KNOXVILLE — Kris Rucinski is an addict.
His hands glide across the keys, striking notes, filling the church with the sounds of passion, elegance, and a second chance.
"It’s a miracle that I’m alive today," said Rucinski. "Music for me is not just a love or an obsession, an addiction if you will. It is also something very spiritual."
Six months sober, he’s working to leave drugs behind and sustain a new addiction: Piano.
He has overdosed multiple times and will soon hold a benefit concert to raise money for drug prevention and addiction treatment.
Rucinski battled drug addiction for years and is now using his talents on the piano to help others.
"When I was using, that became absolutely the most important thing to me. I placed the use of opioids in front of everything," said Rucinski. "I completely abandoned music to keep using drugs."
The concert took place at Emerald Avenue United Methodist Church.
The show was free to the public but they accepted donations to go towards the Tennessee Overdose Prevention organization. He said they raised $626.
Not long ago, Kris traded his music for heroin, fentanyl and anything else that could supply his fix. Overdosing multiple times, he knows what’s it’s like to hit rock bottom.
"I lost my piano, I lost the apartment that I was renting, I got evicted from that," said Rucinski. "The only future for me when am I going to do this again? When am I going to use again? How am I going to get the next fix?"
Music saved Kris Rucinski’s life. Now, he wants to use it to save others.
"My dream is to get my musical message out to as many people as possible," he said. "Music is something that has always had the power to change lives. My hope is that I can change lives through my own music."