In 1986, Chris Washburn was the talk of the NBA draft. At 6 feet, 11 inches tall and 265 pounds, he towered over the other players in his position of power forward or center. Since he had the rare combination of superior strength and agility, it is no wonder that he was the third pick overall in the draft. He went to the Golden State Warriors with high hopes of an amazing career, but expectations fell flat quickly as Washburn found himself succumbing to heavy drug use. Before he finished his third year in the NBA, the organization banned him from playing for life after he failed three drugs tests in as many years.
Surprisingly, losing his basketball career was not a wakeup call for Washburn. In fact, he ended up falling deeper into addiction for many years to come. Ultimately, he spent two years of his life in prison in Texas for a possession of crack charge and ended up penniless after blowing all of his NBA paychecks on narcotics.
For a brief period in the mid-90s, Washburn returned to the small town of Hickory, North Carolina, where he grew up. He admits to roaming the streets looking for drugs, high and unwashed. It was a far cry from the decade before when he was a top NBA draft pick at the peak of physical fitness and earning top dollar as the pride of his hometown. He ended up returning to Texas where he continued to live with an active addiction until 2000, after losing more than a decade of his life to addiction. Two years ago, he started a relationship with Monique Richardson, a corporate executive with two children, and the couple decided to return to Hickory to help Washburn’s mother and to start a new life with the focus of giving back to the community.
In Hickory, Richardson, a great cook who owned a catering company in Dallas, combined her talents with Washburn’s desire to give back to the community and together they opened up ‘Washburn’s Wings And More.’ They opened the restaurant in an area that is currently considered less desirable because they wanted to bring something positive to the neighborhood. They kept prices low on purpose to make sure that residents in the community could afford to come to the restaurant. They also have established a policy that allows those who can’t pay to work for their food. Lastly, they have met their goal of putting individuals who have been unemployed for a substantial period of time back to work. For Washburn, staying sober has meant focusing on others and helping them to improve the quality of their lives.
Many individuals, once sober, start to give back to their communities as part of their recovery process. Leave a comment below and share your success stories of former addicts who now make a positive difference in the lives of others. And if you’d like more information on finding addiction treatment that works, contact us today.