A truly moving story of inspiration from our pianist at Triune, Russ Long. Thanks, Channel 4 News for the story. Link to the video:
Transcript from Corey Davis of WYFF News Channel 4:
A man who once struggled with addiction is now using his passion for music to inspire others.
Deb Richardson-Moore, pastor of Triune Mercy Center in Greenville, said she tries to make her last sermon of the year about where people will be one year from now.
The hope is that someone will make an effort to overcome their challenges, whether it be gaining sobriety, finding a job or a place to live.
Russ Long was the motivation of her sermon Sunday afternoon.
He’s the pianist at the church and said he was addicted to pills when he was hired two years ago.
Long said at the height of his addiction, he bought and used 80 to 90 black-market prescription pills a day and said he cleared out his mother’s retirement fund to support his habit.
“I had sunk so low, I had to look up to see rock bottom. That’s how far I was down,” said Long.
Long is now sober after rehab and a long road to forgiveness.
“I’ve had to do a lot of soul searching, I’ve had to reach really deep and try to forgive myself. I think that’s the most difficult thing,” said Long.
Richardson-Moore shared Long’s story with the congregation before she revealed his name.
Long’s brother and mother were there for support as the church erupted into applause when Richardson-Moore told the congregation that the story was about Long.
Long took a seat at the piano, wiped away tears and shared his passion for spiritual music.
He played a selection that brought the congregation to its feet.
“There’s so many things that I have to be grateful for. The fact that I’m alive, the fact that I didn’t get robbed or murdered or arrested. The fact that I have the most incredible support from my family who love me unconditionally,” said Long.
Long said he has brittle bone disease. It causes his bones to break easily. Long said he had 50 breaks and fractures throughout his life and he became addicted to pills three years ago when he tried to get treatment for the chronic pain.
Long credits his sobriety to faith and a strong support system.
He hopes someone else will be able to share their story of transformation next year.
“There is no happy ending with addiction. There is no shining star. It does not end well. The most important thing is keeping your heart open and making that first step. I promise, it will change your life forever,” said Long.
The Triune Mercy Center offers information to help their members find ways to overcome addictions and many crisis situations.