Ester Nicholson

Recovery Coach • Author • Speaker • Recording Artist

Walking back from the crack dealer’s house was always the hard part. With her seven year-old in tow, no promise of “never again” could convince. Even seven-year-olds know better than that.

Fast forward to another life and a higher purpose: Walking off the stage at Madison Square Garden after singing with Rod Stewart, Bette Midler, Beyonce’ or Barbra Streisand—and having her life story featured on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).

Ester Nicholson, daughter of a Baptist minister, renowned vocalist, former addict, teacher and author of Soul Recovery – 12 Keys to Healing Dependence – finally realized what her healing called her to: A mission worth living for.

Soul Recovery, the process that Ms. Nicholson developed to heal herself of a life-threatening addiction unifies the 12 Steps of Recovery with universally accepted spiritual practices—and has guided thousands to their recovery and higher purpose.

In keynote speeches, retreats, workshops, staff trainings and more, Ester shares the stories, inspirations and lessons-learned that led to her transforming journey from addiction and domestic violence to healing, serenity and success.

In the process, she challenges all of us to a far-reaching reexamination of how addiction and dependence takes root and how it can be overcome and ultimately healed.

“So much of what progresses to dependence starts with how we ‘identify.’ Growing to adulthood is a messy process as we discover who we are. Our identities are forged through life experience and we selectively identify with the experiences that give us a sense of security. That does not always create a positive sense of self—resulting in challenges ranging from feelings of unworthiness to substance abuse.”

By addressing addiction and dependence on this more foundational level, Ms. Nicholson finds that people respond more powerfully to the central 12-Step principles, the forgiveness of others, a deep sense of compassion for themselves and a practical system they can engage in.

“Joining 12-Step process and accountability within the context of a compassionate, spiritual practice offers a profound opportunity for the treatment and management of addiction and dependence,” Ms. Nicholson states. “The work is so powerful and the results so stunning that it has become the focus of everything I do.”


“Rather than a book based on echoes of inspirational ideas. Ester Nicholson’s extraordinary work is a sharing of personal experience as she moves from the darkness of futility to a rebirth of new life. This adventure of Soul Recovery follows a pathway of healing light with twelve keys as spiritual stepping- stones. It’s a glorious journey in reshaping the mind for greater oneness with the Holiness within–and as that happens, miracles follow. Highly recommended.” – John Randolph Price, Bestselling author and Chairman of the Quartus Foundation

“In this book, Ester Nicholson captures the power and promise of forgiveness for a community that desperately needs it. She shows how to expand the 12-Step process into a comprehensive spiritual teaching. I strongly recommend this book for anyone seeking their own Soul Recovery.” – Colin Tipping, Award-winning author of Radical Forgiveness

“Soul Recovery is a Godsend of compassionate understanding, grit and grace known by one who has victoriously walked the path.” – Michael Bernard Beckwith, Founder of Agape International Spiritual Center and author of Life Visioning

“Ester Nicholson has all the essential qualities of greatness– a unique tone, wonderful phrasing, emotional flexibility and passion. In a nutshell the girl’s got soul!” – Rod Stewart, Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter and member of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

“If you are searching for how to renew your mind and engage your spirit to move beyond white-knuckling being clean and sober, open this book and let it take you down a path to power, wholeness, and rich sustaining life.” – Stan Stokes MS, LPC, CAC, Founder & President of Bridging the Gaps, an Integrative Addictions Treatment Center

“Ester’s life is one of transformation and redemption. In her hauntingly honest narrative about a life transformed and heartbreak transcended, she gives readers the 12 Keys to do this in their own lives.” – Julie Silver, MD, Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School and author of You Can Heal Yourself

“Soul Recovery shows that true and lasting happiness comes from a deeper understanding of one’s Self and a deeper wellspring of being.” – Velvet Mangan, CEO of Safe Harbor Treatment Centers for Women

