Ex-state senator hired by Boy Scouts to lobby against Child Victims Act shows Albany swamp needs draining

When you’re a crook, there are no limits to the depths you will go to cover up your filth. Just ask most of the New York politicians, including former Senator Craig Johnson, who is a key ally and fundraising partner for the Independent Democratic Conference, led by Senator Jeff Klein.

Read the full article on NY Daily News.

Plaid for Women – From Darkness to Light: A Journey from Mental Illness & Abuse to Finding My Voice

You had a very rough start in life. Tell us about your childhood.

I grew up in a violent, dysfunctional family, however, hardly anyone knew that because I went to a private Christian school and we lived in a nice house. My parents divorced when I was two and my mom remarried to a much older man who kind of swept her off her feet.

Starting at four, I was subjected to physical abuse and then at 8, sexual abuse by a male figure. I developed binge eating disorder as a way to cope with the trauma, and later Body Dysmorphic Disoder and bulimia, which lasted for over fifteen years. My mom sexually abused me from the ages of 9 to 13 until the police removed me from my house. I suppressed those memories until my late twenties.

Read the full interview at Plaid for Women.

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.

PsychCentral: To my mother on this day

Nearly seven years ago, I was living in New York City, modeling, and battling several mental illnesses. My mother and I were trying to work through our complicated relationship, one that stemmed from years’ worth of domestic violence, abuse, and alcoholism. In my heart, I wanted so badly to try and understand my mother and have a genuine connection with her, but it was like trying to climb a giant hill wearing cement shoes. Not only did my mental health conditions keep me from moving forward and connecting with her, but so did hers. Bipolar, dissociative identity disorder, and her battle with the bottle were demons that kept her permanently trapped until her death in 2012.

Today would be Mom’s fiftieth birthday, and here I am, in New York City on a business trip, thinking about her.

Read more on PsychCentral.

Reader’s Favorite Review for Washed Away

“Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, a memoir written by Nikki Dubose with James Johanson, is a series of dark memories of her dysfunctional family life, and the misery caused by addictions and abuse. Nikki Dubose recounts the tragic story of her life, dealing with severe eating disorders and mental challenges. Her sad story reveals a less-than-glamorous look at the world of modelling. While she is not casting aspersions on the high class world of models, she does reveal how physical and mental issues can greatly affect the choices one makes. As family and friendships come and go, and people accept then reject her, she finally grasps an opportunity to turn from her ugly duckling persona in order to become a beautiful cleansed swan – metaphorically speaking.”

Read more on Reader’s Favorite.

The Mighty – What It’s Like Being a Model With an Eating Disorder

“Editor’s note: If you live with an eating disorder or have experienced binging, the following post could potentially be triggering. Please don’t hesitate to call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

Darkness descends upon the room, signaling my arrival. Behind the curtain, I can feel my breath, waiting for permission to exhale. My knees quiver with apprehension as whispers drone from the crowd outside. From my spot behind the platform, I notice the flares from cameras and spotlights, like shooting stars in a strange, forsaken sky. I can already feel the eyes of the people as they stare at the empty runway, waiting for their goddesses to strut. My throat clenches and my mind empties — anxiety has taken control. What will they think of me?”

Read more on The Mighty.

Recovery Warriors Podcast: From Darkness to Light with Nikki DuBose

“Nikki DuBose is an excellent example of the transformational powers of recovery. A former model turned author, speaker, and mental health advocate she had many experiences navigating the dark side of the modeling industry, while battling abuse, addiction, and various mental health issues (sexual victimization, eating disorders, alcoholism, drugs, depression, suicide attempts, body dysmorphic disorder, PTSD, psychosis). In her debut memoir Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, she intimately shares her process of destruction to regeneration. Tune into this week’s show to hear Nikki candidly talk about her path to healing.”

Listen to the Podcast with Nikki and Recovery Warriors!

We Choose to Thrive Interview with Nikki DuBose

“Nikki Dubose is an amazing young woman who is actively involved in helping others to live the life they are meant to live. Listen to share her story of her past and her journey to healing and thriving in life.”

Read more about Nikki with author Becky Norwood.

An Open Letter to NY Times Public Editor Liz Spayd, from Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse and Advocates

Proud to have my name on this open letter to The New York Times Public Editor Liz Spayd. On behalf of Peaceful Hearts Foundation, I am listed as one of 35 Child Sexual Abuse Survivors and Advocates, urging Liz to cover the Child Victims Act of New York. Thanks, Nancy Levine for your hard work and dedication to this important issue, and thank you to everyone who is using their voice to create change.

