The Real Shawshank Redemption – an Interview with Chris Herren
Addiction almost destroyed Chris Herren’s life. I recently interviewed the former NBA basketball player, author and wellness advocate about his struggle with substance use, his path to sobriety and his ongoing mission to make a positive difference in the lives of others. Here are some of the top takeaways from his powerfully impactful story:
Since 2009, Chris has spoken to over 1 million students, athletes and community members, sparking honest discussions on substance use disorder and wellness. When he walks into a school gymnasium, he wants the kids he meets to forget who he is and instead to start thinking about who they are and who they are becoming. To encourage this self-reflection, he asks kids to imagine a loved one taking a peek into their life. If their parents, siblings or grandparents could truly know and understand who they really were, not who they pretended to be around them, what would they see? This focus on self-reflection gets kids thinking – and that’s critical when it comes to substance use issues.
Many of us are really good at challenging our kids athletically and academically. We sit and do homework with them every night or, if we believe they’re not reaching their full potential in their chosen sports activities, we organize one-on-one training with a coach. However, we have to ask ourselves if we’re also as proactive about providing the social and emotional support they need. As they grow and mature, kids need help in lots of different ways. If we want them to be able to handle the many challenges they will encounter in life, we need to ensure they get that support.
Education around addiction is vital. If someone in your family is struggling with drugs or alcohol, or you think they are beginning to go down that path, always err on the side of caution and seek help. If it turns out they don’t need it, great – but they might and that step you take could be the critical difference in their life. Early intervention is key – don’t wait for someone to hit so-called ‘rock bottom’ to intervene. People who put more time into recovery early on have a much better chance of staying sober longer.
To learn more about how recovery from addiction can improve all facets of your life and give you enormous freedom, listen to the latest episode of “The Brian Buffini Show.”