It All Starts With The First Step by Gary Goldstein

It All Starts With The First Step

Contributed by Gary Goldstein


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.

The story of a man's substance abuse recoveryI am also the author of “Jew in Jail,” the true 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 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-fatal experience 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 them.

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 begins with you and the choices you make:

• It all starts by your 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, as 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 to what I am capable of doing and 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

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Gary Goldstein picture and author of Jew in JailBio – Gary Goldstein

Gary Goldstein was born on October 18, 1961 in Brooklyn, New York. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism from Long Island University in 1983, and is a selected member of Sigma Delta Chi, and Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities & Colleges.

Before Gary’s conviction, he worked for both CBS News and Sports, and NBC Sports, as a researcher/producer, and has also worked at other media outlets and sports production companies in the Tri-State area as well. Since his release in 2004, Gary has also been employed in the construction industry, but is now retired from that line of work.

“Jew in Jail” by Gary Goldstein seeks to relive the author’s life peaks and pitfalls into alcohol, drugs and gambling and his time spent in prison in order to teach readers a tough lesson: “that addiction doesn’t discriminate, and that anyone – from any walk of life – is susceptible to this disease, as well as incarceration, if one doesn’t live an honest, law-abiding life aided by a loving family and support group.”

Gary is single and has no children, enjoys reading, writing, music, working out, spending time with family and friends, dating, and going to the beach. He still resides in his hometown of Brooklyn, New York, and is currently working on his next book project, while also focusing on his motivational and inspirational speaking career.

You may contact Gary at

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