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Neal and I were talking about the life of a drug addict on the way home from work the other night. He was in a relationship with one; I was one.  We decided that drug addicts do some screwed up stuff; and that my son is awesome for still loving me after all he went through.

The drug dealers and evil people that an addict thinks are friends, and invites into their lives and homes is disturbing.  It’s only after you have some sober time that you see how destructive and dangerous your decision making was when you were using.  Unfortunately, when you are in abyss of madness, you tend to drag your loved ones into your psychosis.  Zach was there for most of the insanity.

If I was Zach, I would have said, “Too little, too late.  See ya’, wouldn’t want to be ya’.”  At least I think I would have.  I don’t know how he bounced back to be such a good person.  He says he loves me and is proud of me.  Although I absolutely cherish that he has forgiven me, I am amazed that he is able to do so.

Continuing on a theme, this is my December Journal from the Homeless Shelter.  It’s so great to have this, to be able to read about the journey, so I don’t ever forget how hard it was to get to this place.

December 1, 2007

I am thankful.

December 3, 2007

I got up at 6:30 am today to have coffee, as it is only served until 7:00 am.  That’s ok, I have to get used to getting up early so I can go to work.  I am so tired, though.  The crazy lady in our dorm went off last night, screaming and yelling!  Then she was eating in bed (which is a no-no).  The damn lady irritated me so much!  I was sound asleep (as was everyone else) in our dorm, when she came in around midnight and complained about Crystal’s radio; then made more noise than a radio ever could!  She kept saying that WE were all going to hell!

December 4, 2007

This morning I gave away twenty-one dollars.  I know that I don’t have a lot of money, but three kids here wanted to go to the Secret Santa Gift Shop at their school for Christmas presents, and their parents don’t have any money.  I just felt that they should be able to do what the kids at school can do.  I remember being a kid with richer kids around.  It was not fun.  So, I am glad I did it; it made me feel good.

I feel fulfilled, which I never felt when I was using.  I am really thankful for this warm place on a cold day, and all the opportunities for a new life.

December 5, 2007

Being sober makes everything seem better, even in the face of adversity.

December 6, 2007

Today I am going to an event called “Homeless Connect” at St. Peter’s Church for the ‘less fortunate’.  That’s me.  I am hoping to get a free haircut and a Wal-Mart card (which they are giving out), but, I will be late, so maybe not.

11 pm—I went to “Homeless Connect”, which was a sort of information bazaar for the homeless.  I did get my Wal-Mart card, but no haircut.  I saw what they were doing to the poor homeless women’s hair!  I received a lot of other things I needed there, and a lot of clothes for the kids that I gave money to.  There are seven children in their family.  I just really feel for them.  Again, I felt happy to help.  Dress for Success was there, and I made an appointment to get free suits to wear on interviews.

After that, I went to the soup kitchen (which I hate doing, it reminds me of how down I am; but I have to eat!) and then the library.  At the library I printed my resume and looked and applied for jobs online.

December 9, 2007

I am thankful for the ability and chance to change my beliefs and my life.  I can be positive about my situation, and take this situation as a chance to grow and be empowered.  This is an opportunity to start a new life, with new values and new ideas; deciding to be proactive and happy.  I am so thankful for my son Zach, who serves as a positive catalyst for me to do well.

All of this is a good experience in as much as it motivates me to try as hard as I might to get it together and become self-sufficient.  I am so thankful that I can now see what could be construed as negative in a positive light.  It is one thing to wish for positive things or to be happy when all is going well, but to find the goodness in what seems to be bad is awesome!  That IS serenity!

December 10, 2007

I just went to Welfare and dropped off paperwork.  I am hoping to get rental assistance soon.  I still don’t feel well, but I am determined to get over it.

Oh, tensions in the homeless shelter tonight!  Crystal and Tina watch DVD’s all the time, and are upset that some of us want to watch TV, but I didn’t say anything to them.  Tina asked, “What?  Do I intimidate you?”  Well, yes, you do, a little (but, I didn’t say that aloud).  I don’t want any problems.  I tried to tell our case worker that it was not a big enough deal to make an issue out of it, but of course, she did!  Now, what I didn’t want to happen has happened—the thugs are mad at me!

December 11, 2007

I am happy to be in a homeless shelter.  Is it a good thing to be homeless?  One would think not.  However, being here is motivating me to be a better me, to do what is needed to move to the next step towards self-sufficiency.  Here is a case of a seemingly bad thing actually being a good thing.  Therefore, I am happy to be in a homeless shelter!

