Lewis is 31, and has been homeless repeatedly since the age of 18. The last time he was homeless started about a month and a half before he was in our shelter. For the last four years, he was couch surfing, sleeping outside, at drop in centers, and temporarily was staying with a friend.
When asked what it was all like, Lewis Replied, “Utterly chaotic. I just could not get a leg up. Was okay with it until I had to make a change. At drop in shelters you feel like a street mentality, get in altercations, feel disrespected and many people were using making it hard to stay sober.”
Although he had slept outside multiple times before, he was living on the streets for two weeks straight before getting a bed in the Men’s House.
“This area is my home and I wanted to make it work here,” Lewis told me. He feels like he has a net of support here. He had to make it work in Skagit County. There was a lot needing to change in Lewis’s life, and when reflecting he referred to his feelings as “the gift of desperation”.
His family knew about the Friendship House, and friends knew about the meals and had brought him to dinner at our café. The first time he tried to make sobriety work he came here but moved out into a friend’s house. This current stay was his first time doing the 90 days and he feels it has greatly influenced and changed his life.
Regarding his time with us, Lewis says he appreciated the room to grow, the responsibilities he had received and the progress he made. During his stay, he was able to get a better grasp on his mental health. Finally, he was on stable meds, which would not have happened without Kristie guiding him. His attitude towards life has changed. He can handle stressful situations so much better. Part of this growth was from gaining insight through his experiences at the men’s house.
As alcohol worked its way out of his life, positive mental health, counseling and hobbies worked their way into his life. All the stuff he used to love doing came back to him. Skating, drawing, writing, photography, Magic: The Gathering.
Something he wishes people knew about being homeless is that you become a product of your environment. If no one cares about you, you don’t care about yourself or try to make yourself better or change. It takes a considerable effort to get out of homelessness and that unhealthy hole.
To create change in one’s life you need stability, guidance, and someone to care and facilitate the effort to change.
Here Lewis received one on one time with the shelter manager, guidance, tips, links to resources, and support. “I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity friendship house has given me to improve my life” Lewis shared.
June 1st Lewis was accepted into an Oxford House, which is a shared sober living space. When he is comfortable in his role at the Oxford House, he is looking to volunteer his time and give back here at the Friendship House.
When asked what is next for him, Lewis listed the following: his license, a car, being employable, stability, finding a job, and developing new skills.
We applaud you success, and are eager to see what is next for you!
Author, Rayna Huitt
Friendship House Office Assistant
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