Thursday, August 18, 2022

Le’Andria Johnson Talks Alcoholism and Her Journey to Sobriety

Le'Andria Johnson attends the 2017 Soul Train Awards, presented by BET, at the Orleans Arena on November 5, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Nov. 4, 2017 - Source: Leon Bennett/Getty Images North America)
Le’Andria Johnson attends the 2017 Soul Train Awards, presented by BET, at the Orleans Arena on November 5, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
(Source: Leon Bennett/Getty Images North America)

*Gospel singer Le’Andria Johnson is known for being extremely transparent when it comes to her personal life.

She previously opened up about her longtime struggle with substance abuse and frequently appeared on social media, drinking, cursing and speaking against the church. 

In order to address her issues and put her demons to rest, Johnson sat down with Iyanla Vanzant for her show “Iyanla Fix My Life,” back in March. Most recently, she dished with MadameNoire about what she gained from the therapy session, her rehab stint and what the road to sobriety.

Read excerpts from the interview below.

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MadameNoire: The last time we saw you was on “Iyanla Fix My Life” and I just wanted to know what made you reach out to be on the show?

Le’Andria Johnson: Well I, personally didn’t reach out. Donald Lawrence reached out to Iyanla and my record label followed through with that. I didn’t have a clue that that was going on but I kind of respected the fact that they did that. I was like alright.

How did you feel the process went, with everything that happened?

I felt like the process, in the beginning, I didn’t know where she would be coming from, I didn’t know what kind of energy she would have. But I found out, she didn’t need any thing from me. She was just there to offer support. It kept me interested to see what’s next.

At one point, I know you were thinking about walking away from the process. What was going through your mind at that time?

Well, you know she had me face my truth. And it’s one thing for you to know your truth and it’s another thing for someone to tell you your truth in front of your face with no shame, no fear. And that’s exactly what she did. She made me realize we call ourselves a lot of things everyday—who we think we are and this is what we stand for. But do you really hold up to that. She made me think about a lot things, being a woman. She said some things I didn’t like. So I was like—you know the word. I’m out. But she came back. She didn’t give up. She came back and said basically, trust the process. You cannot keep doing what you’ve been doing. You can’t get mad and leave. You’re going to have to face it this time. I listened to her. And something on the inside of me was like, ‘You know what, you’re going to have to trust this process.’ And I kept moving along.

Do you feel like alcohol impeded on your relationship with God?

I feel like alcohol impeded on my life other than just God, my family, my children, my career. Alcohol was first and I was second. So you can imagine what else that was a part of my life that was third, fourth, fifth and sixth. It was first priority.

I know you went to rehab afterward. Are you still in rehab and how was that for you?

I went to a 30-day rehab treatment and I completed those thirty days. And it’s amazing because it’s not only dealing with my drug of choice, it’s dealing with other triggers I’m aware of. It was very needed. And a lot of people in our community, unfortunately, don’t seek getting help a lot. It allowed me to see my condition from a different perspective and everybody else’s condition from a different perspective as well.

Iyanla said that you made some valid points about your thoughts on the church. And I think anybody who has been in the church community and is awake and paying attention can realize that you did make some valid points about the Black church community. So I’m wondering how you feel about the gospel industry and church at this point in your life?

I have to realize that a lot of what’s going on is taught from our forefathers. It really takes a strong person to be able to get out of a in some churches a demanding situation. It takes a really, really strong person. With Jesus, we learned from him because he was just like us. And I grew up in the church and I dealt with this all of my life. And I just got fed up. A lot of people say the same things I said but they don’t have a platform to be able to speak to a larger audience. I happen to have a name. Even though I was not trying to purposely do it—but I guess when you put something on a live— but I’m very cautious now about where I go, certain gigs I take. I’m very cautious to say yes. Because I know that there are some things that I still have to deal with. But in all fairness, I try to smile more than really give my opinion. I’m learning that there is a way. I was drinking. I was angry about the death of my brother. So I discombobulated. So that particular time was not the best time to vent. But now, I’ll be able to speak from a clear head, a clear mind. So that it can be relatable. I still feel the same way but in this particular case, it would be a little less harsh—as Iyanla said, ‘Less venom.’ And they’ll be able to hear me now and hear the message as opposed to the other side.

Well, talk to me about that what are some things you’re able to enjoy now that you’re sober?

Oh wow! Time with myself. I’m able to say no now without any hesitation. For the life of me, I’m still trying to figure out how did I let certain things happen? How did I let that be a part of my life? My kids. My kids they have a joke now, “They say Mommy, we like this you. Yes we do but it’s like we can’t get away with anything anymore. When you was drinking and you went to sleep, we could ask you for anything and you’d say yeah. But now, you wake up and you say, ‘No, what do you want? What do you want that for? Where are you getting ready to go? Get back in there.’ You’re on point. And I’m like, ‘Uhh got dog what was I doing?’ But that is so funny to me. It’s really so funny. And then watching my kids’ reactions to a lot of things. They know it’s been seven months for mommy but every now and then, they’ll look out the corner of their eyes to see what I’m going to order, see what kind of drink I’m going to get. It be funny to me though. I told y’all I’m seven months, that’s not enough? And they’re like, ‘You know mom, you know it is. But we don’t want you to you know…” That’s so interesting for me to see. And it also lets me know how much of an effect I had on them when I was drinking.

Read her full interview here.

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is an entertainment reporter with over 15 years of experience working in the film industry in areas including production and post-production, marketing, distribution, and acquisitions. She has worked for legendary film producer Roger Corman, Quentin Tarantino's production team at Miramax, the late Larry Flynt, MTV/ VH1, Hallmark Channel, Paramount, Jim Henson Co., Parade Magazine, and various LA-based companies representing above-the-line talent.

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