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X-Rated to G-Rated Lifestyle

An autobiography by Kandi Rose
Shepherds Rose Publishing

The message on my e-mail on a late August morning read in part, “I’m a former stripper and prostitute who had multiple addictions and once owned my own Strip-O-Gram business in the Chicago area.” It sought my public support for her autobiography, “X-Rated to G-Rated Life Style” and concluded, “whatever your answer, I will take as God’s will.” It was signed “Kandi Rose.”

Kandi, who operates a Thrift Store in a small Arkansas town, had picked up a copy of the One Day at a Time newspaper at a Celebrate Recovery meeting in Russellville, she said, and it prompted her to contact me. She described herself as an “evangelist, author and radio host.”

I subsequently learned from her brochure that “Kandi has various ways of presenting the word of God. She does illustrated sermons using drama, costumes, singing and even praise dancing,” for example.

Kandi has appeared on the Victory Television Network (VTN) with Jeanne Caldwell (whose husband Happy Caldwell is pastor in Little Rock’s Agape church) and hosts two radio programs on Saturdays.

Needless to say, I was intrigued by her message and quickly e-mailed back that I would like to get together and hear her story and within a few days she drove down to see me, bringing her two teenage grandchildren over whom she has custody.

She arrived at dusk with an armload of books and pamphlets and after we settled two very well behaved kids in front of the TV, Kandi and I stationed ourselves at the kitchen table with a pot of coffee. She had begun talking as soon as she came in, and there were no lulls.

Kandi, 60, who bears the scars of her life on the streets, including tattoos on her fingers, has been clean and sober for 19 years, and her story of addiction and recovery is powerful. She tells it unsparingly, sprinkling it with frequent references, delivered with uncompromising zeal, to the saving powers of Jesus Christ and His love.

I am partial to testimonials. How people recover from addictions are powerful motivators for those who are struggling—“if he (or she) can do it, I can do it!” And the deeper the descent into degradation and enslavement, the more impressive the recovery.


Sexual abuse

As is tragically so often the case, childhood abuse was a factor in Kandi’s story. She was sexually abused by her father.

“One of my earliest memories,” she writes in her book,  “is of me on a potty chair and my daddy messing with me. He performed a sexual activity on me that wasn’t just touching but yet not the actual act itself.”

When she was 10, her father tried to rape her, constantly exposed himself to her and kept her quiet with various forms of intimidation. Among other things, he said if her mother ever found out what was going on it would kill her.

When she was 11 Kandi began smoking cigarettes and in the months and years that followed she became addicted to a variety of drugs, mainlining some of them. On the streets of Chicago, she learned how to fight and hustle unwary opponents in pool halls, and also became a go go dancer, nude model, prostitute and high priced call girl.

The downhill slide had really begun when she dropped out of school.

“When I turned 16, I quit school. I was in the last half of my junior year. Things went from bad to worse. I got involved in a gang for a short time and started drinking wine in alleys, sniffing airplane glue from brown lunch bags and getting into fights with gang members.

“…I eventually started drinking whiskey and beer, smoking pot, taking downer pills and speed and shooting up with desoxyn. Later on, cocaine briefly entered my life, but I had a bad experience with it and quit using it.”

Before she ended her destructive ways at age 35, Kandi had given birth to four children (under unbelievably harsh circumstances and sired by different fathers) and become a businesswoman who founded a Strip-O-Gram service—sort of like the old singing telegram but with strippers.

Actually it began with Kandi showing up at a birthday or some other occasion in costume—sometimes as a vampire, sometimes as Little Bo Peep, and sometimes as a bride, for example—with a bodyguard. Over a half hour routine she would end up taking all her clothes off. Pretty soon she was hiring others, both male and female, to do the stripping. Kandi also produced and acted in nightclub acts


The event

Then came the event that finally changed her life.

“One night I received a phone call, and I thought my children were going to have to go to a foster home. Well, this was more than I could bear. I needed peace to deal with this and my mind went to my mom who always had peace and joy no matter what she went through (her mother had become a Christian later in life and married a Christian man).

“My awesome step dad is an amazing man of God who always showed acts of kindness even though I had such an evil lifestyle. The unconditional love they extended ultimately showed me God’s love. Now I realize what had transpired. My precious savior was wooing me by his Holy Spirit and telling me to reflect on my parent’s lives.”

The text of “X-Rated to G-Rated Lifestyle” unabashedly expresses the evangelical zeal which motivates Kandi Rose, and some may find her repetitive style and frequent use of all-caps to make a point distracting. But in this classic battle of good against evil it is comforting to see once again what 12 Steppers have always known, that in true recovery God wins.

The cost of Kandi’s book is $16 including tax, shipping and handling and you can buy it on her website,