An American Addiction Centers Resource

New to the DrugAbuse.com Forums?Join or

Do you think most of the people who hold signs up for financial help are struggling with addiction?

Discussion in 'General Substance Abuse Discussion' started by frogsandlegos, Apr 10, 2015.

  1. frogsandlegos

    frogsandlegos Active Contributor

    In my area, I see people - who look to be homeless possibly - holding up cardboard signs asking for any help.

    Just today I gave a man a $5 bill. When I gave it, he immediately said "I don't drink", and "I have seizures and that's why I'm here". About 15 minutes later, I saw him again (long story) and he was holding a cigarrette in his right hand, I kind of wondered if he bought the cigs wtih the money I gave him.
  2. missbishi

    missbishi Community Champion

    It's possible that someone could have given him the cigarette but it seems more likely that he did buy the cigarettes with your money. And let's face it, he already had them, before you gave him the money, should he really have been begging at all if he clearly had the money to smoke?

    I'm sorry that your good nature was taken advantage of like this.
  3. serenity

    serenity Community Champion

    It would be better if you had just given him food instead of money so that it won't be wasted in buying cigarettes and alcohol. The next time you see him, ask him if he used the money you gave him to buy cigarettes and see his response. At least you know better not to give him any money in the future.
  4. zaerine

    zaerine Community Champion

    I also think that better to give foods than money since they could just spend the money on bad vices like cigarettes. Sad to say that some of those who ask for money have vices and does not want to work for their needs. So really better to give them something that they really need and can use.
  5. bluedressed

    bluedressed Community Champion

    I think people don't really get homelessness and its problems. Everyone is always like, "Oh, I prefer to give them a sandwich" because they think they know better what needy people need. Bullshit, guys. You're all awesome when you do this, but don't always play this "I know better" game. Many times, food is something they can get in food kitchens and shelters, and many of them prefer to save the money they get when begging so that they can hope to get out of their situation -- sometimes buying a gym membership (for regular showers, for instance, but also to stay warm someplace and to not be bored all day) or just waiting to have enough that it could really be useful for something significant.

    Homeless people share cigarettes and beer. Okay. You don't approve. Fine. Some of them do drugs, too. Okay, Some start after they get homeless, because they're bored and desperate and they just want to dull the pain. It's not really something to encourage. But it deserves more of a thought than "I know what all of 'em need better", which, let's face it, is often associated with ego trips. Just sayin'. And I don't mean it any way, either. Give 'em a sandwich or give them gloves and socks. Because you can. Because you don't really owe them something else, right? But don't always go generalizing and act condenscending. It's problematic.
    stariie likes this.
  6. Charli

    Charli Community Champion

    I think most of them do spend it on cigarettes and alcohol but I don't really blame them. If I were in the same situation I'd do the same because being in that state is probably more of a vicious cycle than we think or imagine, so a bit of recreation to ease the pain is acceptable I think. It still shouldn't impede them from trying though.
    bluedressed likes this.
  7. Rosyrain

    Rosyrain Community Champion

    I never give homeless people money because I do not know them well enough to know if they are going to use the money for good, such as actually purchasing food, or if I am just feeding a drug habit. At least if I give them food, I know for a fact that I am doing the right thing. There are so many manipulative people out there, you just never know. A couple of years ago there was a news story about a "homeless" woman who passed away and it turned out that she had millions in the bank. She just made her living by dressing like a homeless woman and begged for money on the streets all day as her career.
  8. bluedressed

    bluedressed Community Champion

    Probably a lot of homeless people pick up cigarette butts that people throw around to smoke the rest of it if they don't have money (just like they can dig in garbage to get food). It's frustrating to know that money does not go to something we consider noble, but then we should figure out a better way to help them quit and get on their feet if that's our main problem.

    And I think it's not a bad thing to be careful (you don't want to feed criminal organization by trying to do good), but never forget that the "big scandal stories" are not even close to be a significant amount of people. Think about how you identify yourself, and about the worst people who also fit this category. Would it be fair that, when you ask for help, people bring out the worst examples they ever heard of in order to snob you?
  9. vespid49

    vespid49 Active Contributor

    This is why I always buy those types of people food and nothing else. Food is always a better as now they have no choice but to eat and benefit from it. If you give money you open up an avenue of temptation which they will probably gain detriment from. Next time, I recommend you buy him a cheeseburger or something. It's entirely possible he bought those cigs with the money you gave him.
  10. imperivm1

