Chris Chernisky fondly recalls growing up in Patton, attending Virginia Military Institute on a baseball scholarship and eventually securing two collegiate baseball coaching positions.
But he also recalls the day he hit rock bottom – June 3, 2013 – when he had lost his job in Dallas, spent all of his retirement and savings accounts and had $342 to his name, all of it to fund a drug addiction.
And that was before he was arrested and put in jail, where he stayed for 85 days.
Chernisky said he began testing the waters with various types of drugs while he was a baseball coach at Niagara University in Niagara Falls, New York, with alcohol the catalyst that lowered his inhibitions to begin drug use.
But at that point, Chernisky said he didn’t think he had an addiction problem.
After losing his job in New York, Chernisky earned another coaching position at Mountain View College in Dallas, where crystal meth became his primary drug of choice, among others.
“It was whatever I could get,” he said.
“I was not humbled at all, and that’s where my drug addiction really took hold.”
Despite graduate courses in addiction counseling, Chernisky said his drug use started once per week, then every weekend, then every day, but not during work, to a 24/7 addiction.
“I was supposed to know better,” he said.
“It overtook me in a matter of weeks.”
After he had lost everything and decided to start the 24-hour drive back home to Patton, he was filling up his gas tank when a police officer pulled up and started a conversation. Chernisky says he knows why.
“I had the face of addiction,” he said.
“I was malnourished, I looked like I hadn’t slept in weeks, I was still high.”
Chernisky said when the officer asked if there were drugs in his vehicle, he was honest for the first time in his…