Ray Materson was a straight “A” student, President of his 6th grade class, and a youthful child looking ahead to a bright future. Then a combination of risk factors both in his family and school peer group, led Ray down a dangerous path where alcohol and drugs became his best friends.
Before long, his drug-seeking behavior resulted in a twenty-five year sentence for kidnapping and armed robbery. In his autobiography, Sins and Needles: A Story of Spiritual Mending, co-written by his then wife Melanie, he details his journey into drug abuse, life in prison, and a discovered talent for embroidery that eventually leads to his sobriety and salvation.
I love Ray’s story because it so clearly illustrates why “create” is part of 5 Actions to addiction. It is positive psychology at its best, optimizing life, providing meaning and hope, and unlocking innate talent that is more powerful than addiction.
Recently, Ray and I spoke on the phone. I appreciated his candor and honesty about his life, and his responses to some of the questions that remained for me after reading the book. Without giving too much away, Ray’s tenacity for his art and willingness to allow the correctional system to do its job, eventually results in a second chance at life.
What helped him most with his addiction?
- His Art Work
- Personal Affirmations Specific to Self-Esteem
- Support from other People
- Higher Power
Successfully dealing with addiction is not for the faint at heart. It is a challenging road, requiring significant effort at many junctures in life. Has embroidery solved all of Ray’s troubles?…of course not. But in talking with him, it is clear that through his art he has learned to speak his truth. He has learned to speak of his pains and joys, his successes and failures, and his fears and hopes for the future. Godspeed Ray.