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Aug15ThuActress Janine Turner was a blackout drinker until she reached up and took the hand of God August 15, 2013 by Jayne Thurber-Smith
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- Faith & Friends
With her expressive eyes and dazzling smile, who can fathom that actress Janine Turner ever heard a “no” from any producer or director? Who wouldn't have wanted to put her in their movie or TV show—in every scene, if possible?
But according to Janine's account of her hard-earned success, before landing her breakthrough role as Maggie O'Connell in the popular sitcom Northern Exposure, there were 10 years of doors being coldly slammed in her face.
“Thousands of auditions,” she remembers. “Thousands and thousands of nos. 'You're not tall enough ... smart enough … thin enough … fat enough.' Whatever it was, it was always something.
“And as I was dealing with what I like to call my '10,000 nos,' ” she continues, “I started to drink.”
Twelve Steps to Sobriety
In her early 20s, after a failed relationship, a devastated Janine took a good hard look at herself. What she saw was a blackout drinker.
“I would be functioning, but I wouldn't know what I was doing,” she says. “What I believe is that though the devil was trying to get me down, God wouldn't let him. I had been baptized when I was a child and knew God was with me, but I had ended up on the dark side for a while with my drinking.”
With the help of God and a 12-step program, Janine became sober. She calls it nothing short of a miracle.
“A light bulb finally went on in my head,” she states. “On my journey to sobriety, my knees would shake, and I'd be in horrible black holes, but I'd show up anyways. That's a big part of the Christian journey. I received strength, courage, enlightenment, the call to walk into those rooms and get help. It's not an easy thing to stay sober.”
Janine finally admitted to herself that she was powerless and had to give her alcoholism over to God.
“This is a disease only God can overcome,” she says, “and it's only by giving it over to God that I can stay sober. It's based on forgiveness and inner healing. There's no pill, no other cure. I believe God is in those support rooms. Many recovering alcoholics talk about being on their knees every morning before facing the day.”
She realized that her addiction, seemingly the worst thing that she thought could have happened to her, was really the best thing.
“Until I'd been in those deep dark holes and reached up for the hand of God, I couldn't really know who I was as a person,” she says. “God proved I could rely on Him. He wouldn't give up on me. He didn't give up before I got my miracle. I'm so grateful for what He did. Because of God I can always keep going, and I can believe in the promise of hope and everlasting life to come.”
Sober but still a struggling actress, Janine fell into another “deep dark hole” as she continued to face rejection at numerous auditions. At the age of 25, was she washed up?
“These were personal rejections,” she explains. “As an actress it's not your work being attacked, it's the way you look. I almost gave up. I was hopeless, exhausted, had $8 left. I was walking through a dark tunnel but I could almost see a light. I cried to God, 'Why is this happening?' Then I knew something new was going to happen. Eighty percent of success is just showing up. In order to do that, holding on to your faith is so important.”
Then she went to audition for a little pilot called Northern Exposure. Janine pauses to take a deep breath, mentally reliving the life-altering event. After all those “nos,” she got the “yes” that counted.
The award-winning sitcom dealing with the quirky residents of the fictional town of Cicely, Alaska, rapidly became a fan and media favourite.
“It changed my whole life,” she says. “If I hadn't had God to pull me out of the black holes, if I hadn't been sober, it never would have happened. When I look back on my life journey, I realize that so often I just saw the threads, and not the blanket. God sees the whole blanket. I'm realizing God sees eternity and our lives in perspective.”
Janine now hosts her own live two-hour talk show on KLIF (AM) in Dallas, which is also accessible online.
“I love the radio show,” she says. “It can be nerve-wracking and challenging but I love the adrenaline rush. As an actress you're the mouthpiece for someone else's words, whereas this—for better or worse—is all my ideas.
“Life constantly presents different hills and valleys,” she goes on to say. “As long as my faith is paramount, the trajectory is always upward. There are times that you have to reach up for God's hand to make the next step. I love reading the Bible and meditating on it. That's when God talks to me, and then in prayer I talk to God. It's all part of finding my purpose. It's amazing.”
Janine shares her source of hope with others, encouraging them to stand strong and believe in themselves despite the “nos” they hear.
“Don't let anyone put out your flame,” she advises. “When I do inspirational speaking across the country, I say God's given us this light and we can't give others the power to put it out. When I hit a roadblock, I know it's not rejection from that person but it's God redirecting my life.”
He can turn any “no” into a “yes.”