I got home from Iraq in 2008, and I was homeless then for a while. Civilian life was a little too slow, so I started working for a motorcycle club in West Virginia. Then I got sober. I got diagnosed with PTSD so I started working on that. I was sober from 2012 to 2017, and I was working, got married and shit. I started drinking last year around this time and ended up in jail for a fist-fight for about eight months. I’ve been out for two weeks; I’m sober now.
We always have to look in the glass of the windows to remind us that we don’t look as homeless as we feel.
Out here is pretty chill. You just gotta prepare for the winter. It’s better than the South — can’t go anywhere down there without the cops harassing you.
After war, the mind is different. Trying to come home and re-create a life we’ve already lived and that life ain’t there. A lot of people get addicted to the Oxycodone and pain-killers. But the biggest problem is that people have PTSD and they don’t know they do. They get stuck on drinkin’. Like for me, I couldn’t go anywhere without drinking because I was so nervous and anxious about the crowds and stuff.
What is home?
Home to me is two different places. One is a foundation and a house with a family goin on there. I can have home out here — hangin’ with the right people. When it’s cold and you take care of each other, that’s home too. For me it’s just where I feel safe and where people got my back, ya know. Don’t need a roof to be a house.
We’re both on the Jesus path, too. You gotta be, really.
Homelessness in America
People know there’s homeless, but they just don’t wanna go there. We’re worried about day-to-day, they’re worried about their finances. But yeah, you definitely can see society in full when you’re on the bottom.
If someone wants to change they’ve gotta hit their own personal bottom. If they haven’t hit bottom, they’re not gonna need a reason to change. It ain’t gonna be that bad for ‘em yet. For me, I’ve hit three of four or five bottoms and, you know, there’s a lot of street-smarts and experience that comes from it. I know how bad it can get and stuff. Sucks at times, but it is what it is. God’s got me right where He wants me to be right now.