Wall Street Addict in Harlem

Note: All the facts regarding this man’s story have been altered to protect his identity. The Twelve Step Program insists on anonymity, and for good reason; however, I personally feel that the stories of many inspire others to begin their own quest for peace and joy. 

DSC_5415Years ago in midtown Manhattan I had the terrific opportunity to hear a man—once a big wheel on Wall Street, but who had nearly destroyed himself with cocaine—speak at a 12-Step meeting. His story was dramatic. An attractive and eloquent fellow of upper middle-class origins, he had risen fast in his career and was soon earning the big bucks. He bought a fancy apartment on the upper east side and had a cool live-in fashion model for a girlfriend. He dined at the best restaurants in the Big Apple, jetted around the world on company business, and hobnobbed with the rich and occasionally the famous. Then a so-called friend introduced him to cocaine…and so began his rapid dive into a living hell.

His addiction was so destructive that within a year he’d lost his job, his apartment and his woman. His family, sick of his conning ways, wanted nothing more to do with him. He ended up homeless in Harlem, where he used to cop his drugs. One late evening he found himself sitting on the dirty littered floor of a burnt-out tenement with not even a few bucks on him for a vial of crack, worse still, he had not a shred of self-respect. Continue reading