It's still hard to accept to this day, but in retrospect, getting arrested on June 13, 1998 very well may have been a blessing in disguise.
If this is indeed true, then writing my book, Jew in Jail, served to be even more therapeutic to deal with my disease of addiction - alcohol, drugs, and compulsive gambling - than I could ever had imagined, not to mention the low self-esteem and self-confidence I was toiling around with for years too.
I experienced a normal childhood. My parents provided everything I ever wanted. I had a top-notch education, was an excellent athlete, popular with the girls, funny, and seemingly without a care in the world.
Little did I know or realize at the time, but I felt inferior to those around me, although I never displayed any outward signs of it.
Rather, I began to dabble with alcohol and drugs, all the while continuing to excel in school and later in the business world.
It wasn't until I started working at CBS Sports in the early 1980's and "took up" gambling that my world slowly came crashing down on me.
I figured I found something that I thought I could use my brain to succeed at where so many others before me had tried and failed.
Between my alcohol and drug use, and time spent studying statistics and trends in sports and horse racing, I quickly became consumed and lost all interest in work and women.
I went from job to job - CBS TV to NBC TV, and other media companies - until the only place I went to in June of 1998 for nearly six years was straight to jail for robbery.
My addiction had caused me to do the unthinkable: robbing some unsuspecting, hardworking people in order to pay off my gambling debts.
While incarcerated, I did the usual stuff inmates do on a daily basis, like working out, going to the law library, hanging out in the yard, and making pennies on the dollar holding a prison job!
However, I did one thing that practically NOBODY else does while behind bars. I wrote a book, namely Jew in Jail, which details all of the trials and tribulations I experienced as a minority behind bars while fending for myself and attempting to recover from my past addictions.
By physically writing my book as I was doing my time (under the most difficult conditions imaginable), instead of waiting until I was home a free man, it served to be very therapeutic as far as allowing me to become introspective and come to grips with why I had become an underachiever and was living with such low self-esteem.
These days, I not only promote Jew in Jail, both in person around the country, as well as via my radio interviews and guest blog posts, but also deliver motivational & inspirational speeches on recovery from addiction to help others who are either still sick and suffering from this terrible disease, or young and possibly heading down this same destructive path themselves.
It seems so silly now to think back to how I was when I didn't have much self-esteem, especially considering how I was able to land such great jobs and climb the corporate ladder with those prominent companies that I worked for in the first place.
But that is all in the past, and what I know now is that I - like everyone reading this right now - possess greatness, and can do anything I put my mind to.
My passion these days is helping others, and it gives me more satisfaction than mere words could ever describe.
So whether you spend your time writing, selling cars, keeping house, being an accountant, fashion designer, chef, secretary, or any other profession in the world, the fact remains there is nothing you cannot do either, as long as you are healthy and happy in your own skin.
A $100 bill starts out crispy when it is produced at the mint, and over time, becomes crumpled, gets stepped on, dirty, and changes hands - but NEVER, EVER loses its value.
We, as human beings, are the same way. Throughout life, we may be bumped, bruised, stepped on, pushed around, or even locked up.
However, no matter what, we are all still valuable, unique individuals who are loved and have so much to offer society.
Therefore, always remember that there will never be another person exactly like you in this world.
It's time to be that shining star you were born to be!
JEW IN JAIL
by Gary Goldstein
JEW IN JAIL is the true story of the nearly six years that I spent incarcerated in various correctional facilities throughout the state of New York. It deals with my attempts at recovery from past addictions to alcohol, drugs and gambling, as well as my efforts to turn my life around in hopes of becoming a solid citizen and successful member of society upon my release. In addition, my book also provides insight into how I, as a minority in prison, was forced to fend for myself against all of the mistreatment at the hands of the powers that be from the Department Of Correctional Services in this "world within the real world," as well as the daily grind of doing time with hardened criminals, many of whom I felt no close connection to, all the while continuing to fight for the true justice I strongly felt I wasn't afforded during my lower court proceedings.
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