    imperivm1 Community Champion

    Sometimes I wonder whether giving your hard-earned money to people like that guy with the sign is the right thing to do. In a sense, you are not helping him - you are fueling his addiction. It is really hard to tell whether the person you're trying to help is actually in need of that money or he just wants to buy alcohol or drugs with it. Unfortunately, this is a very delicate subject and I don't want to take sides but there is something immoral in the whole picture that is definitely not to my taste. These people shouldn't exploit the kindness and generosity of the good Samaritans like you and I. They simply shouldn't.
    E.Mil likes this.
  11. bluedressed

    bluedressed Community Champion

    Sorry, but you're not a good Samaritan if all the compassion you have is spent in doubt and condescending generalizations about the people you pretend to help. Have you really helped someone if you did not even bother to treat them like a fellow human and try to understand them and talk to them? I mean, if you had, then you would not be so unsure.

    Now onto another subject: if you all think that you should only give these people what is necessary to survive and not money for them to feel like they still have a bit of autonomy and freedom, would you also say that people instead of getting paid should get coupons for food and rent because god forbid they bought something that was not absolutely necessary to their survival?

    Seriously. Come off it, people. Can't you guys even see how much this discussion is stalling because everyone of you is pretty much saying the same thing? Besides, how many of you actually go and treat homeless people to food when you say you prefer to do it? And by this I mean, not just getting rid of that sandwich you didn't even really want, but offering them food and hearing them out a bit?
    MrsJones and stariie like this.
  12. imperivm1

    imperivm1 Community Champion

    How did you determine that I wasn't a good Samaritan? By stating that giving addicts money to buy alcohol and drugs is wrong? Or that lying that you need cash for food and shelter while you go ahead and spend it on something else is immoral? Don't we have the right to know or see how OUR money is being utilized? Excuse me, but I'm afraid you've got the definition of a good Samaritan all mixed up. Simply donating money is not definitive of being a good person. It's making sure it is put to good use that matters.
  13. Thejamal

    Thejamal Active Contributor

    Why does donating something or helping somebody have to be a certain way? I've given my left-overs several times to a homeless person I've seen walking to my car and they've always been very appreciative and thanked me. Does that make me giving them my food any less of a good act if I didn't treat the person to a full-course meal and listen to them talk for an hour?

    There's no being "better" with donations or helping people. Nobody has to help anyone or donate any of their money/time to charity or anything, so anything that people DO do extra should always be appreciated and applauded
    MrsJones and stariie like this.
  14. Charli

    Charli Community Champion

    Agreed, and it's why I'm not too quick to judge when it comes to whether I should help the homeless or not or in what way, because each situation is different for each of them just like for those with money and homes. Also I think many people tend to forget that any one of us can be one or two mistakes away from being in that situation so I try not to jump to conclusions.
    MrsJones likes this.
  15. stariie

    stariie Community Champion

    Helping out someone who is homeless can be a noble act. One never knows what a person is going through, but homeless people are still people, and all people have flaws, so therefore some of them will take advantage, although some won't.

    He might have bought cigarettes, or someone could have given him a cigarette. I think that if a person is homeless, they might not spend that money on a whole pack of cigarettes, especially when it so 'easy' (if you don't mind asking) to get cigarettes from someone passing by who happens to be smoking.

    When I used to smoke, if I didn't have a lot of money, I'd ask someone if they could give me a cigarette if I saw them smoking. "Excuse me, don't mean to bother you, but could I get a cigarette from you?" And more than likely I'd get it.
  16. bluedressed

    bluedressed Community Champion

    How did I determine it? Well, you have this "I know it better attitude" that has nothing to do with the actual compassion thing. You do not actually know which one of these people have addiction problems. I think everyone has the right to help others the way they want it, I just think that this condescending attitude is ridiculous and a proof of egocentrism -- and by the way, once you give away money, it is not yours anymore. Get real.

    In case you did not notice (which, from the way you get so pissy, you probably did not), I don't have any problem with people supporting what they believe in and helping in anyway they can. (It seems lie @Thejamal also did not get this). What I say is crap is people acting like they can generalize and make big speeches about how irresponsible those homeless people are and how they don't deserve to be trusted with money. Which is why I asked : would you guys be happy if instead of a salary, you got coupons "of survival" to make sure you could get food and make the rent but never waste money on sweets or on a movie? Or if as kid you got an allowance, but were only supposed to buy what your parents dictated you should?

    Of course homeless people are happy when they get anything. Why would they not be? Most people just pass by and act like they don't exist, or like they're disgusting.

    But as for my argument: they're grown people for the most case, and I think that acting like they should never be trusted to handle money is an insult to their human dignity. Of course, addicts are problematic. Of course, we should not give money to feed addiction. But this has nothing to do with a general statement or the general condition of homeless people, and really guys, since if you read any other message so far, you should notice that you all agree in this way of "caution". Being prudent. Knowing better.

