Williamsburg's Homeless & Indigent

P.O. Box 366, Lightfoot, VA 23090
Office: 757-561-3255
"Assisting people in re-gaining hope and a better way of life."

Monday, April 21, 2003

"The Dangers of The 5 D's: Divorce, Depression, Drinking, Drugs & Death"

After my conversation with my neighbor, a gentleman in FL IM'd me. I had sent him an email regarding his website I found through www.thehomelessguy.net I had read his journal, but still didn't know too much about his situation that made him homeless. But, from what I could tell by his webpage and in 'speaking' with him, he is divorced and has chronic depression. He is a little different than some of the homeless in his area because he doesn't drink or use drugs. The same for Kevin (aka the homeless guy) in TENN.

The first 2 D's, divorce and depression causes a lot of problems in people's lives. Sometimes drinking and drugs also cause problems. But most of the time, the last 3 D's, drinking, drugs and death, are seen more as a solution than a problem to people who live on the streets. Many people, homeless included, think that those who live on the streets all drink or do drugs. This isn't so. I have met several people in my lifetime who are on the streets, but don't do either. But, it has been rare to meet somebody on the streets that doesn't have depression or who aren't divorced. But none of the first 4 D's are uncommon in all societies. My husband and I have both been divorced and there have been times when we have been depressed (temporarily due to a situation) and we drink (but you won't see us drunk because we don't let it get to that point.) Drugs, we are totally against that, no matter who you are or where you are living.

As a matter of fact, while I was instant messanging with the person in FL, one of our friends called to talk with my husband. He was depressed due to his divorce and his mother just had surgery. He had been out drinking and was in no condition to walk or be behind a wheel. He asked if my husband could pick him up and talk. They came back to the house so we could sober him up and give a 'shoulder to cry on'. By what we heard from him, he is scared his mother is going to die, due to complications with diabetes. He lost his father sometime ago and even though he likes his step-father, this surgery has brought back a lot of memories of his father's death. And actually, talking with him last night brought back memories of my Daddy's death. He also had diabetes and needed ankle surgery. Because of the complications with this disease, it was too hard on my Daddy and he didn't make it out of the hospital before they could finish the final surgery. He was only 64 and this was totally unexpected. Nobody can foresee death. It has been 3 years since my Daddy passed away, but I think of him often. This conversation last night was just a little too close for me, but as a friend we sat and talked with him. But, drinking is never a good escape and too many times people become irrational. Just as last night our friend, who typically is beligerant, was angered. Not at us, but more than likely at himself and God. He kept asking why does bad things happen to good people? Well, nobody can answer that other than God. Everyone questions this about life.

Once he was calmed down again, we offered our couch for him to sleep it off, but he didn't want to impose so we took him home. Kudos to the police who at times have to deal with those who are intoxicated. People change when alcohol is involved. You can be one of the most respected people in a community and within one drunk fest, become the most feared, hated or ignored person as well.

Because of the changes drugs or alcohol can cause, I have always set rules when working with people who are on the streets. If they have been drinking or doing drugs, we don't let them work that day nor do we put ourself at risk. Actually, there are only 2 we have spent time with that tend to drink. They know our rules and we know theirs. That is where the respect comes into play. They know we will listen to them (usually by phone), but we won't get them in our car, put ourselves or others in a potentially bad situation or let them come to our house. Those who do come to our house to work (which not everyone who comes is homeless), are higher up among the homeless. They want to work and try to get back on their feet and get a place to live. But, here again, photo id's are hard to get now. So, we try to get them odd jobs until we wait for birth certificates and social security cards come in. But, work is the key. Those who drink, work keeps them occupied; those who are depressed, work gives them a plan to restore hope. And the obvious, work helps them get a home.


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