“Dear Ms. Spayd,
We are a global community of survivors of child sexual abuse and advocates. We were heartened when, under your editorial direction, the Columbia Journalism Review published a piece by Steve Buttry, Director of Student Media at LSU: ‘The voiceless have a voice. A journalist’s job is to amplify it.’ We would like to ask you and The New York Times to consider amplifying our collective voice; we reiterate our request, emailed to you on July 11, 2016.
Our previous correspondence raised questions about The Times’ absence of recent coverage of the Child Victims Act of New York, and an appearance of a conflict of interest. Presumably there is no causal relationship between The Times’ absence of recent reporting on the Child Victims Act and Publisher and Chairman Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr.’s family financial interests in Whole Foods Market. But to quell concerns about an appearance of a conflict, we think this matter warrants further response.”

Read more on Medium.

CNN Money – Runway Injustice: How the modeling industry exploits young and vulnerable workers

“Stolen pay. Sexual harassment. Months without a paycheck. Outrageous fees and expenses that eat away at earnings. And no one to turn to for help.

Models allege that labor abuses like these run rampant in the modeling industry — leaving many workers feeling more like indentured servants than the glamorous high fashion icons young girls around the world dream of becoming.”

Read more on CNN Money.

Google Hangout with Eating Disorder Hope: “Loving Yourself – Keeping a Positive Body Image in the Summer”

Trials Come In Bunches But So Do Comebacks

My testimony
by Christopher Chavez
Christopher’s Facebook

I come from a divorced home. My mom raised me, and I have one older brother and one older sister. My mom told me that I was conceived during a reconciliation; I was unplanned and it was an overwhelming time for her. My father was an addict so he was absent most of my life; growing up was hard without a father, my mom worked tirelessly to provide for us.  I was a very needy child, I remember always wanting people to like me and I was always looking for a father figure.

 

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The abuse started when I was six or seven years old. I was abused verbally, mentally and physically. The main abuser was a relative; he felt that because I didn’t have a father that he should step in and “discipline” me. Sadly, at times my mom would ask him for help in bringing that “discipline.” I remember being taken into my grandfather’s room and being smacked so hard that I couldn’t move my neck afterwards. To make matters worse no one knew I suffered with ADD and a learning problem ’till much later in life.

I remember being hated by relatives because of my behaviors; they felt sorry for me but at the same time they were cruel. I have been to eight schools in my life – that instability affected me greatly. I never had long term friends and was often hated for being the new kid.  I was forced to go to church as a kid so I had some basic fear of God. However during my sophomore year in high school I turned away from God and started to smoke weed; some friends lured me into the drug scene. During that time my family had also lost our family home and we were living with our grandmother, so I started smoking cigarettes, then drinking, and smoking weed.  I didn’t care for the high I felt so I stuck with weed until my senior year then I tried meth.

I remember I wanted to get away from my family – I wanted out. I did think about suicide at times to escape my pain but I didn’t want to go to hell. I almost bought a gun from some gang members to kill my abuser, but they wouldn’t sell it to me. They asked why I wanted one and when I told them the truth, they said they didn’t want to be involved with that. After I went to continuation school I felt even worse about myself and more depressed. I was nineteen and older than everyone else because I had been held back two grades. So all I did during school was drink and get high; it was the biggest waste of my life.

For the next four years I went head first into drugs. I was doing meth just about every day, until it came to a point where I stopped because I had a nervous breakdown. I started hearing voices and seeing shadows; I went to God and stayed sober and tried to change my life for the better. I managed to stay sober for five years, then I started using again and hanging out with old friends. That’s when I got into smoking crack. I would go with Simone who would steal a car and we would drive down to the projects in Compton and get a couple hundred dollars worth of crack. During those times we never got caught – it was God’s Mercy that we never got robbed or shot at.

I never stole anything, it was my friend who did; I was just along for the ride but if we would have gotten caught I would have been in just as much trouble as the driver. A few years later I got sober again and tried do the right things, but drugs damage your body, spirit and emotions. I couldn’t get myself together.  I ran into hard times, started smoking weed again and began hanging out with the wrong friends. It was the year 2000, I had just gotten a good job as well as my own apartment, then drugs came back into my life again.

I was in a motel room doing meth. I decided to do a hundred dollars worth in one big line, and after I snorted it my nose began to bleed everywhere. My heart was beating so fast I could have sworn I saw it pounding out of my chest; I ran into the shower hoping it would calm me down but it didn’t do a thing, so I started to cry and ran outside naked screaming for help.  Someone brought me inside and called 911; when they told me that help was coming, I fell to my knees and began crying out to God, asking Him to not let me die in that state.

