Today, I am not going to post about medical related problems. Today I want to talk about something that relates to a lot of people suffering from addictions. This is something that is near to me because I have experienced it. The problem? Homelessness due to addiction.
Now, before anyone says that not everyone who is homeless is addicted. Or that not everyone who is addicted is homeless. I will say, I know. What I am pointing out today is that many who are homeless is because of their addictions.
Case in point:
Danny Bonaduce, Actor
What is it about actors from 1970s family shows? There was no “c’mon get happy” for the precocious redhead from The Partridge Family (1970-1974). Nose-diving on alcohol and drugs, said he lived in his car behind Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. And how’s this for humiliating? He said on a radio show he would greet autograph seekers there. Bonaduce, 52, recently remarried for a third time, and was working as a drive-time DJ on WYSP in Philadelphia until the station changed formats in August.
(Excerpt taken from https://www.dailyfinance.com/2011/09/29/seven-celebrities-who-went-from-hot-shots-to-homeless/ [02/19/2014])
Danny is trying to turn his life around now but, because of his choices, he wound up broke and homeless.
Many who choose this type of choice find themselves without a home for a number of reasons.
- Their family cannot stand them being around when they are under the influence of something
- They lost their job(s) because of their addictions and therefore cannot pay their bills
- Their money goes to feed their addictions and therefore they cannot pay their bills
- They are unable to be responsible with their obligations because they are under the influence
- Neighbors complain and either complains to the Landlord or authorities and then this person finds themselves out of a home.
And there are other reasons but, these seem to be the big ones.
Part of my story goes like this:
I started using drugs and alcohol at an early age. I thought I was invincible that I could do anything. In fact, I thought I found friends who would accept me for who I was because I finally fit in somewhere. The first time I was homeless, I had chosen to stay with a family who already was. I never thought of it being homeless at the time. All I thought about is that, “I could party on and not have to worry about answering to anyone”. What happened during this time is that people in my town, I lived in a small town then, really did not want anything to do with me because I was smelly and drunk quite a bit. One time, while I was in this situation, I went to my then girlfriend’s home to get cleaned up and possibly be with her. What happened was that because I was so drunk, she was scared for herself and her children. I sort of remember stumbling up the stairs looking for her and then being greeted by her stepfather, who took me back to where I was camped out. You see, I wasn’t without money, I just wanted to party.
People who suffer addictions don’t always end up being homeless but they can sure end up being lonely. Case in point, Michael Jackson. Almost everyone knew about his struggles with drugs. His final result though was death, unfortunately.
So, why this article today? I look at the current situation going in our city with “Tent City”. On one side of the issue, Albuquerque, wants to remove Tent City and offer motel vouchers, etc. to help those who are homeless. Because of recent actions, sanitation workers removing vacant tents and other things, this put Albuquerque in a bad lime light.
On the other side of the issue are those who are objecting to what Albuquerque is doing. They are fighting to stop this and to allow “Tent City” to remain. There was even a vote by the Barelas community to allow “Tent City” to remain in a vacant lot that is private so that people could not be evicted. The big problem with their solution is that they forgot to involve the property owner in this decision. The other problems faced is the criminal activities that continue to happen, drug dealing, prostitution, etc. These are things many turn to, to support themselves.
So, is there a solution? Many would say no that no matter what we do there is nothing that will solve this issue. I say yes but it is on an individual basis.
So how does it start? It starts by the Body of Christ getting involved. It starts by all of us allowing The Word to “Breath Life” into us. You will notice that at the end of everything I write, I put Ezekiel 37:1-6 on the end. The purpose? It is because The Body of Christ has allowed the Power of the Spirit to diminish in us. We have not allowed God to work through us and now, we have become Spiritually dead.
I believe that God wants to have a Revival to happen in The Body again. I believe that if we allow The Word to work in us, that we can reach out to others in this situation and help them to leave it behind.
Ok, enough of my rant on that. Let me get back on point.
First we, Christians, need to be in prayer. I heard something recently that really pointed out what we have seem to have forgotten. We as Christians need to develop our Relationship with God first before we know how He will use us. Not figure out how He will use us before we develop our Relationship with Him. So, that means we need to be in prayer constantly, like Paul talks about (1 Thess. 5:17). Just a quick note, this does not mean we stay in prayer and not do anything, this means we are to spend time in prayer, until He reveals to us what He says or prods us to do, and then put it into action.
Second, after we see how it is He would want for us to partner with Him, we are to step in Faith and to act. Look at what Abram did. God spoke to him and said to leave his country to where He, God, would direct him Genesis 12). Did Abram just sit around and wonder what that meant or how to put it into action? No, he simply went. Did he make mistakes, sure he did but God, guided him through his mistakes and showed him His Promise (Genesis 12ff).
Ok, now we have some action points. I want to suggest some things that might help:
- If someone who is suffering comes into your fellowship, appearing to be under the influence, don’t be so quick to usher them out. I have experienced a lot of times that God brings them into our fellowship at a time when they are seeking help. Does that mean they are ready at the time they come? No, but, through developing a relationship with them, you may through time, lead them to The Cross and help them to get away from their addiction. (Note: there are times when people who under the influence come in and cause problems. By no means are we to allow them to cause these problems, we can take them to a quieter place to help calm them down and hopefully encourage them to be respectful or, we may have to ask them to leave all together but, if they return, make an assessment to see if they will be ok to come back. Sometimes, they learn that there is some things that are not acceptable but they can find The Love of Christ through us.)
- Take time to get to know the person. Please be careful when doing this. I highly encourage you, that if you choose to do this, make sure that The Spirit is moving you and guiding you. There are many who are in their situations that are dangerous.
- Lead them to Christ. It’s simpler than we make it, just share your testimony.
In taking time in getting to know the person, you may find what it is that they are struggling with. Please, be aware that people have a tendency to want to give stuff to help, if you do, be careful you are not enabling their addiction. I usually tell people that I help, “We can do this but, you need to follow through with this…”
When you find out what it is they are struggling with, you have an opportunity to point them in the right direction. For many, it is because they do not understand what it is to have a personal Relationship with Our Lord and Savior. They do not know that they can turn to Him for True Love and answers for their struggles.
There are many organizations that offer help to people who are stuck in their current problems. We may try to lead them to go to a shelter, but, realize that a. They may not feel comfortable there, b. They may have burned bridges in the past, and c. That is not always the answer, it could be that they need to go to detox and start afresh without anything in their system, and find that they can return home. No matter what we do, we need to continue to help. As we can, until we can get them connected to help, like found with U-Turn for Christ (recovery Home), (505) 217-6888, our Fellowship, Cross Christian Fellowship, Rt. 66 (we have a mentoring ministry to help those away from these types of situations, coming soon a home to help anyone in addictions or trying to get away from the life of prostitution, gangs, street life, etc.) (505) 369-4989 or (505) 600-1027, and there’s also the shelters in Albuquerque like Joy Junction and The Rescue Mission for those who are willing to go. For those who are reading this in other cities, check your local area.
I still encourage you to try to stay involved with whoever you are working with even if you lead them to one of these solutions. You already developed the relationship with them anyway and it does help them to recover. Even if you never suffered from something like this before, you can still minster to them.
Let’s start being the Body and start using the Power given to us to help others.
Until next time:
Ezekiel 37:1-6 (NKJV): The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. 2 Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry. 3 And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
So I answered, “O Lord God, You know.”
4 Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. 6 I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.”’”