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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. stariie

    stariie Community Champion

    Sorry for the late reply.
    I appreciate your sharing your perspective here, and so I wanted to share a bit of mine as well.

    I learned a lot about myself when I was homeless, but especially prior to getting evicted, when I was still living in my home. I was a full-blown basket case. Crying, shaking, not eating, sick. I was a mess.
    I never knew I could fall apart with such absolute skill, Lol, but I did.

    I mastered the art of freaking out. So thoroughly, so completely.
    Looking back on it, it was so bad it is almost funny. Almost.

    I also learned a great deal about my son. He has a calm, coolness about him that I thought would evaporate like thin air once we became homeless, but to my amazement (and sometimes to my complete aggravation, to be quite honest) he became even more calm and more cool, and very relaxed about the whole thing.

    My son only complained once the whole 2 and 1/2 years we were homeless, other than that, I dare say he loved it.
    When we were living in a motel and he was unable to go to school, he was able to draw and make music, go to bed and wake up whenever he wanted. He loved it, thrived in that space. That space of calm.

    He no longer had to listen to me crying uncontrollably every day, fretting about what we were going to do since we were unable to pay our 2,200 a month rent, or his 1,800 a month private school tuition.

    I learned that living in a house/going to a school I could no longer pay for was much more tedious on the psyche than getting evicted ever was.
    Getting evicted was freedom. Peace and quiet. Calm.

    Kind of reminds me of when 2 people are married but hate each others guts but they decide to stay together for the good of the children, seemingly blind to the fact that their being together is last thing that the children need at this point. And how a calm comes about when the 2 fighting people finally go their separate ways, and co-parent from a distance.

    After I let that house go, I began to thrive as well, but I had to learn that some workers who are supposed to help the homeless, will actually work against you. Not all of them, but some of them. They make it their duty to try and make you jump through hoops.

    Sorry that you got kicked out of the shelter for families. That happened to us too. It was then that I realized that I have to be strong because others who are supposed to be helping me will actually work against me. That realization brought out a "drive" in me, and I began to really pray and work, to change my life for the better.
    bluedressed and pineywood like this.
  2. thomas pendrake

    thomas pendrake Active Contributor

    I spent a couple of years after I had to move back to Florida to care for my aging mother (instead of playing music and writing songs in East Tn.) delivering pizza . There was an older man who would come by after work looking for handouts (except during the season when he could get work picking cabbage). I usually gave him 5o cents or so, all he was looking for. Sometimes, however, he would stop by and give me stuff he had. I got some nice belts, a few jackets, and some books. I know that he would never drink more than one beer, and he would look for stuff to give away, and knew who really needed help.
    pineywood and bluedressed like this.
  3. Adrianna

    Adrianna Community Champion

    Lol probably. Who knows what half their stories are. Ask him. You give them money of course they will spend it how they want.
  4. bluedressed

    bluedressed Community Champion

    Meh, getting a new notification for this thread, after all this time, I also tend to think that people are happy to generalize the incidence of poor people using money on drugs.
    It has different reasons I think:

    1) It allows people to believe in a fairer world (they got there on their own and we cannot change it, only they can but choose not to by wasting money on drugs and alcohol);

    2) It allows them to justify not having to give money (which nobody has to, but I think some people feel bad about it when it is right in their face that the money they spent on a fancy coffee could have fed someone for a day) and not having to think about the inequalities of this world

    3) It allows people to think they are "smarter", by choosing "not to be the fool". Regardless of whether that would be the case or not, the simple possibility that we could be had makes us "protect ourselves" completely.


    I mean, of course it exists, but I think that people who say "most people who beg" have not met or talked to many of them, they just like to reason away any consciousness trouble they might otherwise have about it (and they would not need to -- nobody is judging them for not giving, anyway).
  5. kassie1234

    kassie1234 Community Champion

    I don't think it's always drugs. Sure, I have no doubt that some people out there are battling addiction - it would be naïve of me to think that wasn't the case. But I think sometimes it really is things like just sheer bad luck that pushes people to hold up signs and ask for money. Think about it, there are plenty of people out there who are living from paycheck to paycheck and if they were to lose their jobs they would be out on the streets very quickly.
  6. bluedressed

    bluedressed Community Champion

    Yeah, I was very surprised the first time I understood the concept of "living from paycheck to paycheck". My mom has never made too much money, but she always kept a decent reserve and budgeted very well. So I was already twenty the first time I heard someone say that they could not do something because they only had 6$ left on their account up to their next paycheck. I was... kinda flabbergasted. A good dose of reality right there! Though those people at least had the support of their family and friends if something went awry -- that is not always the case for now homeless people, especially the many people who "go in the city to make it big" and then figure out they can't (or fail)... or for those whose family is just as poor, or even worse, and they are usually seen as the support!
  7. kassie1234

