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Alliance Profile – Kevin Stevens

Alliance Profile – Kevin Stevens

Kevin Stevens

Stanley Cup Champion with the Pittsburgh Penguins in ’91 and ’92, Over a 15 -Year NHL Career also Played for the Bruins, Kings, Rangers, and Flyers, Had Four Consecutive Years of 40 Goals and 80 Points, and was Considered one of the Best Left Wingers and Power Forwards in the NHL

What past life experiences, physical traumas or genetics do you believe have had an effect on your mental health?
I never did a drug until I was 28 years old. I was playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins and we had just beaten the NY Rangers and we went out with the guys for a few beers which is something we always did. Someone handed me something (I know now that it was cocaine, I didn’t know what it was then) in a nightclub in NYC and told me to do it. That 30 second decision to do cocaine sent my life into a spiral for 24 years of addiction. I didn’t realize I had the addictive gene and I activated it that night.

 

How did the effects on your mental health appear in terms of symptoms?
A few months later, we were going for our third Stanley Cup with the Penguins and I had a horrific injury on the ice during a game against the NY Islanders. At that point, I got a taste of painkillers…once I unleashed the beast of addiction, I lost everything including my family, my marriage, my career. There were many days filled with depression, anger, frustration – it was easier to take more drugs to numb the pain than work through things.

 

When and why did you decide to ask for help to get relief?
I didn’t think I needed help, I thought I could muscle through it. Finally, I surrendered that I had the disease of addiction and accepted help from my family and friends. I am the only one who can keep myself sober, one day at a time.

 

What methods helped you individually get/feel better?
Fellowship of AA, routine exercise, talk therapy

 

Why did you decide to go public with your story? Who were/are you hoping to help and how?
I wanted to give back with a message of hope and recovery to those mired in addiction. If I can help one person, it will be worth it. I have built a non-profit foundation called Power Forward to help remove the stigma of addiction through educational programs, prevention messages, stories of recovery and hope. I also host a radio show called Crosscheck Substance Abuse Radio which focuses on real talk about addiction with local and national guests who share their stories of hope and recovery. We often focus on dual diagnosis which is very common in addiction. Mental health awareness and drug awareness go hand in hand.

 

How did people react when you went public with your story?
People have been very supportive of my recovery and of my Power Forward foundation and my Crosscheck Substance Abuse Radio program. I have a new purpose in life to share my story in hopes that others may find their way to recovery.

 

Links and/or descriptions to any of your own personal resources you would like to share with the Global Mental Health Community:

 

Powerforwardnow.org