Nightmare in Atlantic City

A large alimony settlement isn’t always to one’s advantage. My husband, a member of a super wealthy family and a major executive at an advertising agency, decided to trade me in for a younger, thinner, blonder and most importantly, an un-addicted model. To make his coke-head wife go away as quickly as possible, he pays me a healthy amount of alimony, in addition to a hefty cash settlement. Adding to this amount was the equity from the sale of several of our joint properties, excluding the Cape May beach house. To keep me from kicking up a fuss, he gave it to me, with the condition I never contact him or his wife directly again.

My marriage didn’t include children and with my new financial freedom, I decided it was time to pursue my art and become a permanent resident of Cape May.  After such an acrimonious divorce, the quiet of early autumn in Cape May was soothing. I’d wake up in the early morning and take long walks along the beach with Honey, my rescued greyhound. The afternoons were spent in front of my easel or my sketchpad.  Evenings were spent visiting friends or summer residences at one of the great restaurants the small city was so known for. We would of course top that off with several lines of cocaine.

Something I noticed, but didn’t make note of was as winter approached and the restaurants closed up I didn’t take into account how deserted Cape May became. Yes, it had its share of local residents; but like any place in the Mid-Atlantic region, when the temperature dropped, those local residents retreated indoors. Suddenly I found myself isolated in a desolate Cape May. With vacations over, my New York and Philadelphia pals had made themselves scarce. That presented a problem. Where would I get my coke? Finally, after several texts and calls, one of my Philadelphia friends set me up with a connection in Atlantic City.

I had known in the back of my mind my cocaine addiction was going to lead to trouble. Though I refused to acknowledge it, it was the reason my marriage ended. I suspected it was also the reason my art had stagnated. But as long as I could snort, what did I care? Out of product, I had no choice but to make the hour-long drive to Atlantic City, one of the most dangerous places in America.

Unfamiliar with the area, I never found what I was looking for. Instead, I was held at gunpoint, dragged from my Audi, beaten, robbed and left alone on the street. With no coat and terrified, I made my way to one of the casinos where I called the police.  I wasn’t high when I hit bottom and finally realized I needed help for my drug addiction. I took the right steps to get help and clean both my life and myself up.

Helene - Cape May, NJ

Contact the National Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Information Center (NASAIC) anytime toll-free at (800) 784-6776 or through our online form, and we will recommend the leading drug and alcohol rehab centers for you or your loved one.