To my dear friends, White, Black, Hispanic,
and any immigrant—Indian, Russian, Jewish, Italian, or Caribbean—
and to all fellow substance abuse counselors
who work at New York City’s various addiction clinics.
It is with deep respect for your arduous work that I dedicate this book to you.
When undertaking this autobiographical book, I set a simple task before myself: to share with the readers the personal experience of a man who decided to try himself in the role of a substance abuse counselor, without having any idea of what addiction really was. I wanted to let the readers know what impressions, feelings, and thoughts my experience evoked as I became closely acquainted with the closed off and bizarre world of drug addicts in New York.
However, this facially simple task turned out to be extremely difficult. During the time of writing this book, I constantly went off on a tangent. I began to present knowledge that might be interesting and useful only to a limited number of professionals, who are working in the substance abuse field, but not to a wide range of different readers. Or, conversely, I strayed into the tone of fiction, and my story gradually turned into a novel with an exciting plot, which possessed artistic merits but did not reflect the documentary angle of the reality being described.