Over the past few weeks, online poker legend Shane “schaniac” Schleger has been opening up more about his steady crack use over the past 15 years. He’s been co-hosting “Dope Stories” podcast episodes to talk about his drug use and he also wrote a popular article on Slate.com.
So why has Schleger chosen now to open up about his drug use? He writes that he wants to start a reasonable and truthful discussion about drug use to help comprehend addiction, which you can see in the following excerpt:
I don’t present these stories for shock value. On the contrary, I proceed with a lot of anxiety, knowing the potential to upset and alienate family members, friends, present or past business associates, future landlords, and whoever else is likely to take a dim view of the information I’m volunteering.
So why would I choose to share, both in this story and in my new podcast Dope Stories? Because I believe it’s necessary to forge a truthful, direct discussion about drugs before we can comprehend addiction, much less effectively treat drug abuse or hope to implement rational drug policy. My visceral fear when presenting these revelations shows that we are not close to achieving that level of dialogue.
It seems like Schleger’s fear is right in that most people aren’t accepting of his crack use, nor do they want to have a reasonable discussion about it. This much can be seen from the comments underneath his Slate article, where many people accuse him of being an addict and somebody who’d have never achieved any level of success if it hadn’t been for his wealthy parents (upper-class, lived in NYC’s affluent West side).
We don’t commend Schleger for his drug use either, but it’s refreshing that he is willing to talk openly and honest about his habit. Furthermore, Schleger concludes his Slate piece by writing that he hopes to smoke less crack in 2014, though he knows aiming for total abstinence would be unrealistic.
One thing Schleger made sure to mention is that he never played online poker while high on crack. This would make sense because he’s one of the best ever, having earned over $4 million in online poker tournaments throughout his career. But these days, it seems that Schleger is transitioning away from poker and more into the writing world.