Grieving Out Loud with Angela Kennecke

Beyond the court: Former NBA player Chris Herren’s battle with substance use disorder

Like countless young boys, Chris Herren had an ambitious dream of becoming a professional basketball player. Chris turned his dream into reality, first playing for the Denver Nuggets and then achieving his ultimate goal of joining his hometown team, the Boston Celtics. But the life of a successful athlete isn’t all glory. It comes with its challenges—long weekends, time away from home, stress, and pressure. Behind the scenes, Chris was also keeping a secret—a battle with substance use disorder that was wreaking havoc on his mind and body.

In this episode of Grieving Out Loud, Chris opens up about the hurdles he faced, the obstacles he overcame, and how addiction affected every aspect of his life in unimaginable ways. But here’s the incredible part—Chris has a powerful message to share with others who might be going through similar struggles. His story is about resilience, hope, and the fight against substance use disorder.

Chris now travels across the country, bringing his story to students, adults, and professional athletes. He’s even created a wellness program, authored a book, and his story has been featured in a film to prevent others from going down the dark road of substance abuse.

“Many people get sober and want to forget. I find great inspiration in people who have been at certain levels in life and come back from it. I’m blessed to be in long-term recovery and to be able to be out in front of people and share my story.”

Chris Herren