That was one of three times I that I rode in the back of an ambulance. The second time I was upstairs at someone’s house. To make a long story short I had to jump out the second story window to get help then walked to the fire department. I was taken to the hospital because I was overdosing again. The third time I was at my aunt’s house. I had done meth, alcohol, and crack everyday for two weeks straight. I had gotten sick so I took some robitussin, but by the second day I started feeling faint. I felt weaker and weaker and began to look pale; my body was ice cold. I called 911 and they gave me oxygen because I felt like I couldn’t breath. After that night I had people saying goodbye to me because everyone thought I was going to die. I cried out to God, “Help me! I wanna live!”

Then in November of 2004, I rededicated my life to God, and never touched alcohol or drugs again. I did, however, have to deal with the aftermath of my addictions. I suffered from horrible anxiety, nightmares, and had a very difficult time trying to rehabilitate my mind. I had lost everything and was starting my life over from the bottom. I realized that staying sober meant the difference between living and dying.

I know God gave me a another chance for a big reason; I’ve stayed sober all these years by being rooted in a church and cutting off all relationships with anyone that used drugs or partied. I also found role models to look up to, such as my cousin Danny Perea who used to be a heroin & cocaine addict, Adam Goldstein AKA “DJ AM,” as well as some well known ministers on TBN. As of today I am one of the leaders of the youth ministry at my church and I’ve witnessed to them many times about about my past with addiction and speak on abstinence too. I give all glory to God for saving me from myself, and refer often to the Bible verse that got me through the darkest of times:

Psalm 118:17 says, “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.”

 

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On a side note, my father came back into my life in 2005. He is now sober and recently married. He opened up and told me that he had been living on Skid Row for twenty-one years during his addiction; he now does ministry work on Skid Row every weekend and feeds the homeless with his church. I just want to close and say that if God can change my life he can change yours; a better day is coming, don’t give up.  Jesus loves you so much that He died for you. As well there are plenty of programs such as AA that are available for you. You can also find wonderful programs through your local church. Someone is always ready to help you.

“Trials come in bunches but so do comebacks” – Christopher Chavez

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please contact: 1-800-273-8255, or visit: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s Website

If you are an adult victim of child abuse, please contact: Help for Adult Victims of Child Abuse

For help on drug and alcohol addiction, please contact: National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc.

Nikki DuBose speaks at Jenni Schaefer’s “Dream Big” Event

Today Kicks Off NEDAwareness Week 2016!

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This year NEDA’s theme is 3 Minutes Can Save a Life. Get Screened. Get Helped. Get Healthy.

For over seventeen years I battled with not only an eating disorder, but a plethora of mental health conditions that held me prisoner in my own mind and body. If only I would have trusted someone outside of myself I would have experienced the help much sooner. It really only takes three minutes to get access to critical, life-saving information. Isn’t it the most amazing feeling to know that there are people out there who understand you, who are just waiting to love you?

Visit NEDA’s Awareness site to get screened and find out more information.

In regards to my own recovery, it was thanks to a combination of spirituality, mentorship, the twelve-step program, therapy, medication, family and friends, great organizations like NEDA and leaving my modeling career behind. After falling many times and never giving up I was able to regain my mental, physical and spiritual health, and have been going strong for the past three years. Writing and speaking have been incredible tools of healing for me because they have helped me to find my voice during times when I thought that I had none. But we all have voices and often they can be heard the loudest when our lives feel the darkest. 

Don’t give up, ever. You, more than anyone else in the world, are worthy of self-love, care and recovery.

Here’s my schedule for #NEDAwareness 2016:

Feb. 23 10am PST: Twitter Chat – “Getting Healthy: The Many Faces of Eating Disorders Recovery” with @NEDAstaff @EDHope @GenderSpectrum @MentalHealthAm @EricC_Official @TheNikkiDuBose

Feb. 23 7pm PST/ CSU San Marcos: Screening of The Illusionists and Panel Discussion. I will be speaking on a panel at CSU San Marcos, discussing the documentary The Illusionists and talking about the globalization of beauty. All are welcome to attend.

Feb. 25 7pm PST/ CSU San Marcos: Keynote Speaker. I will be telling my personal story of recovery and then holding a Q & A session afterwards.

 

Speak2Heal Episode 7: Eating Disorders & Ambivalence

Ever feel like you are stuck in an unhealthy relationship with someone or something but you just can’t seem to get out of it for some reason or another? On today’s episode I talk to returning guest, Adrianna Robles, about this very topic. Adrianna is a graduate from Purdue University and currently works for an HR Software company in downtown Chicago. Her passions are writing, volunteering for organizations like the National Eating Disorders Association and speaking about eating disorders at places like Mental Health America in Lafayette, Indiana.

Connect with Adrianna on Facebook:

Visit here to find out how you can get involved with NEDAwareness Week.

