Homelessness & Addiction

Full disclosure: My older sister and brother have endured homelessness and addiction issues since I ws really young.

Homelessness and addiction are more complex issues than most want to believe and they’re intertwined. Usually for long-term addicts, their brains are irreversably damaged. Many develop a form of dementia or psychosis. That is true of my brother who says he likes living on the streets.

Each case is different of course, but what bothers me about politicians all over the world is that they never address these complex realities and behave as though they’re somehow going to ‘fix’ or remedy the problem. And it is a problem. The truth is they have no clue what to do about addiction or homlessness.

I have been around addicts my whole life and I truly appreciate how families get sick of dealing with them. They’re typically selfish, entitled, lack empathy for others, are sociopathic and so much more. They’re lifetime burdens and I see why so many parents wash their hands of their kids.

Or vice versa. You never really know what it’s about unless you’re in it observing all the chaos. On top of all the other traits I mentioned, addicts tend to be pathological liars and manipulate anyone to get what they want: essentially, drugs.

This hollywood-like notion that they’ll one day snap out of it or be cured is delusional and myopic. My parents used to think that if my brother had kids that would set the course right. Well, it didn’t and the pain those children endured is real and devastating.

As the story was told to me, years ago, after my brother and his addict girlfriend — the mother of his children — lost custody of their kids, child protective services came to my parents and said if they don’t adopt them, the kids would have to go to foster parents and they couldn’t gurantee it would be the same foster house for each. My parents chose foster care.

I remember at the time believing they were cruel, but I got it. They were old and tired. They did what they could, but there was nothing more they could physically or emotionally give. Life’s a bitch. But these are the true realities of addiction.

I’ve always wondered why my siblings became addicts and I didn’t. I’ve attempted to figure this out. My sister is 10 years older than me and my brother is 3 years older. I think I simply observed the insantity of that house and knew I wanted to get out. When I was not yet 10 I sat up in bed one night and told myself I would leave home at 18. What 10 year old thinks like this?

I believe my siblings’ addiction is masking the pain they experienced as kids. Yet, there’s no healing from it. They will likely die as a result of it.

Sometimes I wonder if that makes me sad. I’m sad that I never had a real, normal, well-adjusted, functional family. That I can’t call my brother and sister up the way others can and have a nice conversation.

But then I know it’s all for the best. They’re not really there anymore.

5 thoughts on “Homelessness & Addiction

  1. Homeless citizens β€” mostly due to the housing shortage crisis β€” unjustly cannot afford an official residence and therefor are, by extension, too poor to be permitted to practice what’s frequently platitudinously described as all citizens’ right to vote. Progressive voters need to start electorally acting like the fiscal conservative voters, who β€” in most cases that I’ve witnessed in the last three decades of voting municipally, provincially and federally β€” will manage to unite as a block to avoid splitting their money-first-minded vote. …

    Also, there’s a preconceived social-conservative notion that drug addicts are but weak-willed and/or have somehow committed a moral crime. (We now know pharmaceutical corporations intentionally pushed their very addictive and profitable opiate pain killers β€” I call it the real moral crime β€” for which they got off relatively lightly, considering the resulting immense suffering and overdose death numbers.) Even worse, I’ve found that (in this world) a large number of people, however precious their lives, can atrociously be considered disposable. Then those people may begin perceiving themselves as worthless and consume their substances more haphazardly.

    While the inhuman(e) devaluation of these people is basically based on their uncontrolled self-medicating, it reminds me of an external devaluation, albeit a subconscious one, of the daily civilian lives lost in protractedly devastating war zones and heavily armed sieges. They can eventually receive meagre column inches on the back page in the First World’s daily news. (To the newspaper owners/editors, of course, it’s just the news business and nothing personal.)

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