The Life Cycle of a Homeless Person
Everyone must know in order to understand.
I often awoke in a shelter in despair to loud noises and confusion. Most of the time, I didn’t remember how I got there the night before. I probably came in drunk as a skunk.
The pain of bright lights on my eyes gave me headaches. Undesirable odors and bitter faces were all over the place.
I’m not going to talk badly about any shelter. Thank God there are places for the homeless to rest their heads and be safe. What would happen to us if we had to always sleep on the street under inclement weather?
But after previously living in an apartment, sharing a place with hundreds of individuals was chaos for my mind. Following rules that made it feel like an incarcerated environment.
Continuous friction could make someone explode at any moment.
And then, out onto the street, to the continuous fight for survival. It feels like a jungle for those who call it home.
After being homeless for some time, the shame of what others will say gets lost. It no longer matters if you sit to eat on the sidewalk or sleep behind a dumpster.
Our world seems to be on pause, like in the vacuum of space. Our perception of reality is numb. Options are out of reach. The only thing left is to make it through the day.
As they say on the street:
“Another day in paradise.”
— Phil Collins.
It doesn’t matter where we go, they’ll kick us out. This is when the feeling of rejection from society is felt.
And it's not that we are bad people. We just fell into a condition that is difficult to repair. Whether it was self-induced, carelessness, or irresponsibility, we fell into a spiral of despair.
We struggle to restore our lives. It’s a steep climb where you take two steps upwards and fall right back down into the claws of addiction where nothing matters anymore—you don’t care what people will say or how you will die.
I gradually fell into the drinking cycle that brought me down to my knees. Wake up with a hangover, relieve my pain with alcohol, return to drunkenness.
Others fall lower by taking more potent drugs: crack, heroin, and fentanyl.
The physical and psychological condition begins to degrade.
Slavery to addictions, the homelessness cycle, and society's rejection mark the final stage—loss of sanity.
Many lives are lost along the way. Very few find recovery.
This goes beyond just fate or chance to be able to survive. It takes a superhuman effort not to give up, even if you get caught amid the worst storm.
There are shelters to rest and sleep, recovery programs, and therapeutic help that can guide us to find the way out of that situation.
But everyone has to fight their own fight. You have to want to find the support and want to escape the mess.
How did I overcome homelessness?
After many attempts and failures, slips and falls, I managed to hold on to something I didn’t want to let go of: Faith.
It was like finding a lifeboat in the middle of a sea storm.
I abstained from alcohol for days and achieved mental clarity, which made me recognize the seriousness of my situation. And I started looking for help, with the urgency of a drowning man who desperately wants to save their life.
I recognized the options that could help me and the paths I should take. I took advantage of my short periods of sobriety to see the positive changes and encouraged myself to continue on the right way.
I met people who recognized my efforts and started helping me. Some with practical advice, and another got me a job and a place to get out off the streets.
Getting away from the stress helped me progress, and I started seeing a new person in me. My crooked past life got farther away.
I reached seven years of sobriety in March and have never felt this good. Full of energy, joy, and an immense desire to share writing the experience of my life and looking for someone who can read it and benefit from it.
I can have many experiences in life. Successes and failures. But the joy of surviving homelessness and defeating alcoholism left a mark in my heart that I’ll never forget.
Here are some things I’ve picked up along the way:
“When everything has collapsed, you’re just waiting for the end. Life will always give you a way out and an opportunity to start again.”
Some take advantage of the opportunities, and others only see them go by.
Never be fooled by the falsehood that alcohol and drugs give. Ultimately, you are destroying your body and the precious life God has given you.
“DIFFICULT ROADS LEAD TO BEAUTIFUL DESTINATIONS.”
Many thanks tofor sharing this essay with the Speak Up community. Read his publication and be inspired by his hard-earned wisdom and insights on living a healthy, fruitful life.