You can’t tell it by looking at her, but behind R&B singer Lil’ Mo’s smile, colorful fashion and the powerful voice that has delivered hits such as ”Superwoman” and “4Ever,” is a woman who battled drugs and alcohol abuse for six years beginning in 2001. For the first time ever she is opening up to the public about the years of substance abuse. She admits that the primary reasons for her abuse were her unhappiness with her career, her difficult marriage and the lack of guidance in the cutthroat music industry.
“Everything was [happening] so fast and I didn’t know how to handle it without a strong team around me. I was losing who I wanted to be. After I took off the makeup, the mask, the Giuseppes, the outfit, the Body Magic or Spanx and when I had to look at myself in the mirror, I wasn’t happy with who I was turning out to be. Between the tumultuous marriage …. the drugs and the drinking, everything was just a mess,” she says.
Lil’ Mo’s depression led to drug binges and excessive alcohol consumption, which nearly ruined her career and life.
“I was literally becoming an intervention candidate. I did anything I could get my hands on except for crack and heroin. We were pretty much out there between the wake and bakes; going to bed high and waking up high and on ecstasy. As far as drinking, I was on a liquor tour so we had cases of it. I would drink myself literally under the bus,” Mo says.
It wasn’t until her new husband, gospel recording artist Phillip Bryant, confronted her about her self-destructive behavior, and she realized the impact her substance abuse could have on her children, that Lil’ Mo was able to quit cold turkey.
“I know that a lot of my sins will follow my children and kids are not dumb. They really sense stuff. So the temptation is [lessened] by the fact [that] I have my kids around and I don’t want them catching me out there,” she says.
Lil’ Mo is walking in the light of a new day, as she is more focused than ever on working and finishing her comeback album, Tattoos & Roses: The Rebellion Against My Pain, which is slated for release later this year. Still, she hasn’t forgotten the struggle she went through with substance abuse and makes it a point to share her story to inspire others.
“I see these young kids where they hang out smoking and drinking. So I speak at these panels and it’s so much going on in their lives today. I know I can’t save everybody, but I’ll try to pull as many from the fire as I can,” she says. –souleo