WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Fred Moore starts his Sundays at church - two churches to be exact. He goes to Saint James United Methodist in Rural Hall first, then ducks out a little early to head to Revelations of Faith in Winston-Salem.
He plays the piano for both services and has known how to sight read music for years, but he never really honed in on playing until he was in prison.
"Middle class background; everybody is educated," Fred says, explaining his background. "Mom and dad came off the farm. The goal was to rise through Civil Rights. Be better. And that's where we we're headed."
Fred grew up in Winston-Salem. He was the baby of the family. He went to college at Hampton University in Virginia, then worked on his graduate studies and then after years of hard work, went to medical school at UNC-Chapel Hill.
"I thought my life was on some sort of charmed ride. I could do no wrong. I couldn't make bad grades, I couldn't not have friends. I couldn't insult anybody. I didn't think anything when I tried cocaine. Of course it can't hurt me."
But trying, turned to using, turned to necessity. He'd do anything for another fix, getting into crack and heroin. He said he would steal to get more drug money. He spent most of his mid-adult life in and out of prison. He broke his family's hearts. It took him years to realize that chasing the highest high brought him to the lowest low.
"I was just death walking," Fred tells. "I knew it. I just hadn't died. And I'm glad that I hadn't because I at least got a chance to get it right.
His moment of clarity came the last time he went to prison in 1998. The same day he swore off drugs. Behind bars he worked to break his addiction.
"My clean date is october 5th, 1998."
He's made it about 20 years. Two decades of undoing all the destruction that comes with being an addict. Reconciling with family. Trying to forgive himself for all he'd lost along the way. The dream of being a doctor. His mother passing away.
"She never saw me clean," Fred says. "She never had the opportunity to see me in recovery. But everybody else did so I take some rest in that but that haunts me. Because mom was truly a gift to the world."
But what use is there focusing on what he can't change when he's found a new power? He takes pride and joy playing the piano. Pushing out the pain to make room for peace.
His past is always on his mind, like a melody stuck in his head. But instead of hiding from it, he shares it with whoever will listen.
He even wrote a book while he was in prison, detailing his life: the good the bad and the ugly. It's called I Once Was Lost: A True Story by Fred Moore, and it's available now on Amazon.
It's loud reminder how one can quickly fail, but a louder reminder that redemption is possible.
"The whole goal is to help somebody else," he says. "And it is through helping someone else that we then help ourselves."