The ending to an addict’s story is always the same: jail, institution, homelessness, or death. I had already been to jail, to an institution, and homeless. The only thing waiting for me was death.
This is an excerpt from this week’s featured story: “Healing | Michelle’s Story,” in “Facing Homelessness in Fort Wayne.” Similar to other stories shared about homelessness, addiction played a major role in Michelle’s descent to rock bottom—a descent that reminds me each time I read her story how easy homeless happens.
A similar situation happened to someone I know. Middle-class life, a good upbringing, and end-of-night dreams about a future-to-be wasn’t enough to stop my friend from one more snort of cocaine and eventually years of rehab, halfway houses, and couch surfing. So when I read these stories of addiction and homelessness, staring back is a tiny reflection of my own life in some way—and I’m reminded that each storyteller once had a life before homelessness.
Michelle’s addiction was crack. Trying it just once tumbled her into a life of danger, jail time, false friendships, and excuses of “I’ll just do it this one last time.” Each moment lived became an opportunity to get blown. An addiction so strong the only thought she had after delivering her baby girl was, “I need to get high.”
Her children were taken away from her, and she was put into a recovery program. Hope and perseverance to get her children back allowed her to overcome her addiction and get on her feet. But her story didn’t end there.
Really, that was just the start of Michelle’s journey.
Telling my story is too important, and it’s much bigger than me. . .I want to help someone just as I had been helped when I reached the lowest point in my life.
This is why we do The Facing Project. To connect people through stories to strengthen communities—to impact and change lives; to learn from and honor the stories; to become a part of the story and make a difference.
Honor Michelle’s story and share it with those who have or are facing homelessness, and those who want to learn from stories of homelessness. The stories are just the beginning.