Daniel Tantleff, the former Bal Harbour Miami Mayor – who lost everything to a crack addiction – spoke to Inspirations for Youth and Families teen drug rehab. The teens in recovery held on to every word of advice the Mayor said about his very personal drug addiction recovery. It was obvious by the way the teens asked lots of questions – that Tanteleff’s core message hit home.
Tantleff, former mayor of the tony Bal Harbour village in Miami, was at the very top of his career before succumbing to his crack addiction. An addiction that kept him holed up in a hotel smoking crack night and day for ten months.
Here are excerpts from the interview with the former Bar Harbour Mayor:
Daniel Tantleff: The things you do now as teens will have repercussions as you get older. For instance, when I was young I grew up In Howard Beach, Queens. And I got in with the wrong crowd. As a result, I started doing very bad things and got in a lot of trouble. Then when I wanted to go to college, I wasn’t able to get in.
When I was young, I thought I could do anything that I wanted to. And I quickly learned my actions as a teen made it impossible to get into college. So when I finally got into a college and graduated, it took me two and a half years to get admitted to the Florida Bar. All because I had such a bad past when I was a teenager.
So whatever it is you experienced like problems you had as a child. Maybe you were not loved enough. Or there was a lot of fighting in your household. Make sure to share all this stuff with your therapists, behavior techs, educators, people in recovery at meetings, and fellow teens. When I received treatment at the Cove Center for Recovery, they taught me to share this stuff. Remember, you don’t have to keep it inside anymore.
Don’t get in with the Wrong Crowd
When I was growing up in Howard Beach there was a big mafia presence and I got in with the wrong crowd. And then my parents shipped me to Florida for college. My parents were smart and wanted me to get away from the bad kids that I hung out with. And you don’t have to make the same mistakes that I made. Don’t feel pressured to be in the wrong crowd.
It is not cool anymore to be hanging with a bad group of friends. You are young enough to catch it. Before you get older and there are serious problems that can arise. Like jail and even death. And then your life is gone forever.
Before my Crack Addiction life was good
My life was going great. And I had great role models like former Governor of Florida and U.S. Senator Bob Graham. I later went to work for him. All these mentors that I was fortunate to meet got me on the right track. And life went on. Soon, I had a couple of kids.
And then my Crack Addiction set in
Somewhere around 2008 when the economy crashed, I met a person who seemed nice. However, the next thing you know I am smoking crack with him. For me in 2009 the wheels started falling off my bus. By 2015, I was doing drugs night and day. I dropped off the planet and threw out my cellphone. My life got so bad that I didn’t even see my three kids who lived 10 minutes from me for eight months. Because I was too busy smoking crack and taking pills and drinking alcohol everyday.
This disease does not discriminate on anyone. My situation got so bad. I was finally arrested and I was taken into a drug court. Luckily my charges were erased. I then went to the Cove and I have been sober for nearly two years ever since.
My addiction got so bad that I spent 10 months smoking crack in a hotel room
Former Bal Harbour Mayor Danielle Tantleff
No Drug Rehab is Perfect
By going to drug rehab you have to remember It is not going to be perfect. No place is going to be perfect. But there is a lot of good here at Inspirations for Youth and Families. Be sure to take advantage of everything they have while you are here. Because once you get out, you will need to fall back on the coping skills that you learned here.