By: Simona Lynch
I was married to a crack addict in Atlanta, Georgia. I came home one Tuesday evening (I worked a 12 hour shift.) When I came home, all my furniture, electronics, everything was gone. My husband didn’t pick me up at work that day. That was 2 years ago, and I haven’t seen my car since.
The pusher, or whatever you want to call him, came to my door. He said, “Your husband gave me this stuff. But I don’t want this. I want my cash.” If he didn’t get it, he would take it out on me. I went to get my debit card to get my daughter and me a hotel room. It was gone. I called the police. They took me to every homeless shelter in the community. They were full to the max, so they took me out of the community. I had a hundred things were going through my head. With this shelter, you can only be there for 30 days. There were no buses or public transportation. I had no car. I had 2 jobs and now I was unable to work.
I was forced to come back to Cleveland. I moved from house to house with different family members. I tried to find work. I have a business degree, medical assistant, nurse’s assist, and certificate in drug and alcohol counseling. All the positions offered were temporary.
That’s how I started volunteering with the Homeless Coalition. I’ve always volunteered for organizations to help homeless people. I never thought I’d be homeless myself. Everything I’d been though, I’ve been through that for 6 years. I’ve been evicted. My ex-husband would take food or our food stamps. It’s not just the addicts. It affects the family too. It diminishes one’s self-worth, one’s self esteem, and self-image. It makes one question themselves. Why should I put up with this?
I got counseling for myself and my daughter, It’s affected her having to move around to different shelters. It takes a lot of praying, and reading the Bible. I found stable but temporary employment. I found CMHA housing, and am moving toward permanent housing.
Some people look at homelessness, and think it happens only to someone with an addiction, or with no education, or someone with a mental illness. That’s not always true. Also, you need to think about those people with an addiction or mental illness or no education who become homeless, but it also ripples out to their loved ones. Those wives and the children tied to an addict can do everything right, but still be drowning in debt from the husband. It is tough to separate from a self destructive type with a mental illness or with an addiction.
Before I was married, I live in Shaker Heights, I taught at a technical school. I traveled and I always had the desire to help other women with children. I never thought I’d be in the same situation. In the blink of an eye, life can change. I didn’t know my husband was and addict until nine months after I got married.
I never used drugs, I do not have a mental illness. I am not uneducated. All those are myths are not true for me. My goal is to inspire, and educated and empower women who find themselves in the same situation. A lot of women have lost their minds and turn to drugs and alcohol, or give up and begin to rob and steal. Once I am stable, I want to teach others how to keep fighting and not give up.
Copyright Cleveland Street Chronicle
May 2014 Cleveland, Ohio