From an early age, singer Belinda Carlisle began searching for what she wanted out of life. After years struggling with her weight and drug addiction despite a successful music career, she began seeking not what she wanted, but what she needed.
Read an excerpt of the book below, and then head to the "GMA" Library to find more good reads.
Heaven Is a Place on Earth
For much of my life, I felt like my fate was determined before I stepped into a recording studio, sang a song, or even thought about the Go-Go's -- long before I joined Hollywood's punk scene in the mid-1970s.
When I was twelve years old, I was a mixed-up, restless little girl living in Thousand Oaks, a working-class area in Los Angeles's West San Fernando Valley. My stepdad had a drinking problem, my mom was on the verge of a nervous breakdown, and I was teased as being fat and stupid. I was neither, but at that age, the facts didn't matter. I hated my life and wanted something better.
I came home one day from a friend's house holding a book that seemed like it might help me change my life. I hid it under my sweatshirt and went straight to my bedroom. I felt a tingle of excitement as I slipped it out and looked at the cover: "The Satanic Bible" by Anton LaVey. I read bits and pieces, and although I understood very little of the author's rant against Christianity, I focused on terms like "exorcism," "evil," and "black magic," thinking I could find out how to cast spells and take control of my life.
This wasn't the first book I'd read on the subject, but it got me in the mood to finally try to cast a spell. I slid a box out from under my bed and removed the contents I had assembled earlier: brewed tea leaves, oak twigs, string, and a candle. I arranged them in front of me as I'd seen in a different book. I chanted some words and called on the invisible powers of the universe to give my life the excitement I felt it lacked and everything else I wanted.
What did I want?
I asked myself that question for most of my life. As a kid, I wanted out of my house, a place of much torment and trouble. The punk scene became my refuge, my safe haven, the forgiving, understanding world where I could be anything I wanted -- in my case, a rock star. After I became a rock star, I still didn't know what I wanted. Finally, many years later, I began to realize I had been asking the wrong question.
It was actually one night in 2005 when I finally came clean with myself, when I asked what it was I needed, not what I wanted. I had gone to London for business, but spent three straight days locked in my hotel room, doing cocaine. I went on the biggest binge of my life, which is saying something considering I had used, boozed, and abused for thirty years. When I looked at my eyes in the mirror, I didn't see anyone looking back at me. The lights were out. I was gone.
It scared me -- yet I didn't stop until I had an extraordinarily frightening out-of-body experience where I saw myself overdosing and being found dead in the hotel room. I saw the whole thing happen, and I knew that if I kept doing coke, I was going to die.
At that moment I shut my eyes, and when I opened them again I made the decision I had put off for much too long. I opened myself up to life. I appreciated the good, faced the bad, and began to find the things I needed.