Athletes discuss attraction to drugs, pitfalls of addiction

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- For an athlete, the NBA court is supposed to be the highest of all highs.

"It takes a lot to be a professional athlete. The physical training, the mental training, the discipline with diet, the discipline to train your body and put yourself in that position -- certainly I think athletes are susceptible to thinking that with the fortitude and the constitution that it takes to be an athlete, certainly I can manage drinking," former addict Robert Grinter said.

Grinter was at the top of his game, working for the New Jersey Nets just a few years ago. Now the 50-year-old lives at Cenikor Substance Abuse Foundation in Deer Park. He's 18 months sober, a goal he's reached before and blown before.

"I didn't know I was going to put that stuff in my body and not be able to stop," he said..

Grinter's counselor and Cenikor's director also knows the pitfalls of pro sports. His name is Eugene Hall, and he is a former NFL draft pick.

"I don't care how many NBA championships he's won, I don't care how much money he has ... once you like something, and not just like it but love it, it becomes a love affair. A true love affair. I enjoyed getting high," Hall said.

Hall battled a crack cocaine addition. He's been sober for eight years.

Now these two men are counting on each other to stay sober. It isn't always clear which one is the coach and which one the player, but it is clear that the game isn't over yet.

"Addiction is not there for you to win, it's for you to lose," Hall said.

If you or somebody you know has an addiction problem, visit the Cenikor Substance Abuse Foundation website.
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