Alan's Story

Head shot of Alan S CharlesGrowing up in a small garden apartment community, Alan and his brother lost their father at a very young age.  Trying to manage in the wake of this tragedy alongside an emotionally destroyed mother and a brother who spiraled downward into mental illness, Alan navigated in the only way he knew how: throwing himself into before and after school jobs, playing baseball and going to the track to bet on the harness races - anything to stay out of the house.


As baseball became increasingly important in his life, Alan found his way to college, playing baseball at the University of Miami and as a starting pitcher at the University of Tampa.  When arm surgery for tendonitis and bone chips reduced his pitching speed from 90mph to the mid 80's, Alan's hope of playing professional ball for a major league organization seemed lost.


Still a talented pitcher, Alan signed a contract with a professional team in the Dominican Republic and played a full season. Realizing he had gotten as far as he could in baseball and living a dream, he joined the workforce.  After a series of interesting sales jobs, Alan decided to pursue another dream - harness racing - and took a course at the International School of Harness Racing at Roosevelt Raceway.  With no experience, Alan landed a job as a harness racing trainer in Maryland finally moving on to become a fully-licensed professional harness racing driver. From 1987 to 1995, Alan drove in harness races all over New York and New Jersey, making a name for himself as a regular driver on the circuit.  In 1995, after a couple of serious harness racing related accidents, Alan retired from driving.


During this time, the pain of his dysfunctional upbringing caught up with him. Seeking relief from his lifelong feelings of anxiety and loneliness, he became addicted to cocaine in 1983, which ultimately caused him to lose it all including every relationship he ever had. Over a period of 24 years, Alan struggled with his addiction eventually believing that this is more than likely how he would die.


In and out of rehab and countless meetings at Cocaine Anonymous and Alcohol Anonymous it wasn't until 2007 that Alan finally hit bottom.  Deciding once and for all to battle his inner demons, Alan was determined to become sober and change his life.  As of December 8, 2007, Alan got clean and remains sober to this day. With a combination of CA and AA, an amazing therapist and friends who believed in him, Alan is happier than he has ever been.  Today, he is the doting father of two daughters as he takes life one day at a time, enjoying every moment, drug-free.


Alan retells his story in his book, Walking Out the Other Side: An Addict's Journey from Loneliness to Life.


More about the book

Image link to form used to invite Alan S Charles to speak Picture of Alan's speacking media kit Picture of Alan giving a talk - links to his YouTube page