My name is Gary Goldstein and I have learned through the school of life that “it all starts with the first step”. I was an A student who graduated college with honors, starred in several sports, was popular with girls, and had no problems achieving success in the business world. Even though I had accomplished so much in life, I was filled with low self-esteem and a lack of self-confidence for years. I felt that I wasn’t as good as everyone else, didn’t deserve the success I was enjoying, and would never be truly happy.
I am also the author of “Jew in Jail,” the factual story of the nearly six years I spent incarcerated in various state prisons in New York for robbery as a direct result of my past addictions to alcohol, drugs and gambling. Wanting to push my negative feelings away, I chose to self-medicate myself which lead to my addictions to alcohol, drugs and gambling. In 1989, due to an overdose, I came close to losing my life. But even that near-fatalexperience failed to get me to change; although I did take a short “break” from using. Spending six years in prison from 1998-2004 didn’t do the trick either.
It wasn’t until I woke up on October 31, 2007 – which, ironically, just happened to be Halloween – when I finally decided to seek help because it all starts with the first step. I attended an outpatient drug treatment program and chose to remain six months longer than required. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made!
While attending the program, I began to open up about my insecurities and about why I felt that I didn’t deserve to be successful in life. Writing and speaking about my feelings has been unbelievably therapeutic, and I want the person who is reading this right now to know that it is never a good idea to keep your feelings bottled up inside. I learned that there is nothing you cannot do if you put your heart and soul into it, remain persistent and dedicated, work hard, and see yourself reaching your desired goal. I am proud to say that today I serve as the chairman of the outpatient drug treatment program’s alumni committee, and speak to and counsel current clients in the program.
I am also a motivational and inspirational speaker on recovery from addiction. If you have ever lived with low self-esteem and a lack of self-confidence, then my story can most likely help. No matter what you might be thinking or going through at any particular time in your life, I can absolutely guarantee that someone else has already experienced the same thing. I certainly did! By sheer determination, dedication and perseverance, I eventually became that successful and complete person I was always meant to be. As I said, it all starts with that first step!
I went from being an overachiever to an underachieving alcoholic, drug addict and compulsive gambler who spent time behind bars. Rather than dwell on the past, and sulk over what might have been, I took the bull by the horns and actively went after everything I always wanted for myself. I have been transformed into someone who is passionate about living life to the fullest, while helping others along the way do the same.
So don’t be ashamed and embarrassed to reveal your innermost thoughts, because we are human and share similar feelings. Whether it is a family member, friend, therapist, or group full of strangers, we are all here to help one another. Once you do get the much needed help you may need, you can go on and show the world that you have unlimited potential, and can do anything you put your mind to. Everyone has greatness within themselves.
Your confidence and self-esteem will grow, you will look forward to getting up each and every morning to take on life, and people will notice the change in your attitude and behavior. It all starts with you and the choices you make:
• It all starts by taking that first step.
• Be the person you were always meant to be, because you deserve to be happy and live a fulfilled life.
• You are unique and were born with greatness, so take on the challenges life has to offer on a daily basis – there is no limit to how far your success will take you.
• Never be ashamed or afraid to ask for help if the need arises, as there might be some bumps along the way.
• Slowly, but surely, you will see that you can achieve anything you put your mind to and your confidence and self-esteem will soar.
• You have greatness in you; so don’t deprive yourself or the world of this special talent – your destiny awaits!
I start each day by first looking in the mirror and feeling happy with who I see. This positive confirmation helps me fuel my desire to continue on the path to success I have always deserved. I now know that there is no limit as to what I am capable of doing. I have a bucket list of all the things I enjoy and want to succeed at ~ I have chosen to reach for the stars!
“The only way of finding the limits of the possible
is by going beyond them into the impossible.” Arthur C. Clarke
About the Author:
I came into the world on October 18, 1961. John F. Kennedy was President of the United States. The film West Side Story was released, and would go on to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Major League Baseball was celebrating Roger Maris of the New York Yankees, who hit a then-record 61 home runs that season.
I was an excellent student, although a bit of a class clown too. I spent a majority of my time playing sports, but fell in love with newspapers, which was how I was initially introduced into writing and storytelling.
While attending Kingsborough Community College from 1979-1981, I served as editor-in-chief of
the school’s paper, and then joined the staff at Long Island University’s Seawanhaka for my junior and senior years. At L.I.U. where I earned my Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism in 1983, I was also a selected member of Sigma Delta Chi, as well as Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities & Colleges.
My last year in college included an unpaid internship at WCBS-TV, Channel 2 in New York City, where I learned so much about the television business. Upon graduation, I landed a job at the network, starting as a news clerk for The CBS Morning News with Diane Sawyer, and also weekend shifts for The NFL Today with Brent Musburger.
After quickly rising in the ranks to producer, my life suddenly went on a downward spiral due to addictions to alcohol, drugs and gambling, which ultimately led to nearly six years behind bars for robbery.
My time incarcerated gave birth to my first published book, Jew in Jail, which tells my true story of how I finally decided to deal with my addictions and turn my life around, all the while under the toughest conditions imaginable of being a minority in the prison system, forced to fend for myself.
Writing Jew in Jail – as I was doing my time – allowed me to become very introspective, and realize that I could help others in similar situations of being an addict and/or living with low self-esteem.
Today, I still reside in my hometown of Brooklyn, New York, where I am working on my next book project, continuing to promote Jew in Jail, and always helping other addicts through my motivational and inspirational speeches, and one-on-one consultations.
You may contact me at Gman18NYC@aol.com for signed copies of Jew in Jail, questions or comments, or to come speak.