- Friends & Family
submitted by: Susanne Johnson
“My first drug of choice was sugar,” states London. You would have never guessed that by looking at the former Miss California, but it is true. She started with an eating disorder in the form of unbelievable cravings for sugar, which was followed by marijuana, alcohol and pain pills (which she began using for pain and didn’t realize were a dangerous drug at the time).
Her addiction for sugar started at the age of seven. She started drinking in the summer of eighth grade, followed directly by marijuana. She was fortunate enough of being a student athlete at the time and that kept her a little bit at a path for some time. “It was a problem in high school already, but it didn’t consume me yet. It began to consume me in college,” London explains.
London was born and raised in Northern California. She had a younger sibling, born with Down syndrome and who was also diagnosed with leukemia at the age of three. On top of this, her sister was born with only a one-chamber heart and underwent multiple heart surgeries very early in her life. London was seven at this time; the worries and attention about her sister were too much for her parents’ marriage and they got divorced.
London and her sister stayed with their mother. London’s mother spent a lot of time in the hospital with London’s sister, while London used the time to make money. “I had time, I had a bike and I wanted sugar,” she says. She was stealing for sweets, trading her toys for sweets and she remembers getting so high and hyper on sugar that other parents didn’t even want her to come over anymore. After being high, she usually crashed and got moody. She remembers being so desperate to get sugar into her system before school one day that she tried to eat some licorice very fast and pulled out one of her baby teeth doing so.
At the age of eleven, she broke her tailbone and was out of school for three months for her recovery. The district sent her a private tutor to the house. While she could not make it to school, she was on prescribed pain medication at home. That’s how her addiction for opiates got started. But somehow later on in life, she tried also cocaine, molly and more, but somehow felt that synthetic drugs never gave her the feeling she was chasing. She always came back to weed and alcohol, which gave her the feeling and the head change she was seeking.
There was never alcohol in the home when London grew up. She had a sleepover with friends in her home and they drank bottles of straight liquor with no ice and no mixers. London was brutally sick the next morning, she remembers. While being intoxicated, she had this brilliant idea to save the bottles, where each of the girls had written their “message in a bottle” and stuck them inside to cherish them forever.
London kept them in her pajama drawer until her mom found them shortly after. London still defended her actions as being normal teenage behavior of someone in ninth grade since she didn’t drink alone, but together with her friends. “I did not know anything about alcoholism or the twelve steps at this time. As I went to college, I was proud to be an alcoholic,” London states. The first time she looked at her own drinking was at the age of 19, when a friend got killed in a drunken driving accident. She stopped for three-months but continued again. She stopped for her friend, not for herself.
A breakup at age 23 caused her to fall into a depression and the use of alcohol and pills combined with an unhealthy diet took a toll on her health and she ended up in a hospital, where they almost removed her entire colon. “My body was quitting before my mind was even aware of a problem,” London says. A period of eights month living in sobriety, but without a program and being miserable followed this hospitalization and soon she was back into using and drinking.
Years later, she found herself thinking about driving off of a cliff in a total depression, while her sister was fighting again for her life with heart problems. It brought a change to London’s life and she realized how selfish she had been acting in the past. She detoxed on her own again and made it for a month until she realized that in order to succeed she needed sober friends in her life and reached out to the people in a 12-step meeting. I didn’t take her long to find out that she wanted what these people had.
She was not overweight, but she was unhealthy and she started a more active and healthy lifestyle and got engaged in the community of Venice Beach. She did a lot of paddle boarding and did a commercial for it. Then she got nominated for the Miss California US pageant. She was very flattered but also scared. She accepted the nomination and won. She continued to the Miss United States election, where she became Miss Congeniality, while her sister with Down syndrome was sitting proudly in one of the first rows. This development helped her early sobriety as she clearly could see that anything good that happened in her life was a direct result of her sobriety.
She then lived in Malibu, worked as a model, in marketing for a fashion designer, and for a while as a bartender in sobriety. She still had these jobs from her drinking times and could not give them up right away since she had a financial obligation to her family. It took her several years, but now she got a job doing marketing and outreach for a company in the treatment industry, where she can finally work in an environment that she is passionate about.
‘HOW’ – Honesty, Open-Mindedness and Willingness, are for London the key attributes for her recovery, which brought her where she is today.