It’s not often where I go back and think on segments of my past and how different life could look if things had gone down in another fashion. Interestingly enough, when you let yourself go to places like these it gives you greater reason to be thankful to be where you’re at. The past can be a cold and unwelcome place but sometimes in order to understand where a person is at you need to see where it is they have come from.
I first lived on my own at the age of nineteen. From February ’96 to August I managed to start at square one with government assistance and in a basement of a house with four other random roomates. I upgraded a couple months later to my own basement suite and with 2 jobs as well.
I let the wrong dude into my life and all of a sudden I didn’t care so much about paying rent. This resulted in my first eviction. This lack of responsibility carried over to the next place we lived in and we basically trashed it and got the boot again. After that we moved into a den of skinheads, some of which were acquaintances of my buddy Dave. I lived in a glorified closet in the basement amongst these violent individuals. Subsequently began losing my jobs due to unhealthy night time activities and a general lack of giving a crap.
After a fist fight broke out between my friend and a guy who’s girlfriend had slept with Dave we had to leave. He went to stay with his girlfriend and I squatted at another aquaintances place. He hadn’t paid rent and had gone elsewhere, meanwhile I slept on the floor until his landlord asked me to leave.
At this point my means of survival was frequenting soup kitchens and breaking into unlocked cars for loose change or pawnable items. Any extra money went towards cigarettes and liquor. At wits end I was able to stay with an aquaintance of Daves but only to sleep at night and on the floor. My days were spent in parks and wondering when I would eat next. I was emaciated and weak.
If I hadn’t reached out to my mom and if she wouldn’t have brought me up north to rehabilitate I can assure you I’d be either homeless on the street, in prison or dead. The crimes escalated. There were times I demanded money from people with a weapon or I pretended to brandish something. If I didn’t perish from malnutrition my illegal means of survival would have defintely caught up with me.
And thinking back, there was no inkling of changing my ways. It never crossed my mind to pull myself together and whip up a resume and take back my life. I was set on this downward spiral with blinders on. How I went from a normal, functioning young adult to this person in about 6 months was insane.
I say all this to reconfirm to my own self that in life anything is possible. One minute I can be a trapped alcoholic without hope and the next I can be free and healthy again. I can be in control of my life and a short time later be surviving by stealing and sleeping on near strangers floors.
The trauma of our past is indicative of our future. We can’t escape it. We can remember and reference it but we needn’t live amongst it. I’ve been to the bottom. I have an understanding of the homeless persons mentality and equally the way an alcoholic mind functions. And maybe, in time, the best thing I could do is to be available to those who are without hope. My past will dictate my future.