    Maybe you should just think a bit wider, is all. And not try to pretend that I'm saying you're forced to something, or that you owe the world anything. I've said enough time that's not the point. So, one more time, I'll spell it out: do whatever you want, but every now and then, stop acting like you know better.
  17. imperivm1

    imperivm1 Community Champion

    Your logic is flawed. How could you possibly compare spending money on sweets or a movie to buying cigarettes or alcohol? One is harmless and the other is potentially life-threatening. Of course they could do anything they want with the money that's been given to them. Then again, it's only natural that I would get upset if I find out.

    Let's recap. You've donated your funds, you have managed to boost your ego by thinking you've done something good and then the guy goes on and gets hammered in your honor but that's okay with you because you've already done a good deed and anything that ensues afterwards is none of your business. He might die from overdose induced by drugs he bought using your cash, but who cares - you've already played your part, why bother with the aftermath. Who is the egotist in this scenario? I guess I am at fault for caring about what happens to the people I help after we go our separate ways. Oh, and mind you, I never deigned to draw premature conclusions regarding your personality, so please refrain from doing so about mine. Judging people blindly based on a few lines of text on the Internet is indicative of superficiality and inability to sustain a cohesive argument. Your comments are drenched in contempt and hostility which I believe is not a property of constructive criticism (something I'm open to, by the way). You should respect other people's opinions instead of criticizing and calling names. We're all grown ups here, why don't we start acting like ones?

    P.S. For the record, I don't think all homeless people are drug addicts or alcoholics. I was simply trying to prove a point.
  18. bluedressed

    bluedressed Community Champion


    And you did not prove this point. What you've proved is that you say you care about what happens to them after you've helped them, and you have not mentioned how you do this, exactly. Is it because you talk to them and try to understand where they are at? Or is it just because you think that between giving money and giving food, you've chosen the right, better constructive way by donating something that cannot be used dangerously?

    I actually did not really judge you more than you judged me (which you did right after saying you don't, whatever), I was... just expressing doubt upon someone who self-declared herself a good Samaritan, but without actually seeming that compassionate. My logic in saying that these are people who can make good things out of the autonomy we give them, if we choose to, has not been proven flawed by your assumptions about backs being turned and all. And nobody here is acting open minded, just repeating the same trite opinion, and I really could care less in a way because it's fun to poke at strangers on the internet.

    Addiction is not a good thing. But these people can get food for shelters and soup kitchens. I actually have no problem with the fact that, if they are happy to get a beer with the money they've gathered and it can take their mind off of their reality and their desperation for a while and be the highlight of their day (like is the case with other "hard workers, by the way, who we would not begrudge this), then good for them. ****, they just sit or walk all day long, bored out of their mind, and people make them feel like subhumans all the time, not deserving to have a space, not deserving to be trusted, not deserving to be given the benefit of the doubt. I am not encouraging feeding addictions, here. I actually just think that there would be better ways to fight for not having these people addicted, and these ways include caring more instead of just denying them any responsibility.

    By the way, nowhere did I actually insult you guys, just found fault with the mentality (and your self-praise). I did not actually say I'm a good person, nor do I really believe I would be. So, come off it. It's just a website, and nobody actually should take it this serious. Time (and time commenting) is money and all, heh. Or so they say.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2015
  19. MrsJones

    MrsJones Community Listener Community Listener

    I say, it's gotten hot in here but I will contribute just the same.

    Wouldn't it be nice if everyone could know ahead whether a person seeking a handout was going to use it wisely or not? It's only an after thought we find ourselves wondering if we did good or the right thing because they may just do something that we don't like with the money we gave them.

    Why can't we just be charitable and pray that we ourselves did something good for that person in need?

    Now on the other side, if I was approached by someone with alcohol on their breath, I would surely send them on their way.
  20. bluedressed

    bluedressed Community Champion

    See, that's a nice feeling.

    Then, a less charged thought for everyone: if people send care packages to soldiers abroad, why not make up a nice care package for homeless people? With nice socks, maybe something fun to eat (not just survival food, though can go there too), maybe a book or a small picture book, something uplifting that will actually make them happy and feel cared for, rather than feel like they can never be trusted? Would that not be a nice thing to do, that maybe we could all agree on because it does not give them a way to drug and it's also not a "I know better what could be good for you even if I don't walk in your shoes" gift?

    So, really, how 'bout that? Small, happy, full of warmth individual care packages, to not only help them out but to make them feel human and special?
    mayasupernova likes this.