The Herren Project
, founded in 2011, is former Boston Celtics’ player, Chris Herren’s way to give back. The program helps individuals and families who are struggling with drug and alcohol addiction in any way.
Chris realized his childhood dream of playing basketball for Boston College and eventually playing professionally for the Boston Celtics, but his journey was not smooth.
Chris was kicked off the Boston College basketball team after testing positive for cocaine just one game into the season. Sports Illustrated had even highlighted Chris as the next great college player. Chris was then playing basketball for Fresno State, but once again failed a drug test and was kicked off the team.
Somehow he managed to land a spot on the Boston Celtics starting lineup, but Chris was not on the Fleet Center’s floor in the minutes before game time; instead he was standing outside in the pouring rain, in full Celtics uniform, waiting for his drug dealer to arrive.
Continued Use Despite Adverse Consequences
While these may all seem like reasons to get help, Chris kept using. He has overdosed with an immediate need for resuscitation at least once, when his mother passed away, Chris injected heroin to attend her funeral, and when his wife was in the hospital giving birth to their son, Chris was out getting drunk.
For fourteen years, Chris Herren lived the life of an addict. He sacrificed his family, his relationships, his career, and his health for drugs and alcohol. Chris says he did not hit one specific “rock bottom” before realizing he needed help; in his words, “I had 14 years of rock bottom.”
In 2008, Chris Herren was ready to surrender. He wanted to stop using all of the substances that were keeping him sick for so many years. A major barrier for him was the cost of effective treatment for addiction and alcoholism. He had spent his NBA earnings on heroin and other drugs, so Chris was faced with a problem: how will I pay for the rehab services I so desperately need?
Former NBA player, Chris Mullin, a recovering alcoholic, heard about his friend, Chris Herren’s difficulty in accessing the care he needed for his own addiction. Somehow Mullin set up nine-months of intensive treatment for Chris Herren to attend.
The Herren Project
With a year of sobriety under his belt, Chris Herren wanted to repay Chris Mullin, and to pay his generosity forward to other people who were facing financial barriers when seeking treatment. This was the start of The Herren Project, a non-profit company that privately provides funding for addicts, who are ready to stop abusing drugs and alcohol, but who cannot pay for treatment on their own. In The Herren Project’s first year, funds allowed 100 addicts to participate in various rehab programs.
Anti-Drug Abuse Campaign
Chris Herren has also traveled the country to speak out about substance abuse. He visits high schools, colleges, and prisons spreading his message, and using his own story to educate the next generation.
In 2011, ESPN Films pieced together various presentations to form a documentary about Chris Herren’s life and his newfound purpose, entitled Unguarded. Chris also wrote the book, Basketball Junkie in 2011, his memoir that reveals everything he has been through.
Chris hopes that sharing his own story will help people of all ages and backgrounds make different choices than he made. He feels that, while he teaches the game of basketball, what he is really educating his players on is how to develop self-confidence that he did not gain until he was sober.
Chris Herren Now
Chris has been clean since he completed rehab, and he enjoys living a quieter life. Chris, his wife Heather, and their three children reside in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. He wakes his children up in the morning and puts them to bed at night, and he spends a lot of time running basketball clinics for boys and girls of all ages, and of all skill levels.
Chris Herren finally found the peace he needed to stop seeking an escape in drugs and alcohol. He works on his recovery each and every day, and continues to pay it forward in his community.
Recovery for You
Every addict and alcoholic can recover, regardless of the length of abuse. Chris Herren is an example of how much someone can change when the desire for a better life is realized.
The team at Sovereign Health Group of California helps addicts like Chris everyday. Regaining confidence and self-worth, and beginning to heal, starts with a phone call.
Call Sovereign Health Group now for more information (866) 819-0427.
Blog post by: Marissa Maldonado
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