I love these books on mindfulness:

  1. Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food by Jan Chozen Bays, MD
  2. Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation In Everyday Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn

 

Speak2Heal Episode 6: Facts, Myths & Healing — Child Sexual Victimization

Welcome to Episode 6: Facts, Myths & Healing — Child Sexual Victimization. On this episode I talk about what child sexual abuse is and demystify “stranger danger,” a topic surrounding Matthew Sandusky’s new book, Undaunted, out now on Amazon.com. In my upcoming book, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, I share my own story with child sexual victimization and abuse and how that led to a plethora of mental health issues. I am fortunate to work with Matthew at Peaceful Hearts Foundation; Matthew, his wife Kim, and countless others are passionate about helping survivors of child sexual abuse and making sure they receive the help they need.

There’s alot of miseducation about not only child sexual victimization, but about the Sandusky story as well, and in Episode 6 I dive into both and bring to light some of the truth about topics that have been hidden for far too long.

Have a question or comment? Something you’d like me to talk about on a future show? Drop me a line nikki@nikkidubose.com

Here’s the workshop I did at UCLA recently involving art therapy, child sexual abuse and eating disorders.  

Here’s some awesome art therapy exercises in case you’re interested. You’re never too old for art. 😉

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Exciting News!

As a survivor of child abuse, sexual abuse, and various mental health issues, including a long battle with eating disorders, for most of my life I never thought I would be in a leadership position. That’s exactly what mental illness and abuse leaves you with — scars and the feeling that you are nothing. Absolute filth and scum of the Earth. When I entered recovery three years ago, I gave my entire life to my Higher Power, God, and my entire world changed. So many people opened their hearts and I allowed myself to be molded and changed, and I worked …harder than I ever thought I would. I had to do the internal work to let myself get to the point to where I could become who God wanted me to be in order to get to where He wanted me to go.

That process has involved a tremendous amount of pain. Feeling it and letting it go. That part is a constant work in progess. One of the tools that has helped me deal with the pain is writing and sharing my story. My book will be released next year and that is yet another thing I never thought I would do. I went from killing myself to releasing all of that misery inside. Truly, anything is possible.

I never felt like a leader growing up. In fact, I felt like a downright loser. I remember most days, all I saw when I looked in the mirror was a distorted, grotesque monster. A reflection of the child who had been abused. Thanks to God, recovery, and all of the people who have helped me along the way, I am grateful to be able to serve and continue to grow in the community. Recovery continues to take me to new heights, and I hope to instill that hope in others along the way.

Recently I was asked to serve on the Executive Board for Project Heal SoCal Chapter. I was also asked to be the Volunteer Director for all of Southern California. It is a position I am proud to fulfill, and one that I hope to do for a long time. At Project Heal, we are committed to educating, raising awareness and funds for those suffering from eating disorders. In 2016 we will be holding workshops, speaking events, various fundraisers and our annual gala — all to inform the community about a devastating issue that affects more than 30,000,000 individuals.

I am also thrilled to announce that I am joining the Board of Directors of the Peaceful Hearts Foundation. They are doing tireless work in the realm of child sexual abuse, and as someone who was personally affected, I hope to further the mission of supporting, empowering and educating not only fellow sufferers, but the nation at large. More than 42,000,000 people have been damaged by child sexual abuse in America, but I want them to know that recovery is possible.

I couldn’t think of a better way to end 2015. I certainly couldn’t imagine a more fitting way to celebrate the holidays. Giving is what it’s all about.

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose

Stories of Hope: An Interview with Nikki DuBose

“This is part of a series featuring individuals who share their life experiences with mental health issues. Recently, I asked writer and mental health advocate Nikki DuBose about her history of mental health issues and her current advocacy work.”

Read Nikki’s interview on davidsusman.com

 

 

 

Supporting Others in Recovery from Bulimia Through a Mentoring Program

“If it weren’t for the continuous support of my online mentor, Monica, I’d probably be dead. After seventeen years of binge eating, bulimia and anorexia, I’d blown through all the money I had made as a successful fashion model. For most of my adult life I didn’t have insurance, and receiving care at a treatment center appeared to be out of the question. When my anorexia and bulimia were at their worst, I was afraid to continue showing my face in twelve-step meetings, so I sought help online.

 

Online. I felt hopeless – could this possibly work? I prayed as I spilled out my soul in the message to a Christian group and hit the “send” button, and surprisingly, within a few hours, I had a response. Not only was Monica understanding, but her words were infused with love and confidence. She had faith in my recovery, no questions asked.”

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.

 

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.

 

Spanish Fashion, Street Style

In the streets (los calles) of Spain. Shot by Pablo Riccardulli.
XOXO
God Bless the World
Nikki DuBose