 minutes. Remove the bacon only and save the grease. Cook the onion in the bacon drippings around 10 minutes then add the tomatoes, garlic and oregano for a couple of minutes.

Spread a couple tablespoons of olive oil over the top of the Udi’s pizza crust and add the onions, tomatoes, garlic and oregano over top. Pour the bacon and place the cheddar neatly over all. Bake in oven until cheese has melted, around 10 minutes.

Wipe the skillet and add olive oil. Cook the eggs over medium heat and season with salt, pepper and more oregano. After a few minutes, the eggs are done. Place an egg over each side of the pizza and scatter basil leaves everywhere.

 

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

 

Savory Basil, Bacon 'n Egg Pizza

 

 

Eating Disorder Recovery — Seeing The Value Within

“We are all precious and unique. Every body has a destiny to fulfill, and we cannot do that unless we learn to see our value on the inside first. When something is valuable it is considered very worthy, of great importance.

There is no person that is more worthy than you. Yes, you. From the day you were born, God considered you the most valuable person on the planet.

He molded you in His image. He didn’t make one person more special, one more beautiful, and another more interesting, no, He made every person of equal value.”

Read more on Eating Disorder Hope.