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Speakers offer encouragement at 'Night of Hope'

by Carla Hinton Published: August 24, 2013

Lance Lang, founder of a ministry called Hope is Alive, promised an evening of encouragement when he promoted his first “Night of Hope” event.

Lang and other speakers at the Aug. 15 event did their best to do just that, focusing on how they successfully battled their addictions to drugs and alcohol to become better people.  ”Night of Hope” was held at Quail Springs Baptist Church, 14613 N May, where the Rev. Hance Dilbeck is senior pastor.

“We’re here to celebrate second chances, grace and hope,” Gregory “Heady” Coleman, one of the board members of Lang’s ministry, told the audience.

Speakers included Lt. Gov.  Todd Lamb, Jim Riley and Sean Sutton.

“Thanks for opening up the doors of the church to change lives,” Lamb told Quail Springs Baptist’s pastor Dilbeck.

Riley’s presentation was the lengthiest of the group, his speech peppered with humor. Riley, founder of the Jim Riley Outreach Ministry in Edmond, said his battle with alcohol addiction took him down low — and his family along with him.

“I tried to destroy my family. I didn’t want ot destroy my family, but that’s what addiction will do,” Riley said.

He said his life turned around after he entered an alcohol and drug treatment center in Arizona, his family and friends encouraging and supporting him along the way.

Sutton, assistant men’s basketball coach at Oral Roberts University, told the audience that he thought he could win the battle against his prescription drug addiction on his own. He admitted to being stubborn about it.

He said he went to rehab but didn’t do  the followup that was recommended. He said he had a “public meltdown”  when law enforcement officials intercepted a package of illegally obtained prescription medication he was expecting. Sutton said the encounter  and his subsequent arrest made him take an honest assessment of his life.

“I was doing stuff against my morals that I knew were wrong,” he said.

“I figured I would be dead if I continued on the path that I was on.”

Sutton said he entered a treatment center after that with “a broken and crushed spirit and zero hope.”

He said he worried that his reputation was ruined and that he’d let many people down but a good friend encouraged him “to keep doing the next right thing” and he would be able to hold his head up again.

The Lord, he said, came to his rescue during that difficult time.

“God carried me through, I was so beat down,” Sutton said.

He said he did the things he should have done his first time in treatment: he began to really work through the issues that needed to be addressed in his life like his grief over the 2001 plane crash that killed several Oklahoma State University men’s basketball team members and others associated with the basketball program, his exit from the OSU men’s basketball program amid scandal and his father former longtime OSU men’s basketball coach Eddie Sutton’s drinking woes.

Sutton said he decided to speak at the “Night of Hope” to tell others his story so they could learn from his mistakes. He said he is celebrating 3 1/2 years of sobriety and he is committed to breaking the addiction cycle in his family.

He also said that statistics show that his family is  not alone in its struggle with addiction.

“This is an epidemic going across this country and it’s gaining steam,” Sutton said.

Meanwhile, a special portion of the evening was devoted to three metro faith-based organizations that do their part to offer people battling addiction a faith-filled recovery program. The groups included the Jesus House, City Rescue Mission and Rob’s Ranch.

Lang encouraged people to leave thinking of all the good things they heard during the evening.

“There are stories. There are miracles,” he said.

“Let’s keep praying for hope.,”

Carla Hinton

Religion Editor


by Carla Hinton
Religion Editor
Carla Hinton, an Oklahoma City native, joined The Oklahoman in 1986 as a National Society of Newspaper Editors minority intern. She began reporting full-time for The Oklahoman two years later and has served as a beat writer covering a wide...
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