I want to once again that all those who have tried to help me get out of some of the problems my parents and I have had these past few years. Things are getting better in many ways. Other things are not, but that is for another thread I suppose. But here I am today because I have something gnawing at me, to my knowledge something commonly stated or inferred on blogs and Facebook, but its something that I think everyone should know.
We all know, and will mostly agree that some poor and homeless people are addicts. Not all, not most, I won't say many, but some, just as some wealthy people are addicts. This is not highly important to this OP, its just a general groundwork for the opinions that follow, yes they are anecdotal, no scientific studies to be quoted here, just good old fashion personal experience, which likely have been studied and found likely.
When someone is poor, or homeless, it taxes them. It makes life harder, its not a carefree existence as some people would like to think. Food, water, shelter all become the top priority, but even then you still have things. It might be something passed down from father to son, mother to daughter, something that a grandparent passed along, maybe even something that a sibling gave to the person. In it, an inanimate object, feelings get placed, memories of before poverty or homelessness. It could be something as insignificant as a DVD, or something worth a thousand dollars, it might not even be replaceable. Whatever it is, it holds a value that you or I will never understand, because we have not invested those same thoughts, memories, and feelings into that object.
But the truth is, its never a singular object. It is a collection of objects, all have a special place for the owner, all keep that owner grounded to reality, and humanity in some way. They remind us of the past, when things were simpler, better than our current state. Yes, I have said in the before that I hate remembering the past, I hate dreaming of it, because I would wake up and know what the day held. But, then things started to move forward, I went from a tent, to a dear friend's apartment, to a hotel room, to a house in less than a year. My father passed away never finding his way to a home, his suffering in this world ended, the small deaths his mind and soul felt in life gone in a few short staggering breaths.
So why then did I spend a little time talking about drug addictions in the communities of the extremely poor and homeless. It is because of those small deaths. For most people, they can loose something, or sell it and it does not really bother them. This is no fault of theirs, and it is not a bad thing. It is a healthy thing, but it is often because when you are above poverty and homelessness, almost everything can be replaced, eventually. But when you are at my level and worse, things are not so easily replaced, now or in the future.
Each time something or value, be it physical value (monetary) or emotional value (a keepsake), it feels like a part of you the owner dies. I was able to part with some things easier than others because of the negative emotions attached to them (the pistol I bought after another security officer I worked with was killed at work), while my fathers shotgun, one that belonged to his brother I found extremely difficult to even pawn, without having a clear plan on getting it back. Each time this happens, and there is a positive memory attached to it, you feel a soul crushing emotion. Guilt, failure, self hatred, remorse flood in.
Many people can deal with these emotions, some people don't show how they are dealing with them. Others cannot deal with them at all, while most people can "suck it up" for a while before the constant wear and tare finally drag them down into self destruction. You have to find some outlet for those emotions. Sometimes you have to seek a way to numb the pain, regrets, sorrow, rage, and humiliation of that type of life.
At this point in my life, I can see it, I can understand it. Imagine if you were me. Twenty-eight months living in a tent, peeing in a cup, defecating in a bucket, living hand to mouth using your brains, and whatever outside help you could get, while being used all the way. Then imagine that you were able to save most of your worldly possessions, all your stuff, your things. Even when others looking in on your life say you should let it all go, its just crap. Then imagine over the next year, everything in your world starts turning around, things start looking better, not just looking better, but getting better. Everything starts falling into place. People stop seeing you as a stray animal, you have worth, you are a human in a human skin.
And then you have a set back, some of those small deaths, you start loosing the things in your life. In the scope of things, you know life is getting better, but you just don't want to feel anything. You don't want to feel loss again, you don't want to feel anything, and you really don't want to think about it either. So, you try and numb yourself, drugs or alcohol. The problem is not actually the drug or alcohol use in itself, but the conditions that lead to it. Those are the conditions that I have seen. People loose so much in their lives when they are living in poverty, and while living as a homeless person that they are unable to cope with their bleak reality. Is it a short coming on their behalf, absolutely not, because if you put anyone in that situation long enough, keep cranking up the pressure on them, they will either implode (addiction, depression, loss of the will to live, suicide and other self destructive behavior), or they will explode (murder suicide, violence and other acts of crime). Let me ask you all, if you imagined yourself living as I did for years, would you crack when you lost almost everything you owned in one day?