“Ester Nicholson, wow, I was blown away. As the Oncology Resource Coordinator for Blessing Cancer Center, I attended the afternoon session celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness in October of 2008. I went to this event with some enthusiasm, but little expectation, and then Ester came on stage. She is lovely, down to earth and an amazing artist. She weaved her life story so beautifully and with heartfelt emotion during the hour of her keynote and performance. Looking around the audience, it was very apparent that they were as captivated as I was. I highly recommend her as a motivational speaker and artist for your event.” – Cheryl Hintz, RN BSN OCN Oncology Resource Coordinator Blessing Hospital, Quincy, IL

“I had the distinct pleasure of having Ester Nicholson as my keynote speaker for the annual luncheon/fundraiser for the United Way of Williamson County women’s group. We had about 400 in attendance and Ester was not only captivating with her energy and talent but she was also very inspirational in delivering her message. Ester was extremely easy to work with in preparing for the event and made it a priority to make sure that her message was one that would resonate with the audience to whom she was speaking. Her beautiful voice and heartfelt message through her song was a wonderful gift to those in attendance and a rare addition that most event goers don’t expect.” – Ann Buchanan, President/CEO United Way of Nashville, TN

“Our community was so immensely moved by Ester’s performance that we continue to be asked about her return. Ms. Nicholson has displayed a high degree of integrity, purpose, and faith. In addition to her excellent musical accomplishments, she has proven her ability to inspire people and reach out to the audience through her motivational talks and personal experience. Ms. Nicholson would be a positive element to any event, and I am happy to give her my wholehearted endorsement.” – Bonnie Kleissle, Administrative Director Blessing Hospital Cancer Program, Quincy, IL

“In the summer of 2009, Ester Nicholson, was our featured guest performing artist at the Jaywalker Lodge annual, Fourth of July Celebration. Ester was terrific as a workshop leader, performer and inspirational speaker. Clients at our treatment center who are now alumni living in the community often remind me of the morning talk where she shared her experience, strength and hope with clients struggling with addiction issues. Ester Nicholson is spiritual authenticity. Those who have met her, to a person, comment on her honesty and the all-embracing love she carries with her for the world and others. We cannot wait until she returns to grace our community with her presence again.” – Kim Nuzzo Director, Solutions Program Jaywalker Lodge Carbondale, Colorado

“In 2008, Ester Nicholson served as the featured “storyteller” for Renewal House’s main fundraising event, A Women’s Thanksgiving. Renewal House is a non-profit agency whose mission is to foster healing, resiliency and continuing recovery for women struggling with addiction and their children. Ester’s message and performance fulfilled our expectations and more. She did a beautiful job of combining stories of her personal journey with songs of hope and healing. She literally had the crowd on its feet as she concluded her performance.” – Jude White, Executive Director Renewal House, Nashville, TN

“To try and put into words the wonder and magic of Ester Nicholson is a difficult undertaking, but I will do my best. Ester Nicholson totally blew our congregation away with her music, her spirit and her open-heartedness. She is the real thing! She will not only feed the people who come to hear her sing, but she will touch their hearts with her spoken message as well. I highly, without hesitation, recommend her for your event, or your Sunday Services. I am a huge fan of her music myself, and will not miss an opportunity to have her at Unity of Pensacola anytime she can fit us into her growing schedule. You will not soon forget this remarkable woman who is changing lives through her dedication to Spirit. If you have any questions please feel free to call me. Blessings!” – Rev. Jamie Sanders Unity of Pensacola

“The first time I heard Ester Nicholson sing, I cried like a baby. The term Angelic is thrown around so easily, but when it comes to Ester, she truly does have the voice of an angel. This new CD of hers is so much fun to listen to, and has a healing quality rarely found in today’s music. I’m also thrilled that she recorded a song I wrote called “What Would Love Do Now”. I recommend this beautiful CD to anyone who loves good, soulful music and a powerful, moving vocalist combined.” – Brenda Russell, Grammy Nominated Recording Artis