Ray A. Lewis was born in Detroit, MI. Brought up in an extended family, Ray learned to cook, clean, wash, sew and whatever it took to be independent. Those survival skills proved to be advantageous to Ray, considering he spent most of his adult life living alone.
Ray began drinking at the age of 15 and not long afterward started to experiment with drugs. Being brought up in Detroit, it was not difficult for Ray to maintain access to extra-curricular personal vacations. He called those vacations “Going to another state”, meaning another state of mind. His drinking and drug use were merely recreational and was never in trouble with the law as a result of his street research. From his senior year in high school, to his Navy days and throughout early adulthood, Ray’s drinking continued to escalate. Alcohol addiction became a part of Ray’s young life and caused him to enter many treatment centers and into three hospitals at death’s door.
Surprisingly, during mid-life, Ray experienced a turnaround in his life. While many consider it personal strength, Ray insists that this was beyond his control. Whatever the case, since December, 1999, he has not had the need to pick up a drink or drug. Still, Ray contends that he is not immune to his addiction. Although he does not currently struggle with triggers, he is very well aware that should he dare to pick up even one drink, he will be transformed back to the old self, the addicted, and probable victim of death due to alcohol.
The amazing things that allowed Ray to become and remain sober each day are discussed in his book. Just remember this, like Ray, anyone who has fallen prey to this deadly disease is always at risk. Like Ray, you must not forget that you are never more than “One Drink Away.”
ONE DRINK AWAY
Genre: Self-Help / Alcoholism
One Drink Away describes my tale of addiction to alcohol, my near death and my road to recovery. I took my first taste at age thirteen. I didn’t really start drinking regularly until I was fifteen. Like many others my age, we drank on weekends and during special events. It was fun, we laughed and thought we were very grown up.
However, as time passed, alcohol became a daily refuge for me. While I was in college, I always seemed to have alcohol on hand. Beer inthe car, drinks in a bar or at lunch, drinking with friends after work became ritual. Sometimes I snuck booze into the student union so I would not be away from my best friend for long. Yes, booze was becoming my best friend. When I realized that my participation on the basketball team was causing my grades to drop, I knew I couldn’t stay in college. If I couldn’t play basketball, what was the point of college? So, I stood up, said goodbye to my friends and joined the United States Navy. Soon after I finished training, we shipped out for Vietnam. Because we were at sea, fighting from the water, we only managed to secure alcohol when ashore. But that didn’t stop us, we drank as much as we could and then secretly stocked booze on the ship. My addiction was growing, but I refused to see it. It didn’t seem like an addiction at the time as alcohol wasn’t always available. But when I left the Navy after two years, I returned to my old job of driving a truck. I remember that while waiting for my truck to be loaded, I stocked up on booze and had a few drinks with my buddies before I pulled out onto the open road.
This behavior became the pattern of my life until in my thirties, co-workers and friends began to notice that I wasn’t just an alcoholic, I was an extreme alcoholic. I knew it, too. I knew it because I never drove without a “go kit.” Drinking before work became a morning necessity. I had to drink just to get going after a long night of imbibing.
I tried numerous treatment centers, found myself hospitalized more than once, but still I persisted in my daily drinking habits. I couldn’t live without it, but it was killing me. I actually wanted to die but didn’t have the courage to commit suicide, so I prayed to God to take me during my sleep and relieve me of my demons.
After nearly dying for the third time, I had an experience that compelled me to attend an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. This wasn’t my first meeting, but it was the moment my life began to change, though, at then time, I didn’t realize it. Everyday, I went to a meeting and swore I’d never return. But I did. Over and over again until I saw that God had done for me what I couldn’t do for myself.
This is the story of my journey through hell and back, and I give all the glory to my higher power whom I call God. After years of trying and failing to quit drinking, I had accepted the fact of an early death. In spite of myself and with the help of my God and the assistance of those who share my addiction, I survived. I want you to know that it really is possible to go from the demon to freedom. I hope this book will help you or someone you know climb from the pits of hell to find happiness, joy and freedom possibly for the first time in life.