Homelessness is associated with several factors and I am going to share one that I personally have been affected by: drug use and addiction. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 14.5 million Americans have an alcohol use disorder, and according to the National Institute on Substance Abuse, 11.7% of Americans over 12 have used illegal drugs in the past 30 days. This story is how I became a data point.
As a young lady I always loved flying and everything that comes with it. When I visited the airport, I would always admire the airplanes and all the staff members working on a plane. All I needed was to complete my education and focus on passing my exams so as to follow this esteemed career path. Well, I worked hard, got all the support I needed, and finally my grades came as expected. Full of excitement I enrolled at a University and there I was, getting my degree to join an airline cabin crew. This was a dream becoming a reality so fast. It was a long journey but my patience and hard work finally paid. Finally , I was fit for the air as a complete flight attendant.
The job was interesting and I loved it. The pay was good and I enjoyed traveling to different parts of the world, learning different things and experiencing other people’s cultures too. I met people from different parts of the globe, made new friends and that’s when I started getting introduced to drugs, little by little. One beer became one too many, a puff of a cigarette led to a pack, and a sniff of illegal drugs led to a life of misery. On landing in different destinations we would go clubbing in the name of adventure. I sunk into a whole different life, a party life. I would miss flights and stay home due to hangovers.
I loved the bottle more than anything. My employer, family and a few friends realized I was not heading in the right direction but I was already too deep into it. After several warnings, I lost my job. I did not realize what I had done till it was too late. The partying did not stop and having no job and bad company by my side did not help the situation. Day in and day out, night in and night out, we partied hard. I listened to no advice and at the end of it all I was left with nothing, evicted from my house.
Abandoned by friends, family and former colleagues I had no one. That’s when I became homeless. Eating from trash cans, begging and sleeping in the streets of San Francisco. For two years, I was in a dark place until one day something great happened. As I was on the streets, a former schoolmate saw and recognized me. We got talking and that’s how I got a Guardian Angel. The guy was a blessing; he took me to his place without a second thought. He clothed and fed me and I finally had a roof over my head. He paid for my rehabilitation, and, as we speak, he is my boyfriend.
I am not homeless anymore, I have worked my way through rehabilitation and I am sure soon I’ll be free from this mess. Please look out for your friends, colleagues and family. Sometimes all is not as perfect as it seems to be. Alcohol, drug and substance abuse is a real menace towards individual, social and economic growth. One love!