“My addiction began in 1977 at the age of 14 when I went away to boarding school. In 1980 I was expelled from high school 3 days before graduation for violating the school’s alcohol policy (I still have a notice that was posted on the school bulletin board). In 1980, I enrolled at Temple University. Drinking and other substance use increased, and I was expelled from Temple in the spring of 1983 for academic failure (my cumulative GPA was 1.47). I worked in several different jobs in the next few years, including a family business and several restaurants.
My last “drunk” was on March 17, 1986 (St. Patrick’s Day and the day my grandmother died) and my last drink/drug was on April 12, 1986. On Monday April 14th, 1986 at the age of 23, I entered treatment for addiction. I was an inpatient for 56 days at the Strecker Program of the Institute of Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia and then for at least one year at Strecker’s outpatient program. My first 12-step meeting (NA) was on April 15, and that is the day I celebrate my anniversary. After living on my own since the age of 14, I moved in with my mother for the first year after leaving the inpatient program. She became very active for a while in Nar-Anon Family Groups.
In the fall of 1986, I went back to school part-time and earned a B.A. in Psychology in 1991 with a 2.70 GPA (3.33 after returning). I had been working as a peer counselor at Temple’s drug and alcohol counseling program and when I graduated they offered me a graduate assistant position. I earned a Master’s degree 14 months later and began working in New Jersey providing substance abuse prevention programs. In 1993 I enrolled in a Doctoral program and in 2001 earned a Ph.D. in Psychoeducational Processes, also from Temple. My dissertation research was on the stress-reducing aspects of 12-step recovery programs. Some highlights of my career have been producing an award-winning video documentary about Navy Ensign John Elliott who was killed by a drunk driver and my involvement in the ongoing effort to protect Atlantic City casino employees from the health effects of second hand smoke.
In February, 2011 the NJ Senate President appointed me to serve as a public member on the Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse.
Since 1995, I have been the executive director of Atlantic Prevention Resources (APR), a non-profit addiction treatment and prevention agency. APRs budget was $180,000 in 1995 and last year was about $1,000,000.
Personally, in 1987, I met Julie, and we were married in 1993. In 1995, our first son, Jake was born and in 1999, our second son, Ben was born. Of all of the things in which I have been involved, raising my two boys and my marriage have been by far the most enjoyable and rewarding.
I have great relationships with my parents and siblings today. I am able to be a father and husband. I have coached both of my sons’ baseball teams, served on the board of my synagogue (where I have also sung in the choir and been a religious school teacher) and I am former president of the local education foundation. I have served as a member of various local, county and state organizations. None of this would have been possible without recovery.”