Ray C., New York City.
(p. 380 in 1st edition.)
Ray joined the fellowship in February 1938.
He began his story by quoting Herbert Spencer: “There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which can not fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance that principle is contempt prior to investigation.”
He said that the quotation is descriptive of the mental attitudes of many alcoholics when the subject of religion, as a cure, is first brought to their attention. “It is only when a man has tried everything else, when in utter desperation and terrific need he turns to something bigger than himself, that he gets a glimpse of the way out. It is then that contempt is replaced by hope, and hope by fulfillment.”
Ray chose to write of his search for spiritual help rather than “a description of the neurotic drinking that made the search necessary.”
After investigating his alcoholic problem from every angle, medicine, psychology, psychiatry, and psychoanalysis, he began “flirting” with religion as a possible way out. He had been approaching God intellectually. That only added to his desperation, but a seed had been planted.
Finally he met a man, probably Bill W., who had for five years “devoted a great deal of time and energy to helping alcoholics.” The man told him little he didn’t already know, “but what he did have to say was bereft of all fancy spiritual phraseology – it was simple Christianity imparted with Divine Power.”
The next day he met over twenty men who “had achieved a mental rebirth from alcoholism.” He liked them because they were ordinary men who were not pious nor “holier than thous.”
He notes that these men were but instruments. “Of themselves they were nothing.”
He must have been an intellectual type. He not only quotes Spencer, but Thoreau: “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.”
It was Ray, a recognized artist, who was asked to design the dust jacket for the 1st edition of the Big Book. He submitted various designs for consideration including one that was blue and in an Art Deco style. The one chosen was red, and yellow, with a little black, and a little white. The words Alcoholics Anonymous were printed across the top in large white script. It became known as the circus jacket because of its loud circus colors. The unused blue jacket is today in the Archives at the Stepping Stones Foundation.
His story was not included in the Second Edition of the Big Book but the Spencer quote was placed in the back of the book in Appendix II, “Spiritual Experience.”