A show on Hulu has completely changed how I view the world.
If you have not watched 'Dopesick' on Hulu, please pay the six dollars and watch it immediately. It's a limited series about the opioid crisis and Maine plays a huge role in it.
It has made me pause more about 'drug addicts' and victims of domestic violence who might find themselves homeless as a result of both. As I recently gave a woman on a corner with her cardboard sign some money, I asked
What happened?
IMBD
IMBD
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She told me of an abusive relationship and how it ruined where she lived.
That sparked my conversation with a recovering addict and victim of domestic violence. The story moved me and with her permission, I am sharing it. She does not want her name revealed because she's shy, not because she isn't immensely proud of what she had to overcome and where she is today. She lives in Brunswick but grew up in South Portland and works in Portland!
I have been homeless myself. I was upper-class homeless. I always had a car so safer place to sleep in and keep my belongings. But I used to have this judgemental belief seeing "panhandlers" I would think "go get a job. McDonald's is hiring".
'Dopesick' resonates with me because my addiction started with prescription medication from my doctor for migraines. I used to be a goody goody. I had never skipped a class ever and I graduated with honors. I probably would have been voted least likely to ever become a drug addict. You just never know, it can happen to anybody.
Thank goodness one day I opened my eyes and brain. I realized how difficult it can be to get a job! Any criminal history? Yup. Who wants to hire a shoplifter? I sure wouldn't! But also, what do you write for address? Preble street? That gets judgments too. Soooo ya it's NOT so simple!
I am so grateful I had my eyes opened to the true struggles these people face!

My journey as hellish as it was, I was able to make it out alive! I wouldn't be the kind compassionate human I am today without all the suffering and struggles I had! But I like to share because maybe it can help make a difference. Stigma is one massive beast to overcome! I wish our communities could be more open to seeing when we help these struggling humans it can benefit us all! I wouldn't be where I am today without receiving a 2-year housing voucher. I had to work or be in school and I paid 30% of my income. I was able to go back to school and it gave me a chance! Without that, I would still be stuck in that crazy tough world of living off food stamps and Mainecare.

You just never know, it can happen to anybody.
Photo by Keenan Constance on Unsplash
Photo by Keenan Constance on Unsplash
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Thank goodness for those services, because I was able to receive the medical care I desperately needed!  I am a homeowner today! I now own a business! I'm a taxpayer (don't love that part but who does) but I feel I no longer am a burden on society! I contribute! But in my time of need, there was help. Unfortunately, all the programs that helped me are gone today! It's heartbreaking!

 

I'm very proud to be a woman in long-term recovery today! I'm so grateful for my journey! I had some hellish times. I wish I didn't hurt others (especially my parents, loved ones) but without it all, I wouldn't have gotten well and I am a much more kind compassionate understanding human because of it all! I say I used to be a spoiled entitled brat before! I was young, dumb, and lost!

 

We are losing far too many far too young. The U.S. just announced a loss of over 100,000 humans in a year to accidental drug poisonings! It's heartbreaking! I lost a very close friend in February to this disease. It breaks my heart! I do work in the field, helping those who struggle with substance use disorder. I purchased the agency from my boss 3 years ago January 1st! So I am trying to do my part and help others! And I am proof that addicts can and do recover!!!  My husband will be celebrating his 14 years in recovery on December 15th! He is exactly a month behind me and it's pretty freaking awesome!

Next time you see someone asking for help on a street corner, or hear of another overdose death in Maine...I hope you pause before you judge.

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