Over the last two months and change, SWIM shared his studio apartment with a homeless dealer. Yesterday, SWIM lost his temper and demanded that his house guest pack up his things and leave. SWIM is currently dealing with the ethical, moral, and emotional fallout from previous day's events.
I apologize up front if this is disjoint or difficult to read. I really just needed to put all of this somewhere and I figure that feedback from near-strangers couldn't hurt.
Oh, and as an additional disclaimer, I never thought for a moment that I could personally fix the individual in question. I figured the best I could do would be provide a stable platform that might lead to fostering an internal desire to change.
Last February, I came in to contact with someone I had known of but not really known very well. The person in question, we'll refer to him as "Dude" from here on out, was (and is again, I suppose) a homeless dealer. I can honestly say that I initially invited Dude to stay with me because it was too cold to be on the streets and that I would appreciate the company. The nature of his profession did factor in to the initial equation, but not as much as the first two reasons I stated (call it a 40%, 40%, 20% distribution). I also got the selfish perk of being able to be proud about helping someone less fortunate than myself.
What I did not know, but quickly learned over the course of Dude's stay in my home was that he suffered from mental illness on top of the problems associated with being a daily user for more than a year. He appeared to suffer from a lack of confidence and self-esteem that would manifest as a malicious voice in his head when he failed at a task. He told me that he resented that he was unable to do some of the things that I could easily do (arrange a hookup online, for example). Initially, I took these things in stride and strongly encouraged him to get in touch with local mental health services.
I had a vague idea about how my day-to-day living situation might change now that Dude was part of the equation. I figured it would be like any other roommate situation, but I didn't realize just how much the substance's omnipresence would skew the entire setup.
I found myself isolated from my non-using friends. I felt like I couldn't have anyone over and in my home with Dude or risk a piece of our paraphenalia carelessly being left out. How could I possibly explain why I decided to share my already small space with a non-romantic partner? The people I did meet, while interesting at the time, I now realize are cautionary tales. Of the dozen and half clients I met, I think only two or three had permanent homes and jobs.
When I would go out to spend time with other users, it was with the ulterior motive of acquring more product. I would arrange hookups, score some product, and half-ass the physical part of the encounter. I would actively target people I knew were easily exploitable or could be burned as contacts. I caught myself paying extra attention for spilled product or 'flailing' with my belongings in someone else's home. Six months ago, I would have asked someone to leave my home for exhibiting similar behaviors. I did not like the person I was becoming.
When I would get out to spend time with my sober friends, I was either high or in the process of coming down. Either way, I wasn't acting like myself and I was overcompensating, a poor impersonation of my former self. About a month in to Dude's stay with me, I broke down a little and told them that I had someone staying with me to help with the rent. I blamed my anxiousness and fatigue on Dude's previously unknown level of crazy (which was partially true). A few weeks later, my anxiety mounted in to a full panic attack which I again blame on Dude's presence in my life. Later that night, I told one of my sober friends everything and I am thankful that he told the rest of our group.
I found myself defending him to my friends. He did contribute to the household in terms of food and necessities. He bought new towels and shower curtain/liner for the bathroom. He helped me redo the studio to open the space up and get more use out of my existing furniture. He gave me excellent deals on his wares and gave me product gratis when my funds were low.
I realized that I was talking about him like someone might talk about an abusive lover.
On Saturday, April 14, the entirety of the situation finally got to me. I had enough of Dude's complaints about not getting enough alone time, attitude about how life shitty his life, inability to own his mistakes, and unwillingness to take the necessary steps to overcome his obstacles in life. I was done feeling uncomfortable in my own home and enabling what had become a constant source of personal stress. I got very angry and very loud. I told him that he needed to leave my space that same day. I invited my sober friends over to witness Dude's departure and to ensure that I got his building and apartment key. I told him that he had until 9:00p to have all of his things out of the apartment.
He left around 5:00p to take care of whatever business it was he felt was more important than the matter at hand. I invited more friends over while we waited for him to return. I called him around 8:00p to remind him of the impending deadline. He tried to claim that I told him to be back by 9:00p, but this resulted in more shouting on my part. He seemed to get the message, though, because I saw him across the street with a friend at about 8:35p. We had his things ready to go and were able to deliver them to his feet in one trip. "Get better," I said to him, then, as I turned away, "Namaste, see you in another life." He tried to ask about his prorated share of the rent, but I decided giving him a friend's no-longer needed EBT card was fair. My friends and I left as a group. I had four people with whom I hadn't been completely truthful with up until that day flanking me. He only had one other person I had never seen before supporting him.
I think the turning point came the night before when I was talking to one of his friends/clients/derelicts I had allowed to linger at my home for a few hours about the legalities of dealing and law enforcement at large. The realization that my name was on the lease and the idea that increased traffic to my place might eventually get noticed had been on my mental backburner for a while. At some point in the conversation, I realized that Dude wasn't worth risking eviction or an encounter with law enforcement and that he didn't have any vested interest in these things, either.
Ultimately, I feel that getting Dude out of my life was necessary. I do not like the way it went down. I do not like that he paid a portion of April's rent and that I did not give him some form of compensation for that (he claimed that the foodstamp card I gave him only had one dollar on it). I do not like that I put him in a position that required him to scramble to find a new place to live in the space of a few hours. I do not like the fear of potential retribution however unlikely. And yes, I do not like that I burnt a handful of connections.
I do like that I stood up for myself before things got worse. I do like that I have people who care enough about me to stand by me despite my failings. I do like that I can focus on improving myself and my situation.
As of right now, Dude's number is blocked from my phone. He can access my apartment building through the front door's keyless entry code, but he does not have a key to any other external door nor my apartment door (which is now deadbolted). I will be contacting my bank and credit card company to preemptively block any attempts at identity theft.
I honestly don't know at this point whether or not I did him a favor or a disservice by kicking him out my apartment and by extension, my life.
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Morality Check, Aisle 3: Evicting the Dealer