In December of 2013, Chris was asked to write a letter to his younger self as a part of the CBS This Morning’s Emmy-nominated series Note to Self. The letter he wrote provides powerful words of self-reflection and resolve as he looked back on his life at five years sober.
“Writing this letter was one of the hardest life assignments that I have been given, but I think everyone should take the opportunity to reflect, dig deep and share your journey,” said Chris, who celebrated 10 years of recovery on August 1, 2018. “All too often we want to forget the struggles which have shaped and formed us into who we are today. Words can be powerful, inspiring and life changing.”
As we look to 2019 and celebrating 10 years of impacting lives on and off the basketball court, we are grateful for Chris’s willingness to share and the resolve to use his life experience to reach JUST ONE and make a difference.
I am writing to tell you that the path you take is tough one but you will survive and be very happy someday.
When I look at you I see a kind, smart, athletic boy. You come from a lineage of basketball and there are unreasonable expectations. You are programmed to be tough and win.
High school you play in sold out gyms getting taunted. Wearing your name on your jersey isn’t easy and the scoreboard has much more meaning than fun. As your spotlight get brighter, you feel uncomfortable and confused not knowing your losses are as important as the wins… both will teach you valuable life lessons.
At 15 you won’t understand the power of the red solo cup full of beer and the blunt that will lead you to stronger and more dangerous drugs.
Your senior year, the country’s top colleges recruit you. But you choose to stay close to home. Fall River is your safe place. Your relationship with your mom is unconditional and immense. Your father and brother offer you protection from the madness around you..and Heather is your sanity and one of the best things you hang onto in your life..and one day she will be your wife.
At Boston College, you will be introduced to one line of cocaine, and although you promise yourself one time, that one line will be the reason you get kicked off campus and barely make it through Fresno State… and that one line will last 14 years. And although you’re gifted enough to get drafted into the NBA by the Denver Nuggets, your struggles will continue chasing that ONE line.
At 22 you will spend $20 on a little yellow pill called OxyContin and that 40mg pill will turn into 1600mgs (a day) and that $20 will turn into $20,000 a month drug habit… And that one little yellow pill will have you outside the Boston Garden in your Celtics uniform 10 minutes before a game waiting for your dealer. That little yellow pill will strip you of your NBA dreams and goals and you will no longer be invited back into the league. Two years later that one little yellow pill will become a syringe and stay in your arm for the next six years. Addiction will follow you wherever you play. Addiction will be your toughest opponent.
As a husband and father you will spend every dime you ever made on drugs and put your family in debt. You will feel defeated and at times suicidal. But one day please know you will find it in you to fight back.
On August 1, 2008 your awaking begins. You are granted a day off campus from treatment to see the birth of your son. Yet again, you fail. After his birth you walk out of the hospital and go get high. Upon returning from your relapse your counselor tells you to pick up the phone and promise your wife you will never call her again, and to tell your three kids their dad has died in a car accident because you don’t deserve a family and you should let them live. BUT instead you pray for sobriety and from that prayer on, God willing, you will stay sober.
Treatment and faith gave you sobriety. It will be your life’s greatest gift. Sobriety will enable you to become the man you always wanted to be. You will find your life’s purpose from your struggles and you will share your story in hope that it may help JUST ONE. You will be a voice for those who are sick and suffering. You will no longer have shame and you will live ONE day at a time.