How Alcoholics Led Me to Living My Dreams!
One doesn’t get to choose how one is raised, nor do we choose who raises us. We learn young to cope and survive when we don’t have the best role models. Luckily, I was an independent and strong-willed child, but growing into adulthood amongst a slew of alcoholic role models required me to find extra tools in my spiritual bag of tricks. From a small town in northern Nevada, I grew up with two father-figures and a grandfather who preferred drinks over a healthy family.
After my mother’s second divorce, I was sixteen. At her suggestion, she sent me to an Alateen meeting to find solace in her realization of the devastating pattern our family needed to repair. Some teenagers might have kicked and screamed while defying such a request to spill out painful alcoholic memories in front of a bunch of teenaged strangers. I DID find peace and comfort in those rooms. So much so that I continued to go back every week and, through those meetings, found the strength and independence to move away and start fresh on the East Coast.
As I finished high school and started college, I continued going to Alateen, then Al-Anon where I met lifelong friends and acquired coping skills that I still have thanks to those rooms. Over the years, I also battled food issues and joined Overeaters anonymous. The Twelve Step recovery program is highly responsible for me becoming the person I am today, but there are things that are beautifully and innately built inside of us, regardless of our childhood circumstances.
I was always a writer, a performer, and always tapped into my creative side, which drove me to be better, stronger, and a survivor. That creative force also made me a naturally happy and optimistic person. Since my early teens I’ve kept journals, written stories and plays and, in high school and college, I performed in my original creations. I spent my twenties in San Francisco and Los Angeles honing my craft in the arts with dreams of my own production company. In 1999, I came to New York City to fill a long-time dream of starting a theatrical company, with zealousness, twenty-three cents in the bank, and a few script ideas. Now, seventeen years later, I have produced ten original Off-Broadway scripts and over 250 performances cumulatively.
In 2016, I had a unique idea to pay homage to my Twelve Step family by creating a comedic, spiritual, and light-hearted musical that would equally inspire, entertain, and educate my recovery community and the general populace about the effects of addiction and recovery. Through the power of song and both heavy and comedic dialogue, my latest creation 12 Steps, the Musical, reveals all levels of the journey, from the disdain to the divine! I am excited to bring this original piece to the Off Broadway stage September 19th-25th for its debut performance in New York City. It’s been a long time coming that someone theatrically tackled the Twelve Step program in a such way that it can be universally understood and revered for what it is.
The story follows Graham Chili, a boy from Texas who has just moved to New York City to follow his dreams as a Wall Street stockbroker by day and a cabaret singer by night. Fresh off the bus, and looking to make friends and connect with his new surroundings, he enters a Manhattan Mega church in Times Square in search of the choir practice room. Instead, he erroneously stumbles upon four different twelve step meetings in the basement that divert his attention, inspire his love life, and create new friends and life realizations!
Featuring songs such as Higher Power, Making Amends, and We Are All One, this new toe-tapping, feel good musical is material never before presented in such an ingenious style. The cast and I are proud and excited to finally bring this show to the stage.
Today I am grateful for the life I was given, and the circumstances in which gave me the drive to not only do what I love, but to share what I do with the world, because and FOR my recovery and I hope to share with YOU, this journey and see you at the show! For more information and tickets, visit www.12StepsMusical.com.
Elise Maurine Milner is a playwright, producer, and a twelve-stepper! Check out her Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/events/519684578218195/