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  • I was thinking a little more about my interaction with Timothy, the homeless guy who hung out with us last night at the West Side Club in Georgetown. The way his mind worked reminded me a little bit of the way mine worked when I was living on the streets, back when I was AWOL from the service and deep in the throes of my active addiction. He was very open and honest, and he had a pretty good sense of humor. He was fun to talk to. He would get a little goofy, at times, but then snap right back to the conversation like nothing had happened.

    I asked him how long he had been homeless. He'd had an apartment in New York City, and left there 3 years ago. He'd been, for the most part, homeless ever since. He didn't go into details about what happened. He was well dressed, and had all of his belongings in a relatively compact duffle bag and a satchel bag, including his sleeping bag. He presented himself well. I wouldn't have known he was homeless if he hadn't mentioned it when we first started talking.

    I told him about the guy I had once met who was homeless by choice. He thought that guy was nuts. He was hopeful that he would be off the streets soon. He had a job interview lined up for the next day (Saturday), at a church where he had been at a soup kitchen earlier in the day. The minister had invited him to come back the next day for an interview for a custodian job. Timothy clearly liked to work.

    He just had a hard time maintaining relationships with people. I could really relate to that. That was the story of my life right up until the time that I found recovery. He was planning to take a bus over to Virginia after the meeting, and refused to consider a ride. At the end of the meeting, he mentioned that Jim (who used to be part of the group, but recently moved away from the area) used to put a lot of money in the collection. He asked how much he should put in. We told him that visitors weren't expected to contribute to the collection. "But, I've been here before. I don't consider myself a visitor." We told him not to worry about it. He insisted on putting $6.00 in. Rick pulled me aside a couple minutes later and asked if we should insist on giving him the money back. I thought he would have been insulted if we did. It had been a matter of pride that he contributed to the "7th Tradition" collection, and it wasn't our place to question it.

    Thinking about Timothy today, I thought about Kristin's story about her interactions with homeless folks, and how whenever she spends money on others, more money seems to just appear. I'm hoping that happened for Timothy today. Man, I hope he got that job. I hope it's the first step towards him getting a roof over his head. It's been getting awfully cold at nights, lately. When I was on the streets, it was Spring time. I can't imagine what it must be like out there on nights like this.

    What a rough life so many of our brothers and sisters endure out there, especially during the winter time. So cold, and so lonely. I am really appreciating the warmth of my house tonight. I wish no one had to endure that awful feeling of living on the street. I can still remember what that felt like. It's not good.
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