    kassie1234 Community Champion

    Yup - I too didn't come from much money - we were in much the same situation as it sounds like you were growing up. We had some savings but not a great deal...thankfully we had a decent support network of other family and so forth if times got rough, but many people aren't in situations like that. Even though I didn't grow up with much I try and tell myself that there are many people facing much harder predicaments than I ever have!
  8. kgord

    kgord Community Champion

    I agree that buying food is better than giving cash. I mean in this area it is more common for people for people to ask for gas for their cars instead of money. I mean I have had gas buying issues once in a while myself, so if someone looks legit and not scamming me I wouldn't have a problem doing that. However, it takes time to buy hamburgers or whatever, and throwing some change or a few dollars at people is easier, so that is why people do it.
  9. knitmehere

    knitmehere Community Champion

    Personally, I don't care what they spend the money on. If I chose to give it to them, it becomes theirs. What they spend it on is their business.

    I've been in that position where I would do anything to get my fix. I know what it's like what that's the only thought you have all day every day. I don't want to support someone else's addiction, but sometimes that's all you can do is give someone a little bit of help and hope that they do the right thing with it.
    pwarbi likes this.
  10. pwarbi

    pwarbi Community Champion

    Where I live there are a lot of homeless now in the cities, and the figure is growing rapidly as well with the looks of it. While I do always give any spare change I can, I'm also aware that they'll probably spend it on cigarettes or alcohol.

    While I wouldn't say I'm fine with that, but I'm not going to judge them for it either, and a bit of spare change isn't going to help solve his problem so what else is he going to do with it?
  11. knitmehere

    knitmehere Community Champion

    I'm glad to see that someone else has the same mindset as I do on this matter.
    pwarbi likes this.
  12. pwarbi

    pwarbi Community Champion

    I think a lot of people will think the same to be honest, but it's maybe not seen as the right way to be.

    A homeless person is often looked down on if they have a cigarette or a beer, but that's probably the only pleasure they'll have. For others more fortunate it's easy to judge and say they shouldn't do this or that, but they're the ones that are going home to a cooked meal and a bed to sleep in.
  13. oportosanto

    oportosanto Community Champion

    We never know what's behind of addiction or being poor, many times it's something complex and other times happened by accident, but the important thing is not to prejudge and see each case individually.
  14. Rainman

    Rainman Community Champion

    Not all panhandlers are drug addicts. A few of them might be but most aren't. Some are just down on their luck. In my hometown the few poor people who "beg" are disabled folks who can't do any work. Able-bodied people will not get any money because there are lots of farm jobs here. Addicts would get a temporary job, get paid and use their wages to get their "fix."
  15. Tsky45

    Tsky45 Community Champion

    It's really hard to tell but, times are hard these days. If you feel compelled to help someone it will never hurt you, but bless you later. I wouldn't want someone using drugs with money I gave them for food, but helping someone less fortunate is never a bad thing. I wouldn't worry too much about it you gave what you could, what the person does with it is something you can't control.
  16. doatk22

    doatk22 Community Champion

    I bet most of them are struggling with some kind of addiction. It can't be easy to be homeless and have to stand outside in front of a lot of people and ask for their help. A lot of them probably numb that feeling so they can do it. But I still think it's wrong to not help them just because someone might think they'll only use it on drugs. That's not always true.
  17. oportosanto

    oportosanto Community Champion

    Being homeless in itself can be a sort of addiction because there are some ways in which they can get out of the streets. Sure, the majority does have tragic stories, but not all have to be addicts.
  18. bluedressed

    bluedressed Community Champion

    I'd argue that it is not better -- if anything, it is "safer" (for the consciousness of the giver, at least). But from the homeless people I've heard talk, food is not really as helpful as money. Food, they can get in shelters and in soup kitchens and such (some people I've met also dumpster dived). Money they actually need if they ever want to get away from the street. Though of course, someone would say a buck or two does not matter and there is the chance that they just turn around and use it on drugs or cigs. And that's a risk, and many people are not willing to take that risk. But, if the way to keep people alive is to give them food, the way to get them out of poverty is many times money.
  19. rcdpink

    rcdpink Active Contributor

    People do all kinds of things with money. Today a little boy came and asked me for some money even though he knew I could have seen that he had gone to all the people that were before me, asking for money. I realized he was doing this thing as a habit and it is at this critical point that he needs to be broken out of him. When I told him I had no money he asked me for some of my food. I just had to give him a piece of my chicken... I couldn't help it. But he is learning to be a con.
  20. rcdpink

    rcdpink Active Contributor

    Yes it would not be nice to stereotype all homeless people as being addicts. As a matter fact we can become homeless tomorrow by going home from work only to see our houses burnt down.