Oct 17 2005

River Street Blues

Posted by J. Craig Canada in church groups, shelter

River Street Shelter…where every day is a full moon.

It’s been over a week now since I left the so-called shelter. Daniel is still there. I suppose it’s unfair, but who cares?

This was my 2nd stint there, and most definitely my last. I told people before I went in I didn’t expect to last there 30 days, it was just too much stress and I don’t do stress well. They have this thing called the Pioneer Program at the shelter, which is a 90-day detox program for dual diagnoses – a mental health diagnosis and a substance abuse diagnosis – and even worse, one of these people is given authority over the others as ‘chore monitor’. If you’re not in the Pioneer Program, you must get on a list and check in every other day for about 6 weeks to get into the shelter, and then you only get 30 days there, unless you get a job or otherwise demonstrate your ‘worth’ to them. Simply paving $500/month on your debts isn’t enough for them…I know, I asked.

Aside from the fact that I’m forced to co-habit with the very kind of people that have robbed and harassed me for the past ten years (tweakers & such), aside from the fact that I must live in everything I’ve been trying to get away from for 10 years, there is absolutely no way to safeguard your possessions there. My wrist brace and thermos cup were stolen, and I was lucky that was all.

The last straw was Daniel, who seems to see nothing wrong with reading the Bible out loud whenever he feels like it, and asking who’s Christian at the dinner table so he can harass anyone who isn’t. And then I’m woken at 3 in the morning by him standing over me babbling some religious nonsense…and after he wakes everyone else up, they do nothing.

Well, they have a little chat with him (after I’ve told them I’m not coming back if he stays) and apparently he hasn’t done it again as he’s still there. So I guess he accomplished his purpose.

The Church groups are far less stress, even though there is much less free time. I have to wrap up whatever I’m doing about 1:30-2:00pm to walk back to Harvey West to be there about 2:30 to stand in line until 3:00 to sign up each day for the church group. And then stay there until we get on the bus (called the Buffalo) to whatever the host church is for the night. Generally they turn the lights out about 8:30-9:00 and get up before 5 to get back on the bus at 6 and be back at the shelter at 6:15 – where we stand for an hour or so in the cold before they open the bays.

It’s really pathetic to see old men yelling that they have to use the toilet at 6 in the morning….

All I’ve tried to do for the past 10 years is grow my own, as a legitimate medical marijuana patient, and it has cost me everything and then some. I have been treated worse than a Jew in Nazi Germany; repeatedly robbed, exploited, arrested, jailed, tried, taunted, betrayed, ridiculed, harassed and slandered.

And now I find myself forced to live in everything I was trying to get away from – with junkies and thieves in the very worst circumstances – and forced to stand in line everyday to sleep on the floor of a church at night. And forced to get up before dawn every day and sit shivering in the cold as the sun rises. And unable to do much of anything except play cards or read a book from 2:30 pm everyday till 9-10 the next morning when the stores and library open.

I read over some of what I’d written as palmspringsbum on Overgrow when the Illinois Marijuana Party posted a press release – and while I am somewhat ashamed of how shrill I sounded, my objections still stand.

I am opposed to a “Marijuana Party” that is about meth & crack & Heroin. I fear that such associations will work to impede lifting the prohibition on cannabis. There is overwhelming popular support for lifting the prohibition on medical marijuana, but it seems this isn’t important to the people that have the money to contribute to such causes – and probably the majority of them are organized crime.

The fact is, the overwhelming majority of drug arrests in this country are for marijuana. Realitively few are for everything else combined. And a recent study concludes that marijuana causes new brain cells to grow, nurogenesis; rather than killing brain cells like alcohol, cigarettes, meth, crack, cocaine, heroin and virtually every other ‘drug’, marijuana causes the birth of new brain cells.

One article called it the fountain of youth, which reminded me of discussion I had with Dr. Sterner…

…but all I have tried to do for the past ten years is grow my own, provide my own medicine. I would start a co-op if I had the money and/or a place – but it seems to be the one thing everyone doesn’t want me to do. But the fact is in a couple of months I won’t be able to afford to pay $400/week for medicine, and I won’t have any, and my one opportunity to prove that I’m right – that it is medicine and it does work for me will be gone.

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