As promised, here is another story of one of our clients. With the help of Center for Respite Care staff, Mike healed, was able to confront the issues keeping him homeless, and found housing through our program, Respite Permanent Housing. This is his story, in his own words. If you’d like more stories about people like Mike or if you want to help those who are homeless and sick, email respitesupport at zoomtown.com today.
I never thought that homelessness would happen to me, let me start off by saying that. When drugs took over my life I had no idea where it was going to take me. It was just a joyride, just today, but you put that string of days, weeks, years together it adds up.
Somebody introduced me to marijuana at age 16 and said I’d get the same effect as alcohol without the hangover. I smoked marijuana for 35 years, did some pain pills and cocaine along the way; whatever was around, I’d do it.
Little by little, addiction took me away from my family because all I had on my mind was the getting and using of drugs. I kept a job as a mechanic for BP for 19 years, but when I was introduced to crack, it was over with. I was stealing everything in site – money from my bank account, money from retirement, my kids’ games, toys, the pictures off the wall. From the time I got up in the morning until the time I went to bed, crack was on my mind.
I was evicted, started living on the street, starting stealing for my crack and ended up in and out of jails and rehab for the next five years. I got out of jail and kept doing the same thing. And each time it would take a little piece of me – my paycheck, then my bank account, then my retirement, then friends and relatives started alienating me and then it ended up in a divorce. And there are a hundred things in-between all that.
I spent five years floating around like a butterfly; wherever I landed, that’s where I laid my head. After I got a blister on my foot and started to feel really sick, I checked myself into University Hospital. When it was time for me to get released, they asked where I wanted to go and told me about the Center for Respite Care.
It’s hard for people that don’t have an addictive personality to understand. I didn’t want to quit then; I’ve quit now because I’ve had enough.
I had heard about Respite from another person, but I didn’t have any idea it was the way it is as far as helping people. I thought it was just another option toward getting healed before I went back on the street, but I’ll tell you what: it’s a blessing in disguise that I ended up in the hospital because this place is a gift. The staff at Respite is going to help me get an apartment, they fed me, they took care of my medical needs and just little things: razors, soap, a place to take a bath, a place to sleep.
What’s on my mind now is that I risked losing the relationship with my two daughters. They mean a lot to me. I talk to them at least once a week and I know now that it’s on me – I have to show them I mean business.