My name is Gary Goldstein, author of "Jew in Jail," as well as a motivational and inspirational speaker on recovery from addiction.
If there is one thing I know a lot about, it is overcoming adversity and regaining my self-esteem and self-confidence, in order to go forward with my life, and take it to the next level by helping others.
I spent six years behind bars for robbery from 1998-2004, which were a direct result of my past addictions to alcohol, drugs and gambling, and while incarcerated, became very introspective in my surroundings, and wrote "Jew in Jail" as I was doing my time.
Realizing that short of a successful criminal appeal, I wasn't going to be a free man until my sentence had been fully served, I decided right then and there to use this down time in my life to take stock of myself, and make the necessary changes I would need to go on and become a productive member of society upon my eventual release.
I proceeded to develop and stick to a daily routine that consisted of working out, eating healthy (which, in a prison setting, was a challenge in and of itself), learning the computer, tutoring inmates in the school, working on my legal issues in the law library, and attending hundreds upon hundreds of Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous meetings, and other self-help type programs too, all which aided immensely in addressing the very reasons why I ended up behind bars in the first place.
Plus, of course, writing my book, "Jew in Jail," any chance I could find some free time as well!
This routine enabled me to keep focused, and stay busy each and every single day.
In other words, I did my best to maintain as normal a life as I could while incarcerated, knowing that I wouldn't be there forever.
It certainly wasn't easy doing so in a prison environment, in which everyone else there isn't on the same page, as far as their commitment to change is concerned.
However, through sheer perseverance and dedication, I came home from prison a much
better man than who I was when I went in, and now feel blessed and grateful to be able to help not only other addicts, but anyone else who might not feel like they are living up to their full potential.
I no longer take life for granted, including such simple things as a beautiful sunny day, seeing children playing and having fun in the park, or anything in nature or the animal world that always fascinated me to begin with.
In a nutshell, life is great, and having a clear conscience and the ability and desire to help other human beings is priceless!
I want everyone who reads this to know that, no matter what they may have done wrong in life - whether they have been caught and punished or not - we are all human, and are prone to mistakes.
But, by no means should you ever be ashamed of who you are, because life is full of lessons that last forever.
We all possess greatness, and it is up to each and every one of us to seek out what area ours is in.
It could be singing, dancing, writing, fashion, automobile mechanic, public service, accounting, athletics, or whatever the case may be.
The point is to look into oneself, perhaps make a list of all the things we think we have greatness in or have been told by others that we do, and then focus on how we can make a difference in the world, one person at a time.
With Thanksgiving and the holiday season still in our rear-view mirrors, now is the perfect opportunity to implement our plans to be the best person we could possibly be.
Spending six years behind bars was the impetus I needed to get me into the proper mindset to live my life the way I have always known I should.
Hopefully, reading about this "Jew in Jail," and realizing that you definitely possess greatness, and can do and achieve anything you put your mind to, is the thing that will start you on the road to success.
It all starts with you!
What a powerful message from an insightful author. If you like what you see here, please return on Friday for the interview of Gary Goldstein and have a chance to get to know this author and speaker a little better.