“I was once a homeless meth addict…”March 1, 2010Jon Brooks 1 Comment »
Found on Reddit’s IAmA section, in which the rules are “Post what you are and have people ask you about yourself.” The initial post is called “I was once a homeless meth addict,” written by an individual who was laid off then experienced depression and drug addiction. The ensuing discussion touches on numerous psychological, sociological, and political issues.
PAST: I lived in California and worked for a startup in the tech industry. I was laid off and as a result of my depression, fell ‘deeper’ into my meth addiction as a way out. This caused me to lose my apartment, and 99% of my belongings. The result was me packing a backpack and living on the streets with my girlfriend who was also an addict. We sold (and bartered) drugs at a low level mostly to other homeless addicts to survive. My experiences as a homeless addict/dealer ranged from the funnest times in my life — to the darkest nightmares anyone could ever imagine.
Before long, I found the needle and fell in love with shooting speed into my veins –several times a day. I was a bloodstained zombie dressed in rags, wandering the streets on my BMX with my girlfriend, and diving in dumpsters. My days of selling dope were failing as I shot every bit of dope that hit my hand into my body. I was shoplifting, burglarizing cars, stealing cars, hanging out with hookers for their dope, making several enemies on the street (which will easily get you killed). Eventually, I was arrested for possession due to some really f**** weird circumstances, and did 90 days in county jail. Here I learned that my girlfriend was pregnant which changed everything in me. I was released from jail (gained about 40 pounds) and managed to scrape enough money together to get me and my girlfriend out of California –away from all our dope connections and to start over.
TRANSITION: Moved into a small one room house on my mother’s property in the south and started working at a moving and storage company for 8 bucks an hour. I paid Mom $100 bucks a week for rent, and managed to secure a decent car for next to nothing from an auction. We had a beautiful healthy little baby girl soon thereafter.
PRESENT: F*** humping other peoples nasty furniture into a truck. I am again employed in the tech industry –doing pretty much what I was doing before all this crap happened. I have a felony on my record, and was open with this fact to my employers and straight up told them my resume speaks for itself –hire me or not (so lucky). Soon after being hired, I was able to secure a two bedroom apartment for my new family where we’re at now.
Some days I feel I cheated death — other days I wish I was back in that alley getting high.
My story is very similar to yours minus the homeless and shooting part but I was locked up longer. It’s been 3 years since I’ve done anything and I now feel like I did before I did any dope. The felony part is the hardest part to deal with because I am also in IT and I am having problems with background checks.
Ya, I know the felony is going to really haunt me –but that’s OK. I’ll just keep going.
I think it’s so wrong what they do to felons in this country. How the f*** are you supposed to be rehabilitated? They can’t even vote for themselves to help their plight.
Do you wonder if you’re living the life you are now (wife, kid, suburbia) because it’s what society says you should be living, and not because you want to? In other words, without regards to anyone else, do you ever wonder if you actually had more joy in your life as a meth addict in an alley?
I think about this quite often, but not as often as I did when I first moved here. I’ll be honest. The feeling of freedom you have as a homeless person is amazing –for me at least. The town I was in also helped. They had a large homeless population per capita and there were a lot of soup kitchens and whatnot. It’s an awesome feeling to wake up and know you don’t really have to do shit but dodge cops and find a way to get loaded and party all day. No bills, no responsibilities. I miss it at times, but all I need to do is look at my daughter and those thoughts instantly cease.
Having lived in Santa Cruz (California) during the time you were doing all that, I had thought (and still do now) that the homeless population was a direct result of ill-conceived altruism on the part of the Santa Cruz population.
(You said) “The town I was in also helped.”
Yes. What I heard again and again (while swilling booze with street denizens) was that people would hear about the land of free money and food, and immediately trek to SC for the party. I had a good friend who worked for the city managing the homeless services. She quit and never went back to that sector. According to her, most of the homeless in SC had no interest in cleaning up. As you say, the freedom was too intoxicating. More so, there was a sense of endless, rude entitlement that she found disgusting. It’s interesting that such a deeply liberal, good-hearted person would get so poisoned by simply trying to help others.
I guess I wonder if you would’ve taken it so far were SC not a paradise of social-services and free food. I’d never suggest cutting off all services, but I think past a certain point, that shit becomes enabling and borderline dangerous. I don’t know where it’s at now, but it was a fucking mecca for homeless, loafer druggies 1998-2002. I think I know why.
You hit the nail on the head there. I never left Santa Cruz when I was homeless, so I never experienced the situation outside of there. Like I said before, it was like Never Never Land. Just one big party all the time.
I moved to SC for college and held a pretty compassionate view towards the homeless. This changed completely.
I worked as a maintenance aide (read: janitor) at Louden Nelson and the Vets hall. Two places with public bathrooms. The complete lack of respect and sense of entitlement that the homeless tweakers/drunks exhibited was astounding. I have cleaned up some of the nastiest shit (literally), was forced to pick up needles, physically threatened and verbally berated routinely.
After many dealings with these people I like to believe I can make the distinction between mentally ill/veterans that really have been forced into the situation and the transients who have made a choice to get f*** up all day…