Jeff Saperstone & Thomas Kienzler
After a long journey through addiction and recovery, former Celtic Chris Herren brought his cautionary tale to Nutmeg State Games athletes in New Britain.
His dream was to be a Boston Celtic. Chris Herren made it but along with his dream job, he brought along a dark secret. He was a drug addict.
"My first memory as a Celtic was copping dope on Causeway Street and I don't even remember the game," Herren told a group of young people at New Britain High School, Wednesday night.
It started with alcohol, then cocaine followed by prescription drugs and then heroin.
He told athletes from the Nutmeg State Games and area high schools, that he became more dependent on his drug dealers then on his teammates, family or friends.
"At 24-years-old, I rolled up my sleeve and let that man shoot me up," Herren said. "At 24-years-old I became an intravenous drug addict."
After reaching rock bottom and even sleeping in a dumpster, the father of three got help.
Herren will be four years sober on August 1.
He now goes around the country talking to young people about his past.
"I often say to the kids, be a pro at being you before you aspire to be a pro at anything else," Herren said.
He's written a book and was the subject of an ESPN documentary.
Herren believes that if he can reach just one student, it's worth it.
"This can happen to anybody," Herren said. "No matter what race, what religion, where you're from."