For a person who is unfamiliar with addiction, it can be difficult to understand how a person, particularly someone that they love, can continue using despite horrible consequences. If you are an addict, you know.
Homelessness And Addiction
Two conditions which often go hand in hand are drug addiction and homelessness. While many people struggling with addiction remain “functioning addicts,” meaning that they are able to hold a job and pay the bills, others cannot. In extreme cases, an addict loses everything, including the ability to maintain employment and meet their basic financial needs.
Once homeless, the addiction continues or even worsens. Hope of change is lost, and all sense of identity and self-worth go with it. The idea of getting clean or recovering from addiction seems pointless for the person who is living on the streets. The routine of trying to meet basic needs such as eating, finding a safe place to sleep and shower are all-consuming, leaving no energy for anything else.
No Way Out of Using Drugs & Alcohol
At this point, it may feel like there is no point in seeking help. Even when offered, the addict may resist, much to the frustration of family members. Even though a bottom has clearly been reached, the pull of addiction and the resulting hopelessness may make the addicted person feel there is no other way.
For the homeless person, living in constant uncertainty, fear and degradation, the only thing that seems left to do is continue using, because that at least provides some level of relief.
There Is Hope
If you or someone you love is facing homelessness as a result of addiction, there is hope. Drug and alcohol treatment offers not only a safe place to be, it also offers a new way of life. Many recovering addicts who had lost everything, their jobs, homes, families and health have recovered and built successful, fulfilling lives, often even better than before. A comeback is absolutely realistic, although it may not feel like it. Drug addiction and homelessness may feel like the end, but for the addict who gets help, it is just the beginning.