Ray Gets His Health And Relationship With God Restored
Less than a year ago, Ray was wandering around Yucca Valley, awake for days and screaming at God. Now, he is stable, sober, and looking forward to the rest of his life. “Since I’ve been here at the mission, I’ve seen that the bible is true, that God is real and he loves us,” Ray said. “He pulled me out of the muck.”
Ray, 60, grew up in San Bernardino. He had what he calls “a pretty basic life” with his mom and dad, four sisters and a brother. He played football. But when he was young, Ray started drinking. “Both of my parents drank, and when I was 12, I started running around the neighborhood with the wrong kids,” he said. “I started taking beer from mom and dad, smoking cigarettes and stealing from the (local liquor) store.”
Ray eventually dropped out of high school. “I got my GED later from a continuation school, but I didn’t finish studying and graduate like my sisters and brother,” he said. “I am the black sheep of the family. I’ve been in jail, and I didn’t finish high school the right way.”
Ray said he’s always known his drinking was a problem. “I’ve been fighting this forever,” he said. “I got a DUI when I was 15—before I even got my driver license. I went to my first rehab program when I was 18. I wasn’t ignorant of it. It caused big problems. My parents warned me about it. They were married for 26 years, but they both drank, and it ruined their marriage.
“It was always just a bad thing. Alcohol ruined my life, over and over again. I lost two wives because of it. It ruined my health. Basically, that’s why I am here.”
Ray’s dad owned some gas stations, so he grew up working as a mechanic. He got married at 18 and they had four kids over seven years before getting divorced. In 1986, Ray married his second wife, who he was with for 32 years. “When I start drinking, I black out. It’s a bad deal. I forget to do things; I forget things I’ve done. I’d stay drunk for a week, yell at people, that kind of thing. It wasn’t good. She got tired of my drinking.”
Ray left his family and a gas station business they had together and went to stay with a friend in Yucca Valley. “I started having panic attacks,” Ray said. “I would stay up for five days cussing at God—I was what they called manic depressive. I was just on a destructive course. I was just drinking, drinking, drinking. And then on September 4, 2018, somehow or another I got a hold of a handful of pills and I took them, drank, and ended up in the hospital. When I woke up my daughter had been looking for me for a few days. She convinced me I needed to get some help.
“I was looking for a Christian-based program. God had been calling me for years. I’d been involved in a couple of churches over the years, but I could always find the hypocrisy in the church, find a way to get out. I was always looking for a way out.”
Ray got to the mission last November. He was checked out and is on medication for mental health issues. He’s been diagnosed with arthritis in his knees and elbows and is getting help, and also found out he has Hepatitis C and is now on medication. “I know what’s going on in my body for the first time in my life,” Ray said. “I knew I had some issues—that was one of the things that was driving me to drink all the time. The devil was telling me, ‘You aren’t going to live. Why don’t you just take yourself out now? No one wants you around.’ I still have some problems that I’m dealing with, but everything is working out.”
Ray said his time at the mission has been “an amazing ride. I have plans for the future and I didn’t when I got here. I was just going to give up. But now, things are falling into place. The mission does so much good stuff. It’s been a real blessing. I definitely intend to keep serving. That’s what makes me feel good.”