Lawrence, a father of two, points to substance abuse, his parent’s tough love and the death of his grandfather while Lawrence was in jail as contributing factors to his homeless life on the streets of Sacramento.
When he was released from jail, Lawrence did not go home. Instead, he went straight to using, becoming untethered from his family. He drifted through the streets, bouncing from shelter to street, and then back again. His drug use, which numbed his pain and the loss of his grandfather and his support system, ushered Lawrence further into complete homelessness.
While at a mission, someone suggested Lawrence try to get into Guesthouse, which could allow him to gain a spot on the Palmer List, a waitlist for the Palmer Apartments program.
“When I went to Palmer, my head started to clearing up and I started looking around at my life. I wasn’t taking things too seriously and my spirit was down. I never would have made it this far without the harm reduction program,” Lawrence says.
According to the transforming lives and cultivating success website, “Palmer is a short-term interim housing and harm reduction program for adults who are experiencing homelessness.”
Lawrence points to the hard work he did in AA, coupled with Palmer’s harm reduction program as key factors in helping him get clean. Palmer is aware of the likelihood of relapse and is equipped to help those experiencing a relapse like Lawrence did.
I asked Lawrence to imagine going back in time. What advice would he give to his 19 year-old self?
“Learn to be more responsible,” Lawrence says, “Think about what you can do tomorrow and plan your future. Don’t depend on someone else to handle it for you. The number one thing is…don’t get into drugs.”