Eric Goldstein: Burning the Pavement
With plans to run his fifth, sixth, and seventh marathons in Berlin, New York City (NYC), and London, Eric Goldstein is willing to go the extra mile to help fund scholarships supporting individuals seeking addiction and mental health treatment.
The Branford resident is combining his love of running with his passion for helping others by running marathons to raise money for two important treatment service foundations: Highwatch Recovery Center and the Release Recovery Foundation.
“Quality treatment is not accessible to everyone. These foundations make it possible,” says Eric. “Addiction and mental health diagnoses don’t discriminate. I’ve seen it take lives and destroy the will to live. But we don’t have to suffer. Life-changing treatment exists. I help people get the care they deserve. There is no shame in reaching out for help.”
Eric has been in recovery from drugs and alcohol for eight years. He remembers what prompted him to ask for help.
“I was done living the way I was living. I was mentally and physically exhausted, and I was willing to do whatever I had to do to change,” he says. “I was at a place where what I was doing wasn’t working, and I finally understood that. I was done hurting the people around me, and I was done hurting myself, and I wanted to change. And that desperation for change gave me the ability to finally ask for help.”
He says the quality treatment he received “...gave me the tools I needed to build a foundation for a life worth living.”
A lifelong runner, Eric picked up running again after he got sober in 2015.
“Running has been a pillar in my life,” says Eric. “It keeps me centered and focused. And I’m in recovery myself, so raising money for organizations that are helping clients receive life-changing treatment that saved my life is something worth doing.”
Eric started running marathons in 2017. Currently, in order to support his three-marathon goal, he hopes to raise $15,000. Donations are welcome at his GoFundMe page at gofundme.com/f/ricks-2023-marathon-fund.
As Eric notes on the page, “Any amount is greatly appreciated and will change a life. I will burn the pavement; you help me get to the starting line.”
Eric’s triple marathon odyssey sets off on Sunday, Sept. 24, when he will run the Berlin Marathon in support of Highwatch Recovery Center. Next, he’ll run the NYC Marathon (Nov. 5), followed by the London Marathon in 2024 (April 21). Eric’s NYC and London runs will be in support of the Release Recovery Foundation.
“These two amazing nonprofits dedicate all proceeds to providing lifesaving scholarships for addiction and mental health treatment,” says Eric. “I want to help others receive a scholarship that could change the course of their lives forever.”
Eric has put his feet to fundraising in other marathons over the years.
“Primarily, the non-profit I’ve been running for is the Release Recovery Foundation. Their whole premise is to raise money for those seeking treatment—usually in underserved populations like the LBTQ+ population, minorities, women seeking treatment—and they provide full and partial scholarships for multiple levels of care,” says Eric.
With one out of four in the country suffering from substance use disorder and/or mental illness, and 90% of those suffering unable to access treatment due to financial barriers, the Release Recovery Foundation provides financial-need-based scholarships to give individuals access to treatment at National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP)-vetted facilities. Learn more at releaserecoveryfoundation.org.
“They’re a life-changing organization. They’ve now raised over one million dollars for individuals seeking treatment. It’s just ever-expanding,” says Eric.
Located in the Litchfield Hills, Highwatch Recovery Center was established in 1939 as the world’s first 12-step treatment center (learn more at highwatchrecovery.org/).
“Highwatch Recovery Center is a residential treatment center in Kent, Connecticut. They have a Bill Wilson charity bed foundation, where money raised for their charity goes to give scholarships for residential treatment beds for individuals seeking treatment at their center,” says Eric.
This past year, Highwatch Recovery Center was able to provide over $2 million in free care thanks to donations, Eric notes.
On a personal note, Eric has set a goal of completing these three significant marathons on the way to accomplishing the World Marathon Majors, which involves running in six world-famous marathons: Tokyo, London, Berlin, Boston, NYC, and Chicago.
“If you complete all six of those in your lifetime, you get something called the Abbot Six Star Medal. So my goal is to get that Six Star Medal,” says Eric. “This year, I’ll be running the NYC Marathon again, and I’m running the Berlin marathon and London. So all I’ll have left is Boston, Tokyo, and Chicago.”
Eric’s already run the NYC Marathon three times. He’s also run the Philadelphia Marathon.
“Running means a lot to me. I’m just passionate about it, so I make it work in my life,” says Eric.
As part of his training, Eric does his weekend “long runs” (typically 15 to 20 miles) from Main Street in Branford to Guilford or the center of Madison. Apart from his fiancée Sarah Greenblatt, who follows in a vehicle (Eric jokes she’s his “certified water girl”), he runs alone.
“Running, for me, is a reflective time,” Eric says. “It’s time to think about my life, events. It’s meditative time. It’s very valuable to me, or at least for my process.”