One of the greatest gifts that I have ever been given, is the ability to bare my soul in front of people. My life experiences, with the passage of time, have become quite humorous.
As a matter of fact, the greater the ‘humiliation’ the more humor it brings today when I share it in front of a group of people. While every day for fifteen years was it’s own ‘vignette’, I will try and focus on a few of them that were truly demeaning and scary when they were happening.
Unlike the kids today, I didn’t start drinking until I was 15. We had phony ID proof and would go to the clubs on Long Island to dance and feel like we were big shots.
The first night I drank, my friends dared me to drink whatever they ordered and they would pay for it.
Generally, if someone dared me to do something, the greater the task, the quicker I accepted.
This was one of those times.
We went to a club on Long Island. My friends ordered me shots of gin, rum tequila and nearly anything you can think of. After a short period of time, I passed out. My friends carried me outside and threw me in the bushes. At the end of the evening, they put me in their car, drove me to my house, rang the bell and left me there.
My mom put me to bed and the next morning I awoke with a full blown case of poison ivy from head to toe.
Now you would think that night should have been an indication that booze was not the best idea for a person like myself. However, that evening, was the beginning of the end of a 15 year nightmare enduring a full blown heroin addiction.
Hopelessness was my journey into the depths of despair.
After some time in Creed Moor State Hospital, where I was given shock treatments, and was left sitting in a rocking chair to watch a television that didn’t even work, I became full of despair and didn’t believe that I would ever return to reality.
Fortunately, I have turned a corner from that pale existence where I caused pain to nearly everyone I had met. For the last three decades, I have has the privilege in sharing hope to hopeless people. I help them see their despair as the gateway to joy.
My experience has served as a stepping stone to allow others the identification needed to grasp the fact that there is a way out.
I have suffered many tragedies. From a suicide attempt that left me in a nearly 7 day coma and frightened my wife and parents into thinking I would never be “normal” again, spending more time in a mental hospital, and feeling desperation in my deepest weakness, I have been able to find my way out and back to the world.
Having gone so far down the scale of life, my experiences have been able to help many along the way that found themselves in similar positions of desperation and disrepair.
Today, instead of selling dope, I am selling HOPE. Now I find joy, laughter and a lot of humor from my experiences.
Since I put down drugs, I became a partner in a NYSE member firm in the 90’s. I had 45 brokers and was able to mentor them about persistence, gratitude and counting your blessings. I did this in a daily morning meeting that was filled with encouragement and humor. I believe in showing a sermon, rather than speaking one.
I realize that had I not “woken up”, I would have never had the opportunity to see my two wonderful children grow up. I would have been lost in my madness, had I continued on the path I was traveling. I am so blessed now and have welcomed my first grandchild into the world! Wow!
I have been blessed to share my story all over the world. From Montreal Canada to Jerusalem. I have experience great joy in helping others. I get such joy from the everlasting support that surrounds me. Just recently I received a standing ovation in front of about 600 people at a church on Park Avenue that was has some of NYC’s elite society members. I was able to have them laughing and crying with and for me. I am so grateful and blessed to have experienced this type of acceptance from the world and myself.
I have spoken in prisons and state hospitals, which is where I feel most comfortable. I have befriended many walks of life. Not too long ago, I befriended a man who was locked up in a South Florida State hospital. Our friendship has helped both of us and I’m so proud to report that he was released from that hospital after having his court case overturned.
I love helping people and one of the greatest joys to me is having someone call or e-mail me about how their life was transformed after hearing me speak. I know I don’t have the sole power to change a person, however, I feel I have been put in the position of a conduit to deliver the message that ‘Anything is Possible’.
I take great pride in my accomplishments and, although I did not obtain all my accomplishments through an organized religion, I do have to stop and credit the miracles in my life to a greater power than myself.
I choose to call this amazing power GOD, and it has given me great purpose in life.