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Living Life At Rock Bottom

Living Life At Rock Bottom

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Published by Daniel Abshear

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Published by: Daniel Abshear on Mar 16, 2012
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03/16/2012

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As of today, I've been homeless for a bit over two and a half years.Right after becoming homeless, I tried to stay with friends. But that never seemed to be a comfortable situation for me. Such friends did not understand how Ibecame homeless, so my relationship with such friends was often fractured, I'msad to say. Such friends also included former lovers. No situation staying with such friends ever worked. My stay with such friends was often brief, and unpleasant for me. So, I began staying at a homeless shelter.- specifically, a shelter contracted by the veterans administration because, by definition, I am a homeless veteran.This meant I was living with several other people, at the same location. It's community living, and this is something I had not experienced since my days in the military.For the past several months, I've been staying at a Salvation Army. The VA contracted a floor at this salvation army for homeless veterans who are recovering drug addicts. In addition to being homeless, I am also a recovering drug addict.This floor holds about 40 homeless veterans. It is a comfortable place to stay. At this location, the homeless veterans have three TVs, four refrigerators,two microwaves, two phones, and two computers. In addition to the salvation army providing meals for us, we as homeless veterans also often have food stamps. We would often buy additional food for us to have where we lived, to supplement the meals provided to us where we stayed, with these food stamps. So, with many homeless veterans at this location, obesity wasa problem.This obesity experienced by many other veterans staying with me at the salvationarmy was not only due to the additional food available to these now overweighthomeless veterans, but also due to the medication these veterans would often take, as prescribed to them by their VA psychiatrists, often. Such medications would often cause them to gain weight.Many veterans I stay with at this salvation army were trying to get disability benefits, for mental illnesses. So, they would be diagnosed with various mentalhealth disease states by their VA psychiatrists, and take these often toxic mediations, as prescribed to them. Whether or not such veterans actually had such mental illnesses is a topic of debate. Regardless, because they wanted mental health disability benefits, they would be diagnosed with a variety of mental health illnesses, and take often many drugs for these illnesses.Usually, the TVs at the salvation army where we stayed were designated for specific reasons, by the veterans. One TV would be for those who wish to watch sports. Another TV would be dedicated to those veterans who wished to watch the newsor TV shows. And another TV would be dedicated for those who wish to watch mo
 
vies.Often, the homeless veterans would get bootleg DVD movies. These would be movies currently playing in theatres would be acquired by some veterans, on DVD disks. Don't ask me how certain veterans acquired these movies, but it was nice watching current movies, where I stayed. Myself, I never watched much TV, so I was on the computers at this location often. Many I stayed with at this salvation army were not very literate, so they did not utilize the computers available to us, at the salvation army. During thelong days at the salvation army, I would look for jobs on these computers, and often help many other homeless veterans write whatever they may want written. This would include letters such veterans wanted to receive additional VA benefits,cover letters they wanted me to create for certain jobs they wanted, or lettersto lawyers, often. I did not mind helping my fellow veterans, in this way. Most homeless people, including homeless veterans, smoke. We call cigarettes squares, and acquiring cigarettes is often a main goal for us smokers, since mostof us do not have any money on us at all. As a general rule, I'll ask for cigarettes from those homeless veterans who do have some sort of income, and smoke.And, if I happen to get some money and have cigarettes, I'll share these cigarettes with others. I've been known to find cigarette butts on the ground, and smoke those.Making money as a homeless person is often difficult, because we, as homeless people, are often unemployable for a variety of reasons. Any money I've made as ahomeless person has been untraceable, which is money paid to me under the table. Such jobs may include cleaning an athletic stadium. Or helping a political candidate get elected.Such opportunities to work are rare, I'm sorry to say. With whatever money I may make doing such jobs, I often buy cigarettes, and cards and stamps, to write my girlfriend and daughter. Other homeless people use such small amounts of money to buy alcohol or other often illegal drugs. I choose to remain free from such substances, myself.Many I stayed with at this salvation army were African American people. This was not a concern with me, because historically, I've gotten along with a wide variety of people, of different races. Most of these men I stayed with at this salvation army accepted me living with them there. I became friends with a few ofthese African American men. Some, however, seemed to dislike me due to my race.I understand this, in a way, especially with some of the older African American men I stay with, at this location. I imagine they were not treated so well, by those of my race, especially in their youth.Many homeless veterans I stayed with at this salvation army spent a great deal o

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