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Inspiring Success on the Road to Recovery

Friday, January 3, 2014

Project Purple

Chris Herren’s high profile fall from the pinnacle of his professional basketball career was a well-documented media story that focused on drug use while in uniform, multiple arrests and a near-death overdose.
Interviewers still focus on how he threw away his basketball career with drug abuse. Herren asks them why they don’t mention his kids, his wife, and how he nearly threw them away? “Basketball should be last on the list,” he says.

In his 2011 book, Basketball Junkie: A Memoir and the ESPN movie, Unguarded, we learn about his descent and eventual overdose due to drug and alcohol use and then his journey to recovery and how he released the secrets and shame of drug addiction.
Even though people still call him “junkie” Herren says, “It’s not about how society perceives me; it’s about how I perceive myself. As long as I’m good with myself, I could care less what everybody else says.”
That message is one Herren delivers to sports teams, school assemblies and parents all over the country.

He’s a true recovery carrier for what he calls “this disease of adolescence.” And, he’s letting people know that it’s the country’s number one public health problem.
“I think we should be ashamed of how we deal with this health issue,” Herren explains. “Every cause is worthy of social backing and financial backing, like breast cancer, like the Heart Association, like diabetes and autism, but why not addiction and recovery?”

For Herren, the issue always goes back to kids. That’s why he created the Project Purple initiative,an anti-substance abuse campaign of his non-profit foundation, The Herren Project. Project Purple focuses on the stigma of addiction by bringing awareness to the dangers of substance use and showing that there is hope in recovery.
“The dream is that it’s not the most underfunded health issue in this country. The dream is that we’re worth more than five-day detoxes.”

Herren can often be found speaking to students and young people. “I want kids to walk away and say, ‘You know what? He’s kind of cool. It’s kind of cool to be sober.’”
“It’s not a sign of weakness. It’s not a sign of regret and shame, you know? It’s not a scarlet letter. It’s not any of that.”

Get involved. Stay involved. Be the voice. The recovery movement needs you.

Visit http://goprojectpurple.org/