Frankie Grande is marking one year of sobriety — and honoring the occasion by sharing a letter he’s written exclusively with PEOPLE. After turning to alcohol and drugs to cope with the trauma of the bombing that left 22 people dead during his sister Ariana‘s concert in Manchester, England last May, Grande has sought help and turned his life around.
In his letter, the 35-year-old describes how he got his health back after crawling into “a very dark place.”
“Today I am one year sober… and the gratitude that I feel in the face of this milestone is measureless. After the tragic events of Manchester, with the senseless loss of life and the fear that came from knowing my family was unsafe and that I was completely powerless to protect them, I went to a very dark place with no tools to handle the feelings that came along with the devastation of the attack. I tried to pull myself out of the darkness by drinking and abusing prescribed drugs as I had done in the past for so many other reasons… but that only made the hole that I was trying to crawl out of even deeper.
The party life that had once given me so much confidence and comfort had turned into a nightmare where I never felt more alone. I remember lying on my bathroom floor after a night of drunken debauchery believing my life had reached the point where living was just too painful and I was envisioning any way to stop the constant torment… I finally had the courage to ask for help. I got help… and I am here today because with that help I discovered that the path to the light was not in drowning my sorrows, but in facing them head on… in sobriety.
I am here today as an example to all that have gone through a personal hell or are going through it right now, whatever that hell might be for you, that you can become whole again. In fact, you can become STRONGER than you ever thought possible. I am a new man, and the man you see before you is the one I was always meant to be. This decision to be sober is a lifetime decision. I live without needing a drink or a drug to change the way I feel or perceive my circumstances and outcomes. I have repaired relationships I previously thought unsalvageable and I am living my best TRUEST life. I have never been happier. I have never been healthier. I have never been so free.
So let’s all celebrate my one year of sobriety together… may it be the first of many… and if you have ever found yourself in a cycle of depression where you are drinking and/or using to excess and you believe that there is no way out I am here to tell you there is help out there! You are ABSOLUTELY NOT ALONE!”
Nearly one week after the Manchester attack on May 22, 2017, Grande took to social media to speak out about the tragedy in a series of tweets.
“My prayers, thoughts, meditations & strength has been focused on those families and victims affected by the horrific tragedy in Manchester,” he wrote in his initial tweet.
He added in a pair of follow-up posts: “I echo my sister’s sentiment & say we can’t allow hate to propagate hate & fear to propagate fear … but rather come together & spread a message of love, unity, & empowement [sic].”
“& so I say, as I have before, shine bright, & when evil comes 2drown out your light, 3throw shade over your beautiful soul, shine brighter!” Grande continued, before ending his thoughts by sharing a fundraising page for the families of the victims, writing, “I love you all so very much and thank you for your strength during this incredibly difficult time.”