Saturday, September 6, 2014

So Much for Treatment

I only lasted three weeks in DePaul, having stormed out of the place in a huff Labor Day morning because some milieu counselor (what staff members there are called that aren't real counselors with degrees and certifications; basically the guys that tell you what to do, search the rooms and conduct UAs, and dispense mail, etc.) thought I was being a jerk because I complained about having to watch some schlocky mainstream Hollywood chick flick on a holiday instead of being allowed to read my book. I suppose it's a shame, since I was doing pretty well there and was due to graduate in the middle of this month and move into a unit in housing. It wasn't that I wanted to just keep on drinking; I just didn't want to have a bunch of twelve-stepping cultists and drones telling me who I am and what how I need to live my life, forcing their quasi-Christian protean “spirituality” down my atheist throat, while being surrounded by a bunch of punk kids full of gangsta bravado and buffoonery and rock 'n' roll ex-cons strutting around with giant limp dicks flopping out of their mouths ... only to end up stuck in some lousy housing building downtown full of these people and enclosed in a blockade line of bums, yuppies, and tourists. In other words, it was a mistake.

Fortunately for me, my loading dock hasn't been inhabited by any unwelcome interlopers, and I even found one of my old sleeping bags that I'd left behind before I went into DePaul in a nearby field and still in good shape and reasonably clean. It sucks that I lost my locker at the Friendly House and have to carry most of my stuff in a large backpack, but I still have access to a day locker there and I'm not carrying too heavy a load anyway. I'll have to do a little gearing up for the rainy winter, but that won't be too big of a deal because there's probably still a month left to summer and I expect fall to get off to a slow start. I really don't need much, anyway: some long underwear, a couple hoodies, boots, a poncho, a knit hat or headband, a couple fingerless wool gloves, a wool blanket for the colder nights, and a better rainfly for my backpack. Okay, that looks like a lot, but there's a lot of free stuff in this town for us homeless, and there's always sales and lucky finds. The big thing will be not to spend all my canning or day labor money on booze, of course; so far I'm doing okay staving off the temptation to drink by substituting strawberry Fanta™ or Arizona™ iced tea for malt liquor whenever the devil's thirst comes over me.

Which begs the question, “What now?” I've made appointments with both my Central City Concern case worker and supported employment specialist next week to discuss this with them, and I have to go to the DHS office to get my food stamp card returned to my custody (DePaul has inpatients sign over custody of them to defray meal costs, which you'd think would be factored into bills sent to the insurance companies!) and to sign up for free web-development and coding classes online (my supported employment specialist thinks I can land a job in a computer field by doing this). I'm on the wait list for four or five subsidized low-income housing units, but I have no idea when I'll actually get into any of them, nor if I'd even WANT TO live in any of them. And, well, I don't know how much of what kind of work I could do with my asthma and messed-up legs and hips. All I really know is I can push a shopping cart full of bottles and cans once a day, and that so far I have a half-ass decent place to sleep outside ... the future is no less uncertain for me than it was when I left my last place over seven months ago. Oh well.

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