From ALL my dealings with homeless people (especially the ones you see flying signs on the road), there’s always some element of alcohol involved. I was further confirmed in this “fact” during this homeless experiment.
From hanging out with the Riverside bums (which is comprised entirely of people who have been homeless for long periods of time) you quickly learn that LIFE IS ABOUT BEER.
It almost sounds funny, but it’s absolutely true. Nearly every action they take is geared towards scoring money to buy beer, getting people to buy them beer, or just flat out stealing it.
Certain people definitely also use other drugs, but I’ve not seen enough of that evidence with my own two eyes to know (nor would I want to be present when it’s taking place). However by far the prevailing intoxicant of choice is beer (or malt liquor which is like strong beer).
If you ever want to COMPLETELY MAKE A BUM’S DAY….give him a 6, 12 or 24 pack of beer. I’ve already proved food in easy to come by if you ask for it or know where to go, so when you see a bum asking for money, it’s usually going to something such as beer, cigarettes or drugs. Sure some of it goes to buy food, but I’d say a larger portion goes directly to the brew master.
NOTE: This is pretty true at least in Austin from what I’ve seen.
Now most “normal” homeless people are not asking for money on the street. These people are not necessarily categorized into this hardcore drinking group. The chronically homeless are what I’m talking about.
I already figured alcohol was a good escape and way to pass the day by if you’re homeless, and I wanted to test this by my homeless drinking experiment. The experiment consisted of me having a full day of nothing to do and a full bottle of straight bourbon. I was trying to see why alcohol is such an attractive commodity when living on the streets….and well, it just sounded like a lot of fun :-)
Here is some of what I wrote in the experiment:
SO imagine you’re one of the homeless people living Downtown or on Riverside. Your food needs are taken care of by either grifting for a few hours or going to a homeless shelter and getting food. You don’t work, you don’t do much of anything….so what can help pass all that time?
Drinking and drugs of course!
On any given day a homeless person whose food/water/shelter are taken care of probably has about 10-12 free hours of the day. That’s a lot of time when you’re doing NOTHING….and doing nothing can be excruciating if you do NOTHING all day long, everyday.
Did it help pass the day? ABSOLUTELY! Were there repercussions? Yes. I explain them in my Drinking Experiment Results.
SO CAN YOU BLAME THEM? I mean, billions of people on this planet enjoy a good drink now and then, so what’s the harm? I think what’s socially acceptable is going out, having a good time and using alcohol to enhance your good time….it shouldn’t be needed. What’s not socially acceptable is to escape your boredom and problems in life through alcohol. That’s where it starts to get dangerous.
I’ll soon discuss if I think giving money to homeless people is acceptable.