I was Homeless and Addicted Too
In the year 2014, I found myself homeless and on the streets of Phoenix. Never in my life did I believe that I would be walking down the street unshowered, my hair a mess, screaming and arguing with absolutely no one. When I take even a moment to think and reflect on those times, I remember feeling a strong sense that getting better was impossible. Addiction had been slowly and insidiously working in my life over the course of a decade, and it had finally brought me to the worst possible destination. I had every ounce of certainty that death was soon to follow.
As a teenager and a natural thrill-seeker, I found myself addicted to heroin at 17. After 6 months of use, where all was fun and games, the crushing weight of the physical addiction fell on top of me like a literal ton of bricks.
Even just remembering the things I went through is difficult for me. I imagine it’s the same for those who continue to live this reality every waking day. I remind myself about where I was because I never want to lose the sense of empathy needed to make a difference in the lives of those who are suffering. Empathy is rarely found on Phoenix’s streets, where every moment is a struggle to exist.
When watching the Lost in Phoenix videos, I can’t help but see myself in the people he interviews. Of course, we are different people, but it’s important to remember that addiction doesn’t care who you are. Addiction doesn’t discriminate.
Eventually, with what I’m sure was divine intervention, I was set free from addiction. I did and continue to do the work needed to remain drug-free. My life has been steered in a completely new direction.
Every part of me hopes that those who are homeless and addicted understand that they can change too. It is not over as long as you’re still breathing.