Ray’s Story

"Since being here, my head has cleared."

Ray had worked hard all his life — “but I liked to play hard, too,” he explains. A functioning alcoholic, he spent 23 years making a life for himself in Florida. “I drank every day, probably since I was a kid. But I was working, managed a couple of restaurants, had my own apartment.”

He never got into trouble until one night when he went out and drank too much. Things spiraled out of control … and he ended up incarcerated. When Ray was finally released, the pandemic was shutting everything down — and he ended up homeless, having lost his job, his truck, his home and his dignity. “Everything I worked toward for 23 years was gone.” Ray returned to his native Wisconsin and tried living with different family members, but nothing worked out. He became depressed — and drank more and more as his depression grew.

“I’d get drunk to the point where I blacked out,” he says. “I was blacking out all the time because I just didn’t care anymore.” It was when he woke up in the hospital one day that Ray knew he had hit his rock bottom. A week later, he came to the Milwaukee Rescue Mission, where everything changed.

Once his basic needs were met — like meals, shelter and clothing — Ray began feeling better … and better about his future. He joined MRM’s long-term recovery program, where he was able to benefit from resources like education, counseling, job training and more. And, he started reading the Bible, “which I never did in my life. I’m learning more about Jesus … it’s really opening me up,” Ray says. “Since being here, things have been falling into place.”

Today, Ray is sober, employed, living responsibly and growing in faith — and is feeling grateful for his journey. “I had to go through all that to come to this point,” Ray reflects. “But since being here, my head has cleared. This place saved my life — and whoever’s donating to it… well, you’re saving other people’s lives, too.”