I weigh so much! I was a 6/7 this summer, and now I fit in some 12 and some 14!  Lots of people return to crack to lose weight, but that’s just dumb to me; let’s ruin our lives so we can be skinny. I don’t think so!  I have a brand new life that I am working on, and I am not going to ruin it again!

I am praying that the parents with seven children who are all living in this shelter find a good place for their family to stay, and the children finally get to have a life they deserve.  I love those kids.  I love my son so much, and know what he went through living with my instability.  I hope these kids have stability soon.

December 12, 2007

I am going to Workforce today to look for a job.  Guadalupe (case worker at the shelter) is pushing me to get a place.  Believe me, I want to, but I just got here two weeks ago. She has to give me time to get it together.

December 13, 2007

I was at the library, but because of the snow, it closed at 1:00 pm, so I went to Workforce, and finally made my resume look good.  I then e-mailed it to a lot of companies with job openings.  My fingers are crossed!

December 14, 2007

Today was boring, but I e-mailed a lot of prospective employers with my résumé.  I am tired.  It never stops.  This is life; I am not used to life.  I’d better learn how to deal with it quickly though.  It’s here.  I am thankful for sobriety and productiveness.  I am thankful for all my blessings, large and small.  Sometimes the small things are what make you realize that you are truly blessed.

December 16, 2007

8:45 pm—Lying on my bunk (top) getting ready to sleep.  I’ll probably read a little, but I want to sleep early so when I wake up I am mentally ready for the day.  I am ready for the next step.

One of the thugs in my room was getting dressed in the locker room, and was yelling about people coming in and seeing her naked.  If she doesn’t want people to see her naked, she shouldn’t be!  It’s just so much garbage dealing with a bunch of screwed-up personalities (comes with the territory).  I try not to think I’m better, but I am better than to get involved in a bunch of petty junk.  I am here on a stop-over.  This is a stepping stone to the next level.

December 17, 2007

It is 7:40 am.  I had a 5:45 am wake-up call.  I didn’t get up until 6:00 am, and everything was haywire.  I couldn’t find my brush.  Silly me!  I switched purses last night, and I was looking in the wrong one!  I have been spilling things, dropping things, and semi-seriously considering not going on the interview I have scheduled for today.  Excuses:  too early, too cold, too much walking, the bus doesn’t come back for hours, I am not moving fast enough; and that’s just some of them!  But as I was thinking all these things, I thought, “Is this just fear?  Am I sabotaging my efforts?”  So, here I sit in Dunkin Donuts waiting to catch the 8:30 am bus which will get me there at 8:51 am for a 10:30 a.m. appointment.  I am doing the next right thing.

11 pm—What a great day!  I received great scores on my tests in the interview. In Excel, MS Word, and PowerPoint I scored twenty percent higher than the average scores of the other applicants.

As I go each day, I grow each day, and find areas where I need to grow further.

December 18, 2007

Well!  I had quite a day!  In the homeless shelter there are programs: Single Men, Single Women, Families, Mentally Ill Men and Mentally Ill Women.  I am in the Single Women’s program. A woman from another program started fighting with me over nothing.  It’s a long story, suffice to say, I have to stay away from her, but the girls in my room stuck by me, even Crystal, and Tina, too.  See how life turns out?  Sometimes the bad things that happen bring good things on their coattails!

December 19, 2007

Today I have to go to a training seminar at Workforce, to see if they will pay for training.  I would like training, but I don’t want to wait to work— decisions, decisions.

December 21, 2007

Today, I am not really sure what to do to keep busy.  I need a job for so much more than just money.  I need a routine, to be busy, to have self-respect, to work at regaining a productive life.

Guadalupe told me today that she talked to an IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program) for me.  I don’t want to do that.  I have been through so many programs designed to help you stay sober, and for me, they don’t.  Yes, I did learn things in them, but I believe that it is time for me to move to the next level.  I have stagnated for so long; it is time to grow and move past the addict and recovering addict to a become a secure and sober adult.

It is hard to accept, as I said before, Zach’s distance from my daily life.  He has taken to calling me, “Aunt Mommy”, which kind of hurts.  His explanation is that all the women around him are his aunts, and I understand that.  However, feelings are feelings.  It’s not the feelings we can control, it’s how we deal with them.

I told Guadalupe, this has been such a great learning experience.  It is kind of amazing to learn that the homeless aren’t solely the mentally ill, deranged man picking out the garbage can.  They are people with a myriad of reasons why they wound up homeless.  I am considering writing an article, “Life among the Homeless”.  I believe it would be as educational for the “normal” people as it is for me.

