Recently, the advocate for the homeless for the “library people” in Levittown, PA was flabbergasted and saddened that there had been so much drama among her homeless friends of late — fights, breakups between a married couple and between friends, worry…
The drama was largely fueled by alcohol.
Researchers have found that substance abuse, including alcohol, is higher in the homeless than in the general population. They are left with a chicken and egg question. Which came first, the alcohol abuse or homelessness.
Both happens. People lose their jobs and relationships because they abuse alcohol and become homeless, and for those who become homeless because they lose their jobs because of the economy, alcohol is a cheap escape.
Escaping problems by using drugs or alcohol is the subject of a 60’s song sung by Paul Revere and the Raiders. Although Kicks is an anti-drug abuse song, it can be applied to booze.
The song opens:
Girl, you thought you found the answer
On that magic carpet ride last night
But when you wake up in the mornin’
The world still gets you uptight
Well, there’s nothin’ that you ain’t tried
To fill the emptiness inside
When you come back down, girl
Still ain’t feelin’ right
Read more: Paul Revere And The Raiders – Kicks Lyrics | MetroLyrics
The results of using alcohol to escape problems are the same for the homeless as it is for the general population. After coming down off a high, the problem of being homeless is still there. Not only does the original problem remain, there is damage in the aftermath of a drunken stupor. The emptiness inside remains. People in the normally close knit homeless group became alienated. There were minor injuries. What’s worse, an alcohol powered altercation that took place just outside of the library one day when the library was open has caused tensions between the library and the homeless people, with possible sanctions against the homeless.
To address the recent problems at the library, the Advocates for The Homeless and Those in Need (AHTN) will hold a meeting at the library with the homeless people.
This serious business for the homeless. The homeless community here is degrading like the characters in Frank Norris’ 1899 novel McTeaque, where greed and jealousy resulted in violence and murder.
The “library people” have various issues, but they all have a common problem: homelessness. Instead of being at each other’s throats, like the McTeaque characters, they need to be more like the characters in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, where people in a difficult situation worked together to help one another.
A crisis, such as a hurricane, brings the worst and best out of people. In some cases, greedy, opportunistic people resort to looting. In other cases, people will pitch in and help their neighbor.
The root of alcoholism is a character flaw, a spiritual problem, and the hopelessness of believing one is trapped in the homeless situation is a result of a lack of faith.
At a recent community meal, I shared with an AHTN volunteer how I had fallen into a pit and had lost hope and nearly my mind. She asked if it was a result of drug or alcohol addiction. It wasn’t. It was a result of bad decisions driven by a bad attitude. I came to realize what I needed was the Lord, and I returned to him.
By tapping into God and his word, taking to heart that he will help me, my health and well being has been getting better and I now have hope, although at times I have doubts. I also lean on God to give me faith that things will turn out alright.
What the drunks in the local homeless, as well as the rest of the homeless community here need is God, and to follow his ways.
Life becomes unmanageable because of the effects of our separation from God, and not following his precepts. This is what’s addressed in the first step of the 12 Step Journey Program I’m in.
Once people get their live’s under control vertically, in their relation to God, then they can better manage their horizontal relationships, with other people.
” Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:
If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” — Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
The homeless need to help and edify one another and help themselves. We need to lend a hand to help them get there. To this end, Gimmee Shelter for the Homeless was created. Read all about us: http://www.timespub.com/2015/04/30/working-for-a-place-to-stay/#more-45529