He Was a Ray of God's Love

He Was a Ray of God’s Love

One of the early members of the Correctional Facilities Committee (CFC) was Ray S. from Tucson, Arizona, who is better known in our program as “Tucson Ray.” He started the Sponsors-by-Mail (SbM) program in Arizona by “offering it single-handedly for some seven years.” He developed a format for this outreach to people in prison that is still used today by those who write to men and women in prison.

After seven years of writing to prisoners, Tucson Ray felt called to start SA meetings in the Arizona prisons. After doing this for several years, the Arizona Department of Corrections asked Tucson Ray to choose between continuing the meetings in the prisons or continuing to sponsor prisoners by mail. He chose to continue the meetings in prison, and asked the GDA to take over the Sponsors-by-Mail Program. Ray continued the meetings in prison for 18 more years.

Jimmy P., an SA member who knew Ray for many years in Arizona, remembers the following: “Ray S. was one of the reasons I kept coming back to SA. He was at the first meeting I ever attended. I loved hearing his story when he told it to newcomers at our meetings. I always admired his dedication and sacrifice for SA. Those Tucson meetings were a little different than most of the meetings I have been to since, and I loved them. One of the things they allowed at that meeting was for people to ask questions and have other, more sober members speak of their own experience. This allowed those with more sobriety to speak in the “I” form and dispense wisdom, without having to sponsor everyone.”

“Ray’s experience was crucial for me to understand what it took to stay sober. Ray’s dedication to making the meeting was kind of amazing. He really lived a life where the most important thing he did each day was to stay sober. I think a close second was helping others in recovery. He drove all over the place going from prison to prison facilitating meetings for inmates. He put a lot of miles on his cars supporting those programs.”

“The main thing that always struck me about Ray was how happy and at peace he was. His life was so simple in recovery. He lived a life of service. He prayed for others, and watched to see God’s hand in their lives. I remember him saying that he knew that God was blessing all the people he prayed for, so he would pray to be able to see it. I believed that he could see it.”

Eric S., who worked with Ray on the CFC, shares these memories of Ray: “A long-term alcoholic and sexaholic, Ray came to God one night and prayed to be relieved of the obsession. In exchange, he would devote his life to service. From that day forward, he was free from lust and alcohol. Few were willing to take on 12-Step work in correctional facilities, but Ray was a pioneer. Through Ray, we learned how to approach prison officials, how to write to those desiring sponsorship while they were in prison, and how to use letters or other media to 12-step a sponsee. Most importantly, Ray showed us how service has a profound effect on our recovery.”

“In 2016, the Trustees allowed the SACFC to record Ray in Tucson, known as the Tucson Ray Audio Project. It was fortunate for the Fellowship; Ray passed away from cancer a month later. Ray preferred to be known as a ’sponsor,’ not a leader. His deep commitment, humility, tough love, and belief in the program are testament to the thousands of addicts whose lives he touched. Ray found ‘impossible joy’ through a life in service. His is one of the most profound and inspiring stories in our 12-Step program.”

It is clear from the witnesses of the above members that Ray served SA in an extraordinary way. He was a ray of God’s love for sexaholics. He had a large impact on the organization of SA’s CFC. He lived a sober, productive life and served our fellowship well. He lived soberly.

Ray also died sober. As Eric relates above, Ray worked on a CFC project up to a month before his death. Jimmy P. relates his final memories of Ray. “I miss Ray. He was really close to getting a 30-year chip when he passed. I feel grateful to have known him and hope that I can help a 10th of the people that he was instrumental in helping.”

K.B., Florida, USA

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