December 23, 2007

Good Morning.  I am so tired of being here already.  The thug mentality can really bring a person down.  I need to keep looking for a job, and get a place to live, STAT!

December 24, 2007

Happy Christmas Eve!  I have Zach and Sonia’s presents wrapped.  The nephews and nieces are only getting candy because I couldn’t afford anything else.  They are all young adults and adults, but hopefully, they like candy as much as I do!

Today, I’m not sure what to do.  The library is closed; Workforce is only open until 2:00 pm.  I may stop in there to do something.  If I was working, I’d have to be there, and, I am trying to get a routine established.

I am waking up without a problem.  I stopped taking the Clonidine (for blood pressure) at night.  I knew that was the problem!  I was a walking zombie!  But now, every day I am feeling more alive.

December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!  I am so happy today!  We had such a nice night last night!  I got “Deck the Halls” back from Karen, and watched it with the family of seven children.  Well, actually five of the seven kids watched it with me.  It was wonderful; children are what Christmas is about!

Then, Cheryl and I watched, “Jack Frost”, an animated TV movie from the ’70’s.  It was so much fun to laugh and act like children ourselves.  When we went to bed, Cheryl starting talking about the problems the family with seven children has:  one has leukemia, one has a blood disorder, and two are bi-polar.  Big problems for a big family!  But, after a while I told her I couldn’t talk about it anymore, it was too depressing.  I prefer to spend time learning the wonders of these children.  After that, we started kidding around, and laughing in our beds; Sylvia joined in, and it was like a dorm party!

Now, it’s 7:30 am Christmas morning, and I am on the train to South Orange.  I hope to get there on time to see Zach open his presents.  I’m sure I will.  That boy always sleeps late, when he’s allowed.

We are going to my brother’s house this morning for the Christmas brunch, a Marlowe family tradition.  I am so thankful for the blessing of my family. Upon spending time with other homeless, I see how blessed I am to have stable, loving, intelligent people in my life who care for me, at least emotionally.  There are a lot of people in the shelter today who are staying there because they have nowhere to go.  No family or friends to open their homes and hearts for Christmas.

December 26, 2007

I am so tired from Christmas.  It was so wonderful to spend Christmas SOBER with my beautiful son and his cute and nice girlfriend!  We went to my brother’s, and almost all of us siblings were there; eight out of ten is not bad!  There were nephews and nieces and cousins and in-laws and friends.  There were a lot of people.  It was a great brunch.  The rice porridge was well worth waiting a year for, though they couldn’t find Lingonberries, so we had to have cranberries on our porridge.  Still scrumptious!  Cranberry and orange muffins, home-made waffles, sausage, ham, eggs, home-fries, and so much more!  To drink, there was hot cider, coffee, tea, and orange juice.  It was so wonderful to spend the holidays with loved ones and lots of good food!

December 29, 2007

Oh, My God!  We were all waiting for Sylvia to come out of the shower for a half hour, and she came out with dry hair!  Michelle said she must have been drinking in there; oh, duh!  That’s why she takes two showers a day!  I went in to take my shower, and the water was blistering hot.  She must have left it on cold.  She wasn’t washing, so what does she care?

I had to take a drug test last night.  It’s not that it bothered me (it’s great to be sober).  What did bother me though, is why.  This girl, Kathy, is really losing it, and I told her just to chill, and let go of all the crazy stuff she is doing.  So, she went to the house manager and said that ‘Margaret is nodding out’, which was completely false, but, somehow it made her feel better.  What a weird place.  Everything that happens there, though, is just another lesson, another reason to work to get my life together.

December 30, 2007

Every day here, every minute here in the homeless shelter gives me more determination to get a job so I can get a place and get out of here!  Everywhere I go in here, I am reminded of not having any place of my own.  The locker room has two seats, but there are two women here who believe they own them, and keep all their belongings on them.  I sleep on a top bunk, so I have nowhere to sit and put on or take off my shoes, or anything that requires sitting.  When I want to use the bathroom for any reason, there invariably seems to be someone in there for a half hour.  When I need to do laundry, it can take all day to get a washer.  When I watch television, everyone has to come in the lounge and talk and yell and laugh.  I am NOT complaining.  Honest, I’m not!  I think these are all blessings, because they push me to be more diligent at seeking self-sufficiency.

Next:   January and More New Beginnings

copyright 2011 meg marlowe

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Comments on: "Zach’s Heart, and Christmas in The Shelter" (1)

  1. >Wow. Awesome. So very glad you decided to share your journey with us, Meg!Carol Stromek

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