'Voice' Winner Alisan Porter: How the Former Child Star Got Her Fairytale Ending After Battling Alcoholism

"I turned away from the dark side and I have been infinitely blessed with my family and my children and now a career," Porter tells PEOPLE exclusively

Photo: Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

When Alisan Porter first stepped onto the stage to audition for The Voice, she never imagined she would be taking home the crown just a few months later.

“It never is the fairytale ending,” she tells PEOPLE exclusively. “I never really thought they were going to call my name. It’s always like, ‘Oh, I wish.'”

But since she sang her first song on NBC’s hit singing competition, Porter has continued to win over America both with her soulful voice and with her emotional journey to happiness.

RELATED VIDEO: Alisan Porter Is Crowned Season 10 Winner of The Voice

After finding success as a child after starring in the romantic comedy Curly Sue, the rising star’s life took a scary turn when she struggled with alcoholism in her early adult years.

“There are moments everybody has where they think, ‘Gosh, my life sucks and I feel like crap and I don’t know if I’m ever going to be able to get myself out of that place,'” says Porter, 34, who’s celebrating nine years of sobriety this year.

While she admits “nothing’s perfect” and she still has “bad days,” Porter’s focus on her family – her husband Brian Autenrieth, 38, and their two adorable children, Mason, 3½, and Aria, 2 – keeps her on the right path.

“When I look at my life, I know I have what I have because I’m sober and because I turned away from the places I could’ve gone,” she says. “I turned away from the dark side and I have been infinitely blessed with my family and my children and now a career.”

For much more on Alisan Porter and her plans for the future, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

Looking forward to the future, the newly crowned season 10 winner is taking advantage of the platform The Voice provided her.

“I feel like this is the last piece of the puzzle I never was sure I would get,” she says. “In 34 years and honestly 30 years of trying, I have never been signed to a major label, I have never made an album in that type of way and I never had the opportunity to potentially be someone in the music business.”

Adds the singer: “I’ve envisioned it and tried to manifest it for decades and for it to be here, I’m holding it. I’m shining the diamond.”

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