Former Flyers defenseman Chris Therien opens up about alcoholism, now helping others

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Former Flyers defenseman Chris Therien is not holding back about his battle with alcohol.

"I should have been dead," he said in an interview with 6abc sportscaster Jeff Skversky.

Therien hit rock bottom in 2006. It was his final season with the Flyers and he was an alcoholic.

Therien reveals his drinking was so out of control he would consume it in the morning and have alcohol in his system during games in 2006.

"I would absolutely say yes," Therien tells Skversky about alcohol being in his system while he was on the ice.

"Does it get any more bottom than that? You're at the bottom of the well. You are playing in the best men's league in the world. People would give up anything to do it and you're addicted to alcohol. My blood alcohol was 0.63, you're dead at 0.40," said Therien.

Therien turned to alcohol to cope with the pressures of playing professional hockey as well as the sudden death of his sister Sarah Beth who was just 32 years old when she suffered cardiac arrest.

Ashamed of his condition, Therien finally sought help and went to rehab later that summer for the sake of his family and children.

"I didn't want them to have to be exposed to a parent that had alcohol or addiction issues in their house. I eliminated that," said Therien.

Fifteen years after helping himself, he's now helping others. Therien along with a few partners purchased Limitless Recovery in Fishtown, an intensive outpatient facility.

"If somebody is struggling in the city, I want them to think of me and think of Limitless Recovery. We will get you the help that you need," Therien says.

Therien has proudly been sober for 10 years and he wants people that are struggling with alcohol or drugs to know that they can ask for help and change just like he did.

"As bad as you think it is, I promise you there's a better way. I promise you that, and there's nobody that can look me in the eyes and say you can't do it. You can," Therien proclaims.

Therien's partner, Dominick Schiavone, who battled drugs earlier in his life, is the president & COO Limitless Recovery. He also works with patients. Schiavone points to the former Flyer as inspiration.

Therien is no longer afraid to share his story. He continues to speak to patients and plans to become a certified counselor.